Tanner's Pride List
A few thoughts on Pride and how to move towards humility.
As a reminder, this list is for self-diagnosis only. Please do not compare friends, family, or strangers to this in an attempt to make yourself feel better. Use it on you.
My pride keeps a long list of other people's wrongs in case I need them for later…
My pride survives on excuses. No matter what the circumstance, I will always be able to explain away a mistake or decision I made.
My pride is a master of blame shifting. I.E. - If you bring up something I did, I will remind you of something you did that was worse.
My pride hates to lose, not because the game mattered, it almost certainly did not, but because I can’t stand being seen as inferior.
My pride cannot allow someone else to receive the praise for my work or achievement. My pride might even be happy taking someone else’s recognition if it will make me look better.
My pride, rather than my devotion to the Lord, can keep my outward sin in check… especially if I live in a society… or a church... that honors a particular form of morality… Certain sins are simply below me, I’m too dignified to indulge in such petty vices.
My pride squeezes every penny it can out of someone else, not only to tell of the deal I got, but also to be able to say I got the best of the other person.
My pride knows “the right” way to do things and I will subtly/passively shame you for not knowing what it was.
My pride needs to be needed. It gives me a feeling of superiority and power. I often like to help when you have realized you cannot do the task without me.
My pride, expects praise, and sees critique is an unhelpful opinion.
My pride is rarely, truly vulnerable. I may share of past issues that I’ve conquered but I would be terrified to share about any current struggle that I’m still dealing with. Who knows what you’ll think.
My pride is rarely, truly, curious. Sometimes I ask questions I already know the answer to so I appear smarter.
My pride struggles to empathize. I have no time to stop and dwell in another person’s problem unless it will somehow further my agenda.
My pride cannot stand being inconvenienced, and when I am, someone must be held responsible.
My pride is constantly anxious over what others think about my clothes/body/personality.
I wrote this list about me, but what I have heard from many of you is that we share the same struggles. One friend came, with tears flowing from her eyes, and gave me a big hug after the service and reminded me that I am not alone in this struggle against pride. So, I want to give some practical next steps to addressing pride on a daily basis.
The antidote to a heart full of pride is humility. And humility is relief from the heavy burden of pride. C.S. Lewis says in so many words, that when we come near to God, we become delightedly humble. That God longs to take the heavy burden of pride off our backs, to remove our posturing and posing, to deflate our dignity that has made us restless and unhappy, and to replace it with the relief of humility. This relief is like a cold drink of water to a man who has been wandering in the desert!
I long for that cool drink of water, but how can I get rid of my pride and replace it with humility? Here are a few ways to get started towards a life of gospel humility.
- Name it and claim it.
If you identified with one or more ideas from the list above, you’ve already taken a big step towards humility. I don’t think we consciously wake up each morning thinking, “What are the most prideful things I can do today?” It just comes naturally. What’s unnatural is making ourselves vulnerable and being honest about our sin. For many of us, pride is a blind spot, something we need the help of others to see clearly. Ask some close friends or family to help you see, with more clarity, how your pride shows itself.
Pray and repent.
Begin to pray and ask the Lord for grace in that specific area of your life. Ask the Holy Spirit to change you. Slowly, but surely, you will start to be more attentive to your pride. You will do something or say something from a place of pride, and you will start to catch yourself in the moment. Humble yourself, apologize if needed, stop to and pray, and trust the process.
You won’t be healed overnight. Don’t get discouraged. Keep at it. The relief of humility will become more and more tangible as you continue to empty yourself through prayer and repentance.
Rejoice in the progress.
We are all in process and by the grace of God we can see progress. Rejoice in the victories of the Spirit in your life and lean on God’s grace when you fall short.
Begin to self-forget.
Instead of thinking less of yourself, truly think of yourself less. Pride turns all focus towards the self. Christ turns all focus towards his glory and his kingdom. The more you invest in caring for and serving others, by the power of the Spirit, the weaker the voice of pride will become.
Resources for further study and reflection:
- The Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness, Tim Keller
- Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis (specifically the chapter titled The Great Sin)
- Steering Through Chaos, Os Guinness
Tanner Fox is the Minister for Mission at First Pres. He’s a recent grad of Reformed Theological Seminary and holds deep affection for people, movies, sports and Jesus Christ. As Minister for Mission, he leads the charge to help you love and serve the city and the world. firstname.lastname@example.org