By: Timothy Spurgeon, Resonate Pullman
The running joke in my community is that I will walk until my feet bleed before I ask for a ride. It will be midnight thirty and I will jump up, bid everyone a good night and bounce before someone can offer me a ride home. I hate asking for help. I am independent, raised to not need anyone but myself. Funny thing is however, even I am not reliable. I cannot trust myself to keep to the schedules I create or to remember simple tasks. When I mess up, the inner critic in me berates every decision I make and every fault I have. I do not let myself off the hook. Pride grips me in ways I did not even realize.
My pride walks with a strut, telling me I am better than other people. My pride expects perfection then tells me I am a failure when I do not meet that impossible standard. My pride pushes me deeper into the lie that it is my problem, my responsibility to find the solution. My pride projects my standards on other people. My pride hinders my ability to be an effective disciple maker. Worst of all, my pride affects my relationship with Jesus. The grace offered in the cross however, accomplishes what pride has no intention of doing.
Pride keeps us from seeking out our Father.
When we are trapped in sin, we think “I am not THAT kind of person, I should be able to get myself out.” We battle and use our will power and of course, we fail. We continue to be trapped and frustrated with the outcome. “I’m better than this” is what we say to ourselves. Problem is, we are not better than that. Romans 3:23 says, “... for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” We were born into sin and have a sinful nature. Romans continues with verse 24 that says “and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” Grace says we are that kind of person, and Jesus is the kind of person to make us justified in front of the Father when we do not deserve it. We did not earn it, we weren’t the “kind of person” we think we need to be. We were sinners, and yet, God still died for us. Grace reminds us it is Christ that frees us. Therefore, we run to Him when we are trapped. We run to Him because we have nowhere else to go to find the gift of grace offered so freely.
Pride keeps us from extending a helping hand of grace to those around us.
As said above, all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. That means our friends, our leaders, our significant others- they all fall short. If we cannot show ourselves the grace God offers us, we will not hand off the gift given to us to those in our lives. We will continue to hold them to the same standards we have for ourselves and when they fail to meet those irrational and unrealistic expectations we will hold them to the same irrational consequences we think we deserve. We will berate them, shut them out, be disappointed, angry. They will have to pay for their shortcomings because that’s what they deserve.
Grace however, is extended to all. That means if you look like Christ, you too are called to “be merciful, even as your Father is merciful” (Luke 6:36). When you fully experience the grace given to you, you begin to see others as Christ sees you. My site pastor extends grace faster than anyone I know. I do not understand how he does it, but I aspire to be a leader who leads out with trust and grace as he does. Pride says “you owe me” while grace says “you’re forgiven.”
Pride keeps us from fulfilling our place in the mission of God
If we are trapped in sin and push people away, we are not looking like Jesus and we hinder the mission of God. How are we to display God's free grace in a world of earned love and forgiveness when our pride hinders us from needing a savior at all times. Matthew 5:13-16 discusses how we are the salt and light of the earth. How can we keep our saltiness and shine as a light if we are not extending the bright and savory grace that is offered to us? By living a life full of pride we are making everything about us and therefore not glorifying God and providing a way for the lost to see who Jesus is. If we do not walk in the grace given to us, we are telling people there is no need for the gospel, that we have it under control.
God though, being as sovereign as He is, will use our pride to bring glory to Himself. We are not designed to have life under control, we are not created to withstand this broken world without a savior. So, when we do decide to take control, everything will eventually fall apart around us. But God being rich in mercy, will continuously extend His hand. He will invite us back into His presence showing us His character with an immeasurable amount of patience that we do not deserve. Take it from someone that has swatted God’s hand away too many times to count: take His hand. Let Him help you up and bask in the grace that shines upon you from your loving Father.