Contending with God

From C.J. Mahaney, Humility: True Greatness:

Why does God hate pride so passionately?

Here’s why: Pride is when sinful human beings aspire to the status and position of God and refuse to acknowledge their dependence upon Him.

Charles Bridges once noted how pride lifts up one’s heart against God and “contends for supremacy” with Him. That’s a keenly insightful and bibilical definition of pride’s essence: contending for supremacy with God, and lifting up our hearts against Him.

For purposes of personal confession, I began adopting this definiton of pride a few years ago after I came to realize that, to some degree, I’d grown unaffected by pride in my life. Though I was still confessing pride, I knew I wasn’t sufficiently convicted of it. So rather than just confessing to God that “I was proud in that situation” and appealing for His forgiveness, I learned to say instead, “Lord, in that moment, with that attitude and that action, I was contending for supremacy with You. That’s what it was all about. Forgive me.”

And rather than confessing to another person, “That statement was prideful on my part; will you please forgive me?” I began saying, “What I just did was contending for supremacy with God,” and only then asking for the person’s forgiveness. The practice increased a weight of conviction in my heart about the seriousness of this sin.

Pride takes innumerable forms but has only one end: self-glorification. that’s the motive and ultimate purpose of pride — to rob God of legitimate glory and to pursue self-glorification, contending for supremacy with Him. The proud person seeks to glorify himself and not God, thereby attempting in effect to deprive God of something only He is worthy to receive.

No wonder God opposed pride. No wonder He hates pride. Let that truth sink into your thinking.

3 Comments on “Contending with God

  1. Ouch! I think I better start confessing that way to God, too…


  2. My first thought was “Ouch” as well. I struggle with pride and this is a great way to set it straight! Saying it aloud will help me too for some reason when I hear it, it sticks better :o)


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