Do I Have Hidden Pride?

“A man’s pride will bring him low, but a humble spirit will obtain honor.”

Proverbs 29:23 (NASB)

We all know what blatant pride looks like: that person who brags about everything he has or does, or the person who says she is too good to do a menial task. But what about the people who are too proud to ask for help, disguised behind the mask of service? There are many people who are true servants to others; you know them as the ones who are always first in line to help, whether it’s making a meal for a grieving family, cleaning the church grounds, or serving in a volunteer position. While we acknowledge that service is a humble action, often the greatest servants are plagued with not being able to ask for help for themselves. This is a hidden pride, and as Proverbs 29:23 indicates, it is a danger to bringing a person low. When we choose not to accept help, it is like being “wise in our own eyes” (Proverbs 26:12), and in turn we suffer in a situation AND we rob others of the joy of helping us.

The apostle Peter provides a great example of hidden pride. In John 13, Jesus begins washing the disciples’ feet, and when he gets to Peter, Peter objects, exclaiming “You shall never wash my feet!” (v.8). After Jesus explains to him that he must do it to be clean, Peter then demands that his master, Jesus, to wash his whole body. Peter thought he was being humble in telling the Lord not to help him, and then he actually told the Lord what to do in washing his whole body, all of which placed him above his master. This was not a humble action, and illustrates how we can think we are being humble when we are actually pridefully taking control of a situation.

Commentator David Guzik explains Peter’s actions from  John 13:

“Sometimes we show a servant’s heart by accepting the service of others for us. If we only serve, and refuse to be served, it can be a sign of deeply rooted and well-hidden pride.” He goes on to quote William Temple: “Man’s humility does not begin with the giving of service; it begins with the readiness to receive it. For there can be much pride and condescension in our giving of service.”

If you are a servant who has a hard time asking for or accepting help or generosity from others, prayerfully consider what makes it so hard for you to do this.

Some good questions from the Solomon Says study that may help you are:

Do you feel the need to control everything? Do you doubt God can handle any situation you encounter? If so, see Colossians 1:15-17 and Luke 1:37.

Do you tend to compare yourself to others, causing arrogance, jealousy or anger? If so, see Philippians 2:3-4 and Matthew 7:3-5.

Let go of your hidden pride and accept the generosity of others, remembering that humility, and in turn, honor come equally from giving and from receiving.

 

Listeners, Criers, Treasure Hunters

“My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding — indeed, if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God.” Proverbs 2:1-5

If you had to sum up the book of Proverbs in two words it would be, “Get wisdom.” With wisdom, decisions are made on sure ground. And, who doesn’t want to make good decisions? But how do we get godly wisdom to make those decisions? According to Proverbs 2:1-5, there are definite steps we can take:

Accept the words and store up the commands of wise and godly counselors. When we hear God’s word, we can hide it in our heart as Psalm 119:11 commands. We also have to be humble enough to admit we do not know all the answers and ask the help of someone with a better understanding. It’s so easy to research just about any topic on the Internet, but consider how much better it can be talking with a live person. God made people to be with people. Don’t let stubbornness and pride ruin your opportunity to become better and connect with others.

Listen for wisdom. The idea of “turning your ear” evokes an image of attentiveness or leaning in to hear something. I love this image of active listening – imagine your friend is whispering something to you and you have to lean your head close to hear what she is saying. That’s intent listening! As you read your Bible today, read it with purpose – really consider the words before you.

Apply your heart for understanding. Knowledge itself is not enough; we should not simply settle for knowing something. We must put what we learn into practice. As Mark Twain once said, “Action speaks louder than words but not nearly as often.”

Call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding. We must call out to God in prayer for wisdom, asking him to show us where we fall short in any area of our lives in which we lack understanding. When children fall down and scrape their knee, they sometimes cry aloud, partly because it hurts and partly because they instinctively know they have to cry for help. Somehow we lose that humility as we grow into adulthood, but let’s aim to be humble and ask for help. God wants his people to cry out to him. As Psalm 61 reminds us, he is ready to listen and to help.

From the ends of the earth,
    I cry to you for help
    when my heart is overwhelmed.
Lead me to the towering rock of safety,
     for you are my safe refuge,
    a fortress where my enemies cannot reach me.
 Let me live forever in your sanctuary,
    safe beneath the shelter of your wings!

Psalm 61:2-4 (NLT)

Search for it as for hidden treasure. We should view wisdom as a treasure and actively seek it by searching our hearts to see where we fall short, studying and praying God’s word and talking with godly people.

All of the ways we seek wisdom are active – wisdom doesn’t just come to us. The search for wisdom may sound like an exhausting and never-ending pursuit, but think about what treasure you will gain from it! This ardent treasure hunt will result in the greatest bounty of all – a victorious life in Christ. Beginning today, join me in becoming a listener, crier and treasure hunter!

Welcome, Resolution Writers!

Our lives are built on one decision after another, and as we enter a new year regardless of what we’ve done in the past, we can press on to a victorious future by living the way God intended. If you’re like me, you’ve probably thought about what you want this next year to look like in your life. There’s just something about the calendar page turning to a new year, the idea of new possibilities, the idea of change, the idea of newness, that makes us more introspective and hopeful.

If you are a resolution writer, I hope one of your resolutions is to grow closer to God. That is the best decision you could ever make.

Several years ago, God placed the idea of writing a Bible study on my heart, and in obedience, even though it took me a long time to finish, I have written that study. The study, Solomon Says: Godly Counsel for Victorious Living, is meant to help us understand the behavior God desires to see in us, his people, and it provides us with the tools to understand where we are lacking in righteousness and how we can do better.

Through this blog site, I hope to encourage you to live your best, finding wisdom through the book of Proverbs. Join me at this site each week for a devotion on a specific proverb or a thought on a topic from the study.  Occasionally extra resources that go with the study will be available here as well.

May God bless you as we begin journeying through the book of Proverbs together and learn to turn over a new leaf in 2017.