is like gold - precious and in short supply.
like to overstate our smallest achievements and compare
our statistical successes. We display every possible
credential - actual, anticipated, earned or
honorary - and we are quietly pleased with our
service and sacrifice, which we mention
periodically. We drop the names of "important"
people we are acquainted with, we introduce ourselves
with titles (Pastor, Reverend, Dr, etc) and our email
tag-lines are often self-promoting.
rarely call our penchant for titles, achievements,
awards, and credentials for what it is - pride. Society
has sanitized pride and made it acceptable grist for
daily conversation. "Greatness" should not be hid in
a box. If we don't promote ourselves, who
a ton of pride is not worth an ounce of genuine
Merton wrote: "It is almost impossible to overestimate
the value of true humility and its power in the
spiritual life. For the beginning of humility is the
beginning of blessedness and the consummation of
humility is the perfection of all joy.... Humility alone
can destroy the self-centeredness that makes joy
Tozer wrote of "the hyphenated sins of the human spirit
... self-righteousness, self-confidence,
self-sufficiency, self-admiration, and a host of others
like them." He, too, was aware of the need for radical
and painful surgery in all our hearts, so that joy may
be truly possible.
course, few of us will admit to being proud. But all the
signals betray us - insisting on special treatment,
"flashing our anointing", subtle boasting about where
we've been and what we've done, displaying our degrees,
or casually describing our business or family "success."
And the stealthy grip of pride entwines our hearts like
a vine overtaking a tree.
notion of spiritual poverty, of emptiness, of
desolation, and of total abandonment is
Who buys broken vases? Who wants "damaged goods"? Surely
our task is to scrub up, polish up, and shine up the
outside so that someone will buy it. And all
the while we are blind to the Someone who has already
the real source of my pride is not my accomplishments
but my distance from the Father. Pride is the default of
the heart that is distant from Christ. And my reluctance
to embrace emptiness simply makes me fill my speech and
heart with words of superficial self-affirmation, in the
hope that you might parrot back to me the worth I'm
groping for (cf. Phil 2.5-8).
truth, the further I drift from Christ, the more full of
myself I become. It's the litmus test for each of us.
Tragically, this self-fulfillment (fullness of oneself
by onself) produces the most devastating of all
solution to pride is not to do less or try less but to
draw closer to Him. We deal with pride by
dropping our need to be impressive and embracing
the very poverty for which Christ died.
in this poverty we discover the greatest riches of the
Kingdom (Matt 5.3).
we venture into this emptiness that we might actually
experience spiritual fullness ... for ourselves and
those we lead.