BIBLE STORY: King Uzziah enters the Temple. (2nd Chronicles 26)
BIBLE VERSE: “But those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” Matthew 23:12 (NLT)
Pride is unique in that it attacks us at the best times of our lives. Pride slips in when we have closed the big deal. Pride shows up after the big win. Pride comes gift wrapped in success. But, if we let pride take hold, it can lead us to the worst times of our lives. Pride removes our ability to listen to advice.
It lessens our natural warnings about consequences. It makes us see ourselves as different from others, deserving of special treatment and able to make our own rules. Once that happens, it is only a matter of time before we fall. And the prouder we become, the more destructive and dangerous the fall will be.
King Uzziah’s fall was devastating. He was a famous and powerful King, who destroyed enemy armies and towns, and had success at everything he touched. Because of pride he became an infected outcast, quarantined and living in isolation, unable to continue ruling the nation. All this was caused by pride. Uzziah thought he could ignore the rules. He did not listen to advice. He thought he was above that. Our only defense from pride is humility.
But, not the false humility that we see so often in people who use self-deprecating remarks as a way of begging a compliment from others. Behavior like this gives humility a bad reputation. We think of it as downplaying our skills. Or, we see it as passing up credit that we deserve. But, true humility is actually about truth. If we are honest about our abilities and about God, who gives them to us, we will not become proud, but thankful.
It is when we start to claim ownership of our skills and celebrate our victories as coming from our own cleverness and power that we start to become victims of pride. Don’t falsely downplay or insult yourself to seem humble. Do and be your best. Give thanks to God. And, remember that you are never above listening to warnings and advice from others. Especially if those giving the warnings are people who follow God.