Category Archives: Pride of Man

Lead a Quiet and Peaceable Life

1 Timothy 2:2

1 I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;
2 For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.

Have you ever wondered why there is such turmoil in our country recently? We have seen mass school shootings increase many fold. People are blaming different things for this. Some say we need more gun control, yet in the cities with the highest gun violence they also have the strictest gun control laws. Others say it is a result of the mental health system in our country and want to spend money to fix that. Still others blame the parents of the children and even adults that are doing these things, saying there is trauma that is unresolved in their lives. We simply cannot agree, so no solutions are found.

There is the cry of the LGBTQ community. Many say they should be normalized in every area of our society and given the same rights as any other citizen, including marriage, pastoring a church, and being boy and girls scout leaders. Others say it is clearly a sin according to the Bible. Christians should not be made to bend their beliefs to serve their needs or incorporate them into society. Some states make laws that you cannot even counsel a person with thoughts about these varying lifestyles because of the trauma it will cause. Others say we must counsel them on the dangers of some of these lifestyles. We simply cannot agree, so no solution is found.

There is the climate change community. They say we are rapidly destroying this earth by our human consumption, putting dangerous gases into the atmosphere that will eventually warm it up to the place that the polar ice caps will melt completely and weather will be more dynamic than ever before. Others say climate change has been going on since the beginning of time and climate will continue to change in cycles. It has nothing to do with human interference. We simply cannot agree, so no solution is found.

There is the thought that police target people of race more than whites. Those who believe this say this is the reason there are a higher percentage of blacks and Hispanics in prison per capital than white people. They say police will go after a person of color for no reason and provoke them to act wrong, then take it out on them all the way up to the point of killing them. The other side says perhaps it is because those communities carry out a higher percentage of crime per capita than other races and that they tend to defy authority, which causes a problem when police try to arrest them. Race relations go down the tubes steadily. We simply cannot agree, so no solution is found.

There are many more issues: abortion, immigration, terrorism, cyber security and more that fall into the same problem area. There are two sides to the story and we just cannot come to the place of agreement. The congressional approval rate was 20% in January of 2019. 62% believe our news is biased. The President’s approval rating is 45%. We don’t trust anyone in public office to look out for the needs of the greater population, and we don’t trust the media to truthfully tell us what is going on. Is it any wonder our lives are not peaceful and quiet. Why is it like this?

I would proposed to you that it is the churches fault. It is not the fault of the politicians, the media or the president. It is not the fault of your state and local governments. It is not the fault of the school board or the county superintendents. It is my fault. It is my pastors fault. It is my church boards fault. It is my denominations fault. It is the fault of the Christian church. Yet this fault can be corrected.

We have for too long criticized, made fun of, put down, degraded and laughed at what goes on in politics and the media instead of taking up prayer for them. We have exhibited our pride, thinking we can do better than them when we know nothing about why decisions are made the way they are made. We have deluded ourselves into thinking an election will change things. There is only one way we can change what is going on in this country, and that way is prayer.

I included verse 1 here because it completes the thought of verse 2 and it is worth looking at again. We are to make supplications, prayers, intercession and giving of thanks for kings and all that are in authority. We cannot separate these two verses. Supplications should be given when an urgent bill is before our congress and they are making decisions. Prayer should be given when they are mulling over legislation in a committee. Intercession should be made when they face accusations such as our president is facing right now. Giving of thanks should be made regularly for those who are giving their lives in public service.

This doesn’t just apply to your party and your ideals. Paul says to all men (we can include women here as well). To all that are in authority (both sides of the aisle and from every state). For our President, who would be king in this context. Not just in our country, but around the world. All is an all-inclusive word and we have no right to leave anyone out.

Many of you know the formula for revival but I will review it here. According to 2 Corinthians 7:14, we must first humble ourselves. This is our biggest stumbling block in the church. We want to criticize and all those other things listed above. But none of those things come from a humble heart. They come from a prideful heart. Before the church does anything else, if they want to see true revival, we must humble ourselves. This comes before we pray, before we seek God, and even before we repent. That is how important it is. Yet we come to God with our head high and our scripture verses saying God must do this or that because He says if we ask He will do it. We come telling God what to do instead of beseeching Him on our hands and knees, knowing we are not at all worthy to receive an answer. Humble ourselves and think about everybody else and not ourselves. We have not gotten this first step right and that is why this country and this world is in such disarray.

