Positive Thinking and Pride
It’s true that each person is gifted with their own abilities, strengths and talents. It is also important to have confidence in your ability. So how can pride of accomplishment ever be dangerous or bad? The danger (and lie) is in thinking that it is all about YOU, and that you are the creator of all your success.
Consider this: You are gifted. To be gifted means that someone else has given you the gift. You are the mere recipient, not the originator of the gift. Where do you think intelligence comes from? If we are totally honest in searching our own minds and hearts (your inner self, your soul) we will have to acknowledge that in and of ourselves, we can do very little.
Reminder: Jesus said, “Without me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)
In fact, where does all intelligence come from? There is only one Source, and He is God. Whether you give Him the importance due Him or not, no one can dispute the obvious. All creation came into existence through and by Him. (I’m not talking about scientific experiments that seek to clone what God has created.)
From infancy, we learn through building blocks of experience and thought. As children, we absorb all kinds of facts and feelings from our parents, environment, teaching and experience. When we reach adulthood however, we somehow learn that it is okay to be prideful of our accomplishments. Perhaps it’s from being overly applauded for completing ordinary tasks, while growing up. But if that were as serious as it ever got, we could get over ourselves and remain well adjusted. We would have nurtured the right amount of satisfaction in our learning process. And we could be pleased with how our accumulated knowledge and ongoing learning flows into all aspects of life.
Here’s where pride becomes problematic. Humanism and modern thinking tells us that all the answers are within you. In fact, it goes so far as to teach that whatever you want, you can have. Furthermore, you deserve everything you want! This thinking is dangerous and in fact, is a lie. WITHOUT the guidance, instruction and inspiration from God… and if one were to exclude Him altogether from the equation leaving mankind to his own devices (and vices), very little, if any good would be forthcoming. While working diligently does lead to success in that you are able to provide for yourself and your family, the idea that YOU are some kind of Mastermind is ludicrous! Yes, there are degrees of intelligence and even a few people who are genius. Again, they are gifted by God who is generous in all He gives. Again, consider the source. And as for the motives of one’s heart… the hidden agenda that God sees in each of us, on our own it is UNTRUSTWORTHY at its very best. God says this in Jeremiah 17:9…
“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”
Desperately wicked! Who can know it or who can trust their heart? The heart here refers to your soul which contains your mind, emotions and will.
When we read the stories of self-proclaimed successful people, at first glance we may be impressed. Their money and lifestyle produce the shiny ball syndrome. You see it. You want it. And you are told how to get it. Pride is at the base of humanism. Pride locks arms with self esteem and is touted as a good thing, all the while dragging you along with the crowd of like-minded, self absorbed humanists. There is nothing so sickening as a braggart. A better way of teaching others is to lead by example. Remember, “By their fruits you will know them” (Matthew 7:20). And if there is nothing new under the sun, only multiple ways of coming to the same conclusions, we can become very good at mimicking and tweaking the original, in speech and actions. There is very little reason to be prideful in such cases.
King Solomon, the wisest and wealthiest man who ever lived had this to say about pride:
“Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; someone else, and not your own lips.” (Proverbs 27:2)
And on the topic of money, he said:
“Do not wear yourself out to get rich; have the wisdom to show restraint. Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone, for they will surely sprout wings and fly off to the sky like an eagle.” (Proverbs 23:4-5)
Teach by Example
There is value in quietly doing an excellent job, whether it derives recognition or not! The best teachers are those humble people who, by all standards are highly successful yet they do not allow boasting to escape their lips. I have been privileged to know a few such individuals in my lifetime. Their minds and the intent of their hearts are not on themselves. The task at hand is important because the outcome will help and serve others in some way. They are not looking inwardly for the answers, but rather they are looking upwardly. They are not glory hogs! They know that all knowledge and understanding comes from God. And they freely share how privileged they feel to be blessed by Him, and yes, even used by Him for His purposes.
So, why do so many folks present themselves in such a boastful, unsavory way? Their form of teaching is peppered with gloating. No matter how they dress it up and pretend they are “giving and helping others”, the would-be act of helping becomes a platform for more prideful gloating. Initially, their audience becomes intrigued, possibly even impressed. But in no time at all, their self glorifying efforts become disgusting to observers.
If there is such a thing as holy envy, its definition would give this example: “To live one’s life in humility and service in such a way as to cause others to respect, honour and desire what you have.”
If you want to be long remembered, step OUT of the limelight. Speaking to those of us who call ourselves Christians — followers of Christ — born of God’s Spirit… We are called to be Children of Light. To Walk in the Light means we follow the example of Jesus who not only walked in the light… He IS the Light. We live by His prinicples and moral standards. When we rub shoulders too often with worldly attitudes and morals, what happens is that the world rubs it’s stuff onto us. Yes, we are IN the world but are NOT to be OF it. A wise person knows the difference and takes the higher road by stepping out of that limelight, the very spotlight that their heart may desire. Instead, they step aside and let their Source for all knowledge and understanding, shine through.
Don’t worry about not getting enough attention. Your day will come. In Matthew, Mark and Luke Jesus said, “The first shall be last, and the last first.” In the Kingdom of God, everything gets worked out. You can take THAT to the bank!