My Pretentious Pride

My 10-year college reunion will be next year, and a couple of classmates have already contacted me to see if I’m attending.

10 years! Oh, the nostalgia. Oh, the comparing-myself-to-everyone-my-age – and not just to the people I knew in college, but also to all the people I knew in high school and before.

Looming reunions are, I guess, appropriate times to look back at what I’ve accomplished and celebrate where life has taken the people from my past – a time to compare jobs and families and relationship statuses. But I seldom actually just say something like, “Oh, that’s nice” and move on; usually, I have to decide who has had the better life – me or them.

  • I look at my friends who are traveling the world and think I’m better because I found a place to settle down.
  • I look at my friends who started their own businesses and think I’m better because I have an 8-5 M-F career.
  • I especially look at my friends who married young and started popping out babies, and think I’m better because I got a degree and a life outside of the “barefoot and pregnant” stereotype.
  • I especially, especially look at my friends who never moved out of their parents’ homes because they are “wives in training” or “being godly daughters,” and think I’m better because I moved out and did something with my life outside my parents’ house.

Like I’m to credit with any of that – the traveling, the settling, the degree, the career, the independence. Like I am God of my own life.

When I credit myself with the story of my life, I’m playing God. I’m worshipping myself instead of my Creator (Romans 1:25). I’m giving into pride.

Pride is not a new thing:

  • Satan tried to supplant God and was jolted out of heaven. (Isaiah 14:12)
  • Adam and Eve tried to be like God and were banished from paradise. (Genesis 3:6-8)
  • The Jews in A.D. 33 tried to know better than God and ended up killing His Son.
  • I try to take credit for God’s work and I fall flat on my face.

The irony of the whole thing is that because I try to play God and take credit for His work, I need Him more than ever. Trying to supplant Him in my life is sin, and that’s the very reason God sent His Son – so that my sin wouldn’t separate me from God (Isaiah 59:2).

Because of my sin of wanting to be like God, Jesus – the only man in the history of everything who could accurately claim to be God – suffered ultimate humiliation in death so that I wouldn’t have to (Philippians 2:5-8).

Countless times, I’ve tried to dictate God’s plan and to know better than He does for my life – especially for my relationship status (I’ve blogged about that before).

Basically, my pride is as repulsive as Satan’s, as futile as Adam and Eve’s, and as harmful as the people’s who killed Jesus. Then on top of that, I try to take credit for the good things in my life – for the independence, decent paycheck, and career that singleness afford me.

I can think of many times when my pride – the thinking that I was the author of good things – caused me to fall on my face. In high school, I was conceited about going to the national Bible quiz and then promptly lost. In college, I was super proud of my straight A’s and my academic honors, and then I went to Oxford and got mostly B’s. Time after time, my haughty spirit has made the fall even farther and harder.

When I worship myself and my supposedly oh-so-wonderful accomplishments, I assume that I’m reveling in life. In reality, my pride only leads to destruction (Proverbs 16:18).

When Jesus worshipped His Father, it looked like he was rewarded with only death (Luke 23:46). In reality, His humility led to life (I Peter 1:3-4) – for Himself and for me.

So I don’t know if I’m going to go to the reunion, but I do know that comparing my story to other people’s stories is repulsive, futile, and harmful when I do so in order to figure out who is better. But it’s humbling and life-giving when I do so in order fall on my face at the throne of God and give him all the glory.

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