Next we must pray. Pray with all our heart, desiring God’s will not ours. Pray, supplicate, make intercession every day for all men. Our ongoing prayer is effective as James 5:16 tells us. Then we must seek His face. Not seek our own way. Not seek what our party line wants to do. Seek Him, Jesus Christ. Be in His word regularly, seeking His wisdom and guidance in your prayers and supplications. Then we must repent. Individually we must repent. We must repent for our nation and it’s evil ways. We must stand in the gap. Do this and God promises He will hear our prayer, forgive our sins and heal our land. I do a much better job of breaking down this scripture and the concept of prayer in my book called “The Ask Principle”. I pray you have picked up a copy from Amazon.

What is that biggest prayer that is needed for those in authority? That they would know the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal Savior. That every one of them would come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ and turn their lives over to Him. That they would study the scripture on the decisions before them and follow God’s will in every decision. If this would happen, we would not only be living quiet and peaceable lives, but we would see revival spread across this country faster than a wildfire in a field of grain.

It’s time church. Don’t take the wrong path any longer. Do what you are called to do and pray! We can make a difference!

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Pride Part 5

Welcome to the fifth and final installment on this series on Pride.  Just to review in Part 1  I shared my testimony about the pride in my life as a backdrop to this study.  In Part 2 Pride was exposed in a different form and the subtlety of pride was discussed.  In Part 3 and Part 4 we looked at various forms of pride and how hey manifest themselves.  I would recommend that you go back and look over those earlier posts before reading this last piece, but that’s up to you!

In this last post, we will look at how God feels about pride, and then steps you can take to start to work the pride out of your life.  The key is recognizing you have it, and knowing whether it is in control or not.  Mine was out of control, and I didn’t even know I had the pride that could bring me down.  But I did, and I am thankful someone showed me the way out.  I have said this before, but it is worth repeating.  If you feel you are without pride, and you have it all together, then I urge you to seek God about it.  That’s where I was.  Pride hides itself – I can’t stress that enough.  And no one will be able to tell you that you are prideful because you will not accept that.  The Holy Spirit has to reveal that to you.

Let’s take a look at the Bible now, and see how Good feels about pride.  I have chosen a few verses that sum it up pretty well.

1 Corinthians 8:2 – If anyone supposes that he knows anything, he has not yet known as he ought to know;

Psalm 10:2 – In pride the wicked hotly pursue the afflicted; Let them be caught in the plots which they have devised.

Proverbs 16:5 – Everyone who is proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD; Assuredly, he will not be unpunished.

Psalm 101:5 – Whoever secretly slanders his neighbor, him I will destroy; No one who has a haughty look and an arrogant heart will I endure.

Proverbs 11:2 – When pride comes, then comes dishonor, But with the humble is wisdom.

Proverbs 15:25 – The LORD will tear down the house of the proud, But He will establish the boundary of the widow.

Proverbs 26:12 – Do you see a man wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.

Proverbs 29:23 – A man’s pride will bring him low, But a humble spirit will obtain honor

Isaiah 2:11-12 – The proud look of man will be abased And the loftiness of man will be humbled, And the LORD alone will be exalted in that day. For the LORD of hosts will have a day of reckoning Against everyone who is proud and lofty And against everyone who is lifted up, That he may be abased.

Isaiah 13:11 – Thus I will punish the world for its evil And the wicked for their iniquity; I will also put an end to the arrogance of the proud And abase the haughtiness of the ruthless.

