November 15, 2023 / by Jeanette Clayton
What does a prideful woman look like? Our first thoughts may go to one who isn’t timid about talking about herself, her most recent accomplishment, experience/vacation, or her knowledge/insight on a particular topic.
Maybe it’s the woman of vanity, who focuses on how she looks, whether she is attractive, slim, fit, and well dressed, keeping up with the latest trends and designer brands. Perhaps, it’s the independent woman who is self sufficient, well educated, well equipped to take care of herself financially, physically, and emotionally. She seems to have it all together and makes it clear she doesn’t need the help of others. In whatever form pride takes, it seeks to impress self and others.
Within the church, many women know these top layers of pride, are self aware, and have learned how to tame pride’s blatant behaviors. For we know the biblical warnings of pride such as it reflects one who is not seeking God (Psalm 10:4), that pride brings disgrace (Proverbs 11:2), it breeds quarrels (Proverbs 13:10); it deceives (Jeremiah 49:16), it brings low (Proverbs 29:23), it hardens hearts (Daniel 5:20), and that it leads to our downfall or destruction (Proverbs 16:8). Who would want these results? No one, but especially women seeking to know God. Especially those who have studied the word of God and have had a glimpse of His holy standards. Those who may have had these top layers peeled off by the Holy Spirit, only to reveal more of its ugly layers beneath.
If only ridding ourselves of pride were easy. If only we were able to detect these outward prideful tendencies and be self controlled enough to eradicate the source of them. But pride is like an onion with many layers and at the core is the belief that self and self preservation is more important than God. The attitude that says, “I am confident in myself and my own plan. I know what is best for me and I want the best!” Of course that sounds arrogant, conceited, perhaps even narcissistic, but isn’t that the attitude behind pride? In all forms, whether blatantly obvious, subtle, or silently hidden in our hearts it comes out masked as frustration when our plans are thwarted, false humility when our successes are acknowledged, and self righteousness for our “good deeds”. Somehow the pride in our hearts bleeds out in various forms. Things that God intends for good, that we can so easily make idols and a source of pride. Being a loving wife, respecting and submitting to our husband; being a consistent mother who disciplines in love and with respect to the unique design of each of her children; using unique talents and gifts to serve family, church, and community; using resources/finances in ways to honor the Lord; having academically, athletically, artistically, musically, or socially talented children who are acknowledged for their abilities…these are the good things that our sin laden hearts can subtly or secretly pride ourselves in. These good things can pridefully become our hope, our joy, our focus, our treasure, which becomes the rudder of our lives that steer the direction of our lives away from the very Creator who designed us to trust Him and His ways, delighting in Him forevermore.
Where does this battle with pride lead us? Hopefully, prayerfully, to the merciful feet of Jesus, pleading for a revived heart. We need Jesus…the Cross…an accurate view of the goodness of God…an accurate view of ourselves…and a willingness to humbly submit fully to God. A daily renewing of the gospel message personally and a calling out to God as David did is needed. May we join in David’s prayer, Oh, LORD, create in me a pure heart. Renew a steadfast spirit within me. Restore the joy of salvation to me (especially as it relates to the root of pride which lingers in my heart,) and uphold me with a willing spirit (Psalm 51:10, 12) as I know so well my propensity to wander. May You alone be glorified in and through my life. Amen.
Jeanette Clayton serves as the Women’s Ministry Bible Study Coordinator. She has two grown daughters and is a 3rd grade teacher at Tri-Valley Elementary School. Jeanette enjoys spending time with family and friends, reading, traveling, and enjoying the great outdoors.
November OakLeaf Articles:
The Cure for Hypocrisy and Pride by Pastor Scott Boerckel
Religious Pride by Richard Mayhew
Christ As Our Source of Life by Jim Simmons
Pride: A Hindrance to Revival by Dr. Jeff VanGoethem
A Woman’s Struggle with Pride by Jeanette Clayton
A Sportsman’s Perspective on Hypocrisy and Pride by Pat Gregory