Imagine two clay pots, one is full of clay and the other is empty…
Once Christians are trapped by pride, they are not of service to God.
God will give us plenty of opportunities to recognize and correct this attitude. The difficulty most times is admitting that we actually have the problem.
Larry Burkett told the following story. “God gave me the opportunity to assess myself about pride. I was working on some important material, and a deadline was approaching when I received a phone call from a widow I was counseling. I was a little irritated because she had been in several times previously with relatively trivial problems (from my perspective). She asked if she could come in right away because she had a crisis in her budget (her checking account didn’t balance). I explained that I really didn’t have any time available and suggested another counselor we had trained.
“A short time later I received a call from a businessman who wanted to bring a celebrity by who was in town working on a movie. This person is so well-known that I knew it was a rare opportunity and I said yes. I had no sooner hung up the phone than the words of James came ringing in my ears. ‘If you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors’ (James 2:9). I found myself trapped by the most devious snare that Satan lays: pride. I had to call the businessman back and tell him I couldn’t meet with them until later and call my counselee back and ask her forgiveness.”
Symptoms of pride
In order to cure a disease, we must first be able to recognize its symptoms. They are the visible, outside indicators. Although we may not always recognize them in ourselves, others will. So it becomes vital for us to stay open to criticism, particularly from those who are spiritually discerning.
A haughty leader
“Who regards you as superior? And what do you have that you did not receive? But if you did receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it” (1 Corinthians 4:7). Nothing points more clearly to a pride problem than an aloof leader. When Christians find that they only want to associate with the right people and look down at others because they’re less educated, less intelligent, or less successful, they are no longer useful to God’s work.
It is easy to rationalize an indulgent lifestyle in a society in which most people indulge themselves. It is a rare individual who can actually handle much wealth and keep his or her priorities straight. Today the motto is, “Live like the King’s kids,” but nowhere in Christ’s teachings did He direct us to do so. Poverty is not God’s norm, but neither is lavishness. “Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction” (1 Timothy 6:9).
How do you break out of a pride trap? You must vow to serve God and God’s people, and then make yourself accountable to others. “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than himself” (Philippians 2:3).