In the 16th and 17th centuries, it was fashionable to wear wigs—wigs that were mostly made of wool. So, when the media would report on an issue from a biased perspective, the common critical response was, “they’re pulling the wool over our eyes.” And of course, it’s hard to see the truth when you can’t see at all.
One of the most blinding forces we face is our own pride. It inhibits us from seeing clearly because, of course, the only thing pride is concerned about is itself.
In fact, the most dangerous adversary we face in living a full and fruitful life is our own pride.
The Great Sin
Pride is a sort-of spiritual wool—blinding us to the truth. From birth, infants look for affirmation from their parents and smile when that innocent, proud connection is made. But if not kept in check, pride grows. In its most dangerous form, pride is not simply being proud of what you do—it’s making much of who you are because of what you do. An elevation of oneself.
It’s the subtle motives that lurk beneath the surface, it’s the elevation of oneself, the elevation of an agenda.
“Pride is spiritual cancer…it is the complete anti-God state of mind.” – C. S. Lewis
I see pride waiting to pounce.
However, it is important for us to know that only one thing follows pride: destruction.
That isn’t a threat. It’s an echoing truth throughout the history of mankind. King Solomon, notably one of the wisest and richest men in the history of the world said:
“Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.” Proverbs 16:18
I’m not telling you to believe these words, but I am asking you to consider what you believe about them.
But in this battle, we do have an ally.
Should you want to fight pride, the first step is to realize that you’re proud. That’s called humility.
Where pride blurs the lines, humility makes them clear. While pride blinds us to the truth, humility makes it known.
It is one of the most misunderstood virtues in our culture today. So misunderstood that I fear that many people associate it with weakness. I challenge you to rethink humility as a way to cultivate it in your life.
- Seek Wisdom – I’m not sure what you believe about God or about the Bible. If it’s untrue, then it doesn’t mean anything at all, but if it is true, eternity rests on it. That’s a truth you have to seek for yourself once you lay down your agenda. Seek and you will find. With wisdom comes humility.
- Pray – Prayer is an act of humility that stems from a place of insufficiency. That is why we offer prayers when loved ones die and why we fall to our knees in search of answers when we hit rock bottom. Prayer recognizes our need for something greater than ourselves. That is the posture we need to remember.
- Serve Others – Jesus gave us an example, just before He died, of how we are supposed to live. When His disciples were arguing over who was the greatest, He got down on a knee, removed their sandals, and began washing their dirty, disgusting feet. That, my friends, is the type of love that the world needs to see.
The headlines bother me immensely, but they do give me something to think about. And in the end, I have a decision to make. And you have a decision to make as well.
What’ll it be: Pride or Humility?
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Matt Ham is an author and speaker who helps other uncover the truth that whole life matters. To see samples of his speaking, you can visit www.mattham.com/speaking. For information on his book, you can visit www.redefinerich.com.
Matt is a husband and father. He and his wife, Liz, have three sons and reside in Wilmington, NC.