We’re moving on to Part Three of our Sacrifice More series. Two weeks ago we covered Part One: Self-Sacrifice, and last week we touched on Part Two: A Sacrifice of Praise. Today we’ll be covering sacrificing pride, something not so easy to do in a world that celebrates selfies, finishing first, independence and life that is ‘all about me.’ *Hint* That’s not God’s design or desire for us.
Part Three: Sacrificing Pride
Everywhere you look, shameless self-promotion seems to be ‘in.’ A desperate cry to feel a sense of self-worth that always comes up short because we aren’t looking to the only One who can truly fill us. We all recognize an overt display of pridefulness (more easily in others than in ourselves), but I wanted to address a few of the more subtle ways it slips into our hearts if we aren’t prepared with the armor of God. We are taught through media, business, sports and beyond to be the best and be the first. It doesn’t matter who is hurt or what it takes in getting there, just don’t finish last. And anything other than first might as well be last.
Nowhere in the Bible are we told to be first. Or to strive to be the best. On the contrary, it says in everything put God first. Time and time again the Bible instructs us to make God the first priority in our lives, and by doing so He will crown our efforts with success. But the enemy is a tricky one. When he tells you something, he makes sure to include a fragment of the truth so we buy the lie, and we fall for it, hook, line and sinker.
God’s version (TLB): “In everything you do, put God first, and He will direct you and crown your efforts with success.” Proverbs 3:6
The enemy’s version: “In everything you do, put yourself first, and your efforts will be crowned with success.” The World 101
Which of us hasn’t bought that lie at some level in our lives?
(Image template provided by Freepik.com and adapted by Finding Our Feet).
You’ve probably read articles that in business you should do more and apologize less, at home you should put your family’s needs aside so you can take care of yourself, or a litany of other (mostly) well-meaning suggestions that have one common flaw. They all come back to ‘me’. If things are going to get better, if I’m going to make more money, be in better shape, be a better parent, spouse, enjoy single life more, be better at business, whatever it is…everything needs to focus on ‘me’. You won’t find a place in these articles for God and no place for the concern or care of others, because this world revolves around ‘me’. These influences are full of half-truths and as a result we connect with them. I know I’ve read, identified with and pinned articles like these. They make us feel like we are in control.
But everything, and yes I mean EVERYTHING, in our lives should have its foundation in Christ. There is no success without Him.
Let me qualify this for a moment. I’m not saying don’t take care of yourself or giving you a free pass to not work hard in all you do or even saying not to celebrate your triumphs or joys. This is where the half-truths try to trip us up. We are supposed to take care of ourselves, just not for ourselves, but for God. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 states:
- “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”
We’re also supposed to work hard in all we do, again not for ourselves, but for God and not at the expense of others. Colossians 3:23-24 implores:
- “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.”
And in giving glory to God, we can share our successes and failures, lifting one another up without being threatened by one another’s success. Roman 12:15 guides us to:
- “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.”
The two greatest commandments are to love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul and all your mind, and the second is to love your neighbor as yourself. Loving your neighbor as yourself implies that you will inherently love and care for yourself, but shows that we should love others with just as much care. Not as an afterthought. In order to carry out these two fundamental commandments, we must become adept at sacrificing pride.
God’s design and desire for us doesn’t involve comparing ourselves to one another, ranking our successes and failures against each other in the process. Doing so either fills us with pride and conceit, or when we realize we aren’t the best- full of shame and insecurity. No wonder less than four percent of women in the world consider themselves beautiful or divorce and suicide rates are on the rise. Looking at social media you wouldn’t think that statistic could be true, but if we take a moment to look at our own insecurities, four percent seems high. If we looked to God for our source of self-worth, there wouldn’t be such a disparity. But instead we continue to exalt ourselves in an attempt to fill that void, leaving this world aching for a sense of power and self-worth that is always just outside of our grasp. If we continue to exalt ourselves, we will continue to be humbled. If we humble ourselves, in time, we will be exalted.
God first, then others, then ourselves.
- Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other. Galatians 5:26
- Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Romans 12:10
- God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble. 1 Peter 5:5
- Whoever wants to be My disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow Me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for Me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Matthew 16:24-26
Let that last one sink in for a moment. The key to sacrificing pride is making sure our actions and intentions are Christ-centered. Ask yourself if your goals are honoring to yourself or to God? If it’s the latter, success, happiness, and true fulfillment will follow.
Is sacrificing pride easy or difficult for you? What do you have to lose if you let go of your pride? What do you have to gain?