How do you guard yourself from becoming proud?
“See, I will make you small among the nations; you will be utterly despised. The pride of your heart has deceived you, you who live in the clefts of the rocks and make your home on the heights, you who say to yourself, “Who can bring me down to the ground?” Though you soar like the eagle and make your nest among the stars, from there I will bring you down,” declares the Lord." Obadiah 1:2-4 NIV
In the 1980’s, Tancredo Neves ran for the presidency of Brazil. He arrogantly declared that if he got 500,000 votes from his own party, not even God would be able to stop him from becoming the president. Neves won the election but one day later got sick and died. J. Michael Shannon commented that “There is no way to know if God accepted his challenge, but what we can know for sure is that human beings ought not to make such bold, arrogant pronouncements. Remember the Titanic. People said God couldn’t sink it, but it sank on its maiden voyage.”
[Preaching.com, Knight’s Master Book of New Illustrations]
The stories of Tancredo Neves and the Titanic bring to mind the story of the Edomites. The prophet, Obadiah, wrote about the prideful arrogance of this nation. In this very short book of the Bible, Obadiah prophesied how their pride predicted their future. Read the above Scripture focus or even the whole book of Obadiah.
What do you do to guard yourself from becoming proud? How can you be sure that pride will not lead to your downfall? Please note 4 WAYS TO AVOID BEING PROUD.
- Don’t ignore or forget that God hates pride. The Edomites became a powerful, ruthless, ungodly nation. God said He was going to make this swelled-headed nation become small and despised. You need God’s blessing on your life rather than God’s The Bible says, “The Lord detests all the proud of heart. Be sure of this: they will not go unpunished.” [Proverbs 16:5] God is your Creator and has a wonderful plan for your life. To discover this divine plan, you must worship Him and have a reverential fear of Him. You do not want God opposing you but instead blessing you. The Bible says, “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” [1 Peter 5:7] See also Proverbs 8:13.
- Don’t be deceived by your heart. The Edomites deceived themselves. Just like the Nazis, they believed they were a superior people. The Bible says, “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” [Jeremiah 17:9] Guard yourself against self- Your heart can easily lead you to think more highly of yourself than what is true. You can easily tell yourself lies. People justify their wrong behavior all the time. Guard yourself from believing everything you say about yourself. Let God tell you who you are. He will give you a confident self-identity that will make you complete.
- Don’t believe you are unbeatable or unstoppable. The Edomites lived in mountainous caves. Because they lived high above other people, they were able to observe an approaching enemy and then fight them off. They acted like they were invincible. You are not bulletproof. Someone can exceed you. You can be outrun. Someone will come along who is more superior than you are. The Bible says, “When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.” [Proverbs 11:2] Pride will bring any man down in due time.
- Don’t believe your present success guarantees your future success. Obadiah pictured the Edomites being like a soaring eagle whose nest was very high The eagle dominates the skies. The Edomites appeared as if they had it made. That is so untrue. Life can change so quickly. There is always something that can bring you down. You may be soaring like an eagle but watch out for the hunters.
Hudson Taylor was a missionary to China in the 1800’s for over 50 years. He founded the China Inland Mission. In his day, he was like an Old Testament Elijah and a New Testament Apostle Paul put together. The story is told about two women in Shanghai who were discussing the topic of pride. They began wondering if Hudson Taylor had ever become proud because of his many accomplishments. One woman asked Taylor’s wife, Maria, that question. She promised that she would inquire. Later, Mrs. Taylor asked her husband if he had ever been tempted to become proud about all the great things he had done. Taylor was surprised and asked, “Proud about what?...I never knew I had done anything.” What a wonderful testimony of doing great things in life but refusing to take any credit.
SOMETHING TO DO
What steps can you take to guard yourself from becoming proud?
SOUL TIME PRAYER
Almighty God, you are my Maker and have blessed me with abilities. Thank you, Lord, for giving me the capability of doing great things. May they always bring honor to you. You are the reason for any success I may have. Guard my heart against developing a proud spirit. AMEN!