5 Ways Pride Impacts Our Peace

Sarah Caskey

When Conflict Calls…

Peace doesn’t seem to characterize the reality we live in. For many of us, battles are raging within us as we struggle through complex emotions and concerns. And at the same time, we’re witnessing conflict in the environments and circumstances that surround us externally as well. As we fight to find a centeredness amidst the turmoil of this world, we may find that our pride plays a part in our lack of peace. So, here are the 5 ways pride impacts our peace.

 

1. Pride makes way for disunity.

Living in gospel-centered community is hard. Paul knew that. His church knew that. We ourselves know that. It’s no wonder that so many people choose to live in isolation–outside of a commitment to community–in light of the difficulties that arise when sharing so much of your life with other people. And when it comes to the issue of disunity, pride is often a key factor in the conflict.

Pride tells me that my preferences are greater than the gospel good. Pride says that it’s more important for others to agree with me than for us to instead agree together in the Lord (Philippians 4:2). Paul, in verse 3, urges for those in the church to remember that the gospel should always come first. We can surrender our preferences to the big picture at stake: Christ’s name and desires made known and magnified… rather than our own.

 

2. Pride leads to a refusal to rejoice.

When my pride is bruised, the last thing I want to do is focus on worship. So, if I’m not rejoicing, it’s either before God in my own solitude or communally in the context of corporate worship. And it’s probably because I wanted things to go a certain way or to end up differently than the reality I see at present… But the apostle doesn’t tell us to wait until we get what we want in order to rejoice or extend praise. Instead, he repeats it over and over again to the church: “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again–Rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4).

Sometimes, the disappointment we experience leads us to truly desire anything but worshiping the Lord. The Bible is full of examples and situations just like this! Yet, God in His goodness knew we would require some examples of what it would look like to be after His own heart in the midst of hardship. But here’s the kicker: those lamentations in Scripture–these shared experiences that we, too, must grieve and feel the weight of in this life–almost always lead to praise. (Check out Psalm 73 for an example of how entering back into God’s sanctuary combats the psalmist’s hopelessness.)

 

3. Pride won’t let me be gracious or gentle.

Paul tells the church to let their graciousness, or gentleness, be made known to everyone (Philippians 4:5). “Everyone” means those in the church, those outside of it, and those who may only be halfway through the door. All the world should be able to see the evidence of Christ’s nature within His church body. Psalm 34:18 says that the Lord is near to the brokenhearted. So, shouldn’t His church be, too?

We can’t be near to those who need us in the body if our pride is taking precedence. Instead, we will naturally choose distance and callousness every time. In this same verse in Philippians 4, Paul reminds us that the Lord is still near. This serves to take the pressure off of ourselves to move and relate to others in our own strength. We don’t have it within our natural selves to be gentle or gracious in the hardest times of relational tension. But Christ does. And His Spirit makes a way when we bow to Him over our pride.

 

4. Pride inclines me to worry.

Because the Lord is near, we are instructed to refrain from worry. This is easier said than done, especially in light of all the difficulties that life heaps onto our plates. And yet, God’s Word instructs us to boldly approach the throne of grace in light of our concerns (Hebrews 4:16). This command overtakes the opportunity for our troubles to anxiously consume us. On the contrary, our pride and our worry make us believe the lie that it’s only up to us to independently fix the messed-up situations at hand.

Paul understands that, though. Which is why he tells the church to–instead of internalizing our fears and concerns–pray, petition, and present these situations and circumstances to the Lord. He tells us to do so with thanksgiving, which is another thing our pride won’t allow us to do. With grateful hearts, more consumed by an awareness of the ways He has provided in the past, we can continue to take these concerns to Him. To unburden ourselves in this way takes a sure act of surrender, which our pride never naturally inclines us to do.

 

5. Pride tells me to keep my own guard up.

Paul tells us in verse 7 that “the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” It takes a lot to position ourselves under the authority of God’s peace, especially when our pride tells us to keep our guards up rather than to allow Him to guard us in His might. Pride says that God isn’t good enough, strong enough, or involved enough to set things straight amidst our chaos.

Pride tells us to instead spend our time and energy doing our own thing–and accomplishing nothing–rather than taking ourselves and our problems right to the source of peace Himself. And in keeping our guards up from the Lord, we’re also guarding ourselves from the support, care, and guidance of the biblical community He has commissioned to walk alongside us. We were created to peaceably flourish in the context of lives lived alongside fellow believers. Here, with arms linked and burdens shared, we walk closer to our heavenly reality. Our pride would rather us struggle in silence, believing our self-sufficiency to be the better option. But floundering in solitude doesn’t present any evidence of life everlasting to a watching, waiting, and weary world.

 

Let’s Lean In

Through it all, pride whispers worldly “truths” that make sense to our sinful flesh. Yet these lies prove contradictory to the lives we are called to as believers and peacemakers to the world around us. As we gauge these internal and external struggles, we must continue to lean into the grace of our Lord. In turn, we will be leaning into the community of fellow believers. He has made a way for us to be at peace with Him through Jesus and to likewise find peace in the midst of our troubles. These are 5 ways pride impacts our peace and the truths we can cling to from the Word of God.