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Avoid the pitfalls of pride

Many people agree that totally immersing themselves in a culture is the best way to learn, think, and behave like the people around them. Surrounding yourself in that way certainly is effective, but that can work for bad as well as for good. Worldly cultures are steeped in pride, and as Christians living in the world, we must be careful not to let pride affect how we think. To avoid the pitfalls, we must be constantly on guard not to let it creep into our attitudes.

In the Old Testament, we see one of the most obvious examples of pride in the conversations between Moses and Pharaoh. When God told Moses to deliver his message to Pharaoh, Moses humbly followed his commandments. “Now the man Moses was very humble, more than all men who were on the face of the earth” (Numbers 12:3, NKJV). Pharaoh, however, didn’t know God and didn’t want to know him. “And Pharaoh said, who is the Lord, that I should obey his voice to let Israel go? I know not the Lord, neither will I let Israel go” (Exodus 5:2). Pharaoh saw himself as his own god, and put his own interests first until God destroyed him.

We can see examples today of the same kind of pride, arrogance, and self-centered behavior. As human beings, it’s tempting to let ourselves be influenced by these attitudes, but Jesus, who went through the same temptations, is our perfect example. “For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15, NKJV). We can have faith that his unmerited favor toward us will keep us untainted by these spirits when we feel them tugging at our heart and mind.

The world rewards proud attitudes because it doesn’t know the word of God. To spread Christ’s influence everywhere we go, we need to trust in him and not let ourselves be corrupted by outside influences. “Blessed is that man that maketh the Lord his trust, and respecteth not the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies” (Psalm 40:4). It’s not always easy, but we can rely on the Holy Spirit to point out dangers to our attitudes as they arise.

Pride can blind us to things God is trying to show us, and make us deaf to what he tells us. It can cause us to focus on our own perceived righteousness apart from him. Putting ourselves first over others by thinking too highly of ourselves short-circuits us as believers. “For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith” (Romans 12:3).

All around us, there are people who are lost, hurting, and need the truth of the gospel to bring them hope. We bring it to them not just by what we say, but what we do. We’re the light in a dark world. “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 5:14, 16). For our light to shine its brightest, we must humbly pattern ourselves after Christ.

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