Unmasking the True Meaning of Pride: A Journey Towards Authentic Faith

Unmasking the True Meaning of Pride: A Journey Towards Authentic Faith

Written by: Josh Hellman | Published: February 8, 2024

Clean Cups

In one of my articles entitled Understanding Pride I talked about how we live in a culture which teaches pride to be a good thing and something to rest in.  I don’t think people really understand when they say to take pride in something they are actually taking identity in their works or at least the attaining of standards which they’ve set for themselves as a marker of goodness.  We concluded this idea inevitably leads us to selfish desires resulting in things like condemnation for those who don’t act like us, resting in our works instead of the works of Christ, and taking the focus off of God and placing it on ourselves.

One thing we want to avoid in our Christian walks is to become like the Pharisees and religious leaders of the day.  They talked about living a moral life and being pure before God but they were doing the opposite in their hearts.  Instead of loving people and caring about what they were doing they just cared about how they looked and acted on the outside.  They took pride in their appearance and demeanor but not in the way they treated others.  Jesus had this to say about the Pharisees,

You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and the plate, that the outside also may be clean.

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness.  So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.

Matthew 23:26-28

There are many people today who speak about following God but seem to be promoting a cultural message.  Where is the change?  Where is the conviction of holiness?  We see a church without teeth but finally again emerging from the depths of laity to take up its position on the walls of the kingdom of God.  The church has been silent and has let society dictate what the truth is over the past couple of decades.  Some of this can lead to important discussions about how to better love and forgive others but most times we become doormats or afraid to challenge others for fear of rejection.

We have let culture distill truth through their experiences and tell us their truth instead of understanding how our experiences mold to the truth.  We often let our biases and feelings dictate how we react through a situation instead of going to the truth regardless of our feelings and conforming to God’s standard of holiness.  This is what leads us to statements such as, “why would a good and loving God let so much pain in the world?” rather than, “I know there’s a good and loving God so why is there so much pain in the world?”  This would lead us to the blame not being on God rather on humans and how much they disobey God.  Sometimes finding the truth is about asking the right question and gaining the right perspective.

Of course, it’s harder to believe and live in these truths.  When you have a loved one who passes from a disease or traumatic experience it’s not the most comforting thing to hear from someone, rather it’s a truth we must take on and live with in those times.  Change is something which happens on the inside.  True repentance comes from a change of mind, heart, and soul.  We learn God’s ways and apply them regardless of the outcome.  All we have to do is look to the disciples and see they lived for God unto death, mockery, abuse, torture, and ridicule.  Obviously there were tough times but their cups were clean on the inside, they had experienced God in a way only few before them had and now they got to let others experience the same.

So let us be challenged to clean our insides.  Let us not care about the varnish on the outside but rather make sure the dirt on the inside causes us not to be useful.  May we be filled with living waters and continually allow God to search our hearts and minds so we can ever be focused on Him and His ways.  May we be challenged to look not like culture but rather God’s glory to humanity.