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Pointers along the way #266

Dealing with pride
- Jacob Ninan

Some Christians try to repress pride and act as if they have no problem with it. Some others suppress pride whenever it comes up and try not to act in pride even though they feel quite proud inside. But the apostle Paul knew how to deal with pride. He knew that if he didn't do anything about it one day it would ruin him (1Co.9:27). As a result, even though he had things that could have made him extremely proud he kept himself humble. Even though he knew that he had worked more than everyone else--it means that he was more successful in his ministry than all others--he had no doubt that it was the grace of God that had helped him (1Co.15:10). God also helped him by giving him some nagging problem in his life that kept reminding him how weak he was in himself and how much dependent he was on God (2Co.12:7). He kept remembering what he really was apart from the grace of God (1Ti.1:12,13).

The more we pursue after becoming like Jesus or serving Him, it is inevitable that we also get a name for ourselves as a result of it. It is no use imagining that this does not happen in our case. We cannot imagine also that it does not affect our thinking. Even if we try hard to ignore thoughts of pride coming up within us, the devil is not going to leave us alone without reminding us now and then about how great we are becoming, how people are saying good things about us, etc. Doesn't it give us pleasure to go over these thoughts in the way a cow chews the cud? If we fail here to balance out these proud thoughts, we will find that slowly we also begin to talk and act in pride, become careless in our ways and less watchful towards temptations, become more critical and despising towards others, etc.

Some people try to deal with this by telling themselves that others are better than themselves. It is true that every other person is better than us in some aspects. But it is also true that we are better than others in some other aspects! Even when we think about how bad we were before Jesus picked us up, we will have to admit that now we are not like that any more but much better! It must be obvious that we cannot manage to keep ourselves humble by comparing with other people.

We can keep ourselves humble by thinking of how dependent we are on God at all times. We exist because of Him, and we can even cease to exist if he so chooses. We cannot do a thing without His enabling. It is not only the good things that have come from God (Jas.1:17), but even if we decide to do evil we still cannot do it without the body and strength God has given us. It is He who gives us strength to make wealth and grace to succeed (De.8:18). It is He who picked us up from our sin and made us His children. It is He who watches over us, plans ahead for us and guides us. Without Him we can do nothing (Jn.15:5).

When we are successful and others notice it, we may forget these things (De.8:17). We must make it a habit to cultivate sober thoughts about ourselves.