Ladies and gentlemen, I proudly present:

Dear friends,

are you proud to be a Christian?

Or something else you label yourself with?

Proud to be a vegan, a democrat, a marathon runner, a lead singer in the church choir?
Proud of your country?
Proud of your children?
Proud of your achievements, qualifications, likes and follows here or on facebook or twitter or instagram?
Proud of your awards and certificates and your experience?
Proud of your knowledge or wisdom?
Proud of your circle of friends or of whom you know?
Proud of your house, your car, your new handbag, your body…………………..?

I probably don’t need to explain to you what pride is – we all have a definition of it.
We all know what we are proud of and we absolutely know for sure when we see pride in others, don’t we?

And yet, when we want to do a sincere inventory and find the beam in our own eyes, do we ever wonder if what makes us proud is supposed to make us proud and if the way we are proud of or about something or someone is the way GOD wants us to be prideful?

Of course, there are the obvious ways we can be proud and we all know that pride is the original sin, is satans most obvious and most prevalent flaw, is what he is addicted to and what he can’t overcome and what he thus wants us to be infected with as well.

He wanted Eve to believe that she and Adam could be like gods.
He himself believed he could be GOD, that’s why he fell in the first place.
He still wants all the Adams and Eves of the world to fall for the same lie he fell, nothing has changed regarding the sin of pride until this day.
The devil is still caught in his obsession with himself – and he has taken so many people down with him!
The consequences of the first fall of mankind were disastrous – and it’s still happening over and over again every day.

When we look into it a bit deeper and when we want to seek GOD’s face sincerely, we wil find that every time we are proud, it is very likely that we are displeasing GOD.

In fact, I think we can more easily remind ourselves of how dangerous and how wrong pride mostly IS by remembering not only all the examples in the bible where pride has had fatal repercussions, but perhaps more by remembering the only way pride is ACCEPTABLE to GOD:

Galatians 6:14
But far be it from me to boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.

When you think of examples of what happened to people in the bible when they were prideful, who comes to mind?

There are so many, my first ideas are:
Adam and Eve of course, Moses, Pharao, Hezekiah, Nebuchadnezzar, Jonah, Hananiah, Haman…

These are just a few people who fell into disgrace and lost the favor of GOD and had to face serious consequences of their prideful behavior and disobedience – disobedience is also one of the main “daughters” of pride – we know better than GOD, don’t we…

Sometimes, pride may not be in the forefront and we may not be aware that it is actually our motive.

Me, I try to watch out for it a lot and I was also doing some research, not only in The Word, but also on the internet and I found a few helpful hints in other people’s articles about how we can identify when pride is the driver, the motive behind our actions. The inventory made me realize how sneaky and present pride is in our daily lives and I had to admit that I had been guilty of ALL of the ways I found how pride is present in our daily lives. Even more so was I glad that I had done some more research on the topic and I pray that GOD will cleanse me more and more from this sin!

These are some of the symptoms of pride that I found that made much sense to me:

Being (hyper-)critical of others and finding the faults in them or in their behavior and at the same time not being able to apply the same critical view on our own lives and actions.

I think this is very common among us Christians – sadly so and I am explicitly INCLUDING myself, because, I, too, am prone to this sometimes and even though I hate when I do this and have to repent immediately, I find myself fall into this trap quite regularly!
I will give you one example:
When other members of the congregation message on their mobile or some of them sometimes eat crisps during the service –  it really p…… me off!
And then, even though I may not do these things, I may be distracted, too, sometimes, for instance, I sometimes catch myself to watch the cute little girls who are there and think of how sweet they are… that’s also not being focused 100% on The Word which is being preached and perhaps even thus avoiding the very part of The Word which was supposed to be for ME, was supposed to convict me and to edify me…
Even when other members do the things I don’t like, I let myself be distracted sometimes by judging them and being a Pharisee, even though I should mind my own business and sweep my own carpet!

