When you think of the greatest achievements of your life, do you feel proud?
Is it wrong to be proud of our achievements?
At what point does pride become vanity?
As a Christian, we must except the calling of our life as both an opportunity and a blessing. There is however a warning we must remain aware of.
-Isaiah 26:5 NLT
“He humbles the proud and brings down the arrogant city. He brings it down to the dust.”
-Psalms 18:27 NLT
“You rescue the humble, but you humiliate the proud.”
-Proverbs 11:2 NLT
“Pride leads to disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.”
The simple answer to understanding pride is to ask were the motives behind your actions for God and His Kingdom or for you and yours?
-Exodus 20:7 NLT
““You must not misuse the name of the Lord your God. The Lord will not let you go unpunished if you misuse his name.”
-John 14:13 NLT
“You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father.”
The warning is simple to understand but difficult to execute. When our actions are in line with the character and will of God then He will bless our endeavors. Even more as we face off against proud individuals, who would stand against these actions, we can rely on His protection. In fact, as a good Christian we should even pray for the deliverance of the proud who oppose Gods well. The Bible states very clearly He will humble them.
For me this actually brings a lot of comfort. Knowing that if I am performing actions in line with God‘s will, I need not fear anyone. In truth, even if it went so far as to lead to my death, I can be assured God will not abandon me. Nor will Hw allow the guilty party to avoid being held accountable.
We must remember though, that if we become the one who acts in pride, we can count on being humbled by God.
One of my favorite stories in the Bible about this principal is the story of David and Goliath.
-1 Samuel 17:45-46 NLT
“David replied to the Philistine, “You come to me with sword, spear, and javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies—the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. Today the Lord will conquer you, and I will kill you and cut off your head. And then I will give the dead bodies of your men to the birds and wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel!”
David speaks in boldness and with conviction because he knows his actions are in line with God‘s will. Moreover, David knows where the glory and power lay. The Shepherd Boy declares the actions he knows he will take, and give glory to the God who enables those actions.
If you read the rest of the story of David, you will see God humble him when pride begins to turn him selfish. The good news for David was his heart never turns away from God. As such he remains in God‘s favor throughout his life. Even when the odds are stacked against him, David emerges victorious because of who he serves in humility.
So, where then it is the joy in performing actions we could normally take pride in?
The Joy is in knowing we got to play the game God calls us to. It’s like we get to be on God‘s team and He sends us in to make the winning plays. Had He not trained us, enabled us, prepared us, and sent us in we would never have been on the field at all. So just like making the winning play brings a great deal of joy to our hearts, we know the game itself was not won by us. In sports the game is won by the team, and in life the game is won by God.
-1 Chronicles 16:10 NLT
“Exult in his holy name; REJOICE, you who worship the Lord.”
There are plenty of examples in my life where I failed at this concept. Forgive the irony, but out of pride I would rather share an example where it worked.
I was involved in a conversation with a young man and his girlfriend. The young man was asking many questions about the validity of the Christian faith. To put it kindly he was rather abrupt and aggressive in his approach. I however remained humble, calm, collected, and determined to simply give answers to his questions.
As the conversation went on he was becoming more and more agitated as I provided a biblicaly based response to each of his rejections. A part of me wanted to ensure I “won“ the argument, to feed my pride. Luckily, I have learned this is not pleasing to God.
I would have thought the point of this conversation might be for the young man to hear the gospel, and accept truth into his life. Instead, it wound up being his young girlfriend who came to me later with even more questions. She had heard the conversation, and had grown more curious about Jesus Christ.
Had I been focused on my own pride, it is highly likely she would have simply witnessed two men fighting. I highly doubt this would have drawn her to question what good Jesus might do for her in her life.
Thanks and praise to God for spelling this whole concept out to us so simply.
-Micah 6:8 NLT
“No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.”