Keeping pride at bay

74

By Helene Smith
PREVIEW Columnist

A misspent youth followed by a life-changing conversion — what a story to tell. Had my life been deep into drugs, thievery and abuse, before I met Jesus, what a powerful message I could share.

Instead, I grew up in a Christian home and went to church every Sunday. My Dad read the Bible every night at dinner and my mother prayed with me at bedtime. I thought of myself as a good kid, blessed and better than others. Pride.

I knew I wasn’t perfect, but believed I had less to confess and be forgiven for. I followed directions, obeyed my parents and teachers, was kind, didn’t steal, didn’t swear and didn’t break civil laws. Pride.

The Bible teaches humility, not to think of ourselves as better. “In whatever you do, don’t let selfishness or pride be your guide. Be humble and honor others more than yourselves.” — Philippians 2:3.

Making friends and excelling at school and work was easier when I didn’t appear full of myself. I seemed humble, but God looks on the heart.

Sin is sin. If perfection is a target, when we take aim and the arrow falls short, we miss the mark. It doesn’t matter if it falls an inch or many feet short, it’s still a miss. That’s sin. I had no reason to be prideful. My arrow didn’t hit the target either.

Beating down pride is a continual battle for me. When I believe I am doing a good job of it, that’s pride creeping in again.

These weapons combat pride for me.

Seek forgiveness. Every time I mess up, it’s time to repent. On days when nothing comes to mind, I ask the Holy Spirit to point out the missed marks. Trust me, he does.

Seek forgiveness. Every time I mess up, it’s time to repent. On days when nothing comes to mind, I ask the Holy Spirit to point out the missed marks. Trust me, he does.

God gives us abilities and talents, strength and wisdom to handle situations in our lives. It’s easy to conclude we manage on our own. Thanking God reminds me that the outcomes aren’t solely my doing. Praising God diminishes pride.

Give up control. This is a hard one for me. I don’t like to fly because everything is out of my control on an airplane. In the movie “Bruce Almighty,” the main character is given the power to answer prayers. Bruce grants almost everyone’s requests. This results in havoc and mayhem. God knows what’s best because he knows everything and sees the big picture. I must remember to also pray: Thy will be done, Lord, on earth as it is in Heaven.

Focus on Jesus. When Peter tried to walk on water, he succeeded as long as he kept his eyes on the Lord. That’s where my focus needs to stay also. Jesus left heaven to come to earth in the form of a man. How humbling. When he had every right to be born in a palace, treated royally and to “lord” it over us, he didn’t. His humility is an example for us. May we become more and more like him.

Forgive me again and again, Lord, when I feel pride welling up in me. Instead of focusing on myself, I will praise you for who you are, what you have done, will do and are doing. Amen.

This column includes both fiction  and nonfiction, and views expressed do not necessarily represent those of The SUN. Submissions can be sent to editor@pagosasun.com.