“I may be poor, but I’m proud…”

I heard a sermon on this a few years ago. How I wish I had allowed it to sink into my spirit! But instead I have taken a long path in getting to the realization that both of the thoughts in that sentence are wrong.

Philippians 4:18 says “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.” When we consider or speak that we are “poor,” we are stating that we don’t trust God to be true to His Word.

Another thing I have learned is that, as a parent, we want the absolute best for our children ALL THE TIME. How much more does God want that for us?

He wants to be the shepherd that brings his flock in and the other sheep say “Whoa, I want to be a part of that  group” He wants our lives to be a reflection of his provision.

And that is where pride comes into the picture. So often we want to be in charge. We want to do things our way so that when/if they go right, we can take the credit. But pride is the epitome of selfishness. Pride makes us look inward and when we are looking at ourselves, it’s very difficult to see someone else, their needs and what we can do for them.

Some scripture on the subject:

In his pride the wicked does not seek him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God” (Psalm 10:4)

How does pride affect our relationship with God? Is this true in your life?

The LORD detests all the proud of heart. Be sure of this: They will not go unpunished” (Proverbs 16:5).

What is God’s attitude toward those who are proud?

Blessed is the man who makes the LORD his trust, who does not look to the proud, to those who turn aside to false gods” (Psalm 40:4).

How does pride encourage idolatry? Do you have any idols in your life? Name them and eliminate them.

C.S. Lewis called pride a “spiritual cancer” that devours love and contentment. Pride is a sign of our own insecurity and feelings of inferiority. Pride and inferiority are actually opposite sides of the same coin and are both sin, a preoccupation with self that leaves little room for God’s spirit of humility.

We all struggle with pride and must constantly battle the tendency to measure every circumstance and relationship against the narcissistic viewpoint of “What’s in it for me?” Pride has no place in the life of a Christian because pride steps between God and us. To think that God stands in opposition against prideful people is a strong and sobering statement that should send us all running to the place of humility. Because He is a loving Father, God opposes pride, in part, for what it does to His children. “Pride will destroy a person; a proud attitude leads to ruin. It is better to be humble and be with those who suffer than to share stolen property with the proud” ( Proverbs 16:18-19). Learning to deal with pride is an important and essential part of spiritual growth.

Pride will prevent us from seeing others as God sees them. Pride will hold us back from laying down our expectations and rights in order to reach out to those who cross our path. Pride will slowly erode the humble spirit God so wants to see in His people and in their relationships. I suspect that a good dose of humility would cure many of our failing marriages, broken family relationships and struggling friendships. Then the question becomes, how can we eliminate pride and prevent it from carving out a destructive stronghold from which relationship problems arise. The answer is found in a passage of scripture written by the apostle Paul and directed to the church in Rome.

Romans 12:3 -6, 10 “For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.”

Paul certainly understood what it meant to struggle with pride. Before his encounter with Christ, Paul had been a man of great arrogance. After all, he was a power broker in the Roman government as well as a highly regarded and chief persecutor of anyone following Jesus Christ. Little did Paul know what the road to Damascus held for him that day when God interrupted Paul’s life with His blinding love and His unparalleled power. Everything changed. Paul became a humble man, the walking definition of a servant, delighting in his new role of striving to be last among the least. Paul understood that he was a trophy of grace; that his heart had been captured by grace and his life completely transformed in the process. God’s grace was Paul’s starting place and finish line and the very reason Paul was so humble and so powerful. It is such a paradox in God’s economy of life that in order to be strong we must choose weakness and in order to be first we must be content with last.

The amazing truth is that grace is ours for the asking. God stands ready to pour His priceless grace into every heart and soul while watching grace work to generate an unexplainable peace, eternal life, unending joy, and freedom from sin through unconditional love. Grace offers us the riches of God, at the expense of Jesus Christ and His death on the cross.

Pride’s goal is to make us independent of God, duping us into believing that we are in control of our own fate and are able to call our own shots. What audacity we possess as humans to think we can live life on our own when, whether we admit it or not, we are totally dependent on God and even our very next breath is a gift from His hand. Pride convinces us that we can play God, worshipping ourselves while erecting false idols shrouded in rebellion and sin. Pride is the universal religion of hell and a deadly poison. It’s antidote? Grace. That’s where everything comes together.

Nothing on this earth is powerful enough to erase guilt. We try to “fix” ourselves but fail. The only power that makes it possible to be forgiven is God’s grace. “In Christ we are set free by the blood of his death. And so we have forgiveness of sins because of God’s rich grace” (Ephesians 1:7). When our lives are lived against the backdrop of grace, pride will die from a lack of attention.

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About Shannon Joy

I am a single mother of two incredible munchkins. I pray a lot, work a lot, learn a lot, volunteer a lot and tend to do a lot... I love my life. The past few years have been an incredible journey, full of ups and downs. Thankfully, I have made the choice to see challenges as opportunities and it makes me so much stronger than I ever thought possible. I love to write and paint and feel that being creative is my God-given talent. I am so excited to share my life and experiences with you. Although I am a diamond in the rough, I known that I am being chiseled and hewn by God's grace and my own perseverance. I love comments and feedback, so please send a little love when you can. I will always try to respond personally and in a timely fashion.
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