Pride was the first sin to ever be committed in the universe. Interestingly enough, it occurred in heaven rather than on earth when an Arch angel named Lucifer thought too highly of himself. Theologians believe that Lucifer was the worship leader in heaven and the bible describes him as being exceedingly beautiful and endowed with special abilities. Lucifer’s life was perfect until he foolishly began to think he could raise his throne above the stars of God (Isaiah 14:13) and make himself like the Most High (Isaiah 14:14). He went from worshipping God to worshipping himself, which ultimately lead to his eternal downfall.
“How could that happen…” you may wonder, “…if Lucifer was in the very presence of God and leading people in worship…all within a perfect place?” But the fact of the matter is, pride can creep into any setting and it doesn’t discriminate against anyone. What’s tricky about pride is that it disguises itself as a friend at first. It makes you feel good and confident about yourself. It promises you good things in your future. It makes you believe you need it to succeed in life.
In reality, though, pride is your worst enemy. Its ultimate goal is to betray you and eventually cause you to fall.
That’s why it’s so important to maintain humility throughout our lives. Humility allows us to keep our lives in perspective and serves as a gateway into our blessings! It is the complete opposite of pride, which means that it also has the complete opposite effect in your life. God promises to exalt, honor, and bestow grace upon those who are humble (James 4:6; Matthew 23:12). So, instead of falling, you’ll be lifted up! But what we have to remember is that it’s His job to do the lifting, not ours. When we allow pride to creep in, we are essentially saying that we don’t need God; we are self-sufficient, self-reliant, and/or self-absorbed. If we truly want to prevent that from happening and to maintain humility, we have to put the following three “G’s” into practice:
Generosity. Spend time each day thinking of how you can be generous to others. Maybe you could treat a coworker to lunch, or buy someone’s coffee. Or maybe you could donate to a worthy cause. It doesn’t always have to be financial giving though; it can be something as simple as giving compliments to people, or a hug to someone who’s upset. It’s so easy to get caught up with what we need to do, how we feel, or what’s going on in our lives, that we can become oblivious to the needs of those around us. Sometimes what people need most is just your time. They would appreciate help with a project or just having someone to talk to. The point is, it is impossible to be generous without thinking about other people, and the more you are thinking about others, the less you’ll be thinking about yourself.
Grace. Extending grace towards the people in your life will keep your heart soft instead of hardened with pride. When you’re full of pride, it is easy to become overly critical and demeaning towards others. Or you may think your way is the best and therefore have low tolerance for other people’s opinions or ideas. But grace leaves room for mistakes. It promotes patience and acceptance. And rather than being right, Grace is more concerned about making things right.
Gratitude. Make it a habit to express gratitude to God and people on a regular basis. Being grateful for all God has done for you and given you will keep you reminded that all good things are from Him (1 Timothy 6:17) and not from your own ability. He’s the one who gives us our talents and abilities in the first place! It’s also important that you express gratitude to the people in your life. Those closest to you especially need to know they are appreciated. Everyone you work with, everyone who works over or under you, all service providers …there’s no limit to who you can express gratitude towards. While pride wants all the credit and praise, gratitude freely gives credit and praise wherever it’s due.
Philippians 2:3 tells us to “do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves.” Each of the above practices honor this principal and will help prevent pride from taking root in your life. Keep focusing on what matters to God, and in due time, He will give you what matters to you!