devotional“… and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world.”  1 John 2:16

I struggle with pride.

It began in middle school when I realized I could do several things quite well. I was one of the better wrestlers, runners, and trumpet players. In university I earned grades that were better than most. As I continued to pursue education I became one of few from my high school peers who earned a master degree. When I earned a doctorate I represented a tiny minority.

Pride is contextual though. Among my professor colleagues at my university I feel average in accomplishments and brain power. Many co-workers publish more, teach better, and administer with superior grace and wisdom. But among my other friends away from campus I have to check myself against thinking I know more or am wiser or smarter.

An acquaintance today reminded me that Satan loves doling out beautiful lies such as, “You really are amazing,” “Your ideas are no doubt better!”, and “Aren’t these people lucky to have you as their friend?”  It is easy to cave to these succulent morsels that feed my ego!

And then John pulls the plug on my smugness: the pride of life is not from God but is of this broken world.

I realize that being talented or smart or gifted is not wrong. In fact, being the best at something is good, even excellent. However striving to be number one can lead to idolatry (for it puts our status above love of God), or once on top we can gloat over people below.

Does pride get the best of you? How might you give your gifts and accomplishments to God?

Dear God, thank you for creating me wonderfully. Help me see my skills as from you, and to not buy in to self-promotion. Help me see me how you see me. Amen.

Take Action

Drop the ‘I‘ today. In your interactions, focus on the person you’re talking to. Ask them what they think or feel, instead of jumping to share your opinions.

By Dr. Bill Strom

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