Joe Thorn posted an excellent article on his blog yesterday (joethorn.net). In it, he describes several practical tests to uncover the presence of pride in our lives.
In one sense, the presence of pride can be assumed to be found in all of us, to one degree or another. Even the apostle Paul was not immune from the pull of pride (See 2 Cor 12:7). Thorn says,
The simplest test is also the quickest. Find the nearest mirror and stand before it. If you can see your reflection, you are a testing positive for pride… Pride infects and afflicts us all to varying degrees. We need to take watch over our hearts to battle against this father of all sins.
He describes 5 specific tests for detecting the presence of personal pride:
When was the last time I confessed my sin to another person?
Pride loves to hide… If you can’t remember the last time you told the truth about your sin and struggle to a good brother or sister you may have given pride room to hide itself and your corruption.
When was the last time I apologized without qualification or equivocation?
Pride does not admit fault. There is always someone else to blame or circumstances which justifiy even wicked actions. If you can’t remember the last time your apologized for your actions, seeking forgiveness from another you have wronged, you may be creating an environment in the heart for pride to thrive
When was the last time I asked for help?
Asking for help is an admission of weakness, an embracing of the need for something outside of ourselves. If you can’t remember the last time you willingly asked for help it may be pride that is leading you to remain on your own.
When was the last time I genuinely thanked someone?
Pride is a selfish creature that instinctively flees or fights gratitude. It cannot make sense of gratitude for thankfulness is the response of a humble heart that has received grace.
When was the last time I sought to lift another up?
Pride is more interested in receiving praise than giving it. Pride is either satisfied with self, or dissatisfied with what another has. The covetous nature of pride cannot lift another up in praise or admiration or honor, for in doing so it makes less of self. If you can’t remember the last time you considered another worthy of more honor than yourself, you may be proud.
Our hope, Thorn says, is not in gritting our teeth and trying harder. Yes, he says, we must know the truth, and we mus be active in our endeavors to kill pride; but ultimately, “we learn humility in and through Jesus Christ.”
So consider Jesus; draw near to him, believe in him, and you will experience pride shrinking in his presence.
Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
(Philippians 2:5-11 ESV)
Read the whole post here.