Pride is a heart-attitude sin that overflows into a person’s motivation, decision-making, and activities. Pride is at the root of nearly every problem we struggle with in counseling!
You are reading the second part of a two-part series on the prideful heart by biblical counselor Julie Ganschow, the founder and director of Reigning Grace Counseling Center in Kansas City, MO. Read part one here.
What Cures the Prideful Heart?
First, begin by confessing, or admitting, to God that you struggle with the sin of pride. Confession is agreeing with God. You might pray a simple prayer similar to this one:
Dear Heavenly Father,
I confess to you that I struggle with the sin of pride in my heart and my life. This pride leads me to act out selfish desires and is hurtful to other people. I ask for the help of the Holy Spirit to change my heart so that I become selfless and learn to serve others as I consider them before myself. Thank You for the forgiveness that is mine through the Lord Jesus Christ, and I pray these things for Your glory. In Jesus name. Amen.
The next step is to begin to practice humility, a denial of self. Humility is considering others better than yourself and requires an examination through the Word of God of the actions and attitudes of daily life.
Then He (Jesus) said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be My follower, you must put aside your selfish ambition, shoulder your cross daily, and follow Me. If you try to keep your life for yourself, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for Me, you will find true life. And how do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose or forfeit your own soul in the process?” Luke 9:23–25 (NLT)
Meek Doesn’t Mean Weak
Jesus displayed the ultimate in humility when He condescended to come to earth as a human being. He denied Himself and deprived Himself of heaven and all its glory for 33 years for you and me. Because our goal is to become like Jesus in character and attitude, we are to practice how Jesus lived His life. Jesus was described as “meek and lowly.” Meekness is an internal quality that comes with humility. As a heart attitude, it is the opposite of pride. The one who is meek in heart is not concerned about self and readily puts the interest of others before his or her interests.
You should be known for the beauty that comes from (the hidden person of the heart), the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God. 1 Peter 3:4 (NLT)
Being meek does not mean weak; in fact, it means just the opposite. It takes great strength to be humble before God and others. This really goes against the grain of the sinful nature. It is possible, however, for even the most prideful person to become humble. Humility is a fruit of the Spirit, and God joyfully responds to those who desire it.
For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. Romans 12:3 (NIV)
Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Romans 12:16, NIV
Pride begins to change to humility when we understand how despicable we actually are without Christ. Humility comes when we internalize the truth that nothing in the life of a Christian is to be about us. It is all about Jesus Christ and Him only. We cannot possibly dwell on “what I want” or “what I think is better or right” and be able to serve others or ask what would bring God glory. Heart change begins to take place when we practice the principles in the verse below:
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Philippians 2:3–4 (NIV)
Here are some suggestions to begin to serve others:
- Do one thing a day for someone you ordinarily would avoid.
- Go out of your way to help another person.
- Give up something you want to do for the sake of another’s pleasure.
- Consider the opinion of a person you think is “beneath you” and follow his or her suggestion.
After practicing these suggestions, you will find joy returning to your life. Your world will open up to others as your heart opens up. As you continue to place others above yourself, your desire to serve them will grow, and life will become full of joy.