I found the greatest love of all
Inside of me
The greatest love of all
Is easy to achieve
Learning to love yourself
It is the greatest love of all- Whitney Houston
In a culture where self-worth, self-esteem, selfies, and being self-made are highly regarded it’s easy to unknowingly welcome our secret enemy: Pride. We love ourselves SO much that we often believe the world revolves around us.
I never thought I was a prideful person, or even thought about how dangerous pride can be. In our world we are taught to have pride in ourselves, and our abilities. We are taught self -esteem in books, conferences, and school. Heck, I’ve shared on the importance of having self-esteem because it was taught to me over the years. This sense of self-worth and being self-made leaves out an important person, “God/Jesus/Holy-Spirit.” (I’ll use these names interchangeable throughout this blog.) Our worth comes from Christ, and the more we are aware of that, the better we can recognize pride when it rears its ugly head. When I truly think about the sin of pride, I can see how the enemy with his craftiness has secretly inserted this into our identities from the beginning of time.
Let’s begin with defining pride. I love this definition found in another blog: Pride’s been defined as a feeling of deep pleasure or satisfaction in an achievement, an accomplishment, or in someone else or something else but it’s also been described as conceit, egotism, vanity, vainglory, all over one’s own appearance or status in life and not just something that’s been accomplished. It is an inwardly directed emotion that can easily offend others and carries with it a connotation that displays an inflated sense of one’s own worth or personal status and typically makes one feel a sense of superiority over others and can easily make someone look condescendingly at others. Pride in one’s nation or in one’s own children is somewhat different from that of having pride in themselves (Prov 17:6) but even that can self-attribute a sense of worth that is easily overvalued, overinflated, and be unrealistic.
We see the first example of pride in Genesis 3 where Eve allows herself to be convinced by the serpent to eat the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God gave Adam and Eve the freedom to eat from every other tree in the garden except for this one. The serpent’s first plan of action was to get Eve to question God and to focus on her own abilities and desires,
“The serpent was the shrewdest of all the wild animals the Lord God had made. One day he asked the woman, “Did God really say you must not eat the fruit from any of the trees in the garden?”2 “Of course we may eat fruit from the trees in the garden,” the woman replied.3 “It’s only the fruit from the tree in the middle of the garden that we are not allowed to eat. God said, ‘You must not eat it or even touch it; if you do, you will die.’”4 “You won’t die!” the serpent replied to the woman. 5 “God knows that your eyes will be opened as soon as you eat it, and you will be like God, knowing both good and evil.” 6 The woman was convinced. She saw that the tree was beautiful and its fruit looked delicious, and she wanted the wisdom it would give her. So she took some of the fruit and ate it. Then she gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it, too. 7 At that moment their eyes were opened, and they suddenly felt shame at their nakedness. So they sewed fig leaves together to cover themselves.” (Genesis 3:1-7, NLT)
Let’s examine this passage for a moment. How often in our lives have we received instruction from God (like Eve) whether in scripture or through the Holy Spirit and we did what we thought was best in our own eyes? There were times I engaged in relationships that I knew deep down God wouldn’t be pleased with because I thought I could handle it, and that maybe God was just being a little too harsh. In our sin nature, we often have made moves without consulting God because we trust our own wisdom just as Eve did in that moment. It angers me to see how pride has seeped into the very fabric of our being. Yet it helps that we are aware of it, so by the power of the Holy Spirit we can overcome this area together.
The Word “I”
Me, myself, and I–that’s all I got in the end
That’s what I found out
And it ain’t no need to cry; I took a vow that from now on
I’m gon’ my own best friend- Me Myself and I-Beyonce
Growing up and having been on my own since I was 18 years old, I prided myself on being an independent woman. I worked hard, and purchased my first property at 25 years old. I had published a book, and built a brand hashtag #jenniferlucyinspires LOL, all before getting married days before my 30th birthday. I was confident in who I was and what I had accomplished without the help of anyone. Although I didn’t proclaim it, there were times that I acted as if I were “self-made.” Do you realize how this would pose a future problem in marriage? This mindset made submission to my husband so difficult, and little did I realize that my lack of submission due to pride was also in direct rebellion against God. The truth be told, none of what I had accomplished would be possible without God opening up every door and allowing these things to occur. In God’s sovereignty, He gave me the ability to purchase a home, to write, to work, and much more. He also used others in that process to assist me. That’s why the term “self-made” is truly against the order of God and rooted in pride. God created us to be dependent upon Him for everything. I mean He is the creator of all things, knows all things and the ruler of the universe. Why wouldn’t we trust and depend on God? Why would we begin to believe that our own hard-work and self worth got us anywhere? I’ll tell you, Pride.
Let’s look at whom I’ll refer too as the founder of pride, the evil one, Satan himself.
12 “How you are fallen from heaven,
O shining star, son of the morning!
You have been thrown down to the earth,
you who destroyed the nations of the world.
13 For you said to yourself,
‘I will ascend to heaven and set my throne above God’s stars.
I will preside on the mountain of the gods
far away in the north.
14 I will climb to the highest heavens
and be like the Most High.’ (Isaiah 14:12-14, NLT)
Son of the morning was Satan’s name before he fell from grace, and was thrown out of heaven.
