“For by the grace given me I say to every one of you, do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgement, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.” Romans 12:3
The word pride is such a funny thing. We hear it mentioned often in the Bible (hello Proverbs!), but we don’t always think about applying it to ourselves … or at least I don’t! Typically when I’ve thought of pride, I’ve usually envisioned someone too prideful to apologize or ask for help, or perhaps someone so prideful that they’re constantly boasting about their accomplishments and have no true concept of the needs of those around them. This season of life I’ve felt compelled to put the magnifying glass to my own heart and truly examine my character. As part of this endeavor, I signed up for a Character Makeover small group within my church. Thumbing through our curriculum book the night before the first meeting, I noticed that our first character trait to focus on was humility. Immediately I thought to myself, “Oh, I’m totally humble, this should be an easy chapter.”
Well … as you may have guessed, this was not the case. The authors of the book, Katherine Brazelton and Shelley Leith, did a thorough examination of the many faces of pride as a journey to developing the character trait of humility. Reading through the humility lesson, I learned that my general concept of pride was only one piece of the puzzle and that pride could come in many forms: exalting ourselves, belittling ourselves, attacking others, and ignoring others. They all sounded pretty straight forward, except the concept of belittling ourselves. In my heart I thought, “Well, if I’m not exalting myself as a superwoman who does it all and am in fact doing the opposite, how could this be prideful?”
Looking more into this, I focused on the fact that exalting ourselves seems to be a given when it comes to the concept of pride. If we are too busy focusing and exalting ourselves, how do we have the time and energy to instead focus on and exalt our God?
“Let someone else praise you, and not your own mouth; an outsider, and not your own lips.” Proverbs 27:2
I’ve learned that although exalting ourselves could be the obvious situation of boasting about our accomplishments, it could also include simply serving to be noticed or even stretching the truth about a story to draw even more attention on ourselves. But what about belittling ourselves? In so many ways I thought, how could this be? Sadly, belittling ourselves also focuses on ourselves, not God. It is a different way to dialogue a conversation in our head or with others that is focused on us and our shortcomings, versus the ultimate and sovereign power of the Lord. When we constantly belittle ourselves, it is an intentional maneuver to get the focus on us with an expectations that others will lift us up through encouraging words versus diving into God’s Truth and knowing our identity is in Him and this identity does not befit belittling ourselves.
“In his pride the wicked man does not seek him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God.” Psalm 10:4
Sweet sister, have you been in place of pride before and not realized it? It can be so easy when we’re constantly focused and bogged down by the troubles within our worldly life. Too many times I’ve gone to other people belittling myself with the expectation that their words would give me the level of hope and uplifting that only God, our Prince of Peace and Banner of Victory can provide.
“Many are saying of me, “God will not deliver him.” But you, Lord, are a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head high. I call out to the Lord, and He answers me from His holy mountain. I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the Lord sustains me. I will not fear though tens of thousands assail me on every side.” Psalm 3:2-6
We’ve all gone through levels of brokenness and feelings of hopelessness when we’re struggling with circumstances of the day or even a season of life. However, I want to invite you to consider these trials and tribulations as an opportunity to find the Biblical truths that reveal who you are in Christ.
“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on the things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.” Colossians 3:1-3
I pray that You would search our heart daily and reveal to us any notion of pride in our lives. Lord, I pray that we would continue to focus falling more in love with You by Your Word and create a deeper understanding of the identity that You have determined for us. Lord, we stand on Your Word that You give us plans for hope and prosperity, not plans for harm. I pray that any time we are tempted to belittle ourselves and ultimately focus attention on ourselves, that we would be led to open Your Word and remember who we are in You alone. We thank You for the grace and mercy that You always provide and the perfect gift of eternal salvation that we are forever grateful for.
~ Sheena Gregg