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

Prov 8:13 – “I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech”

Ezekiel 7:24 –  “the most wicked of nations…I will put an end to the pride of the mighty, and their sanctuaries will be desecrated”

James 4:6 – “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble”

Prov 6:16 – “six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him – a proud look”

 

I think you get a pretty good idea from this selection of verses that God hates pride.  The question you might ask is why?  And there is a simple answer.  Pride in a person takes that persons eyes off of God and sets those eyes onto themselves.  Once our attention is away from God, we start to feel like we can do as we please, like our wisdom is as good as God’s, like we have the knowledge to get through life without God, like we can make it on our own.  We start to make decisions based on those beliefs instead of making decisions based on the word of God. And we start to drift further and further away until we don’t know what is right and what is wrong.  And we lose our way.  Slowly and very discretely we drift away, even though we don’t know we are drifting.  God’s desire is for us to never lose our way.

.So, you’ve come to a point where you realize by the help of the Holy Spirit, that you have to deal with pride in your life.  What do you do?  The first step is to repent.  I am talking about true repentance, brokenness before God.   Notice Prov 29:23 ad James 4:6 above.  Both tell us that God has respect for the humble.  Psalm 51;17 tells us that the sacrifices of God are a broken and contrite heart.  If we cannot get to the point of being broken before God for our pride, it will be hard for us to ever give up that pride.  Pride must be broken to be removed.  But our pride will resist being broken at all cost.  You start to see what a battle this is!  You must let go of yourself in order to tackle this problem, which brings us to the next step.

John the Baptist said it best.  When he was asked by his disciples about Jesus, he said “He must increase and I must decrease”.  This is a foundation of humility – dying to self.  Ga 2:20 tells us that we are crucified with Christ, and He now lives through us.  Col 3:3 says we are dead and our life is hid in Christ.  A life that is free of the controlling influence of pride does not allow the cares and hurts of this world to affect them.  There is no jealousy, no envy, no offense and no revenge.  Others are preferred above self (Phil 2:3-4), feelings are never hurt.  Our eyes are on Jesus, not on this fleshly life down here.  He is the one we turn to, not ourselves.  And He teaches us to be humble, meek and lowly, which brings me to the third point.

A prideful person usually likes to be heard.  They feel their input is valuable in any conversation and they speak out often when they should not.  Pride is talkative.  Humility is not.  Humility speaks only when prompted by God, and then only in a quiet voice.  This was a hard lesson for me.  I always wanted to answer the questions to have my input heard and contribute to the conversation.  I had to learn to quiet down, more in my own home than anywhere else, It was a hard lesson and I still battle that.  Cultivate silence!

Let’s say you have read this, and you have taken the steps to be broken before God. And you are ready to try and walk away from your pride.  I strongly suggest you find someone to be accountable to.  Pride does not go away, it simply comes under control.  Without someone helping you monitor that, it will rise up again.  My wife is my accountability partner, and she has the right to tell me when my pride is acting up, and I have promised to listen and react appropriately, and it is working well.  For you, it may be a spouse, or a pastor, or a friend.  But find someone and be honest with them about what you need.  This is not an easy battle, but it is well worth the fight.

If you would like to read a good book on the subject, I suggest “Irresistible to God” by Steve Gallagher.  And feel free to contact me with any questions or comments.  I am by no means an expert, but I am a listening ear.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pride Part 4

In case you weren’t with us, in Part 1 (link) of this series, I gave a background of my own struggles with pride as a backdrop to this study. In Part 2 (link), we looked at two examples of prideful people – one obvious and one not so obvious, to set the stage for this post. In Part 3 (link), we looked at three ways pride manifests itself in people, one of which ran my life. Some of these are fairly obvious, but others most of us would never guess that pride was at the center of it.

Why are we looking at pride? Because getting pride out of our lives helps us become closer to God.

Here are four more ways pride appears in people – including two more that I allowed to control me. These types of pride are taken from Irresistible to God1 a book by Steve Gallagher. Steve Gallagher is the found of Pure Life Ministries, and has written several books that can help us all draw closer to God. They can easily be found on Amazon and I highly recommend them.

