Have you ever tried to work with someone who’s completely arrogant? I don’t mean just a little up themselves, I mean so self-absorbed that it’s just impossible to do anything worthwhile with them. Someone who does all they can to get whats best for themselves, without caring what effect it has on you?
Well the truth is we’re all proud. We’re all arrogant, doing things for our own gain instead of others. Some are openly arrogant. Others seem less so. Others hide it behind a crafty veneer of humility or self-righteousness (that’s usually the category I fit into). But we’re all proud. And pride is one of the biggest things that keep us from working well together as Christians – thats why Paul talks about it in Philippians 2:3-4
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.
Basically, as I’ve already kind of mentioned, Pride is looking at ourselves instead of others. That can be us thinking we are better than others, but it can also be by looking at ourselves and thinking how bad we are – pride is all about comparing ourselves to others.
Instead of focussing on ourselves out focus should be on others, for God’s glory. Instead of focussing on what we want and on bettering things for ourselves, we should be looking at others, seeing what they need and how we can help them. And we should do that so that God will be glorified – so we can encourage fellow Christians and help them come closer to God.
But note: Paul doesn’t say that we can never do what we want to do. No, we need to “also” look at the interests of others. It isn’t wrong to realise we want something and to achieve it. But out priority needs to be to serve and glorify God, even if that means giving up what we want for the sake of someone else getting what they want.
If this happened perfectly then our own needs would get catered for as well, because others would be looking after us. But that rarely happens in the world – people fail, we fail. Does that mean that we shouldn’t live this way? No, of course not! Just because it doesn’t work out how it should (for our benefit and for the benefit of others) doesn’t mean we don’t keep obeying God. We need to obey him to glorify him – not so that others will meet our needs, and we trust him that he will provide what we need – even if he chooses not to provide what we want.
Paul gives us an example of this with the Corinthians. He freely taught them the gospel and worked hard so that they wouldn’t have to support him with money. And even when they questioned his motives and claimed he was just trying to get personal gain he kept teaching them freely – because he wanted to teach them the truth, not get his own way.
As Christians we need to work together so that we can serve God effectively. That will only happen if we look after each other. We can’t just act like islands, seeking our own benefit. We need to be looking at the needs of others and helping them as best as we can – and if all Christians did that then our own needs would be catered for as well.
So how are you doing in the area of Pride? It’s one of the things I struggle with heaps. Are you looking at the Christians around you and asking what you can do for them? Or what they can do for you? Are you seeking God’s glory or your own?