Saturday, December 7, 2013

Pride and Joy

Our foolish pride comes from this world, and so do our selfish desires and our desire to have everything we see. None of this comes from the Father.

--  1 John 2:16 

Are you a do-it-yourselfer?

You know--one of those folks who can do it all without help from the experts. Whether it's fixing a leaky faucet, changing your car's oil or installing hardwood flooring, no professionals are needed...or even wanted on your job site!

There's definitely a certain pride factor Hammerinvolved when you do it yourself and do it right. Who can deny the satisfaction from viewing a shiny polished car, a lush, manicured lawn or a tiled kitchen backsplash? And that goes double when you put hours of hard work into your efforts. Yes, you should be proud.

Or should you?

Maybe taking pride in a job well done is OK to a point. But as Christ-followers, we need to understand that pride is actually one of those lures that can hurt us badly if we don't watch out.

At pride's root is our love of the world's values rather than our devotion to God. And pride happens to be a disease with some nasty side effects. One symptom is far-sightedness. That's because we tend to see pride in others but not in ourselves. Our heads then grow and our minds shrink. And eventually, we reach the point where we actually think we're strong and smart enough to do it all--and all while forgetting that God is the only true power and source of our successes. We become arrogant, vain, stubborn and defensive. And we may even develop a strange sense of satisfaction when other--often our closest friends--face difficulties or tragedies in their lives.

These painful symptoms can last for days or even years. But we'll eventually reach the point where God lets us crumble and fall flat after some unforeseen situation or circumstance. It's called the pride before the fall. And it's only when we're struggling helplessly in the debris that we finally regain our senses and return to God.

Like the common cold, we're all bound to catch the pride bug every once in a while. So what's the best way to battle this infectious disease once it's set in? First, it's not about adopting an artificially low self-esteem or a terminal woe-is-me attitude. Instead, it's all about replacing deceptive self-confidence with reliable Christ confidence. Our best strategy is to always put God first in our lives and remember that we can do nothing without Him. Always give Him the credit for your blessings and successes. Help others through their struggles. And then remember that God chooses and uses humble people to do great things in the world.

The Bible sums it up with this solid advice: "Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up."

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