A CHRISTIAN WALK MINISTRIES
Reverend Matthew & Mrs. Deborah Harper
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If anyone thinks he is something he is nothing, he deceives himself. Each one should test his own actions. Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to someone else.
Galatians 6:3-4 NIV.
Pride is a word that is often considered a bad or negative word by many Christians. Pride is seen as a desire to be God and is always associated with evil doings, arrogance, or boasting. However, there is another, positive, application for this word. Take a look at the scripture above taken from Galatians 6:4; “and then he can take pride in himself without comparing himself to someone else”. When comparing comes into pride sin comes along with it and then you have sinful pride. Sinful pride is the root of many evil acts. Greed, jealousy, envy, murder, lying and stealing are just a few of the negative actions that are driven by sinful pride. Notice, all of these actions are self-serving. Sinful pride is all about comparing and improving one’s station in life at the expense of others.
For clarity I will describe two acts of pride, one positive and the other negative. Your son, who has struggled hard with his college studies, brings home all good grades and you take great pride in his success. This is positive pride. In the second case everything is the same except you take a copy of your son’s grades to work and boasts to a co-worker that your son has better grades then his son. This is now sinful pride because it involves comparing which is judging and judging is sinful.
In the world of aviation, both military and civilian, there is a strict hierarchy of seniority and respect with senior pilots demanding unyielding and unquestioning compliance from junior pilots. For the most part this worked well for a long time but the increasing complexity of modern aircraft and density of air traffic changed things drastically.
There was an occasion when a senior pilot was making an approach at a major airport during a bad storm. During the excitement he neglected to lower the landing gear. The audible warnings failed to activate but the visual warnings did. The junior pilot saw the visual warning and tried to alert the senior pilot of the danger but the senior pilot would not acknowledge the junior pilot. Pride would not let him, the senior pilot, accept the fact that he could have made a mistake and for certain he was not going to let a junior pilot tell him he had made a mistake. Finally ground control detected the problem and ordered the senior pilot to abort his landing. The senior pilot had judged the junior pilot so inferior to himself that his sinful pride would not allow him to accept his warning even in this emergency situation. This incident happened in the mid 1970s and lead to a comprehensive study of cockpit protocol, procedures and safety by a group of military and civilian pilots and behavioral scientist. New procedures, putting safety before seniority, was established as a results of that incident and ensuing studies.
Sinful pride (also called selfish pride) is when one thinks of them self as being more equal to God then someone else. Their real desire is to be God. This pride drives evil competition; some people just have to win at what ever they do. It matters little what they are doing or what the cost of winning. It could be winning a board game or winning in the board room. If feelings are hurt, friendships destroyed or lives ruined it’s of little or no consequence as long as they win.
Earlier we talked about the human race and a little girl’s desire to win it rather than be a member of it; prideful people are in a race of their own to separate them selves from the human race and become God. It’s doubtful that anyone consciously starts on a quest to become God. When some people are blessed to have success and as they continue to gain money, stuff, power and social status they develop an insatiable appetite for more. Whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income. This too is meaningless. Ecclesiastes 5:10 NIV. This is why enough can never be enough for them. They are constantly comparing themselves to others as they acquire more money, power and stuff. True, love of money is the root of all evil but the only reason some people love money is because it buys the things that fuels their sinful pride.
The demon of sinful pride is very insidious. The husband with a wife and two children prays to God for a house in a better neighborhood so his family will be safe and secure. God answers his prayer and continues to bless the family. Years later the husband has stopped praying and spending time with God, he now spend his time flipping houses as he tries to sell their $1,000,000 house in order to buy a $4,000,000 house. The husband no longer views his house as a place to built a loving Christian home, it’s just another stepping stone to a higher level of pride. His heart belongs to the things he love, his trophy house, status symbol cars and other stuff. He no longer seeks the joy that comes from serving God; he delights in the temporary happiness received from basting in his sinful pride while comparing his worldly things to those around him. He no longer has the stuff God blessed him with, the table has turned around, and the stuff has control of him. The stuff God blessed him with has become the new god that he serves and he is on his way to hell. You shall have no other god before me Exodus 20:3 NIV
Controlling sinful pride: The antidote for sinful pride is humility. “He has shown you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you, to act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God”. Micah 6:8 NIV.
Out of His tremendous love for the world God gave us a priceless gift while we were still living in sin. God asked very little in return; just three thing. I call these three things God’s job description for Christians.
A CHRISTIAN JOB DESCRIPTION
1. Love God with all your heart mind and soul and keep God first in your life.
2. Love your neighbor as yourself
3. Spread God’s word throughout the world.
When we perform the task in this job description it will be impossible to indulge in sinful pride because we will humbly honor God our father and always accept him as the head of our life. The job God wants us to do seem simple enough but it really entails turning way from all the sins of the world. If you are busy loving and serving God you will not want to serve the world. This is not to say a person should abandon their friends, jobs or careers; it simply means all parts of your life should be guided by principles that are acceptable to God. If you operate a business conduct you business in a Christian manner that would please God. You can be honest and make a profit because God will bless your business. The same is true for relationships, jobs and careers. If you conduct yourself and perform your work in a fashion that is pleasing to God he will bless you with much success in all you do.
Always keep God first in whatever you do. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding: in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5 & 6. NIV. Recognize God as your Father, the person you go to get answers for all the decisions in your life no matter how large or small the decision may seem. We really never know how far reaching our decisions will be because our knowledge is so limited. That is why we need God to guide our actions because, unlike us, God knows all and sees all.
When you have learned how to do the first task in the Christian job description; love and serve God and he is first in your life, it is easy to master the second task, love your neighbor. When you know how to love God you will know how to love your neighbor without conditions. This is how God loves us; without conditions. You can be certain we will do sinful things God will hate but his love for us will never fail. Like wise, we must love, and not judge, our neighbor even when our neighbor does sinful things we hate.
When we live our lives in a humble and Christian fashion we honor God and put aside sinful pride. The things we say and do become our most powerful witness and testimony to the world for God. This is how we perform the third task of our job description which is spreading God’s word. We spread God’s word when we control our tempers in heated situations, when we rebuke raging anger with kindness, when we help someone even when we know they cannot return the act of kindness. We spread God’s word when we use our time to give words of comfort to someone who is lonely, sick or elderly. It is a most wonderful thing when we spread God’s word by teaching and showing children and young people the ways of God and leading them to Christ.
In summary; overcome sinful pride with the humble love of God.