“Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will exalt you.” James 4:10
Pride: Inordinate self-esteem; an unreasonable conceit of one’s own superiority in talents, beauty, wealth, accomplishments, rank or elevation in office, which manifests itself in lofty airs, distance, reserve, and often in contempt of others. That is how Webster’s Dictionary of 1828 describes pride. Meet my thorn in the side. The closer I grow to God, the more I realize how prideful I am. The more I realize how pride is a struggle we all have, the more I have come to realize, pride is at the root of a lot of our emotions and our circumstances.
In an article titled, “Seven Subtle Symptoms of Pride” by Fabienne Harford, she gives some helpful clues to identify pride in our lives. Pride finds fault, instead of looking for God’s goodness in people, we focus on their human weaknesses. We find fault instead of good. Pride has a harsh spirit. Harford defines it as speaking of others sins with contempt, irritation, frustration or judgement. Pride is superficial, pride gets caught up worrying about what others think of us instead of what God thinks. Pride is defensive, we try to protect ourselves in our pride by justifying it. Pride is presumptuous before God, we forget what He has done for us, we doubt God’s power, instead we focus on ourselves. When we are presumptuous before God, we think His grace isn’t large enough for our sin. Pride wants attention, craves attention, is desperate for it. When we do this, we’re seeking the glory that comes from men instead of God. Lastly, pride prefers some people over others. We want to make sure we’re sitting at the right table, with the right people instead of in a corner where no one notices.
Humility is the answer. As James says, if we humble ourselves before the Lord, He does the exalting. He’ll lift us up higher than we ever thought we could go. But in order to humble ourselves, we have to confess our pride. We have to acknowledge that we are prideful, then confess it to God. He’ll do the work in our hearts to rid us of pride, but it won’t be easy. Pride is hard because it’s hard to identify, it’s deceitful. Understanding that we all struggle with it, looking for its tell tale signs, then confessing it is not easy. It takes being honest with ourselves about whatever situations we are dealing with, then identifying the pride within it. That’s tough stuff. But thankfully we have a God who understands our prideful hearts and helps us deal with it.
Let’s start today with this prayer:
“Lord, help us humble ourselves before You. Help us identify areas of pride in our lives and confess them to You. If we are to be exalted, let You do the exalting, not us. Forgive us our pride Lord, help us with our humility (James 4:10 CSB). In Jesus name we pray. Amen