I was working for HBO Sports and was traveling cross-country on a flight from New York City to Los Angeles to get into place for a story. It’s a long trip, so I decided to check out the in-flight movie. Much to my surprise, I was the inflight entertainment! Apparently, American Airlines and HBO had cut a deal to air HBO programming and my Cover Story was one of the features. I shrunk down in my seat for a few seconds, then sheepishly looked around to see if anyone was watching. Not one soul was checking out the screen. That was humbling. Everyone had their head buried in work or they were sawing z’s.
But you can see how something like this can fuel pride in a person, and every since my days on television, my heavenly Father has been chiseling away my pride. He could not use me in ministry if I had an air of superiority or a haughty spirit.
God hates pride.
There are many references to the Lord’s dissatisfaction with a lack of humility, but this verse is especially strong: “Whoever has haughty eyes and a proud heart. I will not tolerate” (Psalm 101:5). Pride can take many forms:
- You can think you are better than someone else.
- You can believe you are too good for a certain situation.
- You might consider your position in society far above another’s.
- Maybe your pride takes the form of aloofness. I used to work with a news anchor who never spoke when passing me in a hallway. I was his colleague!
Jesus set the example of someone who chose humility over pride. “Who being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!” (Philippians 2:6–8).
In my case God had to take drastic measures to tear away pride and begin the rebuilding process. He first brought in the wrecking ball, knocking me off a lofty tower when I was at the top of my field in television. I was doing things my way without consulting Him. It was after losing both of my television jobs that I rededicated my life to Christ and began a lifetime pursuit of knowing God better.
Another way he chipped away at pride was when he called me back to honor my mentally ill mother, who I was estranged from for seventeen years. I realized I was no better than her, a sinner saved by grace.
And then there was a move to another city where I didn’t have connections, was no longer recognized because of a public persona and couldn’t rely on the old bag of tricks that sustained me in my hometown. Have you ever endured a move? It’s not easy. It was there that I was totally dependent on God. He became my confidante. I was lonely, and many days was prostrate on my face. For a while, He was my only friend. The sportscaster who did ministry became the minister who used to be a sportscaster. That’s a big difference.
How has God humbled you over the years?
I still fail at times and pride seeps through. I talk too much about myself when meeting a new person, I take the reigns of my life away from God at times, and sometimes I think I deserve something when I really don’t.
Paul said it best in Romans 7:15: “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.”
In Galatians 6:3 Paul also said, “For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself.”
Would you like to be more humble like Jesus? On Tuesday, I’ll provide some practical ways to eliminate pride in Part 2 of this series. Believe me, I am learning right along with you.
Categories: Devotion of the Week