Luke 10:18 (NLT)
18 “Yes,” he told them, “I saw Satan fall from heaven like lightning!
The most consistent theme within that passage of scripture is the word, “I.” “I will ascend, I will preside, I will climb,” you get the point. Satan got too big for his britches so much so he thought he could be like God. How often do we unconsciously play God in our own lives? In our culture we constantly try to make things happen on our own without seeking God in prayer to see if this is the path He wants us to take.
Psalm 10:4 (NLT)
4 The wicked are too proud to seek God.
They seem to think that God is dead.
We crave compliments and attention. Today, we even see this laced throughout ministries where people secretly enjoy being idolized instead of pointing people back to Christ. We constantly showcase our accomplishments and social media becomes our trophy case. Now I’m not saying we cannot share the great things that are happening in our lives, but we must dig deep within our hearts. We must ask the Lord if its pride that’s driving us or are we truly giving God His glory that’s due? These are serious matters because God hates pride.
Proverbs 8:13 (NLT)
13 All who fear the Lord will hate evil.
Therefore, I hate pride and arrogance,
corruption and perverse speech.
When we truly think about it, we can see pride laced in all of our sin. Pride will give birth to unforgiveness, rebellion, lust, and so much more. So how do we overcome this pride issue once and for all?
3 Steps to Help Overcome Pride
Repent: We cannot truly repent if we aren’t aware of the pride in our lives. So if this blog convicts you, I encourage you to confess the sin of pride to God and to a brother or sister in Christ and begin to turn away from this sin. This is not something that we can do in our own strength so invite God in the process through prayer. Ask Him to reveal areas of pride in your life. Also, ask your brother or sister in Christ to hold you accountable to areas of pride they see in your life. This can often be a painful process, but as pride is revealed, Christ can begin to heal.
James 5:16 (NLT)
16 Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.
1 John 1:9 (NLT)
9 But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.
Meditate on Scriptures about Humility: Meditating on these scriptures and getting them in our hearts will serve as great reminders anytime pride attempts to take over. Meditate on those Scriptures that say, “Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.’ Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you,” (1 Peter 5:5–6; see James 4:6–10). And, “He who is least among you all is the one who is great” (Luke 9:48; Mark 9:35; Matthew 20:26). Pray and ask God to reveal His biblical truths to you in these areas.
Bring All Praises Back to God: There are things that you do well, and face it you are going to get praises and compliments for these things. Remind yourself that you are a dependent being and that NONE of these accomplishments are possible without dependency on God. This is why you will hear many use the term, “All glory to God or To God be the Glory.” Now I must say there are some who use that term to appear humble and are walking out false humility. Only you and God know where you truly are and if you truly believe that God should receive the glory. This is why the meditation of the scripture is important. It helps us to remindourselves constantly that without Him we are nothing; we are sinners apart from God who ultimately deserve the penalty of death. It is because of Jesus, and His goodness that we are saved by grace through faith. I once read that theologian, and founder of www.desiringgod.com John Piper handles praises in this way, “I renounce desires for praise and notoriety and esteem when I see them rising. I say, “No! In the name of Jesus get out of my head!” And I turn my mind afresh with prayer toward the beauty and truth and worth of Christ.”
With Christ we have the power to overcome this secret enemy pride. As we expose it in our own lives, it no longer becomes a secret and we can begin to renounce it, and repent. Like all of you, I am a work in progress and can see how the Lord has brought me to this very day. If you have followed me over the years you know that there has been a time I was constantly speaking at conferences, and various churches. Over the past two years however, my public ministry has died down and I didn’t understand why. God began to birth a desire for the mission field to serve the least of these. Even with that I had to fight the temptation to share every experience and how we may have helped someone on the field. Serving on the mission field was different from getting invited to speak at conferences. I wasn’t getting an honorarium, my stylish clothes stayed at home, a driver in a plush vehicle didn’t come and pick me up from the airport, and I didn’t stay at any 4-5 star hotels. Yet I learned more about Jesus during those times than I did at any conference that I spoke at or attended. I can tell you countless stories of men and women who live off a few dollars a day but are the happiest, kindest, and most gentle people I met.
(New friends, women in the red light district in Thailand who now serve our Father)
(Praying with a Family in Guatemala Selling their Goods)
The love of Christ in the people I meet on the field is genuine, authentic, and contagious. I always leave a mission experience with a greater desire to live this way in my daily life. As doors begin to reopen for various speaking opportunities, I am now grateful for God’s redirection over the past few years. The things that once were impressive, the circles I belonged to, the desire to grow a social media following, and the accolades I desired to have were all rooted in vanity and pride. The redirection of the Lord has produced a more eternal focus and for that I’m SO grateful. If pride is an area you are struggling with I want to encourage you to pray this prayer with me and begin your journey of overcoming the sin of Pride:
Father, in the name of Jesus, I repent for my sin of pride. I ask that you continue to expose and reveal areas of pride in my heart. Please help me to always make room in my thoughts for You, God. Don’t allow me to continue on in pride that stops me from seeking you. Keep me Christ-minded; always casting my cares upon you. Father, You said you resist the proud and give grace to the humble. I ask you to give me grace to humble myself under your mighty hand, trusting that you would exalt in due season. In Jesus name, I pray, Amen. (James 4:5; 1 Peter 5:6)