How many struggle with pride? Clearly, everyone does to various degrees. Pride can be deceptive, and thus, not always recognizable to the one its deceiving. Especially, if that someone embraces self-deception, and refuses to take an honest self-assessment. Pride will even mimic humility in order to gain prominence. It will use it as a mask to hide behind. For instance, “I’m not worthy” sounds pious when someone is complimented, but pride may very well be basking in the attention. When a person comes to understand our worthiness is found in Jesus, which means His worthiness makes us worthy, he or she will cease from using that statement. But, I digress. There is much that could be said about the workings of pride and how it deceives people; but for now, let’s delve into how to deal with it. So, how do we deal with pride?
One simple, but powerful word: love. The word that probably comes to most people’s mind is humility; but in reality, it’s part of the whole. Just as faith works by love (see Galatians 5:6), so does humility.
1 Corinthians 13:4-5 Charity (love) suffereth long (is patient), and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself (does not brag), is not puffed up (arrogant), Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil (read entire chapter).
When a person begins to operate in pride, he departs from love. Pride is self-centered, counterfeits true confidence which is being confident in the One Who lives in us. Pride seeks to glorify the self, even though most don’t think in those terms. How many say, “glory onto me?” If you stop and consider that phrase, should you be tempted to become prideful, you may find humility far more appealing. Some people resort to pride when they feel inferior to others. Those who freely criticize others, tend to have much reserved criticism for themselves. It’s obvious when a people criticizes or insult others, they are not walking in love toward them. What might be less obvious, is the self-loathing they are experiencing. There is much discussion available as to how they come to such a state, but for now, the short of it is they either haven’t experienced the unconditional love of God, or they’ve lost sight of it. God’s love cannot be earned, so stop trying to earn it if you fall into that camp. In Jesus Christ, you are enough, in fact, you are more than enough. With that in mind, tell the person in the mirror, “You are enough. God absolutely loves you!” Grant yourself permission to love yourself as He loves you. This serves as an antidote to narcissism and arrogance. Even Jesus said, “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 19:19; 22:39; Mark 12:31; Romans 13:9; Galatians 5:14; James 2:8). By receiving God’s affirmation and loving yourself the way He intended, you vacate pride, ego and arrogance.
1 John 4:16,19 We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in Him. We love Him, because He first loved us.
If pride should try to rear its ugly head, this one phrase may be of service to you: “Is this love?” Should you be tempted to elevate yourself above others in whatever form that might take, again ask yourself: “Is this love?” Take it another step: “Does this glorify God?” Sometimes it’s a matter of perspective. As a friend remarked: “I remember my past sin, and humility shows up fast.” Obviously, he doesn’t live in his past nor does it dictate his present. Remembering where you came from, can reconnect you to God’s love and forgiveness, and aid you in helping others by sharing your testimony with them. His mercy and grace are very humbling. It’s always been about Him!