Just like everyone else, I have grown in my walk with Christ. As I look back over my life especially the last ten years, I have seen extreme growth in myself, the way I view the world, and how I see my relationship with Christ. Thankfully, I have reached the point in my life where I am able to view my relationship with our Savior as the most important aspect of my life.
When I was younger, I was proud of my walk with Christ and that I had a relationship with Him but it was not nearly the most important aspect of my life. There were other things that I prioritized before it and while I am not proud of this, I am able to learn from it. No, this is not pride from self-righteousness that will ultimately hinder myself from seeking Christ but I am proud of my walk and how I have grown in Christ.
Many people may say that this is not the right mindset for a Christian to have but when someone says this to me, I like to ask them where at in scripture does it say that a Christian cannot be proud to be a Christian? For the sake of time, I’ll save you from searching and tell you that it’s not there. In fact, scripture is clear that there is nothing wrong with feeling good about doing something well: “But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another” (Galatians 6:4).
There is a type of pride that God does hate, absolutely, and there is a lot of this type pride going around amongst many people and scripture is clear that we are to stay away from this: “The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: Pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, And the froward mouth, do I hate” (Proverbs 8:13). When a person is consumed with pride, they are focused on themselves and their thoughts are taken away from God and typically, these people are not worried what God wants nor do they seek what God desires and I know this first hand which is why Christ explained “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3).
Someone once asked Billy Graham what Christ meant in this passage about poor in spirit to which he explained: “What did He mean? Simply this: We must be humble in our spirits. If you put the word ‘humble’ in place of the word ‘poor,’ you will understand what He meant.” Christ was illustrating the importance of humility in our lives and rather than putting our own self-worth in front of God’s glory, we must empty ourselves of self-satisfaction which always leads to the individual believing that they do not need God: “But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble” (James 4:6).
As a Christian, I am proud of everything that God has done for me and as an American, I am proud to live in the greatest country on Earth and enjoy the freedom of worshipping freely. There are many countries around the world that do not allow their citizens such freedom so we are blessed beyond measures. When others put their pride before they do their relationship with God or they are so prideful that they believe they do not need God, they are truly walking with pride and scripture is clear about this: “Pride goeth before destruction, And an haughty spirit before a fall. Better it is to be of an humble spirit with the lowly, Than to divide the spoil with the proud” (Proverbs 16:18-19).
Ultimately, my walk with Christ has allowed me to see that God wants us to be proud of this relationship and to praise and worship Him. If we, as Christians, were not proud and did not walk in His mercy and grace, we would not praise and worship Christ. The praise and worship that we give Christ does not come from believing we have to but rather, because we are proud and if we only worship because we think it’s what we have to do, that’s not genuine worship. This is no different than the religious leaders in the day of Christ and the same is true for many of the religious leaders today but we must be humble enough to put Christ first: “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up” (James 4:10).