Much of the theme in the book of Daniel has to do with the pride of King Nebuchadnezzar. I mean, when you dream about statues of yourself that the entire world can see and bow down to, you’ve got a pride problem.
Daniel enters the story as a captive in Babylon. He is good-looking, top of his class at Harvard and righteous to top it off. As a young man, his whole life was ahead of him in Jerusalem. But when Babylon invades he finds himself a captive to King Nebuchadnezzar.
God will use Daniel in a great capacity in Babylon to share wisdom and reveal the meaning of dreams to the king. And much of what Daniel will say is, “Watch your next move, oh, king. Your pride is running the show too much. You need to humble yourself.”
We are all prone to issues concerning our pride. The temptation is to make our ministry all about us. Pride makes it easier to enjoy the fact that people know who we are. Pride is what makes it easy for us to make the ministry more about us than about God.
When ministry becomes more about us than it does God, we are on very dangerous ground.
Pride is best known for showing up in big ways. When a popular pastor of a large church falls, the world is there to see his/her hidden pride at its worst.
Pride also shows up in small ways, in the little decisions we make day to day. It’s not in a big fall or moral failure for most of us. It’s in small moments that we will miss if we don’t see the warnings.
Here are 6 warning signs that pride is creeping in.
6 Warning Signs Pride is Taking Root in Your Heart
Daniel was in King Neb’s life to be a warning. He shared clearly what God was intending to do to Nebuchadnezzar and Babylon by interpreting dreams. He was also clear when he said, “break off your sins, practice righteousness, show mercy to the oppressed.” (Daniel 4:27)
Who are the Daniels in your life? Who is close enough to you to call you out? Who gets to tell you to straighten up?
If you don’t have a Daniel, you are in danger of pride creeping in and destroying you and your ministry.
A simple way to root out pride is to recognize conflict. Prideful people are often fighting and offended by everything.
Do you find yourself fighting for your own point of view more often than not? Do you find yourself offended and bitter every time someone doesn’t like a new idea you have?
This is not about healthy conflict in relationships where biblical restoration and forgiveness happens. This is about us wanting to fight for our way all the time because we are too prideful to admit a different way might be better.
What conflict do you need to give up so that your pride is put down and God’s glory can prevail?
Talk to anyone who has been through Celebrate Recovery, AA or some other 12-step program. They will tell you they are there because their life is a mess. They have usually hit rock bottom.
Sometimes they are there because of circumstances beyond their control. Other times, we end up there because our pride is in the way. Someone tells us to stop drinking so much because it’s going to make things worse. And our pride accepts that as a challenge.
If you are constantly finding yourself in chaos within your church or ministry, maybe you are struggling with your pride at the root. Pride creates chaos.
God is not a God of confusion. Proverbs 3:6 tells us that if we acknowledge God in all our ways, He will make our paths straight.
Seasons of confusion are different than perpetual confusion about life and what God is calling you to do. If you are consistently in confusion about what God is up to, pride may be in the way of you seeing clearly what God is up to.
Have you ever found yourself in ministry slightly excited when someone who has been opposing you fails in some way? If pride has taken root at all in your life, you will likely find joy in other people’s imperfections and faults.
1 Corinthians 13 tells us that “love does not rejoice in evil.” If you find joy in someone else’s mistakes and faults, you aren’t kind or loving. You are prideful.
Unwillingness to Serve
Unwilling unless it comes with some sort of reward. Or visibility so that people will know who you are or what your ministry is about.
I find this in sinister ways in my life and ministry. An opportunity arises to serve children over the summer at our school. Or an opportunity to serve at a shelter in our community. As Christians, we should pounce on those opportunities without a second thought.
Pride says, “Will anyone notice? Will anyone connect the dots to my church? Can we get a newspaper article written up about it so that people can see us?”
You can argue the flip side of that coin if you want. You can argue that it’s good marketing to have your church name out there and that very well could be true to some extent.
But when we stop serving because we don’t get recognition for us or there won’t be some payoff, that’s not ministry for God’s glory. That’s pride and it’s become about us.
These are 6 warning signs that pride is taking root in our lives. Would you add any to the list?
Stan Rodda is a 4th generation pastor who has been in ministry for 15 years. He has a passion for teaching and equipping within the church. Currently, he is serving as a campus pastor at New Life Christian Church, where the mission is to create environments where people can discover God.