This week I want to write about pride because I wrote about humility last week. The basis of what I write comes from Philippians 2:3-11 and Mary's Magnificat in Luke chapter 1, please read those passages. If anything seems overly brilliant it may have been inadvertently or partially stolen from a message Pastor Matt Chandler gave on this passage.
In Philippians 2:3-11 the Apostle Paul implores his readers to not be proud or conceited but to be humble in the same way Jesus was humble on earth. Last week I wrote about what humility is and this week I thought the obvious question is, "What is pride?"
In Mary's Magnificat in Luke chapter 1 it says this in the King James Version:
"He hath shewed strength with His arm; He hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts." Luke 1:51
I used the King James Version because I like the phrase "in the imagination of their hearts" and because Matt Chandler's analysis of that phrase opened my eyes to what pride really is. The NIV says, "in their inmost thoughts" but imagination, I think, better gets at the reality of what pride is.
Humility is rooted in reality. Pride is rooted in fantasy.
In my last post I used this C. S. Lewis quote: "Humility isn't thinking less of yourself, it is thinking of yourself less." Humility is not mustering up a falsely negative idea of who you are. If you are a good singer, humility is not thinking you can't carry a tune. If you are a good accountant, humility is not thinking that you aren't good at your job. Humility is rooted in reality. Humility is seeing, honestly seeing, where you stand in juxtaposition to the Almighty God. Humility is seeing, honestly and accurately seeing, that the world does not revolve around you.
Pride is only maintainable with a rabid imagination. Pride says, "I can call the shots in my life as good or better than you God" Or, "The world does revolve around me, people should be serving and pleasing me." Pride thinks that it can control what happens around them. That is a fantasy. You can have all your ducks in order and watch in horror as cancer or a tornado or an economic downturn comes crashing into your plans. Pride is believing a fantasy.
"The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom" Proverbs 9:10
We can't know anything until we understand where we stand in contrast to God. If we don't fear God we will continue to live in a fantasy... the fantasy of pride. Friends, Satan is called the Father of Lies because he loves to tell us lies. Pride was his first sin and pride is at the root of so much of the sin in our lives. Quit believing the lie; quit living in the fantasy.
"Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves." Philippians 2:3
"Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus... taking the very nature of a servant..." Philippians 2:5, 7
So, be like Jesus. Don't ask how others can serve you; ask "How can I serve others?" Wal-Mart employees have it written on their vests; Christians should have it tattooed on their hearts, "How can I serve you?"
Live in the reality of humility and reject the fantasy of pride. Ask God, "How can I serve you?" Ask God, "How can I serve others today?"