By Beau Leaman
How do you define pride in both its literal meaning and in the way it plays out in your life? If we’re honest, I’m sure we have all been guilty of watering down the effects and severity of pride in our lives. I know I have, plenty of times. Proverbs 16:18 says, “Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall.” I know this verse, but do I truly believe it? If I were honest, I would say I believe it when it is convenient for me. For me, pride creeps up when I don’t look to Christ as my security. When I believe the world offers something better, and Christ’s all-powerful mercy is not grounded, I become a ship tossed by the waves. As I’m being tossed, I still want to think of myself as good, and I try to find Christ on my own terms. Through this insecurity I begin to develop pride because I no longer see myself as sanctified and righteous. Pride and insecurity go hand in hand. The foundation is insecurity, and the result is pride.
How important is the issue of pride in our lives? More importantly, what value is this topic of pride to Jesus? Matthew 5:3 says, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” In the first pronouncement of the Beatitudes, Jesus calls us to be poor in spirit and assures us that the kingdom of heaven will then be our own. Why did Jesus mention this one first? In my opinion, it’s because it is a posture of helplessness. It is the foundation of our need for God’s help. The kingdom of heaven is for those who confess their spiritual bankruptcy. Proverbs 16:19 says, “It is better to be of a lowly spirit with the poor than to divide the spoil with the proud.” Also, 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 says, “But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” In the earlier passage Paul was speaking of a thorn in his flesh. Although Paul was going through many things we have not gone through, there is truth in that God is glorified and made strong in our confession of weakness and heart posture of lowliness.
At my workplace, my coworkers and I are often praised when we voice confidence in our own leadership, communication, and knowledge. Upper management would think that if you cannot speak about yourself highly by putting yourself on an alter, then you cannot be considered a leader. Do you wrestle with similar things? Whether it’s in our neighborhoods, our marriage, our school, or at our workplace, I think our society wants us to praise ourselves and exalt ourselves into a form of God. If any of us are searching for “our best life now,” this should sound familiar.
Is there such a thing as a righteous pride? Is it wrong to have confidence in something? Is boasting the end result of confidence? I want to leave you with these questions, as I myself have wrestled through them in many seasons of life. Galatians 6:14 says, “But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” May God grant us the wisdom to discern righteousness and understand the rich value in being poor in spirit.