Lent Day 16: Pride is no celebration
And they came to Jericho. And as he was leaving Jericho with his disciples and a great crowd, Bartimaeus, a blind beggar, the son of Timaeus, was sitting by the roadside. And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” And many rebuked him, telling him to be silent. But he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” And Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” And they called the blind man, saying to him, “Take heart. Get up; he is calling you.” And throwing off his cloak, he sprang up and came to Jesus. And Jesus said to him, “What do you want me to do for you?” And the blind man said to him, “Rabbi, let me recover my sight.” And Jesus said to him, “Go your way; your faith has made you well.” And immediately he recovered his sight and followed him on the way. — Mark 10:46-52
Pride is the great enemy of humility. And yet pride is encouraged, nurtured, and even celebrated in our culture today. Bob Thune observes: “The brashest expressions of pride are easy to spot: the athlete who boasts about her talent, the arrogant entrepreneur who flaunts his achievements, or the well-connected neighbor who name-drops in every conversation. Most of us are smart enough to avoid appearing prideful in these obvious ways. But that’s just the problem. We can avoid looking prideful without actually killing our pride.”
What is pride? It’s not something to put on a flag or dedicate a month to. The Bible gives us the information we need. Pride often manifests itself as arrogance: the Apostle John refers to this as “the pride of life” (1 John 2:16). Pride can also manifest itself as self-centeredness, looking out for your own personal interests (Philippians 2:4). In other words: the essence of pride is self. Regardless if it’s arrogance and boasting or as self-protection and fear of people, it’s pride.
In our life as a Christian we are asked to put on humility while putting our pride to death. How? Simple. Look to Jesus.
Jesus is our model, because though he had every reason to be prideful (he was perfect), he chose instead the path of humility. Scripture commands us to follow his example: “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men” (Philippians 2:5-7).
Here’s the thing. Jesus doesn’t want us to mimicking him. If we do that, we miss the gospel. The heart of the good news is that we can be more like Jesus only if, and because, we are united with him. We are united with Christ by grace through faith in his life, death, and resurrection. Because we have rebelled against God, we deserve to be crushed by his divine wrath. Jesus “humbled himself to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:8)—taking our shame and guilt upon himself, and enduring the wrath of God against our sin, so that those who humbly come to him can be forgiven and reconciled to God. This is the Good News of Easter! This is why we have to be in the wilderness. We can’t put down the pride without wrestling with satan first.
Are you ready to be free from your pride? Do you truly want to know Jesus Christ? It’s time to stop running and start repenting. It’s freeing, my dear friends. So the next time you think pride is worth celebrating, ask God what He thinks? I’m pretty sure He wouldn’t hold a parade.