Have you ever looked in the mirror and thought, “You are the most arrogant person I know.” I am going to guess most of us have not. Part of the reason for this is that it is so hard to see ourselves the way other people see us, and truth be told, most of us have great insecurities that we work relentlessly at hiding. So, seeing ourselves as prideful usually does not happen.
By my nature, I can be extremely stubborn. I see most situations as black and white. I can give you the cold shoulder like nobody’s business. Do not believe me? Ask my husband! I’ve spent at least half our marriage learning to submit to my husband’s guidance and advice because my pride misled me in how God intended marriage to work and what godly submission is supposed to look like in this particular relationship.
Behaviors like this absolutely come from an underlying river of pride flowing through my veins. I want to do things my way. I do not understand why you cannot see the solution to the problem. And when I am done, I am done. The flip side of it though is that it takes a lot to get me to this point and as I have aged, I have mellowed a lot in how I respond in situations. In other words, I have learned to swallow my pride and humble myself.
Yet, there are times I let my pride hang out with other feelings, like jealousy and anger. Talk about the perfect combination of emotions to kill any relationship. That is when I know it is time for an attitude adjustment.
Proverbs tells us this:
There are six things the Lord hates—no, seven things he detests: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that kill the innocent, a heart that plots evil, feet that race to do wrong, a false witness who pours out lies, a person who sows discord in a family. Proverbs 6:16-19 NLT
This is one of the heaviest verses in the Bible. Many of us have at one time or another found our actions resembling something on this list. But let us focus on the first one –haughty eyes. There it is! The first thing on the list that God hates is pride.
So how can we temper this emotion that beckons us to thumb our noses, puff out our chest, or roll our eyes at others. Let us look at our dear Lord and Savior, the one whose name is above all names. How does He show humbleness in a way that should convict us all? Next to going to the cross, I believe the scene below is one of the most powerful examples Jesus gave on what it means to be a humble servant leader.
Jesus knew that the Father had given him authority over everything and that he had come from God and would return to God. So he got up from the table, took off his robe, wrapped a towel around his waist, and poured water into a basin. Then he began to wash the disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel he had around him. When Jesus came to Simon Peter, Peter said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” Jesus replied, “You don’t understand now what I am doing, but someday you will.” John 13:3-7 NLT
Can you imagine? I mean first off this was not a modern-day pedicure with warm soapy water and sweet-smelling salts. This was twelve pairs of stinky, dusty, callous feet Jesus was washing and wiping with His towel. He, the Creator, was washing the feet of His creation. He, the Lamb of God, washing the feet of His betrayer –Judas. It does not get humbler than that.
And dear Peter, if you read a little further in the passage, at first refuses for Jesus to wash his feet. Why? Peter knew a little something about pride. Remember when Jesus was arrested and that rooster crowing right after Peter denies knowing Jesus three times? (Luke 22:60-61) This was Peter’s breaking point. I know that Peter’s prideful nature came down several notches in that moment because we read of his deep regret one verse later (Luke 22:62).
But let us back up a moment to our main story. Why this display of feet washing by Jesus?
After washing their feet, he put on his robe again and sat down and asked, “Do you understand what I was doing? You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and you are right, because that’s what I am. And since I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other’s feet. I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you. I tell you the truth, slaves are not greater than their master. Nor is the messenger more important than the one who sends the message. Now that you know these things, God will bless you for doing them. John 13:12-17 NLT
He tells us plainly in the passage that the example has been set. We are equals in the kingdom and we need to treat each other with the care and respect we would anyone we loved. We do that by setting our pride aside, humbling ourselves, and truly treating others the way we would like to be treated without expecting anything in return.
That is what I love about Jesus. His death on the cross was an offer, not a demand. He died for each of us not expecting anything in return, but fervently hoping we would choose Him. When I think about the humiliation and pain He went through to assure my place beside Him and the Father, how can I not attempt to kill my pride?
But let’s be honest. The killing of our pride is an ongoing battle. It takes practice, intention, and determination to corral this emotion. It will take a willingness to sacrifice on our part.
Proverbs also states:
Pride goes before destruction, and haughtiness before a fall. Better to live humbly with the poor than to share plunder with the proud. Proverbs 16:18-19 NLT
Remember, the book of Proverbs was written by Solomon, the richest man recorded in the history of the Bible. Solomon is sharing with us the lessons on pride that it took him the better part of his life to learn. So why not lean in and be humble enough to take his advice. After all, Solomon can truly say: “Been there, done that.”
My challenge for you today is four-fold. Consider these tips for killing your pride:
- Ask like David for the Lord to create in you a new heart (Psalm 51:10).
- Have an honest conversation with a friend you can trust and ask them to truthfully evaluate your level of pride versus humility (Proverbs 27:9).
- If you have pride in an area that has been extremely hard to break, confess that sin to a trusted friend and ask for accountability (James 5:16).
- Confess to God your prideful ways (James 4:10).
Don’t beat yourself up too much. We all have something in the area of pride that needs work. Maybe you just start by washing someone else’s feet.
Father God, thank you that you love us and that you are willing to meet us where we are. We are so grateful that underneath our pride, you can see the real us. Deal with us in the areas that need to be dealt with. We pray boldly for release in any area that only plays into our pride and we cry out for situations that humble us. We want to be more Christ-like in this area, so do what you need to do Lord so there is less of us and more of you! Amen
Founder, Transforming Love Ministries
Creator, She Steps Forward Women’s Conference
For more of Elaine’s story, you can find Love Echoed Back: I Cried Out; He Answered on amazon.com.
Please note all scripture references taken from the NLT.
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.