There are places where we like pride in life. We take pride in our work or our family. It is taking satisfaction in something, which is a healthy thing.
Then there is destructive pride. This pride is improper, excessive self-esteem; an attitude problem; looking at others and boasting self; arrogance; Saying, “I don’t need anyone else, I can do it all by myself.”
“Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.” – Proverbs 16:18
Pride is like a weed in a garden that steals the nutrients from the plant. Let’s say God were to give us something to help us grow. It is pride that comes in and takes it and destroys it. In the mean time, pride is choking off our growth and making itself bigger. Pride makes us look much better than we are and makes God look insignificant or irrelevant.
How can we avoid getting taken down by pride? The answer lies in the direction of someone’s life; in doing things God’s way. A G.P.S. is a device that most people (not me) have in their cars to aid in navigation. This can be helpful in unfamiliar terrain.
What would happen if we applied this to the direction of our life and used God’s G.P.S. for navigation?
G- Give up Control
“Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.” – Proverbs 16:3
Every day we wake up with, at the very least, a general idea for what that day will look like. Have you ever thought about committing your plans to the Lord? When we do a few things happen.
For one, it makes us check our motives. I mean who wants to go to God with their sinful, selfish plan to ask for His blessing? It also causes us to really think about what we are planning. Free time isn’t inherently evil, but even in free time there needs to be some sort of destination. The other thing committing plans to the Lord does is in verse 9.
“In the heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps.” Proverbs 16:9
In other words, it gives full rights to God for redirection of plans. It is like going to God with the plan for the day and asking, “God, is there anything I am not planning on doing that I should be doing?”
P- Pay Attention to Influence
“The highway of the upright avoids evil; he who guards his way guards his life.” Proverbs 16:17
Influence is an important thing to pay attention to because influence, well, influences us. Influence directs us toward something, usually something that feeds that pride.
A picture of a highway means we are going somewhere. Upright people are those who follow God; upright people avoid evil. That means paying attention to what is influencing us. That means making the hard decisions to avoid evil and not dabbling in it. Is that music evil? Is that movie evil? If it is, why are we watching it?
We avoid sin by letting God be the only influence of significance in our life. He who guards his way guards his life.
S- Study the Truth
This one ties them all together because it is where the direction is found for the other two.
“Understanding is a fountain of life to those who have it, but folly brings punishment to fools.” Proverbs 16:22
There is protection in knowing and living the truth. The truth is found in God’s Word. Culturally speaking we are told to do whatever makes us happy. We might have people who would tell us that we cannot tell them not to kill someone, or steal from someone because that makes them happy.
Is happiness really the definition of truth? Happiness is not something that is found; it is given as we walk in truth. Knowing right and wrong will bring us protection. Sexual promiscuity, glamorized on television, leads to diseases, heartaches and regrets. Drugs and alcohol appear to make people the life of the party, but they also kill the body. Lying to friends or family might get us out of an uncomfortable scenario we are in, but it still leaves some guilt and fear that we might be discovered in our lie.
Why do we have laws about not murdering? Why is stealing, or hurting people wrong? There is a moral standard that says, this is right and that is not. We have it in God’s Word. That is where truth for our lives comes from and where we come to reality with our sin and need for a savior. It is there that we come to the realization that we are not God, which then makes us look for the one who is.
Pride leads to destruction because pride promotes us to lord of our life without the proper credentials to do it. We aren’t and were never intended to be in charge of it all. God is our direction.
It might be time to recalculate the direction of your life. Are you willing to let God direct you? Giving up control recognizes that you are not the boss. Paying attention to influence helps you weed out the negative voices that attempt to lead you away from God. Studying the truth provides for you a stronger foundation to know what is right and wrong; thereby knowing God in a more personal way.
Part with pride. It will not fulfill what it promises for you.