C.S. Lewis wrote that pride is the great sin that we see in others but fail to see in our own lives. Augustine wrote that “pride is the commencement of all sin,” that is, the sin that leads to every other sin. The Scripture reminds us that pride disgusts the Lord and precedes our downfall:
God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. (James 4:6)
Though the Lord is exalted, He takes note of the humble; but He knows the haughty from a distance. (Psalm 138:6)
Pride comes before destruction, and an arrogant spirit before a fall. (Proverbs 16:18)
Pride erodes trust, fosters disunity, and hurts relationships. It is repulsive to people. We all struggle with pride, and pride threatens to plague leaders—especially those who enjoy success and see fruit from their leadership. A tangible way to fight pride is to redirect the spotlight, to tangibly remind yourself and others that the results are really not about you. While redirecting the spotlight does not solve our struggle with pride, it is one way to give our sin new wounds.
Point to Him.
God used Adrian Rogers, the long-time pastor of Bellevue Baptist Church in Memphis, in significant ways. When he was a young man, he was in a field praying, laying prostrate on the ground asking the Lord to use him. He did not feel he was low enough before the Lord, so he dug a hole and put his nose in it as to tangibly say, “God, I am as low as I can get before you.” Though we may not dig a hole in our backyards and place our noses in them each day, we must constantly remind ourselves that the blessing comes from Him and not from us. If we don’t believe the blessing is from Him, we won’t be motivated to redirect the spotlight.
Point to the team.
If the Lord uses you, He is not using you alone. There is a community of people who are around you, who are helping you, who are there to support you and encourage you. You are but one person. To redirect the spotlight from yourself, point to the community the Lord has surrounded you with.
Point to the message.
Martin Luther, when reflecting on the impact of the Reformation, pointed to the power of the Word and not his efforts, boldness, or preaching ability.
I simply taught, preached, wrote God’s Word: otherwise I did nothing…I did nothing: the Word did it all. Had I wanted to start trouble…I could have started such a little game at Worms that even the emperor wouldn’t have been safe. But what would it have been? A mug’s game. I did nothing: I left it to the Word.
We are like frail jars of clay, and the power does not come from us but from the message we carry, the treasure in the jar of clay (2 Corinthians 4:7).