The Most Subtle Form of Pride


For years I’ve struggled with a sinking sense of inadequacy.

This usually plays out in a disposition of deference: Why would I speak up when others could? Why should I teach a class when others are more capable? Why would I take that position when others are more worthy of it? Whether speaking, acting, or receiving, I let others go first. The self-designated (six-foot-six) runt among the litter.

I never challenged this because I considered it a blemish of humility. If pride is the preoccupation with oneself: a life of self-insertion and mirror-gazing, then the opposite must be humility. But as I avoided different opportunities due to a sense of inferiority, the debilitating sense of my own smallness only grew.

If, like me, you’ve lived under a dark cloud of inadequacy; if the parasite of self-pity drains your energy to go where God calls; if anxiety over your littleness anchors you from stepping out in faith; I encourage you to join me in repentance.

Small in Your Own Eyes
He hid among the baggage.

He never wanted the role. He never campaigned to be king. He was from a humble clan of the least of the tribes of Israel (1 Samuel 9:21). Who was he to be in charge? Thousands of capable men surrounded him, why should he be Israel’s first (human) king? Fear gripped him, the people chose him, Israel sought him — so he fled, hoping never to be found.

A sense of insignificance caused Saul, the tallest man in Israel, to play hide-and-go-seek to escape his calling.

But he lost and the people found his hiding spot and crowned him king. Surrounded by a sea of enemies, Saul soon faces an army he cannot defeat alone. God grants Israel the victory and commands Saul to devote everything — and everyone — to destruction. Instead, the people both kept the best livestock and treasures, and kept Agag, the defeated king, alive. When Samuel confronts Saul as to why he hears sheep bleating, Saul told him what they had done.

Now listen to what Samuel says to Saul,

“Though you are little in your own eyes, are you not the head of the tribes of Israel? The Lord anointed you king over Israel. And the Lord sent you on a mission and said, ‘Go, devote to destruction the sinners, the Amalekites, and fight against them until they are consumed’” (1 Samuel 15:17–19).

Saul disobeyed God because he was too small in his own eyes. The giant of Israel felt as a dwarf compared to the people (1 Samuel 15:24). He feared them more than God and compromised the mission God gave to him because of it.

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SOURCE: Desiring God
Greg Morse

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