Prov. 16:18 Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before a fall.
Prov. 26:18 ‘And after all this, if you do not obey Me, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins.19 I will break the pride of your power; I will make your heavens like iron and your earth like bronze.20 And your strength shall be spent in vain; for your land shall not yield its produce, nor shall the trees of the land yield their fruit.
Pride is something I’ve pretty much always avoided talking about. It’s not that I think I am so proud and dare not discuss it. Rather I know that I am like most humans and have a natural tendency toward pride from time to time. We generally do some small bit of exulting when we do well, because really we know we are not all that great. We feel good when we accomplish something. The real problem comes when it gets out of balance and we don’t exult in others when they do well or when we don’t give space for them to do well. And that is the point I wish to discuss today.
Leviticus is kind of scary on this subject. God must always be first. God is love and when we keep Him first we love well. When God is not first we love poorly and slip into different kinds of destruction, one being pride. When we walk in God’s Love as we should, God’s Holy Spirit rains on us and we produce the fruit of the Spirit and the anointing of the Spirit flows through us upon others. The peace of God falls upon us, we praise and honor God and rejoice in Him.
When we get off track and give ourselves the credit justly due to God, Leviticus says God will break the pride of our power and life gets hard around us. We know that life around us can be hard anyway. So, the idea that God would make life harder when we take honor upon ourselves is just scary. But the truth is that we humans do it to some degree all the time.
One area I am thinking of this morning is that of churches and leadership. The world teaches us that leaders are supposed to be better than others. Certainly, leaders need to be accomplished to some degree in order to be able to lead others somewhere. Too often I have seen this taken to the point of control. If we control who serves around us and only allow ministry to those who won’t in our opinion do better than us, then we can maintain our position of leadership. If we just don't give opportunities to others to grow, we can prevent them from possibly doing better than us. This is an issue of pride and fear. Keeping this attitude will make life hard around us. It will also make life difficult for those seeking to mature and gain experience in their Spiritual giftings. And that doesn’t please God who loves us all and wants all of us to be released into the fullness of our callings.
Speaking practically, men do this to women, and then women do it to each other. Men and women who believe that only men are to be leaders and teachers or preachers often become inwardly furious when they see women besting them in some area of church leadership. So, they begin to work to prevent and control these women. Pastors and church leaders will do this when they watch someone preaching a better sermon or teaching better. They feel that their position of superiority is being challenged. So, they simply will refuse to honor or encourage that person in those things giving them fewer opportunities. This is the ugly side of pride. And we will sense the heavens becoming like a wall of iron and the earth like a wall of bronze in being immovable. We will be stuck and either go backwards or simply not move forward.
One of the errors in this is thinking that in order to serve well leaders must do better than those around them. In general they should have a certain degree of competency. Men who think men must be leaders, think they must know more than women. Really men just need to give their strengths, whatever they are, to serving those around them. Being concerned over who is doing better than whom is not an option. In this way anointed leaders can allow themselves to be ministered to by whomever God sends. The best leader releases those around them into ministry and service so much so that eventually he or she will be surpassed in excellence from time to time. This has the potential to blossom into amazing Spiritual ministry and growth.
But pride will stop it all, pitting one against another, shutting down the wind of God’s Spirit. Let us instead concentrate on opening doors for others to do well and rejoicing with them when they do. So, if you suddenly get a lot of bananas, share some. :)