We are approaching the holiest day of the year for Christians. We honor this day because the most selfless man in history, who is also God, gave His life for us. He taught us about humility and servant leadership by complying with all the father asked of Him. So naturally, I want to be like Him, but find that my humanity and pride get in the way.
We all suffer from some form of Pride. I have written on each page of my journal, “Think of yourself less”. I do that because my goal is to be selfless. Even though I know it is impossible to be totally selfless, I thought it a noble goal that I need to remind myself of. Now understand, I didn’t say “think less of myself” or “think more of myself.” I said, “think of myself less.” There is a dramatic difference. (Try not thinking of yourself for five minutes…then half hour….then an hour. It is hard and may take months to accomplish.)
Jesus said to love your neighbor as yourself. I believe he doesn’t want us to discount ourselves because we are made in the image of God and we have gifts, uniqueness and a special purpose for being here. We also should not think too much of ourselves because that is a form of pride. C.S. Lewis explains this best in Mere Christianity. You see, Pride is one of those sins that is despised by most. Yet, Lewis says the more we have it ourselves, the more we dislike it in others and the more unconscious we are of having it. “It is through Pride that the devil became the devil: Pride leads to every other vice: it is the complete anti-God state of mind,” says Lewis.
If we are living for eternity and want to leave a Christian Family Legacy that has eternal impact, we need to find a way to identify Pride in ourselves.
When you are proud, it is hard to believe that you know God. Allow me to explain. It is not Pride if you have a lot of wealth or are beautiful or clever or CEO of a company. It is Pride when you want to be richer or cleverer or better looking than others. Pride is essentially competitive. Power is what the Proud really enjoy. Pride is probably the chief cause of misery in every nation and every family since the world began. If you want your family to be strong, secure and intact, you will need to deal with your pride. Nothing can be done to help your family understand humility and servant leadership more than denying your own Pride. Lewis says, “If you think you are not conceited, it means you are very conceited indeed.”
Misconceptions about pride:
1. Taking pleasure in being praised is not Pride.
The pleasure here does not lie in what you are but in the fact that you have pleased someone you wanted to please. Don’t continue the thought by saying to yourself, “What a wonderful person I must be to have done that.” You fail miserably when you look down on others so much that you do not care what they think of you.
2. To admire a person, a school or a business is not Pride.
Though be careful that your admiration and love is second to your admiration and love of the Lord.
3. God’s love can humble you
God wants you to know Him, converse with Him and have a relationship with Him. If you do, you will be humbled by Him and His love. He hates it when we pose and posture ourselves and create false identities so that people will look at us admirably or think we are something special.
4. Being proud of our humility is still pride.
This point could be the most important. When you come to meet a humble man or woman, they will not be pounding their chest and disclosing their utter uselessness. They will not be thinking about humility at all: they will not be thinking of themselves at all! Which brings me back to the beginning: thinking of yourself less is a method of diminishing the Pride in yourself. This may be one of the most important messages that can learn and one that every child needs to hear and practice. This may be the center of Christian morals.
One final point: How is it that people who are quite obviously eaten up with Pride can say they believe in God and appear to themselves very religious? Lewis says that they are worshiping an imaginary God. He says, “They pay a pennyworth of imaginary humility to Him and get out of it a pound’s worth of Pride towards their fellow-men.”
Here is the test:
“Whenever we find that our religious life is making us feel that we are good—above all, that we are better than someone else—I think we may be sure that we are being acted on, not by God, but by the devil.”
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By Joe Sturniolo
Christian Family Legacy and Wealth Planning
Joe believes that stronger families are the vehicle God uses to bring about significant impact for His Kingdom.