TEMPTED BY Pride

Jamaica Gleaner - - FAMILY & RELIGION - DWIGHT FLETCHER Pas­tor of Trans­formed Life Church. Send feed­back to fam­ilyan­dreli­gion@glean­erjm.com. fam­ilyan­dreli­gion@glean­erjm.com

THIS WEEK is the penul­ti­mate in this Tempted se­ries. Over the last few weeks, we have looked at the ways in which we can be se­duced to step out­side of God’s will and go off course in our lives. We looked at ad­dic­tions, greed, anger and sex, and this week, we will look at one of our great­est temp­ta­tions – pride. Now, there is noth­ing wrong with hav­ing a sense of pride in do­ing things well. God gives us tal­ents and abil­i­ties to use for His glory, and He wants us to do our best. In Gala­tians 6:4 NIV, the Apos­tle Paul wrote, “... they can take pride in them­selves alone, with­out com­par­ing them­selves to some­one else ...”. Pride, within bound­aries then, can be good. But Scrip­ture also warns about the aw­ful con­se­quences of sin­ful pride. The kind of pride that the Bi­ble cau­tions us to be wary of oc­curs when peo­ple fail to hon­our the Lord with their at­ti­tudes. They be­lieve that they can ac­com­plish what­ever they want apart from God. In this con­text, pride means to act ar­ro­gantly; es­teem­ing one’s self above other peo­ple or; self-con­ceit. We can all point a fin­ger at some­one with this type of pride. How­ever, many peo­ple who have sin­ful pride have no idea that they are pride­ful. As a mat­ter of fact, the proud per­son is of­ten very proud of his hu­mil­ity. God has some very ex­plicit things to say about pride to which we need to pay close at­ten­tion. Proverbs 6:16 (GNT) says, “There are seven things that the Lord hates and can­not tol­er­ate: a proud look ...”. So, the writer of Proverbs puts pride on God’s top 10 list of things that he hates.

DIF­FI­CULT TO DE­TECT

Some­times, it is dif­fi­cult to de­tect pride in our own lives, as it presents it­self in dif­fer­ent ways. Some ways in­clude:

a. Van­ity: Plac­ing an un­healthy or ex­ces­sive fo­cus on our ap­pear­ance.

b. Con­trol­ling pride: De­mand­ing con­trol and in­sist­ing on hav­ing things our way, lack of sub­mis­sion.

c. Stub­born pride: Re­fus­ing to back down on a po­si­tion even though we know we are wrong. The scrip­ture calls this a ‘stiff­necked’ per­son.

d. Char­ity pride: Be­ing too proud to ac­cept help even when we are hav­ing tough times.

e. Per­fec­tion­ist pride: Per­fectly good things get thrown out be­cause they don’t meet our high stan­dards of what’s best.

f. In­dig­nant pride: A vic­tim men­tal­ity if ev­ery­thing doesn’t go our way. We main­tain the be­lief that noth­ing bad is ever sup­posed to hap­pen to us.

g. In­tel­lec­tual pride: Be­liev­ing that we are in­tel­lec­tu­ally su­pe­rior to the rest of hu­man­ity and, there­fore, don’t have to con­form to the same moral prin­ci­ples as the rest of the world.

REA­SONS TO BE­WARE OF PRIDE

Most, if not all, of us have en­coun­tered or op­er­ated in one or more of these ar­eas of pride. But be­cause God loves us, He feels very strongly about rid­ding us of our pride. Here are some rea­sons for this:

a. Pride hin­ders our re­la­tion­ship with God. It pro­motes self-suf­fi­ciency rather than God-suf­fi­ciency. Our cul­ture screams at us with mo­ti­va­tional quotes about do­ing things in our own strength and on our own terms. These in­flu­ence us to be pride­ful in ways that we don’t re­alise. But “God re­sists the proud ...” James 4:6 NKJV.

b. Pride dis­rupts our re­la­tion­ships with other peo­ple. If God re­sists the proud, then the proud man is out of fel­low­ship with God. Any­one who is out of fel­low­ship with God is go­ing to be out of fel­low­ship with other peo­ple.

c. Pride ham­pers our ef­fec­tive­ness as lead­ers. Peo­ple can­not trust lead­ers who are self-fo­cused and blinded by con­ceit. A pride­ful per­son shows favouritism to­wards peo­ple who build their egos, and flat­ter­ers will be­lit­tle them­selves to gain ac­cep­tance. “Who­ever be­lit­tles his neigh­bour lacks sense ... . ” Proverbs 11:12 ESV.

d. Pride hin­ders the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Once pride en­ters our lives, our prayers will au­to­mat­i­cally be hin­dered. We will be the ones de­cid­ing what’s best when­ever the Holy Spirit tries to guide us into God’s best.

e. Pride com­pro­mises our re­wards in heaven. In the end, God will judge us by our mo­tives, not just our ac­tions. If pride has mo­ti­vated our ac­tions, then we will miss our heav­enly re­wards. God will not bless our ar­ro­gance; He will wait un­til we turn our fo­cus away from our­selves, to­ward seek­ing Him.

f. Pride de­stroys our lives. Pride ul­ti­mately de­stroys all that it con­trols. It is the road to ruin. The Mes­sage trans­la­tion of Proverbs 16:18 puts it this way: “First pride, then the crash—the big­ger the ego, the harder the fall.”

Je­sus hum­bled Him­self and went to the cross be­cause of His love for us. Ro­mans 5:8 NIV, “But God demon­strates His own love for us in this: While we were still sin­ners, Christ died for us.” So how do we hum­ble our­selves? We will pro­vide some an­swers to these ques­tions next week as we close the tempted se­ries. But, to­day, we can start with the sim­ple act by pray­ing. Humbly say to God, “Je­sus come into my life. Be my leader. Be my Lord. I want to fol­low You from this day for­ward. To­day, as I hum­ble my­self, please de­crease my pride and in­crease my hu­mil­ity. God, I want to keep my eyes fixed on Je­sus. Amen.”

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