The Pride Test

Pride: The desire to be more attractive or important than others. Pride has always been one of the great problems of the human race—feeling superior, behaving in ways that are inconsiderate of the effect of those around us. Pride is described in the dictionary as “a haughty attitude shown by people who believe, often unjustifiably, that they are better than others.” As history has shown us, time and time again, pride is the one thing that will creep up on you with great subtlety but expose you very quickly when the pressure is on. In Isaiah 14, the Word says, “How you have fallen from heaven, O morning star, son of the dawn.” Morning Star in Latin actually means Lucifer. The language of this Scripture starts to change as Lucifer’s language is quoted again and again saying, “I will raise my throne above the stars of God... . I will make myself like the most high” (vv 13-14 NIV). Again it says, I will, I will. Here is the language of pride: I, I, I. The continual emphasis on the word I: me myself and I. Thinking too highly of yourself, claiming self credit for successes, even if on the outside you appear to be most humble.
It’s always good to do a little pride test:
* How do you respond when others are promoted before you or above you, even if it is seemingly unfair?
* How easily do you become offended?
* How often do you put others needs or dreams before your own?
* How do you do when it comes to fighting for your rights? Your position? Your prominence?
And thus begins the rub for worship leaders, as the Word clearly defines those who may ascend the holy hill of the Lord: “He who has clean hands and a pure heart” (Psalm 24). Pride is not clean; it is a classic stealer of potential, as pride feeds all the wrong components needed for a healthy inner man. We were never designed to receive glory, only to give glory... That is why when people wrongly try to take it for themselves, it will eventually end up blowing them up, so to speak. Humility is the antidote... to be clothed with humility. 1 Peter 5:5 says “that God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble.” The dictionary describes humility as the freedom from pride or arrogance, a modest estimation of one’s worth.
Humility is your strongest secret weapon in life. Pride and humility, just like light and dark, have a very hard time hanging out together. James 3: 13–16 says, “Who is wise among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in humility that comes from wisdom. But, if you harbour bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such wisdom does not come from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil...” Pretty straight talk, but pride, which seems to show itself so slowly, and often in the form of self-righteousness, has always been the downfall of the prominent, so-called successful person. I remember many years ago when Ron Kenoly, teaching at a seminar, stated that the only one ever to get thrown out of heaven was a worship leader. We all laughed, and then the room got very quiet as the weight of that statement took hold.
I love the heart of David as a shepherd boy... When God called him forward from the shadows, he had a “who me?” experience. You can tell when pride is rising up in us: When God calls someone else forward, your question changes from “who me?” To “WHY YOU?.. WHY NOT ME??” David himself actually ended getting himself into trouble much later on when SUCCESS and PROMINENCE brought about COMFORT and OPTIONS—the two enemies of hunger—and pride began to breed in his very human heart.
Isaiah 66:2 says, “This is the one I esteem, he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word.” One of the fastest ways to confront our own hearts if they are out of line is simply to look at your hidden life of SERVICE. Servanthood will quickly reveal your true measure of humility, especially serving and giving where NO ONE knows about it.
Richard Foster writes, “Nothing disciplines the inordinate desires of the flesh like service, and nothing transforms the desires of the flesh like service in hiddenness. The flesh whines against service, but kicks and screams against hidden service. It strains and pulls for honour and recognition. It will even devise subtle, religiously acceptable means to call attention to the service rendered. If we REFUSE to give in to the lust of the flesh, that is when we crucify it. Every time we crucify the flesh, we crucify our pride and arrogance.”
So let’s keep it simple, friends: Become and maintain being a low-maintenance servant, not needing accolades and not needing constant affirmation—just being happy to serve. It is the least we can do. After all, worship should be the most unselfish thing we ever do—for Him alone, and through Him by grace, emptying ourselves of all we are, and offering our lives again as a living sacrifice for His glory.