Week of Sept. 16
Abandoning Our Pride
We've all heard, "Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall" (Proverbs 16:18). But do we really understand this proverb? It doesn't only mean that our overconfidence leads to failure because we placed too must trust in our own abilities. Pride's danger is far deeper than that.
Pride does not mean having a healthy self-confidence. Pride is about an ungodly elevation of self. Pride says we know what is best for ourselves; therefore, God's desires come second to our own. And this is why pride is often the root of our sins. "Haughty eyes and a proud heart, the lamp of the wicked, are sin!" (Proverbs 21:4).
Wickedness and pride are closely tied in the Bible: "In his pride the wicked does not seek him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God. His ways are always prosperous; he is haughty and your laws are far from him; he sneers at all his enemies. He says to himself, 'Nothing will shake me; I'll always be happy and never have trouble'" (Psalm 10:4-6).
The Corinthians were growing in pride. They felt they were above temptation and sin. They were overconfident in their faith. Because of pride, they were in danger of losing their effectiveness for Christ.
Read 1 Corinthians 10:1-13. Paul reminds the Corinthians of the failures of the Israelites in the wilderness. They had experienced supernatural blessings, yet they fell into immorality and rebellion. Their pride led to their disqualification from entering the Promised Land. "God was not pleased with most of them; their bodies were scattered over the desert" (1 Corinthians 10:5).
When we allow God's blessings to feed our ego, we set a similar path of pride and willfulness. We begin to take credit for what God has given us—our intellect, wealth and resources. We start to think that our opinions are always right, and that God would benefit from our wisdom. We brag about our accomplishments in God's kingdom. We convince ourselves that our way is the best way, and we start to interpret God's Word according to our own human wisdom.
The more we become self-confident, the less we depend on God's Word and His Holy Spirit. The more self-confident we are, the more careless we become in our spiritual walk. This pride opens us up to temptation. Paul warns, "So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall! No temptation has seized you except what is common to man" (1 Corinthians 10:12,13a).
But the Israelites provide us a powerful lesson: "Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did" (1 Corinthians 10:6). When we are humble before God and seek His guidance, He will keep us from stumbling. "And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it" (1 Corinthians 10:13b).
Are you facing difficulty in a relationship? Has your walk with God slowed to a crawl? Have you ceased to long for God to do great things? Pride is somewhere at the core of those problems. Confess to God the pride of your heart. Offer it to Him as a sacrifice today.
"You save the humble but bring low those whose eyes are haughty."
Don't be tempted to toss in the towel and give up running the race. Shore up your confidence in God, today. Michael Youssef explores this topic in our free resource this month—"Don't Lose Your Confidence." Download it today.
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