Pride vs. God’s Love

by Angie Thomas

I am so weak.  Seriously, so very, very weak and so easily distracted and derailed from walking in a manner worthy of the calling we have received, as Paul urges us in Ephesians 4.  In a recent Seeds of Spring lecture, Laurie provided a list of things that can pull at us during the day and take our focus off God and what He has done for us and given to us.  I could relate to practically every one:

  • Trial
  • Wealth/Comfort
  • Fame/Success
  • Expectations
  • Comparing
  • Fear
  • Worry
  • Feeling Like a Failure
  • Doubt
  • Achievements
  • Relationships

So, I have been talking to the Lord a lot about this problem this past week.  Why am I so easily taken off course by the enemy and my flesh?  I desire so desperately for my life to reflect God’s humility, gentleness, patience, and love, but I daily fall so far short.

As I have cried out to Him in frustration, He has been so kind and gracious to provide insight into this struggle.  Pride is really at the root of all my weakness and sin patterns.  I often don’t see it or don’t want to admit it, but even my fear and worry are rooted in egotism and conceit. This quote from John MacArthur threw light on my wrong-thinking: “The individual who is devastated by the reality of personal failure, this is actually self-love. He is simply shocked at seeing himself as he really is.”

Ouch. So how do we combat pride? In order to rightly war against it, it seems helpful to be reminded of its origin.  It was the root of the first sin in the Garden of Eden.  The serpent came and caused Adam and Eve to question and doubt God’s perfect love for them, and it doesn’t take much for them to fall. Genesis 3:6 says, “So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.”  The bite was taken and the rest of humanity forever would struggle under the weight of the same vanity and egotism that blinded Adam and Eve.

So, what’s the antidote?  How do we fight against a sin struggle that is part of our very nature and core, apart from Christ?  Is the answer trying harder…self-loathing? Been there, done that and those methods seem to only tighten the strangle of pride.  Could it possibly be an ever increasing and deeper understanding of God’s love for us in Christ?  Listen to what Paul says in Ephesians 3: “that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth,and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God” (vv.15-19).

Wow, only God could provide a way out of the darkness of pride through the light of His love.  You see, when we are filled with the fullness of God, we no longer need to be full of ourselves.  Our identity can rest solely in Christ and then we will no longer be taken off track by the circumstance in our days that threaten only our perceived image.  Our true identity as a child of God can never be shaken by our failures, doubts, or trials.  It was sealed with Christ’s death and resurrection on our behalf.  In Christ we are permanently loved, forgiven, and awaiting our inheritance.  This truth has the power to cut down every root of pride in our hearts.  May we have the strength to comprehend it and the grace and faith to believe it and walk in it!

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