I’m on a never-ending journey for more of God and less of me. This series begins with 14 days of Scripture addressing the subject of humility. I’m inviting you to come along as I share what God exposes in me.
I’ve learned to recognize it: that twisted feeling in my gut or a growing agitation in my attitude. It’s pride welling up inside of me. If I let the feelings build, I will craft a clever way of letting them out. I may disguise my pride as a constructive criticism. Or perhaps hold the ugly feeling inside and attack myself with ugly criticism. Neither of these choices frees me from the agitation. I’ve been sucked in by the pride of self-importance.
Hasn’t He Spoken Through US, Too? Number 12:1-8
Miriam and Aaron had a similar dilemma. Miriam, the older sister to Moses, once peeked behind the reeds as she watched baby Moses drift down the Nile River. She was the protective one of her baby brother, but now the positions have switched as she witnesses him rise to great leadership.
Even though God is using Miriam’s gift as a Prophetess and Aaron’s gift as a High Priest alongside Moses, the pride of self-importance stirs within them. Teased by the need for acknowledgement of their own abilities, they criticize Moses for the kind of woman he marries and they cleverly ask, “Has the Lord spoken only through Moses? Hasn’t he spoken through us, too?” (Numbers 12:2)
The Lord calls them out and explains the unique relationship He has with Moses. He makes it clear He has appointed Moses and communicates with him differently than any other prophet. (Numbers 12:4)
Then comes the rebuke from God that shuts my mouth: “Why then were you not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?” As you read further, God disciplines Aaron and Miriam for their prideful motives as they criticized the servant of God.
You can call it many things: a lust for achievement, a lust for praise, power, or to be viewed more importantly than someone else. Our society is breeding it in the age of social media. But it is nothing new. John calls it the boastful pride of life and it opposes God. (I John 2:16)
You know the Pride of Self-Importance Sucks You In When:
You know the Pride of Self-Importance sucks you in when you entertain destructive thoughts that Compare, Criticize and Compete with another. It sounds like this:
Comparison: “I can do that. I’m as good as she is. No one notices my skills or my gifts.”
Criticism: “He’s not that special, look who he’s married to.
I don’t know what’s so great about him”
Competition: “I’ll show them. I’ll do it better-bigger-louder.” Or the opposite effect, “I’ll never be that good. I give up.”
Think about it:
Since the Holy Spirit gives each of us spiritual gifts and we each are created to do good works, how does someone else’s gift and calling suddenly become about me? What’s that about? How did “I” mentally connect myself to God’s choice for using them? Ugh!
It’s not about me, it’s about God’s bigger picture for His bigger purposes– and He gives us each the gracious opportunity of sharing in His work!
So, at the very moment the skewed mental connection takes root and the agitation begins to build, ask yourself, “What am I feeling?” Then comes the discovery, “Ah ha! I’m feeling insignificant; I’m comparing myself and making this about me. I’m being sucked in by the pride of self-importance. It’s time to take my thoughts captive.”
What to do when you think you’re “All That”
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Philippians 2:3-4
- Counter the pride of self-importance by counting others more significant than yourself. *Before entering a crowd, your tribe, or your trigger place, think of specific ways your conversations and body language will honor others. Ask God to help you carry it through.
- Recognize God’s hand in placing people where and when He chooses for His purposes.
*Make the choice not to criticize those who love Him and are responding to Him faithfully.
- Be faithful in your own work, gifts and resources. Celebrate others who are doing the same.
*Ask the Lord to help you grow in this area. Talk to Him about it in the midst of your agitation!
- Set your mind on Christ. He is our model for humility.
*Instead of occupying your mind with the things that will make you feel important, be occupied with getting to know Christ and making Him more important.
Have you noticed in those moments when you commit everything for the glory of God, that the things of God begin to capture your thoughts? There is little delight in entertaining destructive and pride-filled thoughts. Yes, when you align your thoughts and motives with Christ, the tedium of life is no longer about you, but about bringing God glory.
Oh Lord we long for Your Glory! When the temptation of pride teases our mind, we want to lay ourselves down. We ask for More of You.
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