Read Proverbs Chapter 18.
“Before his downfall a person’s heart is proud, but humility comes before honor.” Proverbs 18:12 CSB
Pride is a very destructive thing. It is hard to identify in ourselves, easily identified in others. I have found the closer I grow to God, the more I have to battle my pride. Pride is sin, one that is destructive. One that we all struggle with in our lives.
“Little Mo” is a hero of mine. Her name was Maureen Catherine Connolly Brinker. She died just three months before I was born. She was the first female tennis player to win all four major tournaments in 1953, all before the age of 19. I read her biography when I was a child. She motivated me to teach myself tennis, a sport I still enjoy to this day. Her motto on the tennis court was, “You’re only as good as your next shot.”
That is what I remembered from reading Little Mo’s biography. That one phrase has shaped my tennis game. I think of it every time I hit a good shot, it helps keep me humble on the tennis court. What I learned when I researched her for this devotional is that a year after winning the big four she fell off a horse, injuring herself. It ended her tennis career before it ever got started. She never played again. If she was prideful of her accomplishments, it didn’t last long.
Little Mo understood the downfall of a prideful heart. She understood it on the tennis court, and she understood it on a deeper level when she could no longer play. All that we have is from God. James tells us “every good and perfect gift is from above” (1:17 NIV). When we start to think it is us doing the work we are playing with pride. We also know God gives and God takes away (Job 1:21). Just because we have something today doesn’t mean we will have it tomorrow. Pride can deceive us into thinking otherwise.
When you study the life of Jesus there is one thing you will find missing, pride. Jesus did not let pride into his life. He stayed humble, He stayed hungry because He stayed focused on God and His mission. When God humbles you, and He will, be thankful. I know it isn’t fun to be humbled, but it is better than being prideful, always.