7 Ways Pride Is Keeping You from Being Your True Self

7 Ways Pride Is Keeping You from Being Your True Self

7 Ways Pride Is Keeping You from Being Your True Self

When pride is in control of our lives, we are not our true selves. To be our authentic self, we must be dependent on God, seek to obey His commands, and worship Him above all things. Our true self loves God with all our heart, mind, and soul, but pride can stand in the way of being who God designed us to be.

Here are 7 ways pride keeps us from being our true selves:

The definition of pride is "a high or inordinate opinion of one's own dignity, importance or merit." Pride is thinking highly of ourselves and acting as if it's true. Pride puts "self" first and everything else, including God, last. Pride is a destructive evil that can destroy our lives. Pride stands between us and the God-designed true self we are meant to be. 

Pride is the downfall of so many of God's people. God removed His blessing from King Saul when he pridefully and impatiently offered sacrifices against His command. 

David, a man after God's own heart, fell prey to pride more than once. Feeling proud and arrogant, placing his dependence on the strength of his army, David called for a count of his fighting men. He looked to the ability of his men instead of depending on God's power to give him victory. It was pride and desire that led him to covet Bathsheba. David's conceit encouraged him to put his wants first and obedience last.  

And before he met Jesus on the way to Damascus, Paul persecuted Christians from a place of pride in his legalistic righteousness. Paul believed in his righteousness instead of relying on the Righteous One. 

When pride is in control of our lives, we are not our true selves. To be our authentic self, we must be dependent on God, seek to obey His commands, and worship Him above all things. Our true self loves God with all our heart, mind, and soul, but pride can stand in the way of being who God designed us to be.

Here are 7 ways pride keeps us from being our true selves:

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1. Pride Makes Us the "Gods" of Our Lives

The king of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar, stood atop his palace and admired his kingdom, saying, "Is not this the great Babylon I have built as the royal residence, by my mighty power and for the glory of my majesty?" (Daniel 4:32) Nebuchadnezzar was his own god. He worshiped his accomplishments and fleeting power. When our attention turns to our abilities and our successes, we forget the One who gave us life and determines our steps.  

The first commandment is to possess no idols above God Almighty. God created us to worship Him alone. Our true self recognizes that God is responsible for every good and perfect gift, every success, and every accomplishment. To be our true self, we depend only on the strength of God. 

2. Pride Leads Us to Judge Others

In Luke 18, Jesus share the parable about the Pharisee and Publican entering the temple to pray. "The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed this prayer: 'I thank you, God, that I am not like other people—cheaters, sinners, adulterers" (Luke 18:10). Like the Pharisee, when you hear that voice in your head that says, "I'm not as bad as that person," or "I'm so glad that's not me," it's pride. 

Matthew 7:3 reminds us, "Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?" To be our true selves, we must evaluate our hearts before casting judgment on others. And when we do, we will see that it is we who must pray like the tax collector, beating our chest saying, “God, have mercy on me, a sinner” (Luke 18:13). 


3. Pride Tells Us to Fear What Others Think

Pride is at the root of our fear of man. "The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe" (Proverbs 29:25). A snare is a trap set by hunters to capture their prey. The trap is well hidden and disguised, so the prey will not see it until caught in the snare. Pride waits to capture our thoughts and conjure fear of what others think about us. Fearing what others think determines who leads our lives. Who do you want to lead your life? People or Jesus? 

The true self puts confidence squarely on Christ and avoids the snare of the fear of man. Scripture tells us the truth of who we are. We are children of God—that is what we are. You are His masterpiece, known before the foundation of the world. Trusting the truth of our identities, we can avoid the traps and snares set to cage us.

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4. Pride Keeps Us from Being Honest

Have you ever exaggerated your abilities or gifts? Or, feigned humility when others compliment you? Our true self would acknowledge God, who gives all good gifts. Pride, however, keeps us from being honest with ourselves and others. 

In a conflict, is our first thought to evaluate our motives and fault in the situation? No, ordinarily, we are brutally honest about others but kinder to ourselves, sometimes blaming others and circumstances for our behavior. Proverbs 16:2 says, "All the ways of a man are clean in his own sight, But the LORD weighs the motives." We may be blinded by pride, but God knows our hearts and motives. If pride keeps you from being honest, pray that God will reveal your heart.

5. Pride Produces Self-Reliance

Pride says we can only trust ourselves. We become impatient, waiting for God to move, so we take over and in our own strength, attempt to reach what we think is ours. King Saul received commands from God through the prophet Samuel. He was to go to Gilgal and wait for Samuel. When the prophet did not arrive, and Saul began to doubt, he became impatient and offered the sacrifice himself. "You have done a foolish thing," Samuel said (1 Samuel 13:13). Because Saul depended on his own strength, he lost God's favor. 

We can do nothing in our own strength that lasts. Man makes plans, but God knows the outcome. Our true self knows we are weak and unable to accomplish anything of meaning without God and keeps us dependent on Him alone. "I can do all things through him who strengthens me" (Philippian 4:13).


6. Pride Makes Us Discontent and Envious

It is said that pride is the father of envy and discontent. C.S. Lewis says, "Pride gets no pleasure out of having something, only out of having more of it than the next man." Pride looks at what your neighbor has and makes you want it, and what is more, you want your neighbor not to have it. We may have more than we need, but pride looks over the neighbor's fence and says, “I want what he has, too." When we are discontent and envious, we compare ourselves to others, and if we find ourselves better, more pride is born. If we find ourselves lacking, envy takes over. 

Our true self gives everything we have been given because our treasure awaits us in heaven. In Matthew 5, Jesus teaches, "Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you." Also, every good and perfect gift is from above (James 1:17). The true self is giving instead of wanting. 

7. Pride Steals Our Joy

We know that pride focuses on "me." In pride, we look at our accomplishments as the best. We consider our creations as beautiful. We believe our needs are the most important. By focusing on ourselves, we miss the joy of being awed by God's creation or inspired by His transformative work in our lives. We seek comfort and peace in ourselves. Yet, true peace and comfort are only found in Jesus.

Pride leads us to dismiss passing moments like a beautiful sunset or the sound of our children laughing and playing as trite. It is living with humility and dependence on God and recognizing every moment as a gift, where we find joy. Our true self does not find joy through circumstances but in our delight in God.

Paul recognized that we would struggle with pride and reminded us in Philippians 2, "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourself." Humility is the antithesis of pride. Humility is the ability to see things for what they are and helps find our true selves in a relationship dependent on the saving grace of God. 

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