Stew on This: Overcome Pride to Experience Freedom and Love
The biggest obstacle in growing spiritually, enjoying being God’s child, and having harmonious relationships with others is “self.” It is a matter of pride.
We all have an innate drive to serve ourselves. Our culture says, “Me first.” We have developed patterns of behavior and relating that are selfish. That doesn’t disappear when we become Christians; it must be overcome by the power of the Holy Spirit. Selfishness is no minor infraction, no petty character flaw, and no small threat to harmony and happiness in our lives.
The Bible warns about an increase in selfism and narcissism….
“But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy…” (2 Timothy 3:1-2, ESV).
An article in Scientific American stated, “If you’re like most people, your thoughts and experiences may be your favorite topic of conversation. On average, people spend 60 percent of conversations talking about themselves—and this figure jumps to 80 percent when communicating via social media platforms such as Twitter or Facebook.” 1
The answer to the problem of pride and the key to overcoming our innate selfishness is not to say, “I won’t be selfish, I won’t be selfish, I won’t be selfish…” like some magic mantra. The answer is to seek and pursue something other than self aggressively.
2 Essential Ways to Overcome Pride:
Seek spiritual gain –
How does this relate to the problem of pride? It keeps you from insisting on your way.
“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you,” (Matthew 6:33, ESV).
You may wonder, “How do I know if I’m seeking God’s kingdom first?” Below are some questions you can ask yourself in three critical areas.
- Attitude –
“Do I desire to live my life according to God’s will?”
“Do I live with Jesus as Lord of my life? Is my allegiance to Him and am I following His way?”
- Actions –
“What am I doing to promote God’s truth, salvation, and ways in the world?”
“Do I submit in obedience to God’s will as revealed in His word?”
- Relationships –
“Am I doing all I can to love others?”
“Is my goal to honor others and build them up?”
Seek the good of others –
“Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor,” (1 Corinthians 10:24, ESV).
Those words were written in the context of Christians pressing for their rights to do what they wanted and not being considerate of others. Paul (who was the penman of those words) said by the Holy Spirit, “don’t seek your own rights, your own good. Instead, seek the good of those you know, those who are around you, and those in your relational network.”
This is counter-intuitive and countercultural. You don’t naturally think this way. You are taught to say, “After me, you come first.” But you should say, “You come first, God will take care of me.”
Seeking the good of others does not mean that you let others walk all over you. You are to set appropriate boundaries. But, you need to think about the other person and their needs and interests rather than just think about things from your own perspective. It’s the golden rule. Ask, “how would I feel if I were her? How would I want to be treated? That’s how I need to treat the other person.”
Consider others, not just yourself. That helps free you from yourself. It frees you from pride, it frees you to love as Jesus loves.
- Adrian F. Ward, “The Neuroscience of Everybody’s Favorite Topic,” Scientific American, July 16, 2013, accessed May 30, 2017, https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-neuroscience-of-everybody-favorite-topic-themselves/.
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