September 19, 2008

Protecting Joy From Pride

Philippians 3:2-7

We … put no confidence in the flesh …
Philippians 3:3


Lots of airlines promote Frequent Flyer benefits, Elite status, and First Class upgrades. I can appreciate the perks of extensive travel, but they can lead to pride. Wider seats and more leg room do not really make anyone a “first class” person.

The Bible considers pride to be evil because it creates “disgrace” (Proverbs 11:2). It overestimates self-importance and underestimates the value of others. Rather than live by the grace that delights equally in rich and poor, intelligent and learning-disabled, business executive and unemployed, pride ignores God’s character, sets aside grace, and accepts only a personal “first class” status: “I’m better than others.”

Paul fought the temptation to be proud. He was from a special people chosen by God, from a special class of people within Israel, and from a uniquely devout and zealous religious family. But he considered it all “rubbish.” Why? Because “confidence in the flesh” only creates further tension, division, quarrels, and ultimately hatred. Pride destroys the gift of joy.

To protect joy from pride, our hearts should be defined by these words: “May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world” (Galatians 6:14). Only in humble gratitude is joy sustained.

Dear Lord, by your Holy Spirit help me to resist the deadly sin of pride. Help me to fix my eyes on Jesus, whose work alone brings dignity, value, and joy to my life. Amen.

About the author — Calvin Hoogendoorn

Rev. Calvin Hoogendoorn serves as senior pastor of First Christian Reformed Church in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Previously he served two churches in Illinois. He and his wife, Carla, have three daughters.

Start your day with quick daily devotions.

See God's love, power, presence, and purpose in your life every day!