“….Pride is essentially competitive-is competitive by its very nature….Pride gets no pleasure out of something, only out of having more of it than the next man….It is the comparison that makes you proud: the pleasure of being above the rest. Once the element of competition has gone, pride has gone.” ~C.S. Lewis in Mere Christianity
Oh my, do I ever struggle with pride, especially in making comparisons. And it’s not just in relation to myself; I find that I often compare my children and their traits or accomplishments to others their age. Are my girls smarter, better dressed, more respectful, have more friends, excel at playing the piano – doesn’t the list go on and on?!! It’s so easy to fall into the comparison trap.
Pride may even take on a spiritual dimension. Perhaps I’m proud of my children’s good behavior or their participation in church activities. I might be proud that I have my devotions daily or that I took the opportunity to serve someone when others didn’t or that the lesson I taught in children’s church was well received.
Lately, when I’ve found pride trying to creep in like usual, I’m trying to redirect my thoughts in two ways: by quoting Scripture and by consciously being grateful.
Since the Bible says much about pride, it’s easy to find verses to memorize that help me fight against it.
“Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD: though hand join in hand, he shall not be unpunished.” Proverbs 16:5
“….for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.” I Peter 5:5
“When pride cometh, then cometh shame: but with the lowly is wisdom.” Proverbs 11:2
In being grateful, my goal is to turn my focus off of myself and onto Christ. If I’m alone, I can say something like the following aloud: “God, thank you that you are faithful in helping me have my devotions each morning. Thank you that I have the physical strength to get out of bed and have time to spend in your Word.” Or, “Thank you that in your providence you gave our daughter the ability to learn quickly. May she use this gift to bring honor and glory to You and to help others.”
Cultivating gratitude also promotes contentment, which removes the competitive nature and the need to have “more than” someone else. Being content with where God has placed me and what He has given me allows me to rejoice – not only in what I have, but in how He blesses others.
Pride can creep into my life so stealthily and quickly. I need the Holy Spirit’s help to see it and get rid of it lest it take root and grow.
How do you handle pride? Do you find yourself falling into the trap of comparison?