Pride Ain't Pretty
I’ve been told quite a bit in life to “take pride in ____.” While I don’t think that taking pride in hard work, your last name, or trying to set a good example to others is a sin, I DO think there’s a very fine line where pride can become negative. When I take a deep look at myself I can say, sadly, pride is in my heart. My heart is so full of pride that I can’t even see the pride in my heart! I could slap myself right now because, girlfriend, my pride ain’t pretty!
Pride is a sneaky little thing. Part of the reason is that it attacks our hearts, which makes it a spiritual warfare. Pride isn’t something we can physically see, so it’s easy to forget it exists. We tend to think pride is only vanity, conceit, or arrogance, but pride comes in others forms, too.
Merriam-Webster Dictionary states the definition of pride as “the quality or state of being proud: such as 1. a.) inordinate self-esteem : CONCEIT, b.) a reasonable or justifiable self-respect, c.) delight or elation arising from some act, possession, or relationship 2. proud or disdainful behavior or treatment : DISDAIN…”
The word disdain really stuck out to me - not in regards to ow we think of other, but often how we think of ourselves. I think that disdain towards ourselves comes from insecurity and comparison.
How many times in a day do you doubt your ability to do something? How many times in a day does someone give you a compliment, yet instead of saying “Thank you”, you disregard and deny it? How many times have you allowed comparison to someone else (physically, mentally, spiritually, etc.) to cause insecurity?
Let’s go back to the example of denying compliments. Most people, including myself, deny or shy away from compliments because they don’t want to seem arrogant, but by doing so, it doesn’t come from a humble heart. Insecurity is NOT humility. It’s actually a denial of the God-given gifts and abilities you’ve been given.
Rick Warren wrote in The Purpose Driven Life, “True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less.” Let that sink in for a sec. Pride isn’t just arrogance, and it’s not just insecurity - it’s making the focus all about you. At the end of the day, it isn’t what I say or what Rick Warren says, it’s about what God says. Philippians 2:3-4 says: Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vein conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
In 1 Corinthians 4:3, Paul says: “I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself.” Here’s the good news, friends. When you choose to believe what God says about you rather than what others (or even you!) say about you, you are set free from prideful insecurity. Tomorrow, when you walk into work and someone says how much they love your hair, you get to accept that compliment! When you see someone who is better at something than you are, you get to celebrate that person rather than envy them. When you reach a goal, you get to say “Thank you, Lord!” and offer the glory back to the One who gave you the ability to reach it. This is true humility. It brings freedom, not insecurity. Let’s start living in our true identities and walk in that freedom!