In a nutshell: am I “shoulding” someone?

Guilty!

Refusing to love a brother or sister or a neighbor

I am not supposed to NOT love anyone who is my neighbor.
And when we ask ourselves who is our neighbor we can only go to the answer that JESUS gave  – HE responded to this question with the parable of the Good Samaritan.
This man was a Gentile!
He was not a part of the world of the Jews, not even accepted by them.
And yet, he was the only one who did what was right.
What this means for me and for us, that everybody is our neighbor!

And yet, I find so many reasons not to love certain people.

I think it’s human in a way, but it is also what we are supposed to overcome.
It’s carnal.
Not spiritual.
We are not supposed to give in to our carnal desires.
And pride is one of them.
When you look at the reasons why you dislike someone (I mean you look at yours and I look at mine), it will most likely be something you are accusing them of, something you believe they should not do!
That equals JUDGEMENT.

It is not OUR place to judge.
Never.
No matter what they have done – no matter what they look like, dress like, speak like – I am not even talking about only the minor things which may irritate us during the sermon or at work, I am also talking about capital things – or capital things in MY world…

For instance, if someone is a satanist and trying to kill you through witchcraft for many years.
If you don’t get to that place where you can love them and realize that they, too, are made in the image of GOD and that HE loves them just as HE loves you, then it is most likely pride which is keeping you from reaching that destination where you are able not to judge them and love them.
NOT their behavior or their sin, I don’t think JESUS is calling us to love what they DO, but to love them as fellow human beings, as neighbors, that’s what we are called to do.
I must admit that it took me a long time to get there and sometimes, I fall from being able to love this person as someone also made in the image of GOD and sometimes, I fail to see that I, too, am a sinner – just like them….
Who am I to decide for them what they can and cannot do?
Who am I to know if they were even able to make a different choice?
In my case, I am quite certain from what I learned about satanism that when people refuse to practice black magic and curse and cast spells, they themselves will be killed by their “leaders” – that’s the way the kingdom of darkness operates.
And when someone doesn’t know that they can get out, can be rescued by JESUS out of the mess they are in, they may not know that there is even the chance to survive and not follow the orders they have received.
And when I don’t love them or are unable to, it is also not possible to forgive…Isn’t pride the reason for unforgiveness in general? By the way, forgiveness is also something we need to speak about another time, for it also is a huge reason why we separate ourselves from GOD.
But when I can’t love someone, am I not almost every time saying that I am better than they are? How can I even know that when I have not been in their situation?
Me, I probably would have used black magic on them as well at some point had I been given the opportunity…

Guilty!

Focused on appearance or material things – in ourselves or in others

When we try to impress others with our looks, our education, our jobs, with where we have been and traveled to, with some skills like speaking languages or even with knowing and being able to quote scripture!
It’s none of our business how other people study the bible and if they or if they don’t read it every day, if they memorize verses or not, if they even know the stories in it… only if we are a teacher in Sunday School or a pastor or their mentor or councellor are we even entitled to inquire about their bible knowledge – any other inquiry in any other context than coming from the intention to teach them or to help them is coming from the wrong motive: pride.
Same with inquiring about their possessions or professions – normally, we ask so that we can compare ourselves (silently) or tell about US, about how great WE are.
Even if we are not intending to intimidate or humiliate them, the least is that we want them to see our greatness… don’t we?

Guilty!

 

Unteachable, self-righteousness and “knowing better”

These are tricky ones to see in ourselves.
It’s again so easy to see them in others, isn’t it?
If I asked you for examples in your congregation or in your family, it wouldn’t take you one second to point out the wisenheimers!

And even if we have mainly overcome knowing things better, are we still willing to learn?

Is it possible for our pastor, our friends, our family to correct us?

Or are we exploding like a steam pot when it happens – or getting defensive, argumentative, rejecting their opinion, advice and suggestions?

