Oh, pride. The word in itself has so many different meanings. We take pride in our country. We pride ourselves on our accomplishments. I’m proud of my children when they meet their goals. I’m proud of the hard work I put into that project. I’m too proud to admit that I let my children’s behavior dictate my feelings toward them sometimes. I was too proud to admit I was wrong in an argument with my husband. My pride keeps me from humbling myself and letting God work in my heart.
While feeling proud of hard work or an accomplish may seem innocent enough, I have found that many times I let that feeling of being proud turn into arrogant pride. I took credit for the things that God accomplished. You see, I now know good and well that I would never have been able to accomplish some of the things I have without Him.
My career has been a perfect example of this. Several years ago, I taught middle school English. I was a good teacher. I knew it. My data proved it. I received the affirmations from my students and my administration. Other teachers were sent to my classroom to see how they should be running their classrooms. Oh gracious me… I found myself in such a heaping pile of pride that I couldn’t see straight. I can see now how much damage and hurt I caused the teachers around me. My friends. I was absolutely not giving God credit for the great things happening in my classroom. Sure, I acknowledged that He gave me gifts as a teacher, but it was MY doing that increased those students scores. It was MY doing that the administration applauded my accomplishments. Those other teachers should be doing things MY way.
Thankfully, God has done some bigtime work in changing my heart. And if I’m brutally honest, it hurt. I was humbled…. rather, my pride humiliated me. True humility came later. And it’s still an area where I’m still being refined.
In Luke 18:9-14, we read the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector.
Then, Jesus told this story to some who had great confidence in their own righteousness ans scorned everyone else: “Two men went to the Temple to pray. One was a Pharisee, and the other was a despised tax collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed this prayer: ‘I thank You, God, that I am not like other people – cheaters, sinners, adulterers. I’m certainly not like that tax collector! I fast twice a week, and I give You a tenth of my income.’
But the tax collector stood at a distance and dared not even lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed. Instead, he beat his chest in sorrow saying, ‘O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner.’ I tell you, this sinner, not the Pharisee, returned home justified before God. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
Oh how I’ve been that Pharisee. How I’ve judged and exalted myself above others. By the grace of God, I can see how He’s working in me. I hate my pride. I pray regularly for Him to continue to humble my heart so I can love those around me. I’m so thankful that God is a redeeming and faithful God.
Starting on August 1, I challenge each of you to work through this Scripture-writing plan over pride. I pray that God will move mountains to remove these hearts of stone that we hold on to. I pray that we will humble ourselves to see where our pride has damaged relationships. I pray that we will see where where we can love instead of judge.
Please join us. I’ll be posting over in our Gather & Dwell Facebook group. We’ll continue the conversation, pray for each other, and encourage each other as God does His refining and redeeming work in our hearts. I’m so excited to see where He leads us through this next month!