The thing about pride is that it’ll kill you. Forever.
The other thing about it is that it’s super hard to identify. Pride is a distorted view of self. If you ask someone who has that disease to tell you what they look like, the very nature of the disease makes it impossible for them to tell.
You cannot conclude that you don’t struggle with pride because you don’t see pride in your heart. You must instead investigate pride by looking out for the symptoms (I stole this straight from a killer Jonathan Edwards essay):
1. Fault finding. Spiritual pride causes us to talk about other people’s sins with laughter or contempt, frustration or irritation. Humility on the other hand speaks with grief and love.
2. Ministering in a harsh spirit. Those who have the sickness of pride in their hearts speak of others sins with contempt, irritation, frustration of judgement.
Christians who are but fellow-worms ought at least to treat one another with as much humility and gentleness as Christ treats them.
3. Faking it with people. When pride lurks in our hearts we are far more concerned with others perception of us then the reality of our hearts . We fight the sins that effect how others perceive us and make peace with the ones that no one sees. We have great success in the areas of holiness that have high visible accountability, but little concern for the disciplines that happen in secret.
4. Easily offended. True humility feels no need to defend self. It is not concerned with rights, but instead just continues in doing good, entrusting the soul to our faithful creator.
For the humble Christian, the more the world is against him, the more silent and still he will be, unless it is in his prayer closet, and there he will not be still.
5. Presumption before God. Humility approaches God with humble confidence in Christ Jesus. Some of us have no shortage of boldness before God, but if we’re not careful we can forget that He is God.
Some, in their great rejoicing before God, have not paid sufficient regard to that rule in Psalm 2:11 — Worship the Lord with reverence, and rejoice with trembling.
Sometimes we feel no confidence before God. Sounds like humility, but in reality it’s another symptom of pride. In those moments we are testifying that we believe our sins are greater than His grace. We doubt the power of Christ’s blood and we have a gaze set on self instead of Christ.
6. Hungry for Attention. Eek. This one hits a nerve for me.
Pride is hungry for attention, respect, and worship, in all it’s forms. Maybe it looks like being the person up front boasting. Maybe it looks like being the person who is unable to say ‘no’ to anyone because you are hungry to be needed. Maybe it looks like thirsting for marriage, or a better marriage, because you are hungry to be made much of.
7. Neglecting others. Pride honors only those who the world deems worthy of honor. There’s a thrill that goes through me when people with ‘power’ acknowledge me. There’s an eagerness to respond to emails about my blog when I recognize the name of the sender. Blick.
The reality is, I struggle with pride.
Good news. I can use that realization to fight pride. I can turn to the glorious Gospel in which we stand and make much of God: His grace and forgiveness. I can confess my inability to overcome this horrific heart and rely on His strength to deliver me even from the hardest and the most arrogant of hearts.
Repent and believe that His Spirit is stronger than your flesh.