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Pride leads to destruction; humility leads to honor. Proverbs 18:12 (CEV)

I had just finished delivering what I thought was one of my better sermons in church. Those of us that are pastors or speakers know what I mean. There are times when you just click. The words flow, the message is clear; illustrations come to your mind that perfectly shows your point.

You see it in the crowd too. Few people sleeping, even the kids sitting still and listening. People seem to hang on every word. For some you can almost see the thought wheels turning!

After the service one of the people from the congregation shook my hand and said what a wonderful sermon it was. I heard myself say “Oh, it wasn’t me. It was the Lord.” She good naturedly punched me in the shoulder and said “Thank you would be the correct response pastor. True God gave you the words, but you were still a tool in his hands.”

I smiled, said thank you (as instructed) and we parted our ways. Later in the day I replayed the situation in my mind and realized a spiritual truth was given me that day. We in the church seem awfully hesitant to talk about our gifts and talents. We downplay them in an effort to keep from ‘pride’ because we all know that ‘pride goes before destruction.’

I’ve come to the opinion that we need to rethink the whole pride issue. If God loves me and created me as a ‘fearful and wonderful’ person, in his image, then it seems perfectly okay for me to feel good about myself.

One definition of pride is a ‘reasonable and justifiable self-respect’. Feeling good about me and who I am isn’t pride. The pride being spoken of in Proverbs isn’t about feeling good about yourself. It’s thinking I’m better than you. That’s not pleasing to God.

A healthy view of yourself means you are fully aware of your faults, but refuse to let others judge you by them. A healthy view of your self means you are fully aware of your talents and abilities but refuse to measure your level of ability/talent by someone else.

We tend to go in one of two directions. Either we feel badly about ourselves and hide it by bragging and putting others down, or we feel badly about ourselves and live in defeat because we don’t realize the position we have in Christ.

Destructive pride isn’t an action; it’s an attitude that develops over time because of our uncertainty about who we are.

So, go ahead. Be proud of yourself today. Not because you are better than the person in the desk next to you. Not because you are a better driver than the guy who cut you off. But because you, my friend, are a creation of God and given talents and abilities special to you, to be used for God’s Kingdom.

PRAYER: Father God, I thank you today for me. I know I’m not perfect. I know I make mistakes. But because of you I can be proud of who you’ve made me and for the gifts and talents you’ve given me. Empower me by your Spirit to use the gifts, talents and abilities you’ve given me for your glory. Amen.

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