Unapproachable Pride – This person hates correction, no matter who it comes from, including God. They think they are right, so they won’t listen. “No one can tell me I’m wrong. If I am, I’ll figure it out”

Know-It-All Pride – This was my biggest area of pride when I first became aware of the pride I carried around. No one could tell me anything, especially about the Bible. I’d read it through at least 10 times front to back, studied all over the place, was an evangelist and teacher. I knew it all, or so I thought. This person is typically gifted and very talented. It’s easy for them to think they can’t ever be taught anything new. Their opinions are always more valuable than anyone else’s. You will hear this person say one thing over and over – “I know.” As my former pastor said to me when my sin was exposed – “No, you don’t know.” And I didn’t.

Another characteristic of the know-it-all is their distrust in the ability of others. They have a need to belittle the ability of others, and think they can do it better themselves. They often are ineffectual at delegating because they will eventually do it themselves. I still have problems with this as I am constantly reminding my wife of this little thing or that when she has a much better memory than I do. This is pride that must be in control. The controlling tendency is one of the biggest things people see, and also one of the hardest to defeat in our lives.

Rebellion – Do you know people who have a problem submitting to authority? It can be in the workplace, the church, their family or even in submitting to God! That is the result of this manifestation of pride. They gripe and complain about the people God has put in authority over them, and will do anything to undermine their authority. They refuse to submit, or do it very reluctantly. They want to do things their way, and try to get away with it. “I’m not going to listen to them. I’ll do it my way”

Spiritual Pride – This was the third type I really struggled with. I’m more spiritual than they are, so they just need to grow up a little. Don’t they know this message from our pastor is just right for them? I sure hope they are listening. It’s too bad Old Joe isn’t here today – he needs this message more than anyone. Those are just a few of the thoughts that used to go through my mind when my spiritual pride was in gear. I thought I was better, and they all needed to measure up to my standards.

This person also probably is continuing in unrepentant sin, even though he has that holier than thou attitude. I was so deceived by my pride that when I would almost get caught in my sin, I would praise God for allowing me to get away with it. I thought it was His way of saying it was OK that I was still caught up in that sin. Now how crazy is that line of thought? And how deceptive pride is!

These 7 types of pride are pretty all encompassing, but let me give you some other things that pride will cause us to do:

Pride will: produce an unteachable spirit, lead to stinginess, not admit mistakes, use sarcastic humor, make me feel more important than others, produce a lack of forgiveness, produce self-pity, cause impatience with others, produce discontentment, make excuses, produce insecurity or low-self-esteem, be envious or jealous, make us ungrateful, make us suspicious, find fault in others.

There are more – the list is long. I am sure you can see how un-Christian these traits are. All you have to do is go to I Cor 13:4-8 and compare these to the attributes of love, and you know that if you are displaying these things, you are not loving the way God wants you to.

The big question is – do you see yourself in any of these descriptions? If you do, then I suggest you open yourself up to the possibility that pride is in you. It must be confronted early, because it will only grow: and when it does, it will hide itself from you! That is the big danger with pride. Believe me, I was steeped in pride, and I thought I was very humble!

Why is it important that you deal with it now? Watch for part 5, and you will see how God feels about pride. Then you will know why it is so essential to take care of it and learn to control your pride and ask someone close to you to help keep you in check.

1 Irresistible to God. Steve Gallagher. Copyright 2003 Pure Life Ministries

 

Pride Part 3

Pride – Part 3

In case you weren’t with us, in Part 1 (link) of this series, I gave a background of my own struggles with pride as a backdrop to this study, In Part 2 (link), we looked at two examples of prideful people – one obvious and one not so obvious, to set the stage for this post. In this third installment, we are going to look at various ways pride manifests itself in people. Some of these are fairly obvious, but others most of us would never guess that pride was at the center of it.

You might recall that I gave pride a new definition in the last post. I define pride as an inordinate amount of attention to self: Self-love: Making everything about oneself. You may say that this is what you always thought pride was, and I would ask you if you mean a prideful person can be the quiet shy type who avoids others because he/she has low self-esteem. Most of you would probably say that person is not prideful, but I see that they are very prideful – they have a lot of attention on self. So, before I get ahead of myself, let’s get started with Part 3.

