You’ve been a Christian for years and yet you still feel like you aren’t any closer to experiencing a true life with God. Why is this?
The biggest barrier to progress is something that is embedded very deeply in our human nature: pride. Pride is so close that we might not even realize how much of what we do throughout the day is motivated by it.
But we can recognize pride when we think that we know better ourselves than what is clearly written in God’s Word. When we find ourselves more concerned about defending what people think about us than with the truth about ourselves. When we wonder if people think less of us than we “deserve.” We are overflowing with love of self.
This is why it is incredibly important for us to realize that God can’t do anything with us until we coincide with him with our own free will. We need to drop our pride, and with it our own thoughts of what is best, and listen for God’s voice in our lives. If we do this, truly and with our whole hearts, we will hear that the Holy Spirit teaches us to be lowly in our own eyes, (Romans 12:6). He teaches us to have a mind to serve, not to be served. He teaches us to make our own will and desires disappear, instead of always expecting something from the others. Christianity is to give; sin is to demand.
Think of the biggest role models you have in your Christian life; the ones whom you have experienced goodness and love from. How can they have it like this when you continue to struggle to show love to the others, especially to people who haven’t been particularly kind to you? It is because they conduct themselves in humility, and, in that humility, God can work with them to do His will.
How do I know when I am giving in to my pride? I can tell when I choose not to give encouragement to others. I avoid speaking openly and honestly with others because I let myself feel irritated and restless when I am around them. I don’t rejoice when something goes well with my friends or family, and instead give in to the feelings of jealousy that swirl up within me. I don’t experience true friendship and fellowship because I feel that I already have all the answers I need.
In short, I know I am full of pride when I continue to rely on my own feelings, experiences and emotions to lead my life, instead of finding the role God wants me to play.
As Christians, it is incredibly important for us to recognize our need. If we don’t feel that we need God in our life, there is no way to let Him steer us. Without a need, we become satisfied and content with what we have done. Instead of being watchful and vigilant against sin, we let things slide.
A war against “I,” “me” and “mine”
We must be preserved in this need against our own pride! Don’t let your “I,” “me” and “mine” rule your life! When we serve ourselves first and last, we miss out on an eternally greater glory that comes from serving God. Choosing instead to serve God in full humility brings the fruits of the spirit: love, joy, peace, goodness and all that allows us to live lives fitting of Christians here on earth. Then, and only then, can we feel that we are taking steps to come closer to our heavenly calling.
How is it going to be with me tomorrow, next week, next month, next year? That is for me to decide: whether I choose to obey God’s leading and live in humility – or to give in to my pride.