The Danger of Hidden Pride

“One's pride will bring him low, but he who is lowly in spirit will obtain honor” (Proverbs 29:23).

God used Elijah to perform some mighty acts, and Elijah gained much recognition from his actions for God. But temptation usually follows a victory: We begin to think more of ourselves than we ought (Romans 12:3). While it’s difficult to see what Elijah was thinking, he did voice frustration at others for not taking a stand and he thought he alone was serving God:

“He said, ‘I have been very jealous for the Lord, the God of hosts. For the people of Israel have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword, and I, even I only, am left, and they seek my life, to take it away’ ” (1 Kings 19:10).

The Apostle Paul faced similar temptations, and recognized God had to humble him:

“So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited” (2 Corinthians 12:7).

Pride creeps in slowly, and we almost fail to spot it. We start to moan, “People do not appreciate me and I’m the only one making a real effort.” We can even suspect that God has also forgotten all about us. Our real message in all of this is, “I deserve better than this.”

But let’s take a step back. God has a marvelous plan, one that involves us:

“For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function” (Romans 12:4).

Pride also shows itself when we think that only we can do things for God. God would later appoint Elisha as Elijah’s successor, thus insuring the Word of God would continue to go forth. While God is pleased to use us, we’re not indispensable. It all does not depend on us. It depends on God. That’s why we should think properly about our role, and not elevate it beyond itself (Romans 12:3).

Ask God to grant you the grace to humbly serve Him, understanding we face plenty of ups and downs along the way. But one day God will lift up the humble, and debase the proud. Until then, let’s serve Him with grateful humility, and thank Him for however He chooses to use us.

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