Have you watched movies that create energy in your spirit? The Devil Wears Prada, a 2006 comedy-drama, does this for me. I love watching the drama unfold between fashion magazine editor Miranda Priestly and her fledgling assistant Andrea Sachs. Intelligent and talented, Andrea has recently graduated from college, and now she must graduate from the Miranda Priestly School of Hard Knocks.
We watch Andrea succeed and fail at work, and we watch her fail miserably in her personal life. Wanting so much to prove her worth to herself and the world (with Miranda consuming the majority of her world), Andrea loses her man, her friends and herself.
There's a scene that immediately came to mind when I thought of the issue of pride. Miranda and Andrea are in Paris discussing Miranda's decision to sell out loyal employees and friends in order to stay on top of the fashion business. Miranda (played by the phenomenal Meryl Streep) speaks with an air that matches her "Queen Bee" status. When Andrea questions whether she really wants the life she'd begun in the fashion industry, Miranda dismisses her uncertainty.
"What if this isn't what I want?" says Andrea, doubt peeking through her big brown eyes. "What if I don't want to live the way you live?"
"Oh, don't be ridiculous, Andrea," responds Miranda, in her chilly, condescending manner. "Everyone wants this. Everyone wants to be us."
(Watch the movie scene by clicking here)
Everyone wants to be us. What a prideful statement. What a prideful attitude. What an easy attitude to fall into when things are going our way.
Have you known that feeling? Life is going as planned. The sky is blue, the sun is beaming through, and everything is well in the world. At least in our world.
Yesterday, in Purpose Stealers: Insecurity, I discussed insecurity and its ravaging effects on our psyche and our purpose. The exact antithesis of insecurity is pride, which can be just as damaging to our purpose in Christ. When we succumb to insecurity, we believe the negative things being said about us. We believe the lies of the enemy, ourselves and naysayers around us. Pride, on the other hand, takes on an opposite effect. We begin to believe "our own press." We believe we're pretty amazing, and we struggle with those who don't recognize our amazingness. (Made up a new word, y'all.)
I know what some of you are thinking. Well, doesn't God think I'm amazing? After all, I'm the apple of His eye, right?
Yes, God does think you're amazing. God does think I'm amazing. As a matter of fact, check out what Jesus spoke to his disciples:
"I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father." (John 14:12)Though Jesus said we would do even "greater things," He knows that we are only able to do greater things through His work on the cross. It is through His redemptive death on Calvary that we are able to do anything worth anything. So our greatest works -- be they an amazing sermon or a New York bestselling book or a chart-busting song -- ultimately give credit back to our Savior.
In the issue of pride, it all boils down to balance in perspective. I see my immeasurable value, but I realize my value comes from my Creator. Let's take a look at how the Apostle Paul works this thing out.
"Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners -- of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life." 1 Timothy 1:15b-16
"If anyone else thinks he has reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eight day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for legalistic righteousness, faultless. But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ." Philippians 3:4b-7
"Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." Philippians 3:12-14Do you see all those "buts"? To fight the purpose stealer of pride, we've got to walk the balance beam of God's perspective of us. We've got to maintain a "but" mentality. We're not all that we want to be, but thank God, we're not what we used to be.
I've been loving Kirk Franklin's new CD, Hello Fear. The lyrics in Kirk's songs display incredible spiritual growth in this talented songwriter. His fourth track, "I Am," ministers like a good sermon. Sometimes when I listen to it in my car, I want to get out of my car and commence to doing a "holy dance" in the middle of the street. I would if I could without 1. causing a major accident or 2. risk a police officer immediately carting me off to the nearest mental health facility.
So here's a sampling of the lyrics from "I Am" (and click here to listen):
I'm resting on God's grace and goodness in me, not my own merits and achievements. How about you?
Purposed For Him,