Overcoming the Pride of Life

That I could say there were no pride in my life! It is a continuous battle to rebuke the poisonous arrogance that rises within me each and every time the Lord works through me, or gives me revelation; as if I were God and could accomplish these things in my own strength. Pride manifests itself in so many insidious ways and is impossible to overcome without humbling ourselves before God and surrendering to the teaching hand of the Holy Spirit. When I lead someone to the Lord, when I receive wisdom for a strategy to overcome a particular obstacle, when I pray for another persons healing, when I give generously I immediately feel pride rising from within my flesh, and I hear its words declaring my own glory. Each and every time I must rebuke it and command its departure in the mighty name of Jesus. If I allow it to linger, even for a moment, I have given in to its suggestion that I glorify myself over the the only One who deserves glory. Pride seeks the glory of men, but a life surrendered to Christ seeks His glory alone. “The crucible is for silver, and the furnace is for gold, and a man is tested by his praise” (Proverbs 27:21, ESV).[1] When testimonies are given, there is always a temptation to declare what we have done. Rather, a testimony is a declaration of what the Lord has done for us. My early journals are brimming with “I statements.” I need to pray more, I need to be patient, I need to learn this or that. One day the Lord opened my eyes to it. I can do nothing myself, but the Lord will do all thing in me. “[H]e who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6). I went back and marked all of those “I statements” in red and then corrected them in a paragraph below. Most all of them were a prayer, thanking God for His revelation of each issue He is working out in my life and then asking Him to repair each area, then thanking Him for the answered prayer. His revelation showed me that when we become aware of a certain sin in our life, it is not so that we can do something about it. It is actually God touching it with His finger and saying, “This is what I am going to free you from next.” Pride says “I can,” and humility knows that “I can’t,” but God will.

Jesus Christ said that we can do nothing apart from Him in John 15:5. μένων and ἐμοῦ (ἐγώ) are in emphatic positions in this verse. It makes it clear that it is not possible to live a righteous life by our own strength. “The utter incapacity for Christian efficiency without the maintenance of the living connection with Christ is here decidedly and emphatically expressed.”[2] Ben Forrest explained that we must be aware of our position before God. Our position should be one of humility, bended knee and bowed head; this is the proper position and approach to spiritual formation.

Humility is simply the disposition which prepares the soul for living on trust. And every, even the most secret breathing of pride, in self-seeking, self-will, self-confidence, or self-exaltation, is just the strengthening of that self which cannot enter the kingdom, or possess the things of the kingdom, because it refuses to allow God to be what He is and must be there—the All in All.[3]

Pride is overcome on our knees before Christ. As we pursue God’s glory through the service of others, pride erodes. In my own personal life, the apparent struggle with PTSD, the Lord has shown me that healing comes through service of others. This is because “[t]wo of the deadliest of our sins—sloth and pride—loathe serving.”[4] So, we must serve others to destroy the service of self. How can we serve when our flesh despises it? We must seek authentic spiritual formation by surrendering ourselves to Christ and relying on His Holy Spirit to shape us. The Beatitudes found in Matthew 5:1-12 describe a way of living that is opposite to the Pride of Life. Victory and greatness are found in denial of self and service of others through Christ Jesus. Christ sent “[t]he Spirit of love, to come and banish selfishness and envy and pride, and bring the love of God into the hearts of men.”[5] Surrender to Christ every hour and see pride destroyed.


[1] Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture comes from The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001).

[2] Heinrich August Wilhelm Meyer, Critical and Exegetical Handbook to the Gospel of John, ed. Frederick Crombie, vol. 2, Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1875), 242.

[3] Andrew Murray, Humility: The Beauty of Holiness (New York: Fleming H. Revell, 1800), 68–69.

[4] Donald S. Whitney, Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life (Colorado Springs: NavPress, 1991), 117.

[5] Andrew Murray, Absolute Surrender (New York: Fleming H. Revell Company, 1897), 23.


One Comment on “Overcoming the Pride of Life

  1. How easily we allow “self” and pride to enter each day. This is a good reminder of how to think less of ourselves. Someone recently said it is not thinking less of yourself but thinking of yourself less!!

    Love you. Mom


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