He must become greater; I must become less
Pride is at my doorstep and lurking around every corner. It is just waiting to spring out of me like a wretched weed. I am constantly in battle. Who will win today? God or Pride? Daily, I sway back and forth between insecurity and overconfidence; between humility and pride. Rarely do I hit that sweet spot of exactly where God wants me to be. As I claw my way to a life completely dependent on God, I long for more of him and less of me.
“He must become greater; I must become less.” John 3:30
My favorite movie of all time is Independence Day. Humor, aliens, Will Smith . . . . the perfect ingredients for an all time classic! Whenever I think of having
more of God and less of me, I think of a scene from this movie. Spaceships are breaking through earth’s atmosphere and positioning themselves all over the world. One is approaching over a naval submarine in the Pacific ocean. The massive spacecraft overtakes the airspace above. They look at the infrared radar, but instead of just a dot showing up on it, the entire radar is filled with red. From top to bottom until it is completely consumed. That is what I visualize when I think of God consuming me. I don’t want him to be a couple of dots on my radar. I need Him to fill the whole thing.
It is such an uphill battle for me to give up control. Certain circumstances of my childhood caused me to be a loner and very independent. I have always been a lone wolf; self-sufficient and strong. Qualities that can easily manifest themselves into pride. I believe that God has blessed me with wisdom. My life path has not been easy and I’ve had my share of hard knocks. From difficulty and strife grows the fruit of wisdom. It’s a gift from God because He uses all things for good. But . . . look out! How easily pride can grow out of one’s ‘wisdom’ like a fungus.
“Your heart will become proud and you will forget the LORD your God.” Deuteronomy 8:14
Pride is ‘I can do it on my own’. And, pride is taking the credit for things we could not possibly have done on our own.
“God wants to bear much fruit in every one of our lives. He wants to infuse our prayer lives with inconceivable power, however, He will not tolerate any of our attempts to share His glory. ‘God opposes the proud and gives grace to the humble’ (1 Peter 5:5-6).” – Beth Moore
Much of my pride is so subtle that it goes unnoticed by those around me. I don’t walk around with my nose up in the air. I don’t flaunt myself or try to show off. I have no business or ministry with my name on it, no trophies, no awards; I have never been given raises, or promotions; nor have I ever created great works of art. So, what would I have to be prideful about? Ahhh . . . . satan is devious isn’t he? Even if I never get public recognition for anything, I will struggle with pride.
EVERY Christian deals with pride on some level. Not just the ‘loud and proud’ Christians, but even the quiet ones that aren’t in the spotlight. You know who you are. I’m one too. Pride can be found in anybody. Pride doesn’t discriminate. All of us at one time or another will struggle with pride. It is Satan’s greatest tool.
“Faith that grows proud ceases to be faith. It begins to be a god. . . Satan has a way to counterfeit every genuine attempt to obey God” – Beth Moore
Pride can also grow in the soil of bitterness. A majority of the pride I deal with comes from a place of brokenness. It comes from things in my past that were ‘unfair’. From a deep need inside me to be heard and not disregarded; to have a voice. As God is teaching me who I am in Him and giving me my voice, I can easily and unknowingly go too far. I can so desperately want to be heard or chosen or accepted that envy and resentment will rear it’s ugly head. And often, at the heart of envy and resentment is pride.
A couple of years ago, my husband and I started a musical worship night at our church. We are both very passionate about worship and feel the spirit of God in music. This is something that we had wanted to do for a long time. As we started the planning process, my pride worked right along side us like an unwelcome 3rd wheel. There was very much a battle within me. I had to pray daily and sometimes hourly that He would strip me of my pride. Some days I surrendered it to Him and some days I didn’t. It was a learning process, and still is.
“We need to make a practice of literally getting on the floor, facedown and prostrate before God on a regular basis. Every time you get a smug sense of self-righteousness, buckle your knees before God buckles them for you.” – Beth Moore
I am comforted in knowing that the apostle Paul, someone so loved and used by God, struggled with pride. He was such a powerful spiritual warrior and gifted with the revelations of God. But often those with extreme giftedness and wisdom and authority have the greatest challenge of us all. This man that was strong in Godly wisdom and faith probably dealt with pride on a daily basis. And, God dealt with Paul about his pride as well.
“Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” 2 Corinthians 12:7-9
‘Pride is the enemy of ministry’ says author and speaker Beth Moore. And, we ALL have a ministry if we are Christ followers. We aren’t letting God work fully in us when we are filled with pride. Pride can destroy a ministry like a cancer.
Kudos to Mandisa who skipped the Grammys in 2014 in order to keep her pride in check. What vulnerability she showed. I admire those who know their weaknesses and limitations. What a great example that was for the rest of us.
“I have been struggling with being in the world, not of it lately. I have fallen prey to the alluring pull of flesh, pride, and selfish desires quite a bit recently.” – Mandisa
So, what is my point in saying all of this? I want to send out a wake up call.
Where is pride in your life? Ask God to show you.
How much power are you giving yourself verses what you are giving God?
Are you fully surrendering to God?
Who is holding you accountable? Let yourself be sharpened by other brothers and sisters in Christ. Have an accountability partner. Ask a friend to hold you accountable regarding to pride.
As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. Proverbs 27:17
It is so important that we, as Christians, do not stick our heads in sand about pride. We need to face this adversary head on. We need to recognize the enemy, if we are to defeat it.
Fighting pride is a never ending battle, for all of us. Never, never let your guard down about pride. We need to be constantly aware of its presence and influence in our life. Overcoming pride should be a daily prayer for all of us, and I doubt that I will ever fully overcome it.