I didn’t want to hear it. I knew exactly what my response would be and how brutally ironic it was at that. I jerked my head away and looked at the ground. I felt the words in my throat.
“I’m not prideful…” I whispered, the phrase itself unbearably disdainful.
First of all, let me just say if ever a brother tells you how prideful you are, go write a blog about it and you will find yourself quickly humbled.
When the Bible talks about pride, its language is pretty straight-forward…
Proverbs 11:2 – When pride comes, then comes disgrace…
Psalm 31:18 – Let their lying lips be silenced, for with pride and contempt they speak arrogantly against the righteous…
Psalm 94:4 – …all the evildoers are full of boasting…
Proverbs 21:24 – The proud and arrogant person behaves with insolent fury…
Was it not by pride alone that sin first entered the world? It seems as if we have continued eating from the tree ever since. As if we are still wrapped up in the idea that we know everything and by some power, we are the people worthy of guarding that knowledge. Pride isn’t solely the arrogance of the high school quarterback and the boasting of the valedictorian. It’s also the slight notion that slithers its way into our minds and whispers to us that we have the ability to define our own worth and decide who we are. Satan is the hissing voice telling you that you aren’t good enough, but pride is the thing inside you choosing to believe it.
I used to think there was a fine line between confidence and pride and you had to be very careful not to lose your footing on that tightrope. However, human-defined confidence is different than confidence influenced by the Spirit. For daughters of light, confidence and humility are actually synonyms. Jesus came down to earth to die for you. He came and gave His life so that before the Father, you could be faultless and pure. To call yourself anything less is to devalue the death of Christ. Insecurity breeds pride, confidence in Jesus breeds humility. To trust in who God says you are and walk confidently in those things is the most humble approach you could take on this life.
“Jesus comes not for the super spiritual but for the wobbly and the weak-kneed who know they don’t have it all together, and who are not too proud to accept the handout of amazing grace…humble men and women do not have a low opinion of themselves, they have no opinion of themselves. The heart of humility lies in undivided attention to God, a fascination with His beauty revealed in creation, a contemplative presence to each person who speaks to us, and a “de-selfing” of our plans, projects, ambitions and soul. Humility is manifested in an indifference to our intellectual, emotional, and physical well-being and a carefree disregard of the image we present.” ~ Brennan Manning
Maybe you walk in the awareness of Christ’s love for you but when it comes to other people, you don’t understand why it has to be you. “You’re God! You do it! You show them love!” We shake our fists at Him in anger. We don’t want the perceived heavy task we feel weighing on our shoulders to ‘save’ the people around us. It is only when we can step down off of our pedestals and revel in the realization that it is no heavy task at all, but rather an invitation by our Father, who can do it Himself, but rather asks us to play a part in the beautiful stories He is writing in the lives around us.
“We may be content to remain what we call ‘ordinary people’: but He is determined to carry out a quite different plan. To shrink back from that plan is not humility: it is laziness and cowardice. To submit to it is not conceit of megalomania; it is obedience.” ~ C.S. Lewis
You are a full bottle complete with grace and humility and joy and beauty. The cry of love for Jesus is the desire to be only where He is. His presence dwells inside that bottle. Restoration and peace lie within the removal of the cork of pride that withholds all the goodness in us. We’ve been given the gift of grace that we might find the peace and confidence of Christ at the center of the uncomfortable removal of pride. Let us throw our hands up in surrender, admitting our need for that grace. Admitting we’ve been fighting that gift or viewing it as a burden or being too proud to accept it at all. We are here to be a guiding gateway to the gospel for those around us, not the stubborn and arrogant guards against it.
So, friends, I leave you with this. He promises to be at the center of your bottle. He promises that when you seek Him, you will find Him. Raise your hands in worship when no one else does. Be unashamed of the gospel and aware of its power within you as a gift to invite other people into the light. Unscrew the cork and choose to step into obedience and confidence. Let us be people of life and light and goodness.
Let us be people who give grace freely, because freely have we received the deepest grace.
Let us be people who know who we are and whose we are. Let us be people who live like we’re loved and have only intentions of showing the people around us that they are too.
Let us remember that humility is not thinking less of yourself, exhausting all your time and efforts for the people around you or choosing to believe the hissing labels of worthlessness in your head. Rather, it is stepping up to the plate and stepping into obedience, destroying pride with the definitive, “He died for me. I can do this for Him.”
Let us boast only in Christ.
I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God’s grace given me through the working of His power. Although I am less than the least of all the Lord’s people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the boundless riches of Christ, and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things. His intent that was now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to his eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord. In Him and through faith in Him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.