God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. James 4:6
Anybody out there struggle with pride? I do. Mine isn’t so much the arrogant, blowhard kind of pride that you see in the politicians you don’t vote for and the football coaches you root against. Mine is the sneaky “I want everybody to think I’m humble” kind of pride—the type of pride that doesn’t want anybody to see that you really do care what people think, that you really do feed off of what other people think of your performance. If you’re like me, you know exactly what I’m talking about. It’s ok. Go ahead and admit it. The people who really know you already know.
Here’s what I’m talking about. Yesterday, I filmed the message for Sunday. I’ve done more than my share of short videos, especially the “low production value” type shot with my phone, and preached plenty of sermons. But now I’m filming a whole message for Sunday, and it’s a big deal, multiple camera angles, multiple hours of editing, the whole deal. It was weird. No eyes to look into to see if anyone’s tracking with you, no smiles, no tears, no yawns, no nods of agreement. No audience.
Let’s just say, it wasn’t a one-take operation. And I’m still not sure that I’m satisfied with the product. If I just had one more take. . .
You see, I know that I’m going to have to sit there and watch myself on our TV with my family, and others will be doing the same, and I dread that moment. I know what’s coming. I’m having high school flashbacks of watching Saturday morning film of the Friday night football game. I know what’s coming and I can’t fix what’s in the next frame. It gets worse every time the coach rewinds the film.
Alright, maybe it’s not that deep. Maybe this whole story is another performance.
Here’s the thing about pride. You never get off this cycle of pleasing others because you’re at the center and you’re on display—and that takes a lot of energy to keep up. That is a lot of weight to carry. James, the writer of this letter, probably thought his brother Jesus was a little on the arrogant side, himself. You see, he didn’t believe that Jesus was who he claimed to be until he saw his brother humble himself, die on the cross, and then rise from the dead. My friends, Jesus loves us so much that he died for us—even for those of us so blinded by our pride that we can’t see that all we really need to do is trust him for what we need. He’ll come through every time. I don’t have what it takes. He does. That’s what grace is all about.
I’d like some more of that.
Father, show me the pride in me that I can’t see because I don’t want to see it.