We are most like the devil when we are prideful. Pride is exactly what made him the devil. It is the very thing we need to be able to recognize in our lives and root out.
In my last post I addressed pride on a horizontal plain . . . pride toward fellow man. A brother in Christ pointed out in a comment that he believes there are two main types of pride: 1. towards man; 2. towards God. He is certainly correct.
I had a wonderful conversation last night with Robert (my husband) as we were cleaning the kitchen together on the topic of pride toward God, and I'm sharing some of our conversation in this entry, addressing pride on a vertical plain.
Some red flags . . . indicators or ways to recognize this type of pride:
- a lack of conviction, or even recognizing of sin. We can delude ourselves into the idea that we have spiritually grown and disciplined ourselves to the point that sin is either a very small problem for us . . . or that we've even arrived at a place in which we no longer struggle with it. Either one of these convictions is evidence that we are self-deceived and full of pride.
- taking credit for things God has accomplished . . . especially in ministry. 'Look what God has accomplished through ME - - the spiritual growth that has resulted in this person or this group of people as a result of MY teaching or mentoring or writing.' This is often a conviction that does give God credit for His work, especially outwardly, but includes a hearty personal recognition that God called ME to do this . . . as if we bring something to the table that God, in fact, needs to accomplish a work. PRIDE!
- a twisting of the privilege it is to be joint heirs with Jesus into a superiority that somehow elevates us above the lost. We are all sinners who have either accepted the gift of eternal life - being mercifully saved by God's gracious sacrifice, or have not. The devastating effect of pride in our position of sinners saved by grace would be a lessened burden for the lost and less effort to share Christ with them because of it. Pride and the gospel have no union with one another.
- a desire to grow spiritually for selfish reasons - - reasons of benefiting self or even elevating self in the eyes of others. This would be in contrast with the correct desire for spiritual growth: so that we are better able to serve our Master. A correct desire for spiritual growth would stem from a humble disappointment such as Paul expressed in Romans 7:14-25 & Philippians 3.
- crediting ourselves with spiritual growth
- deluding ourselves into thinking that we are accomplishing God's will when, actually, we are accomplishing our own . . . a personal question of who, in fact, is on the throne
The encouraging part . . . which is really forthcoming in a post later in this series on pride, is that, in spite of the fact that we are most wretched, God still loves us. Something we will never be able to grasp fully. And He has given us the supreme example of humility in Christ - - an attitude that we ourselves are encouraged to possess . . .
Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Phil. 2:5-7