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"Uncovering the Impact of Pride in Personal and Professional Development"


Personality is God's paintbrush.
The author-preteen

She wasn't afraid to speak her mind. Long before Colin Kaepernick took a knee, she refused to recite the pledge of allegiance during the fifth-grade class' morning routine. Proudly, she debated with her mother that her allegiance was only to God and not the American flag. Her mother encouraged her to consider all those who died to make sure the flag and our safety remained protected. Unmoved, she doubled down on her convictions inwardly. Every morning, for the remainder of her fifth-grade year, she stood silently as the other students recited their allegiance. 


Years later, after an incident with a college friend, she decided to not exercise freedom of speech. Her words, for the first time, haunted the young lady with shame and guilt as she killed a young lady's image while others mocked her. The out-of-body experience made her swear to never speak when anger ruled. She shut down. Keenly aware of her ability to tear down, she withdrew in arguments.




Conflicts in marriage often shows where pride hides.

She married. Her coping mechanism no longer worked during conflicts. Her statement, "I can't talk right now," fell on immature ears. Her husband wanted a resolution. She needed air to breathe through the fight in her mind. After many heated arguments, they went to counseling and received communication tools and understanding. It helped when implemented. As time passed, she practiced more to speak less harshly when angered. He practiced giving her time to process her emotions and thoughts. However, she stood her ground, and he stood his, which maintained the gridlock many times. The gridlock left the marriage always susceptible to the true Enemy's control. 


God was gracious. The marriage settled down, and less emotional responses invaded. However, her workplace environment changed. When she entered the workforce, she minded her business. If someone attempted to cross her, whether intentionally or not, it was her God-given and First Amendment right to have freedom of speech. She prided herself on not using profane language; not understanding her language was indeed profane. She spoke the truth but not in love (Ephesians 4:15). Her emotions spoke, nullifying the truth. "A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger" (Proverbs 15:1). What remained of her truth rendered worthless as a pen without ink to one who needs to write.


But God stayed with her. Protecting her through immaturity with grace and mercy. At the age of thirty-nine, the Holy Spirit whispered, "You must use your personality for the Lord and His righteousness." 


Pride: the Subtle Enemy

Many people were trained by their parents to have pride. Don't embarrass the family's name. Take pride in presenting yourself to others in appearance, actions, and words. Indeed, it is important as we see the downfall in society's growing perspective that everything is acceptable. This type of pride suggests that we care about or align ourselves with acceptable social standards. We fall back on our foundational home training when the social norms change. However, is this type of pride God hates? 



"Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.1 Peter 5:8 NIV

The pride that God hates is the inner attitude of exaltation and stubbornness. It is the refusal to submit to God's authority in our lives. When the Holy Spirit nudges for a change, we hold on to behaviors and beliefs against God's will. This is the pride God hates. It is an arrogant belief system that we know better than God how to manage our lives. Pride doesn't seek God's direction. A prideful person acts on emotions and circumstances. Pride tethers us to self-preservation, refusing to trust God and His ability to keep us. Pride knows the word of God but believes it is not as relevant to societal standards. 


Pride is subtle. It's not loud or waving a red flag of warning. Pride hides in hurt, bitterness, feelings of resentment, betrayal,  rejection, and low self-esteem. It shuts us down from using our gifts and abilities when we feel unappreciated. It controls how we respond to private or public pressures. Pride pushes us to do good deeds without consulting God, believing we can rescue others. Pride feels it knows what is best. 


"In his pride the wicked man does not seek him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God." Proverbs 10:4

Pride prevents us from forgiveness. It boasts, "I wouldn't have done that." Nor does it admit to wrongdoing. Pride refuses to move forward. It hides in the crevices of our memory, exalting itself as better than the person who is the object of our unforgiveness. With arrogance, pride prances with head up and nose down reminding the other of their failures. Prideful thoughts keep us captive to harmful behaviors. It denies the existence of spiritual growth in others. It seeks to devour. 


Pride maintains itself, as this is just how I am. It is the wall between us and God, separating us from ever fulfilling our purpose desired by Him. Pride doesn't allow us to believe Colossians 3:23-24, "Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord and not for people, knowing that it is from the Lord that you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve (NASB). 


Humility: The Antithesis of Pride


She realized it was by Divine design to have a fearless and faith-filled personality. But she was created to worship the Creator, not her feelings, thoughts, emotions, or desires.  To worship God in Spirit and truth, she must humble herself. Humility opens the door that Christ stands and knocks. "Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me (Revelation 3:20 ESV). Humility is the response to hearing Jesus and having an intimate relationship and fellowship with Him. 


