The Pride Trap podcast notes

In Romans 12:2 Paul says don’t conform and in verse 3 he attacks one of our biggest blindspots.

For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.  Roman’s 12:3

Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought. When we read it here, it sounds good. Sounds right. But I can almost guarantee you that is not the message you are telling yourself. Its not something that parents tell their children. We don’t tell our friends that over coffee at Starbucks unless we want them to walk out. Our messages are pretty much the opposite.

Believe in yourself!
Believe you can and you’re halfway there
Anything is possible if you just believe

If we are honest, we are generally telling ourselves just the opposite of this. Think more highly of yourself. Believe it, achieve it.
Let me add this as well. Not only do we think more highly of ourselves than we ought, we think about ourselves more often than we ought.

I looked up pride bumper stickers last week and you know what I found? First, at lot of rainbows. Then a lot of statements about what we are proud of.
I’m proud of my honor roll student
Proud to be a union bricklayer
Proud of my eagle scout
Atheist and proud
Proud parent of a pit bull
Proud Army mom (and to come full circle)
Proud of my D student
We are proud democrats and proud republicans and proud parents and proud of our school and proud of our word and proud to be an American, where at least I know I’m free.

I did some research this last week on what the bible says about pride. I found a very different viewpoint when I looked through the eyes of God.

Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. (Proverbs 16:18)
A man’s pride will bring him low. (Proverbs 29:23)
The pride of your heart has deceived you. (Obadiah 1:3)
God is able to put down those who walk in pride. (Daniel 4:37)
God resists the proud. (1 Peter 5:5)
The Lord detests all the proud of heart. Proverbs 16:5

“People see therapists and pastors every day for anger or anxiety or addiction problems, but rarely does anyone seek help for their pride problem. There are no Betty Ford Treatment Centers for the Insufferably Arrogant, but not because we don’t need them.” John Ortberg

Jonathan Edwards. 300 years ago Edwards pointed to seven ways that pride can hide in us. Let me run through them.

1. Fault-Finding
Edwards put it like this.“The spiritually proud person shows it in his finding fault with other saints. . . . The eminently humble Christian has so much to do at home and sees so much evil in his own that he is not apt to be very busy with other hearts.”

2. A Harsh Spirit
Those who have the sickness of pride in their hearts speak of others’ sins with contempt, irritation, frustration, or judgment.

3. Superficiality
When pride lives in our hearts, we’re far more concerned with others’ perceptions of us than the reality of our hearts.

4. Defensiveness
True humility is not knocked off balance and thrown into a defensive posture by challenge or rebuke, but instead continues in doing good, entrusting the soul to our faithful Creator.

5. Presumption Before God
Others of us feel no confidence before God. Which sounds like humility, but in reality it’s another symptom of pride. In those moments, we’re testifying that we believe our sins are greater than his grace.

6. Desperation for Attention
Pride is hungry for attention, respect, and worship in all its forms.
Maybe it looks like being haunted by your desire for the right car or the right house or the right title at work: all because you seek the glory that comes from men, not God.

7. Neglecting Others
We consciously or unconsciously pass over the weak, the inconvenient, and the unattractive, because they don’t seem to offer us much.

Pride is dangerous. It can separate us from people. It can keep us from our own personal growth. It can keep us distant from our children. It can keep us far from God when we get in our heads the idea that “I got this. I’m good. Maybe next time I’ll turn to God”

What do all the gifts you’ve ever gotten have in common? Some were good some were bad some were tacky some were insensitive some were the perfect fit. Some made you cry for good reasons, others made you cry because they were terrible. I have a friend who when she turned 40 a guy gave her as a gift a bathroom scale.I have a friend who is a personal trainer and he received as a gift a convertible Camaro from one of the people he trained. All these gifts had one thing in common.They were all given to you. You didn’t buy them yourself.

Here’s the mind shift I think we need to make in our thinking when it comes to pride.

Most of us spend a good portion of our lives thinking like this. If I can just succeed enough so that other people around me will notice how good I am then I can feel good about myself.

I think we need to switch our thinking to something like this. God has been gracious enough to gift me with some skills. It feels so good when he uses my gifts to make a difference in the lives of other people.

In all honesty I use that phrase all the time. I am constantly telling people I’m proud of you. I’m wondering if we should come up with a new line.

It’s obvious God has gifted you
You have an amazing gift for speaking
Your compassion gift is off the charts
I can see God working when you use your generosity gift