I am going reference a book entitled “Irresistible to God”1 by Steve Gallagher several times in this post. Steve Gallagher is the founder of Pure Live Ministries (See Part 1), and has done an excellent study into the effects of pride on a person, among other great books he has written. All of his books are available on Amazon, and I highly recommend them for anyone wanting to get more of this world out of their system. In “Irresistible to God,” Steve deals with pride, and how getting pride out of our lives helps us become like the title of the book.

The first thing you must recognize about pride is that if you have it, you will deny it. Gallagher writes “Pride is so extremely subtle that many actually think they have little or none of it within them. The truth is that it has the ability to mask its presence within a person’s heart. In fact, it is usually true that the more a person has, the less he is aware of it.”1 The problem we face is that not only is pride hidden within from the person afflicted by it, it is also a very dangerous trait to a Christian. Gallagher writes “Pride is the governing principle of hell and the unredeemed world it influences. It causes strife in the home, in the workplace, the political arena and yes, even the Christian community.”1 It becomes paramount to rid a person, especially a Christian, of any pride they might have.

I was a prime example of someone who had no idea pride was in my life. I should have known, because my wife kept telling me I was full of pride. No one else saw it, especially not me. Everyone else simply thought I was an outgoing guy who loved to chip in and help whenever I could, loved to be center stage whenever possible, and thought nothing of volunteering for special singing or filling the pulpit. But it was all me wanting attention – pride! Oh, how I wish I had listened to my wife those many years she told me pride was a problem. Heck, I thought I was humble – really!

Gallagher lists seven types of pride in his book. I will use these types to show the various ways pride can manifest itself in a person’s life, including a Christian. These seven types are: a haughty spirit, vanity, self-protection, unapproachable pride, know-it-all pride, rebellion and spiritual pride. The three I was most guilty of were know-it-all pride, spiritual pride and self-protection. As we go through these one by one, I urge you to take a hard look at yourself and see if anything fits. Remember that if you have pride, no one will ever be able to convince you that you have it. The Holy Spirit has to do that work in you. So, allow Him to search your heart as I discuss each of these types.

A Haughty Spirit – This is the type all of us would probably agree is pride. These folks think they are better than others. We see them a lot and recognize the pride in their lives. But the haughty spirit is not limited to that picture. Because of thinking they are better, a haughty spirit leads them to be judgmental and critical of others. Have you ever met a person who is always saying negative things about other people? They constantly find wrong in them and make sure everyone knows about it. Or they compare one person to another all the time, wondering why the one doesn’t shape up! This is all haughty spirit pride because it puts this person above others. “I am the best!”

Another way the haughty spirit can manifest itself is with long-time saints and new converts. The long-time saints see themselves as having gone through the fire, and just wish the new converts would get their act together and get rid of some of those little annoyances that plague them, like dressing the wrong way, or bad language, or smoking. The list goes on and on. Sorry all you long-time saints – to me this is one of the worst kinds of pride. Let God do that work on those new saints!

I was guilty of the first part of this, not the second. But it was subtle. I rarely would be judgmental of others to their face, but deep inside I did believe I was better than most. “I could have preached that message better.” “I do a better job leading worship”. “Don’t they know how to put a worship service together?” These are all things that would go through my head.

Vanity – We all know people who fit this category of pride. They do anything necessary to get approval from others. All they care about is being accepted, even if it means compromising on all their values. They so care about what others think that they might do drugs or wear a lot of make-up, or have sex, or go to this church or that church or dress a certain way, act a certain way, talk a certain way. They might join every committee in the church and work in the church like mad just to gain the acceptance of others. It’s all vanity, and it’s pride. “I have to be liked, whatever it takes.”

Another example of this which is affecting the church today is pastors and leaders who will not preach on certain subjects because they want to please the congregation and not step on any toes. They want everyone to like them, so they won’t challenge the people on issues like heaven and hell, or tithing or complete surrender to Jesus. They will stay away from social issues of the day. These pastors are vain, and pride is hurting the church.

