Did you ever read those choose-your-own-adventure books?
After reading a scenario, you got to choose between two options. Option A would take you to a certain point in the pages ahead, where you would be asked to choose your direction again. Option B would take you somewhere else in the pages. The plot unfolded based on the choices you made.
Allow me to present a version of choose your own adventure.
Option 1: God gives you grace. He shows you favor. He is for you.
Option 2: God mocks you. He works against you. He is not on your team.
This is a no-brainer! None of us would choose God’s frustration over His favor. We would never pick God working against us instead of God working for us.
“God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”
God resists those with a pride problem. Instead of cheering them on, He takes a stand against them.
In this passage, James is quoting an Old Testament verse found in Proverbs 3:34:
He mocks proud mockers but shows favor to the humble and oppressed.
As hard as it is to believe, this verse is saying that God offers those with a pride problem a dose of their own medicine. In contrast, His favor is reserved for the humble.
First Peter 5:5 says something similar:
In the same way, you who are younger, submit yourselves to your elders. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.”
If pride is the problem, humility is the solution. I’ve heard it said that humility isn’t thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less. When pride creeps in, we can fight back by thinking of and serving others.
I’m gonna go ahead and assume that you don’t want God to work against you. (Me neither!) That means we have to get serious about uprooting pride in our lives.
What is pride, exactly? It’s exalting ourselves above God and others. It’s living like we’re the center of the universe, not the God who created the universe. It’s any attempt to spackle over our flaws to make ourselves look perfect instead of using our flaws to point to a perfect God.
Practically speaking, pride might look like this in your life.
- If you’ll do whatever it takes to be the most noticed, most applauded, most well-liked girl in school . . .
- If you feel competitive or slighted when others do well or receive gifts . . .
- If you refuse to acknowledge your own sin . . .
- If your response to wise correction is anger or rebellion . . .
- If your actions are motivated by what’s in it for you . . .
- If you’ve built a profile of yourself online that doesn’t match the real you . . .
- If you really, really, really, really want to be noticed and will do whatever it takes to make that happen . . .
- If you love to tell the world about your achievements and awards, but hate to tell the world when you mess up . . .
You might have a pride problem.
Can I tell you a secret? We all struggle with pride. But when pride rears its ugly head in my life, I remind myself of the consequences. I can seek to exalt myself. I can pretend that I’m the center of the universe. I can act like I’ve got it all together. But when I do, I am choosing the wrong adventure.
God will work against me when pride is left unchecked in my life. He will offer me a dose of my own medicine, and I can be assured that I will not like the taste. Though it may not feel like it, this is loving correction. I was made to give God glory (Isa. 43:7). His opposition to my pride is a reminder that this old world was meant to revolve around Him, not me.
How about you? Do you want the opposition that comes with pride? Or would you rather have the favor that is a promised by-product of humility?
Have you ever felt like God was working against you? Is there evidence of pride in your life? Leave me a comment below to tell me about it.