Perhaps the most difficult task for us to perform is to rely on God’s grace and God’s grace alone for our salvation. It is difficult for pride to rest on grace. Grace is for other people – for beggars. We don’t want to live by a heavenly welfare system. We want to earn our own way and atone for our own sins. We like to think that we will go to heaven because we deserve to be there.
One of the most difficult defilements of the spirit to deal with is the critical spirit. A critical spirit has its root in pride. Because of the ‘plank’ of pride in our own eye we are not capable of dealing with the ‘speck’ of need in someone else. We are often like the Pharisee who, completely unconscious of his own need prayed “God, I thank you that I am not like other men” (Luke 18:11). We are quick to see – and to speak of – the faults of others, but slow to see our own needs. How sweetly we relish the opportunity to speak critically of someone else – even when we are unsure of the facts. We forge that “a man who stirs up dissension among brothers” by criticizing one to another is one of the “six thing which the Lord hates” (Proverbs 6:16-19)
Some believe that calling out greatness in people promotes pride. True humility is not thinking less of yourself but thinking of yourself less. The truth of God’s grace humbles people without degrading them and exalts people without inflating them.
Before God enlarges you, He strengthens you. Your promotion will not break you. Promotion was meant to propel you. The testing of your character, in private, was meant to strengthen you behind the scenes in order to prepare you for your public platform. Many collapse under the weight and pressure of self-promotion and self-exaltation. But when God promotes, His promotion is sustainable.
I have begun to wonder if the gross empowerment and elevation of personal opinion on social media has really deluded us into thinking that our opinions hold any weight against the Word of God. I wonder if we have been so trained by a democratic, consumer-driven society that we have forgotten that the kingdom of God is not a democracy, but a theocracy. A government in which His Word and His Word alone stands. We must return to our senses and know this: when it comes to the Word of God, the online uproar and outcry of seething, opinionated objections and dissenting votes, has absolutely zero weight. It doesn’t matter. I’m not saying our voice doesn’t matter to God. I’m simply reminding us: Dissenting against His voice is absolute folly.
Though unconditional love is free, it is a costly business. Accepting God’s gracious gift and dwelling in intimacy will cost you everything, especially your pride. God’s nature is one of love and light; He will love you unconditionally, but because He is light, it will be very difficult for you to choose to walk in darkness and maintain intimacy in relationships with God and others.
A proud man is seldom a grateful man, for he never thinks he gets as much as he deserves.
Some people think that putting yourself out there into the world is exalting yourself, but it’s not! In fact, it requires humility because we all know how painful it can actually be. It’s pride to not be vulnerable with your creativity. Because creativity is connected to the Divine nature, it is humble, and putting yourself out there is a step into humility. Releasing what’s inside you is not pride. It’s pride to hold onto it.