Without humility, we cannot worship God. "Worship is respectful devotion of loving, obeying, and honoring someone who deserves our highest regard." C.S. Lewis


Worship is a continual submitting oneself to God

When we come to Christ, we bow to His Lordship, which means we acknowledge that we are His servants. We move according to His commands, not our feelings. We devote ourselves to His ways each day, asking and waiting for His orders. 


When she understood true worship, a decision had to be made. Either she must respond from whatever emotion at the time or choose to react from worship. If devoted to Christ, she must act on His word, not her feelings. She must choose to learn from the Lord His ways as a new way of life. "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away, the new has come (1 Corinthians 5:17 ESV). 


Worship will not strip us of our personality, but rather our old behaviors and beliefs. Peter, a disciple of Christ, was known for both his impulsiveness and loyalty to Jesus. Peter cut off the high priest's servant's ear in defense of Jesus. Jesus rebuked Peter and healed the man (Luke 22:50-51). Peter took matters into his own hands. Having seen Jesus' character for three years, Peter knew Jesus just didn't walk around hurting people. This same emotional and unpredictable Peter, Jesus summoned to "Feed my sheep" (John 21:14-19). 


Peter took a vital role in the formation of the early church. Peter's personality didn't change, but how he chose to use his fearless passion changed.  Worship aligns our personality with God's agenda. With fearlessness and passion, Peter stood with conviction and preached to those mocking the revelation of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:14-40). It was  a powerful and compelling message that made many say, "Brothers, what shall we do?" To which Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." Peter put down the physical sword and lifted the spiritual sword, the word of God. 


Removing Pride

"The fear of the Lord is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate" (Proverbs 8:13). If the Lord hates pride, then pride is in the realm of darkness. Satan operates in moral darkness. Satan has legal access, given to him by God, to dwell in the domain of darkness (Jude 1:6).  



To remove pride is to submit to God. We should submit to God's plan of salvation and allow His Spirit to teach us where pride exists in our hearts. Once we accept Christ as Lord and Savior, the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth, will convict and teach us all things. The Holy Spirit will not leave us in a place of conviction but will also advocate for us. (John 14:15-18). "When the Holy Spirit shows us an area that needs repentance, we must overcome the instinct to defend ourselves (The Three Battlegrounds; Frangipane, Francis)."


Therefore, we don't have to constantly fight against what the Enemy or others tell us regarding our sins. We can admit or remain quiet, knowing that we have fallen and only saved through Jesus Christ. Pride will always defend itself. Of course, there's a time and season to speak. But remain in Christ so that you know how to respond with wisdom instead of emotions. Proverbs 17:27-28 proclaims that the man of few words and a settled mind is wise; therefore, even a fool when he is silent is thought to be wise.



Everything we do begins with God. We are His.

Once the young lady realized that even her speech was subjected to the rule and reign of Christ, she worked to change how she allowed her thoughts to become reality.Previously, she believed that it was her right to tell others the unfiltered truth. After allowing the Holy Spirit to reveal God's truth, she realized it was her responsibility to speak under the influence of the Spirit. Her speech became her worship to God. 1 Corinthians 6:29 reminds us, "Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?" As disciples of Christ, we give up our so-called rights. Everything we do and say becomes our place of worship. 



Get Uncomfortable

As previously stated, pride is subtle and challenging to detect. Pride is a comfortable position, and comfort makes us all feel safe. Security is what we desire. Until we are willing to become vulnerable and dependent on Christ, we will remain prideful. A repentant heart requires a change in thought patterns. What we believe, we will do. 

When we see others fall to pride, let's not pride ourselves by saying, "I would never do that." Satan operates through such pride and decades of experience to know exactly where to convince you. Adam and Eve walked and talked with God but failed because of Satan's deception (Genesis 3:4-6). 


The removal of pride is a continual process, for it is prideful to even think we don't have pride in our hearts. We may fall prey to it. However, God is faithful and gives new mercies every morning (Lamentations 3:22). The more we submit our will to His will, our minds will transform into the image of Christ Jesus. With the renewing of our minds, we will be more open to the Holy Spirit's daily guidance.


Prayer

Father, please open our hearts to the willingness of the Holy Spirit's conviction. Help us to not fight against or attempt to defend ourselves without Your guidance. Give us the strength and courage to be vulnerable to You. Help us to be imitators of Christ and to fulfill our purpose in You. 

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