This past week at Motion we talked about how pride is an enemy of Moxie. It is a pretty difficult and daunting subject. Here are the highlights of my notes for anybody that had questions or just wanted to take some more time breaking it down.
Enemies of Moxie- Pride
Excerpt from Mere Christianity from C.S. Lewis
“I now come to that part of Christian morals where they differ most sharply from all other morals. There is one vice of which no man in the world is free; which every one in the world loathes when he sees it in someone else; and of which hardly any people, except Christians, ever imagine that they are guilty themselves. I have heard people admit that they are bad-tempered, or that they cannot keep their heads about girls or drink, or even that they are cowards. I do not think I have ever heard anyone who was not a Christian accuse himself of this vice. And at the same time I have very seldom met anyone, who was not a Christian, who showed the slightest mercy to it in others. There is no fault which makes a man more unpopular, and no fault which we are more unconscious of in ourselves. And the more we have it ourselves, the more we dislike it in others.
The vice I am talking of is Pride or Self-Conceit”
Pride is the greatest enemy of Moxie. As we talked about last week, true moxie only comes from God and confidence in His abilities.
Pride is an enemy of moxie because it makes an assertion of worth based on your abilities that are finite. If you are your answer for your problems and the solution to all of life’s dilemmas then you are going to come up empty. Then what?
1) Defining Pride
According to Webster pride is a feeling or deep pleasure or satisfaction derived from one’s own achievements.
Some biblical defining of pride:
Pride is all about you.
Ecclesiastes 7:8- The end of a matter is better than its beginning, and patience is better than pride.
Quarrels and contentions.
Proverbs 13:10- Pride only breeds quarrels…
Deception/ Manipulation (of yourself or others)
Obadiah 1:3- The pride of your heart has deceived you…
Deuteronomy 8:14- Your heart will become proud and you will forget the LORD your God.
I believe that it would be a safe and fair assessment of pride, within the context of Christianity, to say that pride could be summed up as “an overestimation of ones worth and ability, as exhibited by their words, actions and thoughts”.
So what does that mean for us? How do we know if we are prideful?
The question should never be “Am I prideful?”, rather, “How much pride do I have?” and, “Where does it rear its ugly head?”
I completely agree with C.S. Lewis’ analysis of pride. Everyone has it to varying degrees. And we typically do a really poor job noticing it in ourselves, but an incredible job noticing it in others.
The good news is that therein lies our answer and the definition of our own pride.
It’s usually the variety of pride that we find so appalling in others that is at work in us.
This was aptly displayed in a tweet I saw from a guy that I follow on Twitter. He said ,”I got an email today that was very prideful. I asked for forgiveness. #takesonetoknowone
The trick for us is to do the difficult task of nailing down and defining the areas of pride in our life.
Ways to do that:
a) Call the glaring pride issues in your life what they are. Don’t rename it or mask it.
b) What aspect of pride that you see in others drives you nuts? That may be a place for you to start your investigative journey.
c) Ask some of the people that are closest to you. The people that you love and that love you know you best. Don’t be defensive, but allow them to be honest if you ask for their opinion.
Defining pride and working on minimizing its effect in our lives is crucial because of its destructive nature.
2) The Devastating Effect of Pride
The nature of pride is destructive. Where it exists, it destroys.
Proverbs 16:18- Pride goes before destruction, and haughtiness before a fall.
Pride has detrimental consequences on the most important areas of our lives.
a) It is destructive to our earthly relationships.
This should go without saying, but just to make sure that we are on the same page, love is the driving force of our relationships.
If you have pride it has a direct, negative impact on your ability to love.
1 Corinthians 13:4- Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
When we have pride we are really just disrupting the balance found in Scriptures.
Matthew 22:37-39 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your should and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'”
b) It is destructive to our relationship with God.
James 4:7- God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.
Pride diminishes the astonishing work of Christ on the cross and exalts our own restricted self-sufficiency.
This one goes waaay back. Ezekiel 28:17 “Your heart became proud on account of your beauty, and you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendor.”
Pride is what led to what we refer to as the “Fall of Lucifer”. Ultimately, it was his pride that drove a wedge in His otherwise healthy relationship with God. The more he became enamored by his beauty and his value and his intelligence the more animosity it created between him and God.
It’s really no different for us, it just may look a little different. Overestimating your ____, and not recognizing the Source and honoring Him as such is pride.
Just for the sake of clarification, you can’t compensate for the sin of pride with appreciation. Ex. “God, thank You that I am so awesome!” Doesn’t work like that.
3) Overcoming Pride
We never want to present a problem without presenting some sort of solution.
Here are some practical ways to overcome pride in your life.
a) Be honest with yourself.
Don’t be blinded to your own shortcomings and areas of weakness.
As we discussed in the “Defining Pride”, if you need help with this then enlist the assistance of a trusted, godly friend.
b) Put others first.
Philippians 2:3-4 Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for you own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.
Andy Stanley says that sometimes we want to change our way of thinking before we change our behavior. However, it may be more beneficial to go at it the other way around. Change your behavior first and then your thinking may follow suit.
Go out of your way to put others first with behaviors. Open doors, pick up trash, carry their stuff, buy them things they like, do their chores at home, do their menial tasks at work, etc. Do this with out any expectation of something in return.
c) Celebrate other people.
Then tendency of pride is to “one-up”.
When somebody else accomplishes something or has something happen in their life that is significant, celebrate rather than compete.
Don’t spin everything so that it brings the attention back on you.
Romans 12:15,16- Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation.
Pride is without a doubt the greatest enemy of Moxie.
Overestimating your worth and ability, and down playing the need for Jesus in every aspect of your life is detrimental to true Moxie.
Recognizing that you are utterly and completely helpless without the grace and mercy of God is a key ingredient in the Moxie recipe.