There are 13 faces of pride that I want to reveal as we go through this series together. It is important for me to repeat that some of these manifestations of pride are more obvious than others. I mentioned also that this is not by chance, as Satan wants to keep pride hidden. Consequently, he allows it to masquerade as other things and many times we do not realize that pride is at the root. In Part 4, we discussed the first 3 faces of pride – arrogance and haughtiness, boastfulness, and the inability to rejoice in the success of others. Part 5 dealt with the fear of men’s faces, rebellion and the critical spirit. In today’s blog, I will unveil another 3 faces of pride.
7. Unwillingness to admit the need for help. When you find a person unable to accept help, with a tendency to always want to be the one to give help, pride is present. A prideful person wants everyone to believe that he or she is in control and all is well. A facade of “everything is fine” is always presented to the outside world. Some persons rationalize their reticence to accept help, to themselves and others, by saying they don’t want to be a bother. However, this is not in keeping with God’s plan. He put us in community and gave us all different skills, talents, abilities, giftings, experiences, and strengths so we would not be self-sufficient but have need of each other (Ephesians 4:16; 1 Corinthians 12:20-26).
Another justification given for not accepting help is that those who gave help in the past rubbed it in our face, always reminding us of the help they gave as though we are to be forever beholden to them. This is a reasonable position to take where that individual giver is concerned. I am agreed, that person needs ministry. But then, be wise and do not go back to that person. Not because one person did it means that everyone is the same. Sometimes, too, the prideful person who does eventually accept help from another may become resentful of that person. Envy of the person’s ability to help may also rear its ugly head.
Prideful persons would rather suffer in silence than admit that they need help. Even when ministry is being offered during church service they stay glued to their seat. Sometimes, they may find someone after church to get one on one ministry. Yes, they are admitting the need for help but the fact that they couldn’t do this in public is an indication that pride is at work.
I used to struggle with accepting gifts of money from people until the Lord showed me from the scriptures that when I do not allow others to give to me I am robbing them of their blessing (Luke 6:38). I realized I was actually doing them a favour by accepting their gift. So, I thought I had conquered this aspect of pride in my life. One day, I was home alone and got locked out of my house in the washroom. You cannot imagine the struggle I went through to open my mouth and cry out for help. I felt so undignified. That’s when I discovered the stronghold of pride was very much still present. It took me completely by surprise. Do you know that to this day I don’t know how the door slammed shut on me. Maybe, just maybe, the Lord wanted me to become aware that there was more cleaning up to be done?
8. Spirit of entitlement. Pride makes us believe that we are deserving of what we have and more because of the great things we have done. We even take this approach with God. The spirit of entitlement is in operation when we get upset with God for not giving us something after we prayed morning, noon and night for it. Many times we start to tot up all the things we have done to make us deserving of getting whatever it is we have asked of the Lord. But the truth of the matter is God does not owe us anything. We never gave Him anything to put down for us. The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof. So, where did it say that we have shares in this fullness? If you want to get over this entitlement spirit quickly just read how God dressed down Job good and proper for the length of 4 chapters (Job 38 – 41). I wouldn’t have wanted to be in Job’s shoes when that was happening and I don’t think you would either. Let us therefore be slow to complain and quick to give thanks. Godliness with contentment is great gain (1 Timothy 6:6). Ultimately, we need to acknowledge that Jesus Christ paid the price for our freedom and gave His own life so we could gain the gift of eternal life. Anything else we get is brawta. We are the ones who owe God everything. Hence, Paul’s recognition of this fact in Romans 12:1.
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your REASONABLE service. (Rom. 12:1, emphasis mine)
9. Driven to achieve/perfectionism. Pride is an enigma (mysterious and difficult to understand) and its almost paradoxical (self-contradictory, absurd, inconsistent). Why do I say this? Well, I didn’t really. The Holy Spirit gave me this revelation. Low self-esteem and insecurity (which we usually consider to be the opposite of pride) actually leads us into pride. And here again I speak from personal experience. Because of our inner feeling of inadequacy we counteract by striving to prove we are just as good as or better than others. Common consequences are perfectionism and the fear of failure. Persons with low self-esteem do not take criticism well and crave admiration. The obvious way to achieve both is to do things perfectly. Such persons pay attention to detail and will check and recheck to ensure no errors have been made. This is not a bad thing on the face of it. What is bad is not the actions themselves but the motive for the actions. This is why the scriptures tell us that God is not interested in the outward appearance but looks at the heart (1 Samuel 16:7). Pride, masquerading as perfectionism, perceives failure as proof of inferiority. This is a lie of the enemy. The scriptures tell us that we are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalms 139:14) and that we are accepted in the Beloved (Ephesians 1:6).
Another indicator that pride fuelled by low self-esteem is at work, is the desire to only associate with a certain calibre of people. Acceptance by those who are ‘successful’ gives us a false sense of security that we too are ‘successful’ and that others should look up to us. We pursue all of the outward symbolisms of success in an effort to convince ourselves and others that we are someone of worth. Ultimately, when we surrender our lives to the Lord Jesus Christ we come to the recognition (or some of us do) that all of our righteousnesses are like filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6).
Join me next week for Part 7 as we complete the unveiling process and then in the following week we complete our series with Part 8 by revealing how to overcome pride.