3 Steps to Diagnose & Defeat Your Hidden Pride

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March 14, 2021

Humility is a difficult topic. As I was writing this, I realized fast how hard it truly was going to be. The hardest part about writing on this topic is that I never have and will never obtain true humility. I’ll be the first one to admit that I’m a very prideful person. With that in mind, you’re probably wondering why I have any authority to write on this topic? I don’t! Only Christ has ever and will ever show true humility on this earth. And because I struggle with it so much, humility intrigues me. But regardless of its unattainability, humility is the key to finding a deeper and greater connection with our Savior and living out an obedient life while we’re here on earth.

A great place to start is understanding the opposite of humility, pride. Pride was the first sin and often said to be the root of all sins. The devil decided that he wasn’t content with God being on the throne but wanted to be a god himself (Isaiah 14:13). That is the true definition of pride: self-glorification. Instead of glorifying God, it’s putting ourselves on a pedestal and seeing ourselves as a god. Throughout the Proverbs, we see multiple verses where it talks about how much God “hates pride” (Proverbs 6:16–17, 8:13, 16:5), which is why I consider this a super-serious topic that we should frequently discuss and share.

You might be thinking, I don’t consider myself a prideful person, and I definitely don’t want to be God. Often, we are only concerned with external signs of pride; an arrogant posture, snobby attitude, or boastful language. But pride is more often internal.

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

How often does pride sneak in? When things don’t go our way, we get angry and determine that we want the better option. When labor goes unacknowledged, we become bitter. When faced with a challenge, our first instinct is “I got this” and take sole control of solving it. We make extreme checklists or expectations for ourselves or others. We compare what we have to others and, in our hearts, believe we deserve that too. Our defensives kick in when we hear any critique or a strong opposing opinion. We complain over big or little discomforts of our day. All these things are pride!

You might not be trying to dethrone God with an army of fallen angels, but these small habitual actions are just as dangerous because they go unnoticed. They are sneaky and poisonous, just like the serpent in the garden.

There is no neutral ground when it comes to pride and humility. There is no cruise control. Because we are imperfect humans living in a world full of sin, we must fight against pride actively. And like I said from the beginning, genuine and full humility isn’t possible, so this is a lifelong daily battle!

Now that this feels hopeless and overwhelming, I have some good news! We have a God FULL of grace and mercy! We have a God that has more patience for us than we deserve. In Scripture, Jesus combated His disciples’ prideful attitudes repeatedly with love, grace, and patience (Mark 9 & 10). He offers us the same because ONLY through Him can we ever defeat the temptation of pride every day. I am so thankful for the grace extended to me when I fail at humility. Even as I attempted to write this blog post about humility, I was interrupted numerous times by my children and the dog and tasks that needed my immediate attention. I fell victim to prideful thoughts and grumbling. But God is gracious! I admit I fell, asked for forgiveness, and acknowledged my utter dependence on Him, my Savior!

So now what? How do we practically move forward with this hearty topic in the forefront of our minds?

One of my favorite books* on this topic lays out great recommendations by the author. I’ve chosen to slim it down for the sake of quick reading! Here are three tactics to combat and weaken pride:

1️⃣ Start your day with God

When you wake up in the morning, practice making your first thoughts all about God. Reflect on His great characteristics, past miracles, future promises, and most of all, remind yourself of what He did on the cross. I feel like sometimes, as Christians, we’ve heard the story of the crucifixion and resurrection so many times that we’ve become numb. If we reflect on His death and resurrection, we set ourselves up to start a day in the lowliest of positions. Once you’re in that place of acknowledging His greatness, admit your dependence on Him. Speak it out loud to God that you will not be able to get through this day without His help. Tell God that you know you will fail at humility today and that only through Him can sin be defeated! Don’t start the day mindless and aimless. Start it with God!

2️⃣ Be prepared for battle

You wouldn’t expect an army to send out unprepared soldiers into battle. God doesn’t want that for us either. If we’re going to combat pride, then we need to be prepared! God gives us some amazing weapons to fight against pride, prayer, His Word, worship, and accountability! Through constant communication with God, the temptation loses a foothold in our minds. Prayer is our first lifeline! Just as Jesus did in the desert while Satan tempted Him, we can use scripture to fight. But we can’t use it if we don’t know it. Devotionals and books are great, but we need to be studying the actual word. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve felt so defeated in my day, and the spirit reminds me to worship. So, blast those praise songs in your car or home! Sing them obnoxiously loud (maybe not at work), even dance in your kitchen. Lastly, seek real accountability. Find a friend or a group of people you can confess to and trust that they will keep you accountable!

3️⃣ Transfer the Glory

This point can be something you do continuously throughout the day, but I like to think that this is a great last step as you lay in bed. Think back through your day at all the victories and successes; some days may have more than others. Then mentally give God the glory for it all. Don’t allow yourself to take credit for what you’ve done. Remind yourself that all your gifts were given to you by God — give Him all the glory! And while you do that, find the graces and mercies that you’ve experienced in the last 24 hours. Ask yourself,

Where have you seen God in your day?

Three steps. It’s as easy as that, right?

Of course, I’m kidding. This is by no means a cure-all for the sin of pride. Turning from our prideful tendencies and toward the likeness of Christ is the goal, and it’s only by His grace and salvation that this may be achieved one day. Praise God for his faithfulness and forgiveness!