Wednesday, March 4, 2020 -
“Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of Heaven” (Jesus, in Matthew 18:4). “Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and turn away from evil” (Prov. 3:7). “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before stumbling” (Proverbs 16:18).
Today I had a discussion with “D,” my “jailhouse lawyer,” about how easy it is for pride to overtake the Christian, particularly those who have had or have a successful ministry or have been particularly blessed by the Lord. Both of us have seen this happen to Christian leaders we have known. I confessed that at times I have struggled with this sin, and have had to confess to God. How easy would it be for me, when I’m out of prison, should I be put on a pedestal simply for the suffering that I’ve gone through, to be overtaken by pride? How easy it is for us as humans to become puffed up because of what someone might say to us.
All of us need to keep our pride in check. How does one do this? As with any sin, we must first confess it, and then give it to God to deal with, asking Him to remove that tendency from our hearts and minds, recognizing our own helplessness aside from the power of the Holy Spirit.
I have found that it is even easy to become prideful in my heart over the way God has provided me with the victory over certain sins that other believers still struggle with. This, too, is sin. And so, the more one matures in the Lord, the more we must rely upon God to remove the pride that can so easily puff us up. After all, without the power and work of the Holy Spirit in my life, I would be the worst of sinners. So then what have I to be proud of? Any good in me comes from the Lord and through the regeneration of the cross.
“D” reminded me today of some other words of Jesus, “But many who are first will be last; and the last first” (Matthew 19:30).