I wish I could say this was an easy topic to overcome. But pride is the worst enemy and it makes thinking of yourself less seem silly. It also makes God our enemy because it competes for His supremacy. With any level of self-centeredness, we forget that we need God and tend to really enjoy thinking about ourselves a lot.
We hear the world’s message of self-love and believe that loving ourselves first is a precondition to loving others. We have the world telling us to be self-centered and only look out for the best for ourselves. Even if it is at the expense of someone else.
Often we don’t want to deal with other people’s problems because it will take away from our precious time. We don’t have time to care for others because we have so much to be concerned about in our own lives. When we finally do take a minute to listen to a friend, we forget to actually hear what they are saying because our mind is checking the wasted time that we could be doing something else or coming up with an awesome response that makes us look or sound better than them.
Pride is Deceptive
At the heart of pride is a declaration that we are more important than Jesus. Pride is self-obsession and preoccupation with ourselves. It takes our eyes off of God and can lead to us being so self-centered that we forget to pay attention to the people around us. It says that I am worth thinking about myself all the time.
“For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, without love for what is good, traitors, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to the form of godliness but denying its power. 2 Timothy 3:1-5.
Pride can be the most deceptive of sins. It wrongfully assumes that the world revolves around us. For example, it comes in the form of going to help others but only because there is something in it for you. Or it’s listening to a friend tell you about their recent accomplishment only to proceed to talk about yourself and your accomplishments.
Think of Yourself Less
The problem with pride isn’t just thinking of ourselves more highly than we ought to. We can spend a lot of time thinking less of ourselves (negative thoughts, “humble” thoughts, etc) but we only end up thinking about our ourselves more. Either way we just think lots of thoughts about ourselves.
“True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less.” C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity.
Humility is at its foundation a form of self-forgetfulness where pride is all about self-fixation. It requires us to think of ourselves less and acknowledge that God is enough.
Fix Your Eyes on the Cross
Seeing the cross means we see ourselves rightly. The Biblical response to our self-obsession is one of grace that makes us want to turn our eyes on God.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1-2.
When you run the race towards the cross, you will overcome your spiritual blindness and your heart will be flooded with light. The more you fix our eyes on the cross, the more you will begin to think of yourself less.
I challenge you this week to do something for someone else without an agenda. I would love to know what that is in the comments. Praying for humility, love, light and kindness towards others.