If we are ever going to walk in humility, we must also learn to recognize pride!
When we consider what a saint looks like, we often picture someone who is very humble. You cannot have holiness without humility, they work in harmony with one another. Holiness and pride do nothing but clash with each other. In order to walk in holiness, we must also learn to walk in humility.
Years ago when I asked the Lord to show me how humility works, I also asked Him to teach me about pride. I felt I could not fully understand one without the other. When the Holy Spirit opened my eyes to pride, I saw it everywhere. It is masked by so many things that we say or do. We often operate in pride and we don’t even realize it.
We usually picture a prideful person as someone who is very boastful about himself. It is much more subtle than that. Pride is constantly rising to the surface to try to assert itself. Pride is nothing more than our ego! Once we can identify it, we can deal with it much more easily.
In direct contrast, there is a good side to pride such as: pride of ownership or being proud of our children. We can also be proud of the work we do, when we want to produce a good product or give good service to your customers. If pride can be good at times, when does it become sin? It becomes sin the moment we think we are better than someone else. Pride always seeks to exalt itself and look down on others.
Jesus addressed this aspect of pride, when He said:
“For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Luke 14:11 NKJV)
Our pride often gets hurt when we try to look important in the eyes of others, only to get put back in our place. As long as we insist that we should be treated better than other people, our pride will remain hurt. However, the moment we humble ourselves and accept our position, it is amazing how that hurt disappears. It pays to walk in humility!
As we grow in the Lord, it is important to recognize pride in all of its various forms. For instance, anger is often a result of pride. Those who are easily given to anger expect others to treat them with greater respect. They frequently get angry, because they think that they are not being treated the way they should be. Have you recognized this in other people? Do you sometimes see it in yourself?
It may surprise you to know that envy and jealously also arise out of pride. The Apostle James warned about this, when he wrote:
“For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there.” (James 3:16 NKJV)
Pride feels that everyone’s attention should be focused on it. When someone gets more attention, it becomes jealous. In the same way, when others get something that it feels it deserves more, it becomes envious. Pride is always based on a feeling that it is more important than someone else. Pride is based on a lie!
The Apostle James also warned about this, when he wrote:
“But if you have envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth.” (James 3:14 NKJV)
The truth is that we are not more important or deserve more attention than other people. When we allow ourselves to believe these things, we are believing in a lie. God hates pride!
Solomon wrote this about pride:
“The fear of the Lord is to hate evil; pride and arrogance and the evil way and the perverse mouth I hate.” (Proverbs 8:13 NKJV)
As God’s saints, we need to learn how to love humility and hate pride, just as God does.
The key to avoiding pride is to learn to always humble ourselves. When we practice this on a regular basis, it becomes a natural thing for us to do. The result is that we do not see ourselves as being greater or more important than anyone else. And we do not think we deserve more respect than those around us. This is what true humility looks like, and this is how we should see ourselves as God’s saints.
On the other hand, we must be careful not to try to impress others with how humble we are. This is just another trap of the enemy to lead us into pride. The moment we think we are more humble than someone else, we are walking in pride. That is how deceitful it is!
Walking in humility is a growing process. It starts by humbling ourselves in every situation we face, and learning to recognize pride whenever it raises its ugly head.
You are holy, dear saint!
[All Scripture quotations have been taken from The Holy Bible, New King James Version, copyright 1982, Thomas Nelson Inc.]