Pride: “A lofty and often arrogant assumption of superiority in some respect.”
I used to think I was a humble person--I’ll pause now until the laughter dies down. Early in my Christian walk, I had a much too shallow an understanding of the sin of pride. My mistake was in limiting its scope to encompass almost exclusively, the verbally boastful. In actuality, pride lives in all of us. But for most of us, most of the time, its activity remains politely unseen so we often miss it, even deceiving ourselves as I did. I’ve come to learn that pride invades and pervades our “self-talk” all day long. We constantly evaluate others according to our own personal standards. Pride’s pernicious persistence flows easily from the evils of criticism and condemnation.
Look back at the definition of pride. Notice especially the words, in some respect. That covers a lot of territory. Like in respect to appearance, intelligence, ethnicity, entertainment choices, political affiliation, financial status, etc. etc. The list is never-ending. It is said that all sin begins with pride. It robs God of the glory due to Him alone when we elevate ourselves. God’s word tells us to esteem others as better than ourselves. In my world, that gives the position of importance to anyone who isn’t me.
So, where does pride reside? In the heart, or inner man. Jeremiah wrote, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9). In Proverbs we read that the proud in heart are an abomination to the Lord. But didn’t we receive a new heart when we were born again? Yes! And with it came Holy Spirit power to resist evil. But we still have free will. And we still have an enemy who prowls around like a lion, seeking whom he may devour.
So then, what chance do we have of overcoming this insidious thing? This thing that God hates. This glory thief. Where is our hope? God’s word says that He opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. The last thing I want is for my heavenly Father to oppose me! I desperately want the grace promised to the humble.
Truly the King of my heart knows how to heal it. He is more than ready to forgive when I approach Him in humble repentance. Proactively, I’ve asked the Holy Spirit to alert me as soon as my heart goes in the direction of criticism. Reactively, I quickly seek forgiveness when I realize I’ve missed the alert.
Self-talk is inevitable but not always profitable. Prayer-talk is available and always profitable as the Father is willing and able to lead us not into temptation but to deliver us from evil.