Monday, September 01, 2008

The Daily Disciplines: Guarding Against Pride

This daily discipline isn't one you'd often think of, but it's a crucial one to be putting into practice every day. When you work hard and try to live a diligent and disciplined life, it's easy to get prideful when you look around and see others that don't seem to be trying as hard. But we must remember 2 Corinthians 10:12 -
"We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise."
We shouldn't be looking around at others and measuring how "good" we are compared with them. Our eyes should be on Jesus, and we should strive to the live the life He has called us to, not judging those around us.

Whenever I'm tempted to look down on others, I remember the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector in Luke 18:9-14 -
"To some who were confident in their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told this parable: 'Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: "God, I thank You that I am not like other men - robbers evildoers, adulterers - or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get."

"But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, "God, have mercy on me, a sinner."

I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted."
We may not think we're like the Pharisee, but what if we changed his prayer a little bit? What if instead it were:
"God, I thank you that I'm not like these other lazy, rebellious teenagers. I get up early and read my Bible every morning. I do my chores cheerfully, keep my room clean, and have memorized large amounts of Your Word."
Okay, so I doubt any of us would really pray like that. But have you examined your attitude lately? All of the things mentioned are good things - they're things we've been focusing on doing better over the past few months. However, they can become self-righteous things that displease God if we do them in the wrong attitude.

Why do we do these things? Is it because we want to look good, or because we want to bring glory to God? We should rise early so that we can make the most of the day and have time to do what God wants us to do, not so that we can be seen as someone oh-so-disciplined. We should go to bed on time not to boast about how wise we are, but instead to take care of the body God has given us and thus not be tired when doing the things He's call us to. We should have daily devotions and memorize Scripture not so we can become pious know-it-alls, but so that we can get to know God better and praise Him. We should use our time wisely on the computer, keep a clean room and cheerfully do chores so that we can glorify Him by making the most of the opportunities He gives us, not so that we can be proud in how "good" and "self-disciplined" we are.

We must not lose focus or become self-focused in the things we do. Our focus should be on our wonderful Savior, and we should be awed by the grace He gives us to live each day. We should work to live a disciplined life, but it should be all for His glory, not our own. We should remember that, apart from Him and the strength He gives, we couldn't do anything.
"Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God." (2 Corinthians 3:5)
If you would, please answer any, all or none of these questions:
  • Do you struggle with pride?
  • What things help you focus on God and not yourself?
  • Can you think of any other verses to remind ourselves of if we're tempted to become proud?


Miss S. said...

Thank you for posting that! It's just what I needed to hear today. To answer some of your questions, yes I do suffer very badly from pride. More so than most people I think. Remebering the things God has done--He created the universe, He sent His son to die for us, to name two--help me to keep my focus away from my "goodness". Some good scriptures would be Proverbs 11:2 and 16:18, and Isaiah 2:17.
-Miss S.

Luke and Michele said...

Right on Anna! It is easy to be judgemental to others about things that are easy for us to do, but if we think about it, we each have our own struggles and areas that we need to grow in. And ultimately none of us ever or will ever reach the "holy" mandate God has for His children without His help and wisdom and not until we are in heaven with Him!

Anonymous said...

Thank you Anna. I do struggle a bit with pride, though not so much recently. As I see other girls who do more than I, I realize that I am not less than them if my accomplisments are less. Nor am I greater than others. I am learning to humbly follow the Lord and look for the best in everyone.

Maria Pauline

Laura said...

I have trouble both ways, when I do something good, I feel like I must be the best possible girl. And when I don't, I feel like I am worth nothing. It is a difficult balance to strike. But I agree it's important to try.

Gabriela said...

Yes this is kinda like the saying I heard one time from a preacher, "Don't worry about what everyone else is doing, what are you doing for Jesus?"

Anonymous said...

I acctually do struggle with pride quite a bit. Not as much as I used to(God has helped me a lot in that area). My older sister has acctually helped me get rid of a lot of my pride, just by being an example. She is one of the most humble people I know. There are are a lot of scriptures that help me in that area. But there is one in particular.

Matthew 5:48 "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect."


Power Up Love said...

I invite you to visit a community of real people sharing real stories about how Love has really impacted and changed their lives.