“I can do it myself!” asserts a determined toddler, who could do with a bit of help, but adamantly refuses the offer.
“It’s my way or the highway!” lashes out the leader who minces no words in letting you know who’s boss.
The sorry-yet-not-sorry spouse whose trite apology isn’t quite done until it’s followed by the dreaded ‘but’.
Not wanting to be perceived as needy, we save face by refusing to accept help, “Thanks, but no thanks” we snap back; and when we eventually do accept, we look for the earliest opportunity to pay it back in kind.
We really don’t want to be behind on the score board; the goal is to always be a favor ahead, or at least, be at par, having matched favor with favor, but certainly not lagging behind!
A Subtle Fiend
Pride, like any other sin, is an inside job. So, whilst there may be visible external factors (or people) to blame, it’s all really a bubbling up of what’s on the inside.
When triggered, pride rears its ugly head in a myriad of ways, some more obvious than others. Our diverse relationship dynamics mean that there are endless opportunities for pride to creep in unsuspectingly.
Uncovering this subtle fiend requires our honest and frequent self-examination.
Are we overly preoccupied with self? How protective are we of our self-image? How far would we go just to win an argument?
Without doubt, there are times when we need to forthrightly take a stand as a matter of self-confidence, but the danger lies in an unhealthy preoccupation with self, to the disadvantage of others.
With a distorted view of self, it is hard, perhaps impossible even, to imagine that we might really be wrong; that there may be others better placed to do the job; that credit truly belongs elsewhere; that God could choose to meet our need through the most unlikely means.
A prominent writer of his day, C.S Lewis gives us a metric for true humility in his famous quote “true humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less”.
Indeed! There is nothing particularly noble about belittling oneself in a bid to not come across as prideful.
Therefore, in our fight against pride, we must guard against false humility, which on the surface, may seem a better alternative to pride, but is just as much a lie. It denies the reality of what is true and tries to downplay what could potentially be of benefit to others. True humility, on the other hand, acknowledges what is true, as it seeks to serves the good of others.
More Than Conquerors
Whilst it may be true that some sins are more (or less) serious than others, at its root, sin stands in opposition to God’s glory. Its end is death, and unless we’re consciously killing sin, it will slowly but surely kill us.
Thankfully, our fight against sin is from the vantage point of Christ’s perfect victory over sin and death!
To be clear, the call to think of ourselves less goes against the grain of modern selfie culture and our human nature. To his followers however, Christ is more than an example; he is the ultimate motivation and a constant source of strength.
In and of ourselves, we cannot win the battle against pride, or any other sin for that matter, but in Christ, we are more than conquerors.
Stating the obvious, there’s no silver bullet that instantly rids us of pride and, in exchange, infuses us with humility. It’s a gradual and intentional process of seeking to value others above ourselves, looking not to our own interests but to the interest of others.
Starting today, how about going about our business of the day with a resolve that “for every look at self, we must take ten looks at Christ”?
5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
7 rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
8 And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
Philippians 2:5-8 NIV
Sike Osinuga is a Christian woman learning the ropes of being a godly wife and mother, one wobbly step at a time. An erstwhile Telecoms Engineer, she enjoys reading good books and writing. Her passion is to know Christ and to make Him known. She blogs at http://www.thrivebytheword.com”