Pride comes before a fall…
This is one of those tidbits of Proverbs that we have all heard at one point in time or another. It stands out, and stands on its own as a bit of wisdom that everyone knows, but few follow.
The first several verses of this chapter deal with the human heart…with pride. “The plans of the hear…the ways of a man…everyone who is arrogant in heart…” All of these deal with pride. “Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought” comes to mind from Phillipians Chapter 2 as well.
Much of the Christian life is to “humble ourselves”. That is a daunting task in a world that is ALL ABOUT self. Every ad on TV is meant to make you think you DESERVE something. All the political agendas are based on getting people what they DESERVE. The world is all about what can YOU do for ME? How can I get ahead of YOU? It is quite a different thing to follow in a different way.
Another difficulty with this verse is that when we get it RIGHT at first, we look around and see all the OTHER prideful people. Our reaction is “watch this…any minute now, they’re gonna fall. Look at all those prideful people! Yeah, man…they’re about to get theirs! Wait for it…wait for it!…WAIT FOR IT!!!” And when we don’t see it happen, we give up, saying, “I guess this stuff doesn’t really work after all!”.
That idea is STILL PRIDE!! That’s a total “I’m better than those people” kind of attitude. Plus, God does not promise that the fall will happen NOW. Just that it will follow the pride. Eventually. In HIS time. That’s tough for us to deal with.
Instead, going back to Phillipians 2, “our attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus, who being the very nature of God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped. Instead, he made Himself NOTHING, taking the form of a servant.”
So, not only are we to cast off pride, we are to SERVE the PRIDEFUL. Ouch. That stings a little bit.
If you were to ask my children what I have been preaching to them ad nauseam since birth, their countenance would sink down a little, and then in that sing-songy “here we go again” kind of voice, they would say together: “We know…Others First.”
That is the secret to casting off pride! In serving others, we put their needs ahead of our own. Once we get over the “I deserve someone to serve ME now” attitude (because we’re looking for someone else to serve), the prideful heart begins to shrink, and the heart of God begins to grown inside of us as we foster the attitude of that of Christ Jesus.