The Stumbling Block of Pride

As we walk on our journey with the Lord, there are many stumbling blocks in our way that we must navigate in order to progress in our faith. We all have unique temptations that we are more susceptible to, however we can all be equally drawn in to the seductive wiles of pride. While it is easy to immediately think of someone else who needs to work on humbling themselves, this tendency to point the finger at others goes hand in hand with the sin of pride. The truth is that we all are guilty of pride and selfishness, and must frequently look within ourselves to see how badly the evil one has quietly sneaked in this favorite tool of his and how tightly it is lodged in our soul. Though we are innately selfish and proud creatures, unable to completely rid ourselves of the sin while we are on this earth, we can either ignore the Holy Spirit and allow pride to grow into a monster within us, ruling our life, or we can listen to the Holy Spirit, follow it closely, and allow humility to fill our souls, squeezing out pride, pushing it into the tiniest corner until it’s hardly there at all. Pride is the devil’s favorite weapon in his arsenal, because with it, he can bring down even the strongest of Christians, and prevent new Christians from growing. It is a major obstacle that can stop us in our walk with Christ dead in our tracks and it quickly stunts our spiritual growth if we are not prepared to fend it off. When God blesses us with a gift, we feel special, and when we least expect it, the devil slips pride into our hearts. Before we know it, we are boastful and thinking of our gift as our own rather than from God, and we are prevented from using our gift to glorify the Lord. The more conceited we become, the more we are at odds with God’s plan for us, and the more we push God away. Unless we are able to humble ourselves, we will constantly keep our Father at arm’s length and thwart His efforts to give us wisdom. When we fail to look critically at ourselves, we are lulled into a prideful sense of thinking that we know all there is to know. When we are in this dangerously haughty place, we risk refusing wise advice as we dare to ignore God and look down on others. If we find ourselves in this mindset, we are of no use to God’s purpose because we are incapable of learning or improving ourselves. We are spiritually stagnated so severely when we think of ourselves more highly than we ought to that even a fool is more useful to God, because even they may have hope to be molded to His will, while we are stubbornly rigid and unmoving in our pride. While we may irritate others, we grieve our Father, and we hurt ourselves most, crippling ourselves from maturing spiritually. In our conceited ways, we turn away from wisdom and easily destroy relationships around us. We notice that the further we indulge our pride, the less willing we are to admit we are wrong in an argument, and we are even less likely to compromise or apologize when we hurt those around us. Even worse, we cannot properly love in the pure way God intended when we allow boastfulness and pride to overtake us. We forget that we are all equal in the eyes of the Lord, all His children, and we lose the ability to see that we are all part of God’s plan, special in our abilities to help all others in the body of Christ. As pride prevents us from being selfless and thinking of our loved ones before ourselves, we begin to allow jealousy, impatience, and unbridled selfishness dominate our relationships. With pride invading our life, our decisions are clouded by how we think we are perceived by others, vanity, and a false sense of entitlement. Most tragically of all, when the evil one cunningly lures us into the trap of refusing the path of God in order to maintain our pride, we prevent ourselves from being able to walk in the way of Christ and model ourselves after Him. While we, full of pride, think ourselves more important than others and pursue only our interests with a selfish ambition, Christ is the exact opposite. He humbled Himself to walk among lowly, sinful humans, and gave up all His heavenly privilege to take up our mean, mortal form. When He walked among us, He held us all in a higher regard than Himself, selflessly and obediently pursuing our best interest, serving His Father’s plan unto death on the cross, a criminal’s punishment, just to redeem us – an utterly undeserving people. As we wade into pride, we disgrace ourselves as we push away His perfect love and example. Let us therefor call to Him in prayer, asking for help to be humbled, so that we may be lifted up as Christ was, and given grace. Asking for help is not weakness, but strength, so together we can say no to pride, kick conceit to the curb, and say yes to opening our hearts and minds to our Father’s love and firm guiding hand. Only here can we benefit from the Lord’s guidance and teaching. When we are lowly, unafraid to spend time with and serve the lowly as Christ did, we can grow spiritually and find true joy and peace, knowing that our confidence comes from the Lord rather than from a puffed up perception of ourselves, always on the brink of deflation. When we think of others first, love with patience and kindness, serve others, and humble ourselves at the feet of sound reproof or advice, our happiness is unending. So let go of pride, and let us unchain the shackles of selfishness and the bondage of conceit, as these only hold us back and pull us away from our Father. With humility in our hearts, we can bask in the Lord’s grace and true approval as we grow in His wisdom.

But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” James 4:6

Though the LORD is great, he cares for the humble, but he keeps his distance from the proud. Psalm 138:6

Pride leads to disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom. Proverbs 11:2

Where there is strife, there is pride, but wisdom is found in those who take advice. Proverbs 13:10

Do you see a person wise in their own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for them. Proverbs 26:12

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

Because of the privilege and authority God has given me, I give each of you this warning: Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us. Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other. Romans 12:3-5

Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Romans 12:16

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud. 1 Corinthians 13:4

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or empty pride, but in humility consider others more important than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with God something to cling to, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to death— even death on a cross. Therefore God exalted Him to the highest place, and gave Him the name above all names Philippians 2:3-9