Freedom From Pride

No Substitute for Scripture

Unrestrained pride creates numerous idols in our lives, so much so that they can feel overwhelming. What should believers do when they recognize pride in their own lives? Where should they turn? In this post created in cooperation with the Association of Biblical Counselors, Mike Sharrett, pastor with the Presbyterian Church of America, describes the important tools in the fight with pride—community, prayer, and Scripture.

Mike Sharrett has been in pastoral ministry since 1982 in the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA). He worked as a career counselor until Trinity PCA hired him on staff. After serving at Trinity PCA he planted a church in Ft. Worth, TX and then returned to Virginia to plant Redeemer PCA in Lynchburg. 

Mike shared how his experiences with pride produced in him a fear of people. As a result, he became a people-pleaser. However, he experienced freedom by turning to honest community and Scripture. The effects of pride can feel overwhelming, but there is no substitute for God's grace extended through His Word and His people. 

Where do you turn for freedom from pride? Can you relate to Mike's experience? If so, how?
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How has gospel community helped you confront the idols in your life? In light of Mike's comments, how could you stand to grow in terms of authentic relationships with other believers? Who could you reach out to for help?
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How have you experienced God minister to you through His Word? In what ways has Scripture confronted your pride? How has the Holy Spirit encouraged you with biblical promises?
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Mike noted the importance of prayer and also shared an example of how he strives to pray through Scripture when confronting sin. In what ways have you attempted to incorporate Scripture directly into your prayer life? What value might it bring to your current routine of prayer? How could you begin to practice praying through Scripture this week?
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God ministers to us in our struggles. Though pride can have an overwhelming effect on life, He has provided us with the body of Christ, His Word, and the ministry of the Holy Spirit to encourage us in faithfulness. Having shared his own experience, Mike turns to lay out a practical process for confronting pride head on.

Confronting pride starts by simply admitting the ways in which you struggle with it. The very fact that you can recognize such a sin shows that God is at work in you. There is no condemnation for our weaknesses. Jesus has entered into them Himself.  

Hebrews 4:14-16 (ESV)

Jesus the Great High Priest

14Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.15For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Scripture quotations marked (ESV) are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

How do you typically respond to God's conviction of sin in your life? How does Christ's example minister to you in your weaknesses? In what ways is God convicting you today?
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What does it look like for you to approach Christ "with confidence" in times of need? Looking back on your experience, how has He faithfully met your needs? In what ways can your past strengthen your view of God's faithfulness to care for your present and future needs?
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1 Peter 5:5-7 (ESV)

5Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you,7 casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.

Scripture quotations marked (ESV) are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Mike observed how the Apostle Peter describes humility as a garment in which we ought to clothe ourselves. In other words, it's something you have to be intentional about choosing each new day. It starts with a recognition of our own limitations and shortcomings because God opposes the proud. 

In light of this discussion, what would it look like for you to "clothe" yourself in humility? What changes could you make in your daily routine to make humility more of a focus? Who could you ask for help in this process?
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Mike also pointed out that the passage demonstrates a social application of humility both in our relationships with those around us and our relationship with God. Peter calls his readers to have humility "toward one another" (v. 5) and to humble themselves "under the mighty hand of God" (v. 6).  

What difference would humility make in your current relationships? What sin keeps you from being humble today? What steps will you take towards repentance going forward?
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How does pride affect your relationship with God? In what ways are you tempted to drift out from under His hand? What steps will you take towards maturity in the days ahead? Who can you ask for prayer and support along the way?
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Jesus bears no disdain for our weaknesses. Rather, He enters into them with His grace. Allow the testimony of Scripture to encourage your heart where you find yourself struggling today. In Christ, there is no condemnation for those who believe and God graciously leads His children towards freedom from their sin. Trust Him in that process and rest in His sovereign care.

For more insights and teaching from Mike Sharrett, check out the full course, The War with Pride

To find out more about the Association of Biblical Counselors, click here