A Christian writer was asked to speak at a large conference of believers.
Later, he wrote this about that experience.
He said that on his drive home from the conference, he thought, I’m an excellent public speaker. I captivated my audience today.
He realized then what an arrogant thought that was. He was ashamed of being prideful.
So, he uttered a prayer in which he confessed his prideful attitude and asked God to help him be humble.
Immediately after he said “amen,” he thought, That was a great prayer I just said.
I appreciate that writer’s honesty, because I struggle against the sin of pride.
The Bible is strong in its condemnation of pride.
The book of Proverbs warns that disgrace, destruction, and strife await the prideful person.
James 4:6 reads, “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.”
Most Christians are familiar with the parable of the prideful Pharisee and the humble tax collector found in Luke 18:9-14.
Not one of us wants to be guilty of the sin of pride. But pride, also called hubris, can be hard to identify in oneself.
How can I know if I am prideful?
I can start by asking myself some hard, soul-searching questions.
- Do I use my abilities to bless or to impress?
- Am I happy with my accomplishments, even if no one knows about them?
- How important to me is my level of attractiveness?
- How much thought and effort do I put into self-promoting?
You may think the movie Amadeus is about the famous composer, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
It is not.
Amadeus is the story of a lesser known composer, Antonio Salieri.
Salieri, a pious composer, prays for greatness but recognizes true genius has come to a vulgar, distasteful man in the person of Mozart.
At every turn, Salieri’s efforts at composing are bested by Mozart’s work.
Talented though he is, Salieri cannot overcome his hatred of Mozart. He demands that God tell him (Salieri) why Mozart, and not himself, has been gifted with genius.
Salieri lives a miserable life of disappointment that culminates in his killing Mozart out of envy.
As I said, I struggle against the sin of pride.
I want to be a kind, generous person. I want to be a good grandmother. I want to write well.
Having those goals is not sinful.
But if I accomplish those goals, I will likely receive recognition.
It is in that recognition that the devil can get a foothold.
Satan will tempt me to cherish the recognition so that:
- Instead of wanting to be a kind, generous person, I crave applause for my kindness and generosity.
- Instead of wanting to be a good grandmother, I seek recognition as Grandmother of the Year.
- Instead of wanting to use my gift of writing to glorify God, I focus on receiving more “likes” on Facebook, more “reposts” of my blogs, and more gold stars than my contemporaries.
Satan tempts me to make everything in my world about me. And my fallen nature sometimes sucks me into doing that.
Life, for me, is a continual effort to fall out of love with myself and to fall in love with Jesus.
And my biggest obstacle to doing that is pride.