The Pitfalls of Pride
If you are anything like me, you probably grew up hearing the phrase “pride comes before the fall”. Not only have you heard the phrase, but you’ve probably seen it play out in your own life. We see it when famous athletes talk trash before a game, then their team ends up losing or better yet, being completely embarrassed. We see pride in other people and we hate it. We scoff at their arrogance, but what we often fail to recognize and are unwilling to admit is the pride that is planted in our own heart. Some may struggle with surfaced, exposed pride, while others my struggle with internal, deeply rooted pride. But, God doesn’t discriminate on what type of pride we have, he hates it.
Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”James 4:6
We are all prone to fall victim of our own pride. It may be in different ways and to different degrees, but we have seen it time and time again in history.
Alexander Hamilton was shot and killed by Aaron Burr in a duel because of his own pride.
The beginning of Alexander the Great’s demise was due to his own pride.
In scripture we see the great King David, a man after God’s own heart, falls guilty and suffers consequences because his own pride in the story of Bathsheba and Uriah.
We see it in other people and if we are truly honest with ourselves, we can see it in our own thoughts and actions. Especially when we live in a society that values recognition, being the best, reputation, money, and while all those things may not be bad in itself, mix it together with pride and you begin to walk a dangerous tightrope. All for what? Even Jesus says in Mark 8:36 “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world but lose his soul?”
So, how as Christian leaders can you avoid the pitfalls of pride?
Not only do the opposite, but be the opposite. Lead with humility.
What does that look like? How do you do that?
I read a quote recently that really struck me and it said, “Humility in Christian leadership begins with the gospel.”
Be dependent on Jesus. Going back to the root and core of our beliefs and viewing ourselves in light of the Cross is extremely humbling in itself. I so often struggle clinging to my own pride and wanting to control things my own way rather than admitting my need for the Holy Spirit to guide me. It usually ends up blowing up in my face and God so gently reminds me of my need for a Savior and what Christ did on the cross for me. We need the Holy Spirit. Every day.
Be a servant leader. Christ came to this earth to serve, not to be served. Leading with humility requires setting the standard of what service looks like in your business. Be the type of leader where there is no job that is beneath you. A mindset that is focused on serving other starts with you. Whatever it may look like in your business, always be willing to serve your clients, customers, prospects, and employees.
Imitate Christ’s Humility. I think the best example of what humility in leadership looks like is the life of Christ. He led his followers with wisdom, gentleness, rebuking and correcting when needed, and showing grace. He put the needs of sinners before himself and made the ultimate sacrifice so that we would experience his grace, love and forgiveness.
“ In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
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!
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.”Philippians 2: 5-11
This is the type of humility that we should strive for. A humility that when other people see your leadership, they see Christ in you. It’s not easy, and we are not perfect, but as we aim to be more sanctified in our daily lives, we must practice humility not only in the way we lead our business, but also in our families, churches and all other aspects of our daily lives.