Kingdom of Self

Everyone has their issues, sins, vices, imperfections- call them what you will. Ever since I was young I have dealt with pride.  I’ve also dealt with a number of other issues like anger and lust, but pride has always been number one.

Honestly, I’m not even sure why.  I’ve always acknowledged the plethora of men who are:

• better looking

• better musicians

• better preachers

• just plain better

But, the enemy found this weakness early in life.  For me I believe it started as a defense mechanism.  I wasn’t bullied in school, but as a “loner-musician-type” (which clearly I am no longer) I used to get teased for being “standoffish”.  My response was always a snide, smart aleck comeback that was drenched in pride and arrogance.  I always got a laugh, so I went with it.  I became the sarcastic funny guy… and old habits die hard.

Because I have struggled in this area, it is a weakness I can easily spot in a person.  We usually can see our own sin in others easier than we may see other sin.  Some of us are even proud of our humility!  False humility is a form of pride.  It is another way of feeding the ego.  I often joke with friends by saying “Dude, I am sooo much more humble than you are!”.  It’s sad, but some of us truly feel that way.

I once had a guy say to me, “Man, I’m just at a point where I’m so humble I’m just like dirt.”  Really?  Show me in your behaviors.  True humility is not something we generally recognize in our lives. Someone else usually has to point it out.

If you think you are humble… you probably aren’t.

Pride is dangerous.  It isn’t just dangerous, it is deadly.

Proverbs 16:18 says

Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.

Pride keeps us from seeing who we really are.  It blinds us and binds us.  It is one thing to be cocky regarding looks, talents, gifts, abilities – but what happens when we become spiritually proud?

Spiritual pride is something I have seen ALOT of lately in the church body.  It is that little voice inside that says “I sure am glad I’m not living in sin like they are.”  or “Good thing I’m not still bound by silly worldly desires, who needs a TV anyway?” God doesn’t appreciate this kind of attitude.  I assure you, HE doesn’t think you are any better than “that guy”, or “him over there”.

Isaiah 64:6 says:

All of us have become like one who is unclean,
and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags;
we all shrivel up like a leaf,
and like the wind our sins sweep us away.

God likens our righteousness to filthy rags.  For you ladies, you will have a much clearer idea of what He is saying… He is referring to the menstrual rag and trust me, that is nothing to be proud of.  It is only by God’s grace and mercy that Jesus took the cross and we have become righteous in God’s eyes by proxy.

We have the habit of getting all haughty when it comes to things like going on missions trips and giving money to church and charity.  We somehow elevate ourselves to a point where we think we are better. But, the truth is, these are things we are commanded to do.  We are slaves to Christ.  Yes, I said slaves.  You can call yourself a servant, if that makes you feel better, but you are His slave.  Pride would cause us to interpret the word doulos as “servant” instead of “slave” as the original language suggests.

Does a master ask His slave to do something?  No, He commands it.  Does He then thank His slave for doing the thing He was commanded to do?  No, it is expected.

When we give to the poor, serve at our church, or any other number of things we so foolishly boast about doing, we are only doing what we are expected to do.  There is nothing to be proud of.  We owe it to God.  It is our reasonable service to Him.  To lay down our lives as living sacrifices.

Before we get too lengthy, let’s talk about two practical ways to kill pride in our lives.

1) Focus on the Kingdom of God, not the Kingdom of Self.

Most of us who deal with pride are always concerned with how we are going to look and what people think about us.  The number one way to watch the sin of pride leave your life is to take the focus off of  yourself and put it on God.  Cognitively begin to ask yourself “How will this make the Kingdom of God look?” instead of “How will this make the Kingdom of Self look?”  This goes hand in hand with number two.

2) Focus on making others look good instead of making yourself look good.

If promotion truly comes from God then we shouldn’t be concerned with how we look to others.  In the work place, aim to make your co-workers look good.  God sees your heart.  God raises up the humble and casts down the proud.  Stop jockeying for position and allow God to be the one to move you up the ladder.

I love the KJV of James 4:10:

Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He shall lift you up.

I grew up singing that song in church.

So, whether you are in ministry or in the marketplace.  Whether a reverend or a restaurant cook; take time to invest in someone else’s life.  Take the focus off of you and watch pride disappear from your life.


2 Comments Add yours

  1. Sigga says:

    Wow, I really liked the question, “How will this make the Kingdom of God look?” I will be using that one for some self cognitive behavioral therapy. :)

  2. ryantcoleman says:

    Man, I am so much more humbler than you. Like, if you take all of your humbleness and everyone else’s humbleness from all the people you know and add them together, it still doesn’t add up to mine. Just want to give you something to shoot for. Be humble, like me. I’m awesomely humble.

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