Of all our enemies, Pride may be the worst.
Recently, two of my friends who are in a relationship asked me if I could provide them with any advice to making a marriage work. “You have to kill your pride,” I said “and kill it often. Live for the other, and not for yourself.”
During my relationship and marriage to my wonderful wife, I can say without question the only times I have ever hurt her feelings were times when my pride has won me over. In such times I was thinking of myself rather than her.
Pride, and the selfishness it always causes, can mask itself in the guise of “self-preservation”. Often times, I justify my selfishness because, after all, if I don’t watch out for my needs, who will?
The answer is that God will. God promises to take care of us and watch out for our needs (Matthew 6:25-27). It is the Lord who will defend us and take up our cause. We are not to look out for ourselves alone, but also other’s interests (Philippians 2:4).
Pride conspires to cause all other sin in you. It is pride that convinces someone that it’s ok to steal (after all, you deserve it). It is pride that convinces someone to murder (that person deserves it, you have to take justice in your own hands). It is pride that convinces people to tell lies (you have to protect your own interests, reputation, etc). Pride is the root of much evil.
It is pride that causes you to be offended. Look at the life of Jesus, he was ridiculed, mocked, and worse. Yet he was never offended, despite being the Holy One of Heaven. This was because Jesus Christ had no pride in him. We are offended by the words of others because we think too much of ourselves. If we become truly humble, truly submissive to God and come to grips with who we are in Christ, we have no cause to be offended.
What is even more interesting, is that pride (and selfishness) cause us misery. Pride and selfishness produce a discontent spirit, who is never happy with what he has been given. It is a spirit never satisfied, never stable or content. Once you allow yourself to believe you deserve anything, you will never stop adding to that pile of things you don’t have but should. You will never be happy, and joy will be lost. In the end, pride takes everything, and gives you nothing it promised to begin with.
So pride must be slain, but how does one kill pride?
First, pride is slain by remembering your place in this world. We are all sinners, rebels against God. God sent his own Son as a sacrifice for our sins. We deserved death, we were given life, and God took the debt upon himself instead on the cross. We have been crucified with Christ, and now the life we live we live for the One who gave himself for us. Christ was a servant to all, and so should we. If we desire to be like Christ, we desire to be counted as least among all, to be a servant to everyone, and to give any glory we receive to God instead.
Second, pride is slain in remembering that God will take care of you and all your needs. Not one hair on your head is forgotten by God, and you need not worry about providing for yourself, God will take care of that.
Third, pride is slain in remembering what it has gained you in the past. By reflecting on the terrible consequences you have suffered at the hands of pride, you can more easily resist its temptation to be selfish.
Pastor Johnny Hunt once said that pride was the one flaw that like Jesus, could rise from the dead. No matter how often you slay pride, it returns again and again, often in various guises. Pride is something that must be slain on a regular basis in order to keep ahead of its destructive influence.
A famous hymn says “I pour contempt on all my pride.” Webster’s dictionary defines contempt as: the feeling with which a person regards anything considered mean, vile, or worthless; disdain; scorn. We are to hate our pride, to consider it worthless.
Remember, we are living sacrifices, a sacrifice has no rights, it is given totally up to God for his use.