Self-Protection – This person is extremely defensive and easily offended. You have to be really careful taking on any subject with them because they will always be on the defensive and before you know it they will get offended by something you say or do, and they will either be quiet or storm off. They are protecting themselves, and won’t let anybody get too close to them. Their protection comes first at any cost. “My needs first and I will defend them!”

Another manifestation of self-protection pride is sarcasm. People who constantly use sarcasm as a method of defense are all around us. I think of the TV show M.A.S.H. Hawkeye (Alan Alda) is a prime example of this kind of pride. Almost every word out of his mouth is sarcasm. I don’t know many people who are that bad, but I’d bet we all know people who use sarcasm to deflect difficult questions.

The way I used self-protection was as a defense mechanism. Whenever someone would try to correct me, or tell me I was doing wrong, I would put up a defense as good as any attorney. I rarely got offended, but often would offend the other people when this type of argument came up. And I was really good at sarcasm, still am today. I have to be very careful when I get into discussions that might get a little controversial, because my sarcasm often comes out faster than can catch it

Next Saturday, I’ll cover unapproachable pride, know-it-all pride, rebellion and spiritual pride, and talk about how know-it-all pride and spiritual pride manifested itself in me. I hope you’ll come back and visit for Part 4 in the Pride series. And thanks for reading and commenting.

1 Irresistible to God. Steve Gallagher. Copyright 2003 Pure Life Ministries

Pride Part 2

He is obvious. He walks in the room with an air of confidence that can be seen with each step he takes. Everyone turns and acknowledges him, and he just smiles. He walks up to some people in a group talking and immediately takes over the conversation. Several more people gather around him as well, because they know he speaks with confidence. He doesn’t seem to care that he is the only one talking. Through the evening, he goes from one person to another initiating conversation, introducing himself to those he doesn’t know and just being the life of the party. He is self-assured, confident and knowledgeable. When he leaves, it seems the party just isn’t the same, and you hear one of the newcomers say “Man, who was that guy? He sure is arrogant!”

This is the picture we usually get when we talk about a prideful person. Someone who is so full of themselves that they spill out on everyone else. I know because that was me several years ago. Especially in business, I carried myself with such confidence it made people believe about anything I’d say. And it brought me success! I looked at it as a real positive in my life. But it became my downfall. Pride always will.

But pride goes much further than this picture. In this installment, I want to look at what pride really is – how can we define it properly to take in all the ways it manifests itself in people’s lives. Most people think the above example is the epitome of prideful behavior, but I can tell you it is vastly different than that.

Webster’s dictionary defines pride this way:
1. 1: the quality or state of being proud: as  a : inordinate self-esteem : conceit  b : a reasonable or justifiable self-respect  c : delight or elation arising from some act, possession, or relationship 2. 2: proud or disdainful behavior or treatment : disdain
3. 3a : ostentatious display

Sounds about right, doesn’t it? Isn’t that how we see pride? This is the common understanding of what pride is. Going by this definition, it would be easy to see pride in ourselves and be able to deal with it, don’t you think? Maybe, although most people I know who fit that description rarely correct that behavior myself formerly included.

But pride is so much more than this. I want to give you a new definition of pride. One that expands the scope of the attribute into a much wider bunch of people. One that will help you understand better why God hates pride so much. And one that will make you really reach inside yourself and search to make sure there really is no pride in you.

My new definition of pride is an inordinate amount of attention to self: Self-love: Making everything about oneself.

On the surface, this might not look a whole lot different than the definition we already accept, but it is vastly different. Let me give you an example that will throw you a real loop. In Part 1 of this series, I mentioned that I spent 8 months at Pure Life Ministries, where everyone had a pride problem. I remember one particular person there named Brian. Brian was small in stature, skinny, balding head and glasses. But the thing that really sticks with me about Brian was that when he first got there, he was so quiet. Unbelievable quiet. He was so shy that if he wanted to talk to you, he would come up beside your bunk bed and stand there looking at you until you started up the conversation. Now I thought this guy was meek and shy. I mean, he seemed to have no self-confidence at all. What was he doing in a room full of loud, arrogant, prideful guys?

