You’ve seen the movies. A deadly virus is spreading across the globe. Many have already died. Fear is palpable. But one team of doctors or scientists or brave average citizens decides to do what it takes to find a cure. They put on their hazmat suits, and they walk into the epicenter of the disease. They discover a cure. The world is saved.
It’s a storyline ripped from real life.
Because the world is sick.
But I’m not talking about a virus. This isn’t a post about what makes us physically ill. I’m interested in exploring a different kind of epidemic . . .
Simply put, pride is me-centric thinking. Me-centric thinking always leads to me-centric living—making choices based on what’s in it for you, what you need to do to get ahead, how to grab the most attention, awards, and appreciation possible. The Bible speaks out often against pride in verses like Proverbs 16:18 and Psalm 10:4. Here is part of what makes pride so sickening to God.
- Everyone is affected by it.
- One person’s pride (remember that’s me-centric thinking) infects another person’s pride, so we make each other sicker and sicker.
- Ultimately, pride kills our relationships. It kills our potential to love and serve others. It kills our witness to the world. It kills our ability to be used by God because we are too focused on us to do things for Him.
- Pride misses the mark because instead of turning our focus toward God, it makes us turn our attention toward ourselves.
Pride is contagious. Pride is icky. Pride is deadly, but there is an antidote. See if you can pick up on it in this passage.
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross (Phil. 2:3–8).
The cure for our pride is humility. Humility recognizes that the universe exists for Jesus, not for us. In response to that truth, instead of living me-centrically, we follow His example and put others first.
This is the only way to vaccinate ourselves against pride. In fact, this passage gives us a formula for all of our relationships. Do you want to know how to get along better with your parents? This is it! Do you want to stop fighting with your friends? This is it! Do you want to have a healthy dating relationship . . . that will one day lead to a healthy marriage? Yep. This passage applies there, too.
Let’s break it down.
- Do nothing out of selfish ambition.
- Be humble.
- Don’t look out for your own interests.
- Look out for the interests of others.
- Have the same mindset as Jesus. He was supernaturally humble.
A Pride Check-Up
Humility is the only way to vaccinate yourself against the sickening affects of pride, but that doesn’t mean it’s an easy pill to swallow. We need God’s help to fight against the devastation that me-centric thinking can wreak in our lives.
Do you need a dose of humility? Is pride making you sick? Let me give you a few prompts to help you think that through. Go ahead and grab a piece of paper and a pen and write them down.
- The way I spend my free time.
- The way I talk to my parents.
- The way I talk to my siblings.
- The way I spend my money.
- What I think about most often.
- My involvement in my local church.
- The kind of friends I spend the most time with.
- Who I am online.
- My expectations for dating relationships.
- My plans for the future.
For each one of these areas are you:
- Sick with pride (me-centric thinking)? If so, put a P beside it.
- Vaccinated with humility (putting others first)? If so, put an H beside this prompt.
- Somewhere in the middle? Put a star.
If you put a star or a P in an area, that’s somewhere that you need God to vaccinate you against pride. Would you take a minute and ask for His help in this area right now?
We can be like those scientists who charge into the epicenter of an illness, simply by seeking to be more like Christ in the area of humility. We can refuse to let pride poison our hearts and relationships, by ditching me-centric thinking in favor of Jesus-centric thinking.
In what areas of your life do you need to be vaccinated against pride? Leave me a comment below with your answer.
PS: This blog post was taken from my teaching in the Teen Track at True Woman ’12. I’ll be joining my friends Dannah Gresh and Stephanie Martinez at the Teen Track again this year. We would love for you to join us for more meaty teaching just like this. You won’t want to miss it! You can find out more here.
PPS: You won’t want to miss our Freebie Friday post this week. We will be giving away two free tickets to the conference along with some other great swag!