“Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to be great among you must be your servant.”
—Matthew 20:26 (NIV)
Once again the Lord asks me to write about something I’d rather not. That very statement shows my prideful, disobedient streak. You see… I want to write about what I want to write about; do what I want to do; go where I want to go, and spend my time the way I want to spend my time. Not write about what He wants. Or do what He wants. Go where He says, and so on. Maybe you feel the same way, too.
This ongoing business of humbling a prideful heart is a painful one. It feels endless. Just when you think you’ve been brought low and shown the error of your thinking—you start to feel proud about your understanding. Help!
The Scriptures make clear that God hates (yes, hates) pride in a person (Proverbs 8:13). It places the focus on us rather than on God—fatal, faulty ground for growth. Pride traces its roots back to Satan’s ousting from Heaven and man’s rebellion in the garden. A stubborn flaw that persists today. And we can be so deluded in even recognizing this ugliness in ourselves. The problem is…it’s subtle. I mean, if we’re not parading about like Dennis Rodman, then we probably don’t have a pride problem, do we?
Well, like I said, it comes down to the little everyday decisions we make about how we spend our time, our talents, and our treasures. What motivates us?
I’m currently being given a lesson in pride as I do editing work for a national ministry. I read and tweak other people’s writings for the Lord. Dealing in commas, semicolons, quotation marks, and verb tense is fine-tooth comb stuff. Completely invisible to the reader, but essential, too. All the while I’m re-writing other people’s sentences, I’m thinking: “I want MY WRITING to have a larger audience! I can do this, Lord. Enough humble training. I’m getting old here!”
Then I remember Jesus washing the disciples’ feet. Him carrying the cross. Touching lepers. How He said He came not to be served, but to serve (Matthew 20:28).
OK! OK! I get it. Grudgingly I pick up my highlighter pen and start proofreading again. But do I really get it? Not until He says I get it do I get it. Got it? It doesn’t matter what I say. My thinking is skewed, my motives are mixed, and my pride is not extinguished.
Dear readers, we do not see ourselves clearly. Trying to have a God’s-eye view of ourselves is always a stretch. But a necessary one.
So, as I continue being faithful in the small, humbling details of whatever writing work God places before me (dashes and hyphens), I will try to practice patience. Another character lesson in the making and another blog topic.
Thanks for bearing with this prideful (yet humble) blogger. I do appreciate whatever audience God gives me at this time.