Pride is something we all struggle with from time to time. In Proverbs 16:18, the Bible says, “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” C. S. Lewis, in Mere Christianity, said, “A proud man is always looking down on things and people; and, of course, as long as you are looking down, you cannot see something that is above you.” Lewis goes on to say, “Pride gets no pleasure out of having something, only out of having more of it than the next man…It is the comparison that makes you proud: the pleasure of being above the rest. Once the element of competition is gone, pride is gone.” We all struggle with pride from time to time. But Jesus set a great example for us of the kind of lives we ought to live.
In Philippians 2:5-8, the apostle Paul called followers of Jesus to, “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” We are called to live humble lives…not lives marked by a prideful spirit. We need to admit that we might not be the best at everything, avoid bragging, recognize our faults, and admit it when we’re wrong. We need to be grateful for what we have. Thank God often and always. Paul would say, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). We need to consider others above ourselves. “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Philippians 2:3-4)
But we all struggle with pride from time to time, don’t we? Think about the history of humanity, the history of God’s people. From the earliest of days, humanity has struggled with pride. In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve violated the will of God out of a prideful desire. The Israelites in the wilderness were convinced that they were unable to conquer Canaan. They were consumed with pride as they failed to put their full trust in the God who had delivered them not long before. In Mark 4, the disciples are in a boat with Jesus when a great windstorm blew in. Jesus, asleep on a cushion, questioned their lack of faith when they were frantically bailing water from the boat, asking Jesus if He simply didn’t care that they were all going to die. It is pride that makes one bail water when Jesus, the One who can save, is in the boat with you. The issue is prideful faith in self rather than humble trust in God. Micah 6:8 says, “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” Living a life of humility removes the barriers that blind us to the One in whom we ought to place our full trust. A wise man once wrote, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6). We need to humble ourselves and put all our trust in God.