What about OUR FATHER?

How many times does HE have to tell us something, does HE have to throw us out of somewhere, does HE have to keep us from pursuing a certain idea or direction – until we will listen and obey?

And when we find that we did the right thing, when we are receiving a reward – from GOD or from others – whom do we give the credit?

Do we believe it is due to US doing the right thing, that we reap the harvest of OUR OWN righteousness?

Me… guilty!

How do we approach GOD

Of course, we are as children of the MOST HIGH entitled and allowed to enter the Holy of Holies, it is our birthright and our privilege. And I personally believe that GOD wants us to talk to HIM all the time, wants us to discuss everything with HIM – no matter is too small for HIM to be interested in it when it is concerning us – HE is a loving FATHER, always there, always willing to listen, to give advice, to reassure, to comfort…

But are we, am I always aware and appreciative of what a privilege and an honor it is to be allowed to come into the presence of ALMIGHTY GOD?
Do I always display the appropriate manners and the right amount of humility?
I am especially referring to the situations when I am upset and crying out to HIM… not sure if I am reverencing HIM all the time the way I should… I think it’s also a trap to “get used to” being listened to and heard and spoken to by GOD.
It is a privilege.
And none of what we could do or have done is worth having this honor – it is only by HIS grace and HIS mercy and HIS neverending love for us – when we forget that, I think we are once again being “full of ourselves”.

Guilty!

 

Seeking attention and appreciation of others

Even when we do good or when we fast or giving alms…

JESUS told us to do all these things in secret!

Ok, fair enough, giving money is sometimes not possible secretly – but when we are honest, many things can be done without ever telling anyone about them – OUR FATHER knows!

Then there are the “official” good things like ushering or baking cakes for the church or helping someone with something.

Let’s just ask ourselves if we would do them if nobody would ever give us thanks or praise for them – and let’s attempt to do them for GOD and not for men’s approval.

In the end, it is only HIS recognition which really and truly matters or is it not?

Ignorance or Neglect

When we chose to overlook or ignore someone’s needs or (silent or loud) cry for help, we are being prideful.
Maybe we believe we have done enough.
Maybe we don’t like the way they approached us – for instance begging for money on the street…

I was convicted and at the same time, I liked what my pastor once said, what if GOD wants us to give and to help every time someone is asking us to?

Or until HE tells us not to?

Do we take pride in what we give and how much it is every month?

Do we refuse to support their “bad habits” and thus not give them money even though we could?

Me – I am guilty!

Pride can be idolatry

Anything we value more than GOD can be an idol.

Is it really, really so vital which job we have, where we live and who we are married to?

If we are too proud of our children or our husband / wife, they are our idols and GOD will not like it!

GOD HATES IDOLATRY!

Period.

There is not much HE hates more actually – not according to what HE said, because it is the very first of HIS commandments.

Exodus 20: 1-3
1And God spake all these words, saying,
I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

Me: guilty as usual…

Dear friends, maybe you, too, found one or the other aspect of pride here in this post (and I am not even sure there aren’t many more!)which you must admit you are not completely free of.

Me, I found many! In fact, I have been guilty of ALL of them and not only before I got saved, most of them very, very recently – I find that pride is so present in my life that I need to watch out for it every day.

There’s good news for us though.

When we can confess that we are prideful, we have already at least declared the war to this sin, it can’t be hidden any longer, we have vowed to expose it, which means we have almost overcome it!
And we can repent and can be forgiven!

GOD’s grace and mercy are available for us and we can be free from pride – perhaps not immune to it, but we can do our best.
Let’s come before HIM humbly and ask for HIS direction and correction, shall we:

Psalm 139:23–24
23 Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts:
24 And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

I hope and pray that this article will inspire, heal and bless you. And that THE LORD will bless you abundantly in all areas of your life, that HE will keep you and shine HIS face upon you and give you peace. In JESUS’ name I pray. AMEN.

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