“A proud man is always looking down on things and people; and, of course, as long as you’re looking down, you can’t see something that’s above you.” – C.S. Lewis
Pride is one of those things that we don’t like to talk about. Pride is dangerous. Like blood pressure, pride can lurk below the surface, undetected, causing all kinds of damage. But unlike high blood pressure, pride is a spiritual disease that we all have in one degree or another. Often, we don’t even realize it’s there, and by the time we head down that slope, we don’t even know how to get back up.
It was C.S. Lewis who once said that the source of all vice is pride. Other sins are birthed out of pride. The reason why we lie is because we want to keep a good image, make a great showing. That is pride. The reason why we gossip is because we want you to know that we know; pride. I decided not to wait on God because I believe I can get this done; pride. Sin was introduced into the world when Adam and Eve acted independently of God, believing that they could become like him; pride. The Scriptures, C.S. Lewis, and my experience shows me that pride is one of the main catalysts for every sin. Jonathan Edwards said that “pride is the worst viper that is in the heart, the greatest disturber of the soul’s peace and sweet communion with Christ. It is the most difficult sin to root out, and the most hidden, secret and deceitful of all lusts.”
Pride can appear in the most innocuous ways, even in church. We started Northstar in a funeral home with a few dozen people. And now we have five locations, 8 services, not counting online, and several thousand people. I am completely awed by God. We haven’t just made history here, we’ve made eternity. It would be easy for the staff to take some of the the credit. “We worked really hard on our environments.” “We had some good ideas when you look at our success.” The truth is we have a great staff and I would never minimize their contributions, but if we take the credit for what God has clearly accomplished, that is pride. For the record, the Northstar leadership team knows that God is the reason for our success. There is no other plausible explanation.
Pride affects our relationships with people regardless of what type of relationship we are in: pride makes a husband refuse to admit his faults, but is quick to blame his wife; pride makes a daughter unwilling to change, and is always right; pride makes an employee unteachable and refusing to be open to genuine instruction; pride makes a brother blame others and always has a plan for how it should be done; pride convinces a church member that all his theological beliefs are correct and other people are wrong; pride drives a mom to say that her children will never act like those other kids: pride motivates a neighbor to want more possessions, power, and prestige.
Pride can appear in every facet of our life and is one of those areas where many people struggle. We are always right, always first, always in control, and always the most important. We want everything to revolve around us and to be for us.
For the remainder of this week, we will delve into the subject of pride in more detail and address the most important question: How do we root out the pride that threatens our relationships, including our relationship with God?
1. Do you crave attention, honor, recognition, or reward? Do you become jealous or critical of people who succeed? Do you always have to win? Do you lack ambition for fear of failing?
2. Do you have a pattern of lying about or hiding your failures? Do you have a hard time fully acknowledging you were wrong?
3. Do you struggle more with pride against God or others?
4. Pray and ask God to help identify and help you with the areas of pride this week.