Of all the concepts in the Bible related to the heart, a prideful and conceited heart tops the list – by far. Of all the verses in the Bible related to the heart, there are more verses on pride than any other topic.
Satan helped bring about sin and pride in Adam and Eve with a simple question – “Hey guys, don’t you want to be like God”. Satan was whispering a prideful message to their hearts…”God’s holding back on you. You deserve better!”
And today the tentacles of pride haunt us like an evil whisper to our heart.
Several years ago, when my mother’s health was declining with Alzheimer’s disease, I thought I knew that best way to care for her (from 300 miles away!) and deal with the facilities she was in. My desire for her best and my pride combined to form a lethal antagonism toward anyone who disagreed with my ideas on how she should be cared for.
Pride whispered to my heart “your way is best….they’re wrong”.
Thank God, I came to my senses and apologized to my siblings. I was a walking billboard for Proverbs 28: 25-26:
He who is of a proud heart stirs up strife, But he who trusts in the LORD will be prospered. He who trusts in his own heart (pride) is a fool, but whoever walks wisely will be delivered. (emphasis added)
Maybe I was right…maybe I was wrong…what I know is that I didn’t consult or trust the Lord as the verse says so plainly.
Pride is nearby when someone corrects me.
In the past, when someone would point out something I did that offended them or that was just wrong, my immediate reaction would be to deny what they said. In my pride, I’d think “they” must be wrong – surely they have taken what I said or did the wrong way.
Sometimes I’d say “I didn’t do that…and I certainly didn’t mean it that way…you’ve taken things out of context. This must be a misunderstanding on your part.”
My heart and mind can easily succumb to pride…to be right; and I sometimes reject correction….from anyone. Here again, I can be a billboard for Proverbs 5:12:
And say: “How I have hated instruction, And my heart despised correction!
So why are there so many verses in the Bible related pride?
You probably know the answer already.
God is love and pride is the opposite of love. Pride separates us from God.
God’s ways are better than our ways and when we turn and “do our own thing”, we act in a prideful way toward God and the result is separation.
So, what might you be prideful about in your heart?
- Your ideas for how to care of your children?
- Your ideas about the family budget?
- Your ideas about how to spend time with extended family at Christmas?
- Your ideas on how to respond to someone who’s hurt you?
- Your ideas about the universe and the meaning of life?
If you think you have none of these kinds of self-focused thoughts, you’re pride might be so institutionalized (as was mine) that you have to ask for supernatural guidance to see yourself as you truly are.
Love and humility puts others first and values their perspective over your own – even when you think (or know) you’re right. It’s forgoing your way and graciously allowing their way prosper. Our love to God says “Your way is best”…I’ll submit my way to Your way.
Today, I encourage you to reject the whisper of pride to your heart and be humble before God.
Oh, God, I need help with pride. Show me the way to humility…to love. Help me to see where I am being prideful in my life. Remind me that this life is about knowing & loving You and serving and loving others. It’s not about me getting my way – even if I’m right. I confess my pride. I want to only eat from the tree of life – Your tree. Help me to see situations and people from your perspective….to do as Micah 6:8 says “to act justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with my God.” Oh Lord, I am bankrupt in this area without Your divine help. In Christ’s name I pray, Amen.