Be Careful Out There

Posted by on Dec 10, 2016 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

It is intoxicating for those who drink it in, a rush that can inflate the mildest of personalities. But it leaves a stench in the nostrils of those who must endure it, or at the very least, observe it. It often taints what would otherwise be celebrated, admired and enjoyed. Strangely enough, it is easily recognized in others, but nearly impossible to self-diagnose.

I’m talking about P.R.I.D.E.

It goes by many names – arrogance, haughtiness, self-importance, hubris, vanity, and conceit – but in essence, pride is holding a higher view of one’s self than one should. In addition, it is also accompanied by a lower view of others than that which ought to held by fellow human beings. Ultimately, it is to assign a measure of importance to ourselves that rightly belongs only to God.

Pride forgets that we were formed from the dust of the earth, and it is to dust we shall return (Genesis 3). It assumes that our importance is the outcome of our own accomplishments, rather than the fruit of bearing God’s image, a gift given to all without distinction.

Make no mistake, this is an equal opportunity offense. Pride exists in every pocket of society regardless of how prosperous or poverty-stricken people may be. We all have a knack for striving after comparative superiority whether at the top or bottom of worldly achievement. For some, it’s large and in charge. For others, it lurks behind a congenial façade. Either way, and everything in between, the human condition is plagued with an independent spirit that longs to go its own way.

King Solomon offers a grave warning; a sobering admonition intended to deflate an ego destined for serious damage.

“Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” (Proverbs 16:18)

Arrogance is the Achilles heel of even the smallest degree of human greatness. It spoils the grandest of stories by transforming heroes into fools. Dress vanity up, put a good face on it, cover the stench with a fresh fragrance, and you still got a hot mess waitin to happen.

We are in our greatest danger when we are full of ourselves instead of humility. Pride dismisses our utter dependence upon the strength, wisdom and grace of God, and leaves us vulnerable to the defects of our own designs. To be sure, a haughty spirit doesn’t ensure an immediate fall – some ride their ego above the fray for years – but it ensures an inevitable fall. Hubris of any kind may very well work a room or work a plan, but it always withers the soul.

There’s nothing wrong with celebrating victories. Success is an outcome worthy of congratulations. Our risk comes with finding significance in what we do, particularly when surpassing others, rather than in how we are seen by our heavenly Father, quite apart from our performance.

A word to the wise (for all of us!), “…Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” (1 Peter 5:5)

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