The Bible has not much good to say about human pride.
Of course, not all forms of pride are bad. There’s nothing wrong with a painter taking ‘pride in his work,’ or a father who is proud of his son when the child accomplishes a difficult job.
But the selfish kind of pride, the pride that wants to elevate itself above others and believes it is better than the person next door, is a formidable enemy we should not underestimate. It’s the disease that transformed the archangel into the devil, and it has caused many a good man to fall.
And in truth, we all have a touch of the disease. Therefore, we would do well to be on guard.
There is a funny story that illustrates the senselessness of pride. The story tells of two ducks and their dear friend the frog living in a delightful pond in the lush garden. However, the land was hit by a terrible drought, and soon the water in the pond dried up. There was only one thing left to do. They had to move.
“No problem,” said the ducks. “We can just fly to another pond where the drought hasn’t hit.” But the frog scratched his green head and mumbled that he couldn’t fly. The ducks shook their beaks and realized they had forgotten about that. What could they do to save their dear friend?
They discussed the problem at length and a solution was found. The ducks would take a wooden stick between the two of them and press it together in between their beaks. The frog would hold on to the stick with his mouth and thus they could fly together to the next pond.
It was a splendid idea. Soon the two ducks flew high in the sky, holding the stick with the dangling frog.
When they flew over a field a farmer looked up, amazed by what he saw.
“What an ingenious idea,” he called out. “Look at that! Whoever thought of that must have been a genius. I wonder who was that smart?”
When the frog heard the praise of the farmer he was beaming all over with pride and felt compelled to let the farmer know who had been that smart. “It was me,” he cried out.
“It was mé
The ducks could never retrieve the body of their dead friend.
It is the inborn nature of man to want to get the glory. It’s really the way of the world. If you can show you are better, smarter, brighter or more powerful than the other person, you will also have the better chance. You have more respect, get the better jobs, and earn more than the losers around you.
But it is an empty victory. The Bible compares these empty victories to the wood, hay, and stubble. When the fire of truth comes around these things have no chance and are burned up. All that is left in such a case are the ashes of self-pity.
Somebody once asked Winston Churchill if he wasn’t tickled pink that he was so famous. “Imagine that,” a lady said, “half of England is listening to your speeches with bated breath.”
His answer was revealing. “I am afraid, madam, that all of England will watch my crucifixion if I fail in helping England through our present crisis.”
Jesus shows us the better way. He said, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.”
God’s way differs greatly from the way of the world. In God’s Kingdom humility, meekness and love are the values that are being praised and are sought after. In the Kingdom of the future is no place for selfishness and pride.
God wants us to develop our talents, and He wants us to make progress, but why do we do it? Are we living to serve God and His love, or do we base everything we do on a desire to elevate ourselves and to add to our own success?
The problem with following our own carnal nature is that it prevents us from hearing the gentle voice of God. Other voices will soon take its place. Voices that promise us the world, but will lead us to dark roads surrounded by thorn bushes and thistles.
Rather, follow the voice of the Good Shepherd who laid down His life for the sheep and did not care about a glorious name or riches and ease, but whose whole ministry was built on the humility of the purest kind, the humility of God.