“Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.’” (1 Peter 5:5)
This verse has stuck with me these last few days. It is like a splinter just beneath my skin. I think it has become like a vulture in my mind because I don’t consider myself a very proud person. I have seen, and I know, some very proud people and I tell myself I act nothing like this. Which is where my problem with this piece of Scripture is coming from: I am comparing myself to others. Am I proud in comparison to Jesus? Oh yeah. And yet I still have a very hard time writing that. Not because I think I am anywhere near as humble as Jesus, but because I really want to say I am more humble than I am proud.
The ironic part of that sentence is that it is my pride that keeps me fighting this. I am proud of being humble. I like to pat myself on my back about it. Granted I don’t do this out loud, nor do I post it on my Facebook account, but I will acknowledge these thoughts from deep in my heart. Thoughts like these mean some of my humble acts really are selfish acts to feed my pride about being humble. I should be performing all these acts to feed my relationship with Christ, and to shine His light … not to feed my own self-worth. And I really just want to highlight this entire post so far, delete it, and move on.
But I know the Holy Spirit has kept this piece of Scripture in my head for a reason. This is a sin I really need to work on. It is a sin I hadn’t given a lot of thought to before. I have only considered pride in more obvious, outgoing ways that glare in everyone’s face from other people. I hadn’t ever taken a peek under the unseen rocks of my motivations and soul to seek out my own sinful pride. I know I need to because of one very key word in that verse: opposes. God opposes the proud. I know He can see beneath my actions and under my skin. He can see the pride in me that I haven’t been looking for … and He opposes me for it. I really, really don’t like that.
I do not like to be considered God’s opponent. I know I am no longer God’s enemy since I have washed myself in the blood of Christ. I know when my heavenly Father now looks on me He sees me in Jesus. It is those very reasons why that word “opposes” really bothers me. For example, I love my fiancé and so I actively strive to not give him reasons to oppose me. I do not want to be the enemy of the man I am going to marry. Considering I love God so much more than I could ever love Jeremy I want to do things that make me His enemy even less; despite the fact I know that God has already forgiven me of all of these reasons through His Son Jesus.
So the first thing I have to do is state my sin: I am a proud person. And I really, really hate saying that. It fills me with shame. I know we live in a culture and a world were ‘pride’ and ‘self-esteem’ are two of the most important things to achieve high scores in. But Christ’s Kingdom has different rules, values, and ethics. Jesus humbled Himself by becoming a man. I have a hard time wrapping my head around that sometimes. Jesus set aside all His divine power, His place on a throne in heaven where angels sang to Him, where He ate the most delicious food and drank the most divine wine, and came down to grow up as a man … with acne, aches, pains, ingrown toe nails, upset stomachs, hunger … and to hear the people He created shout “Crucify Him!” And that is just one way Jesus humbled Himself.
And I really want to minimalize my pride. I want to say it isn’t so bad, or even noticeable to anyone beyond me and my Creator. At which point the Holy Spirit is kind enough to point out to me that even if my pride were as small of an issue as possible … it is still big enough to hammer the nails into Jesus’ hands and feet. God is the one, in fact, who opposes my pride … not the rest of the world if they saw it. And still I struggle against my pride of not being proud. Feel free to laugh.
I need to repent and pray to the Holy Spirit. I know only the Holy Spirit can give me the ability to strive toward the humility my Lord and Savior has. Rather than fighting and resisting this conviction I need to lay it at the feet of Jesus, and beg Him to take away all the ways in which I am proud. I know all other sins are birthed out of pride, so I really need to work on this issue in myself. I know, now, that this issue isn’t a small one inside of me. It is just one cleverly hidden behind and beneath other things.
So there you have it. I don’t know if this has made any sense. It feels like word vomit. I feel like I am chasing my tail in a circle. I really don’t like this part of myself, and I really don’t like sharing it with others. But that too is my pride. My pride is behind the things I do for others at times … my pride is in keeping up appearances of being perfectly okay when I am suffering … my pride is in wanting to appear as a good Christian. My pride motivates good actions. My pride has me lie to make myself look good. My pride seeks gratitude for the good things I am doing. My pride keeps me withdrawn from my Kiwi longer than I should be when he hurts me or when we disagree. My pride has kept a distance between myself and my Savior. And I really don’t like any of this, or any of my pride.
Holy Spirit, please … I beg of you … help me weed out all these deep roots of pride. Help give me the longing to be more like Jesus. Fill me with a divine fervor to strive for my Father’s heavenly Kingdom rather than this earthly one. Abba, Father …Divine Daddy … lease forgive your rebellious daughter for having dismissed, diminished, and denied this sin that crucified Your Son. Jesus take out my heart of stone, and replace it with one of flesh that hungers only for Your bread of life. I pray all of this in Jesus’ name. Amen.