Someone once said that the letters in the word ego stand for “Edging God Out.” Ego and pride are considered virtues by many in the world today. People are advised, “Be proud of yourself” or “Take pride in your work.” The slovenly are asked, “Where is your pride?” Calling someone “a proud man” is considered a compliment. However, the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God, and pride has no place in the lives of those who are striving to be like Jesus.
Without a doubt the Lord Jesus Christ was the greatest man who ever lived, and yet he described himself as meek and lowly in heart, or, as the NIV says, gentle and humble. Paul advises believers, “Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering.”
Often pride and arrogance are found in those who are least qualified to exhibit these traits. The fellow with the smallest mind is the one who is usually most willing to give someone a piece of it. There is a saying that a man wrapped up in himself makes a very small package. Some might ask, isn’t some pride a good thing? The reason we should not be proud is because whatever we have has been given to us by our Heavenly Father. Paul asks, “For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?” Our life, abilities, looks and health are all gifts from God. How can we be puffed up, proud and filled with ego for something that has been given to us? Since what we possess is really only being lent to us by our Heavenly Father to see what we do with His good gifts, then we should thank Him for what we have and try to use it to bring glory and honor to His name.
Proverbs tells us that first on the list of the things that God hates is a proud look. Why is a little pride so bad? The Psalmist explains, “The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God. God is not in all his thoughts.” If we are proud of ourselves, then we are not thinking about God, thanking Him for what He has given us, or giving Him the glory for our accomplishments. We are shutting God out of our lives. The wise man Solomon said, “The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate.” He also said, “When pride cometh, then cometh shame: but with the lowly is wisdom.” Pride should have no place in our lives. Proverbs tells us, “Everyone that is proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD.” If the Lord Jesus was not proud, and he was a man who had more to boast about than any man who ever lived, we should certainly not boast. But rather thank God for what we have and try to use the gifts He has given to us to serve Him.
Today young people are very conscious of what they wear. Peter gives all of us good advice on this subject when he says, “All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.’ Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time.”
Having God in our thoughts will make us humble and thankful, but never proud or boastful.We need to realize, as Job tells us, that the LORD gives and He takes away, and blessed is His name. Everything we have comes from God. David, a man after God’s own heart, prayed, “Now, our God, we give you thanks, and praise your glorious name. But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this? Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand.” Let us be thankful to God for all He has given us. Let us recognize ego and pride as evils to be avoided, for as Solomon said, “When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.”
Robert J. Lloyd