The fact of the matter is that Brian had just as much pride as any of the rest of us. Brian was so self-absorbed that he was afraid to speak up. He had been ridiculed and put down most of his life and he had just crawled inside himself and shut the door! He just kept to himself and cared for himself. No one and nothing else mattered. This is just as prideful as the loud arrogant ones, maybe even more. He was completely into himself, and that is what pride is – self is all that matters. What I want the way I want it.

Have I got you thinking now? We see that pride takes on many different forms, and I will talk more about that in the third part of this series next time. Between now and then, feel free to comment about what other types of people have a pride problem, and we will get a discussion going. There are a lot more, believe me. Once we have identified that, in Part 4 we will look at what God says about pride, and what the antidote is. It will be a fascinating journey.

 

Pride – Part 1

I want to thank Susan Irene Fox for giving me the idea to do a series on pride in hopes that all of us will look deep inside ourselves and make sure that our pride is under control.
 
In my experience, if your immediate reaction to that statement is that yours is under control, it probably is not. I have been there before, and hope to never again have unrecognized pride in my life. This is a first installment to give you some background.
 
One of the most fascinating things about pride is that it hides itself from the individual who is afflicted by it. I bet all of us have seen people who are full of pride and wonder why they don’t take care of that attitude. Don’t they know it is unattractive and a big turn-off? Well, no they don’t. In fact, they don’t even see it. Let me take a moment to share my story with you.
 
I was a worship leader, Sunday school teacher, youth minister and fill-in preacher at my church. I also filled in at other churches occasionally. I was looked upon by those around me as having it all together and one that loved the Lord. And I did love the Lord, and I loved ministry. My wife, on the other hand, saw the pride in my life and kept telling me it was there, but I would not listen. In fact, I kept explaining to her that I was a humble servant of God.
 
But the real truth lay in the fact that when I was alone, I was living a depraved lifestyle. I will not go into details, but I was not living as a Christian, but as a heathen. The things I was doing were expressly condemned in God’s word, and I knew the Bible. I knew they were wrong. But I thought God would overlook those things. In fact, whenever I had a close call to someone discovering my sinful ways, I always thanked God for “warning” me ahead of time so I could clean things up.
 
Well, as we all know, what is kept secret will eventually come out, and mine did. And it cost me big time. In my pride, I violated a major policy in my workplace, one that I had written, and I got caught. I was immediately terminated after 20 years of working for the company. My pastor, who had known about my sin from a previous exposure and had worked hard with me to get deliverance before I started up again, told me I was not welcome in his church any longer unless I got help. And I did get help.
 
I went to Pure Life Ministries in Kentucky for Eight months. Eight months of hard work, bunk beds, dorm style living and intense bible study. Eight months of counseling which showed me the pride that was so rampant in my life. Eight months of squashing it down and bringing humility to the forefront. Heck, I was so prideful, I was even proud of my pride! When I look back on who I was it sickens me.
When I got home, I spent two years doing no ministry at all. Just sat in the pew and took things in. I learned to listen to my wife, who can spot my pride in a heartbeat. She has been a Godsend in keeping me on the right path. I am a much more reserved, quiet person than I was before. And I like that.
 
In this first installment on pride, I will end with this warning. If you are a Christian, and you are doing something that is blatantly sinful, and thinking God will overlook it, that is pride at its worst. God will not overlook disobedience, which is the core of sin. The problem is that if you are reading this and if you are doing what I suggested, you most likely will say that you are not a prideful person.
 
You will ignore the warning, because your pride will tell you it does not apply. You’re special to God. You don’t have to be perfect. A little sin will keep you humble. That’s why God allows you to keep it.
 
My friend, all of that is hogwash! And if you are telling yourself this is not for you, then you need to seriously ask God to search your heart and try you as if you’re life depended on it, because it does. God hates pride! And He will not allow it into heaven so you better get rid of it now.
 
I will be back with more on pride in the coming days, because without a spirit of humility, a true spirit of reconciliation is impossible. In the next post, we will examine what pride is. I always thought I knew, but found out it takes on forms I was completely unaware of.
 
I hope you’ll come back.
Pete Gardner