Prov. 13:7; 18:2, 11, 19; 25:14
Since pride is such a deadly problem, how can we recognize it? We mentioned yesterday that it’s the most insidious of sins, and the most destructive. Lewis (I know you’re sick of hearing about him) gave one pretty good test. He asks (again, paraphrasing) “If someone gets more attention than me, does that bother me? Or how’s about if I get snubbed, or insulted? How quick does that get a reaction from me?”
That’s a good test, but Solomon has some even better tests than that. In fact, they’re Divinely inspired. Pride has many faces, and can show up in some surprising ways:
• Do you have a desire to make people think you’re better off than you really are? This can be in the financial realm, when people go into debt in order to put on an ostentatious lifestyle. Why do they do that? Because of pride. I remember hearing stories about Sam Walton, the founder of Wal-Mart and the richest man in the world. Reportedly he brought a sack-lunch to work, drove a middle-class truck, and waited in line at Wal-Mart like any customer. That’s the classic example of the second half of the verse, and a great modern display of humility.
• How important is it that everyone agrees with your opinions? I’m not talking about God’s immutable and indisputable truth, but about things that aren’t eternally important. This is something I desperately need to work on, since I’m a lot better at talking than at listening.
• Do you trust in your wealth, or other resources? Do you think that they will shelter you when trouble comes? Do you actually think that your wealth is an “wall too high to scale”? If so, Solomon says that you’re deceiving yourself: That perfect security is only in your imagination.
• Are you still holding onto an old grievance? Someone offended you a long time ago, and you’re still holding onto it. Emotionally you’re like a “citadel,” and even though that person has tried to reconcile with you, you’ve barred them out. How many relationships, from marriages to friendships, have this on their tombstone: “I knew I was right!”?
• All of us make commitments, and sometimes they’re rash. In a later book, Solomon tells us it’s better not to vow something before God than to vow it and not follow-through. You might want to look better than your fellow believers, but your pride is going to cause major problems down the road. And I promise you, the Lord’s not impressed. In fact, this is the reason why Annanias and Saphira dropped dead, remember?
So how’s the checkup looking? Has the Holy Spirit pointed out anything in particular that needs confession and repentance? Same here.
Lord Jesus, please root out the pride. Whatever it takes, I’m ready. Empty me of myself, and fill me with you.