Pride is an interesting thing. Do you know that pride can actually motivate you to good works? It can! It’s happened in my life several times. Let me explain . . .
In the past, I’ve realized that I have a problem. (such as laziness) Then, instead of repenting with "sackcloth and ashes" and asking God to help me, I decide, "I’m gonna fix this problem!" I set up standards. I make decisions. I enforce resolutions on myself. I will work hard. I will not procrastinate. I will . . .
You see, I decided to fix the problem, without God’s help. It’s not on purpose, but in my heart, I think that I can handle this. Pretty soon, I’m failing at life. I’m no longer procrastinating, but I’m not finding much joy in anything either, and I’m not growing closer to God. In reality, I decided to change, not because I wanted to serve God, but because I wanted to have a good opinion of myself. My actions are feeding my pride and not glorifying God. When I get the sense that God isn’t fully pleased, I’m like, "What’s wrong God? I fixed the problem! I’m trying to serve you! I’m working hard. Why do I feel like I don’t have your blessing?"
I’ve used my fleshly pride to work against my fleshly action of laziness and in the end, I’ve effectively just traded sins. That’s not gonna please God. I’m still in sin. Serving God out of pride is sin just like any other sin.
Have you ever wondered how the Pharisees managed to obey so many of their made up rules? They served God out of pride.
In Luke 18, God tells a story of a Pharisee and a publican. The Pharisee served God according to the outward showing of obedience, but in his heart he was prideful. The publican was humble about his faults. In verse 14, God says of the publican, "I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted."
How about you? Do you serve God out of pride? Are you "proud" of all the holy things you do? Or are you humbly seeking a true relationship with your Savior?
I would submit to you, God is not interested in righteous acts that come from an unrighteous heart.
Humble yourself. Ask God to help you. Seek to know God and grow close to Him. He is the one that can change you so that your life will please Him.
After all, It’s God that works in us, both to will and to do, of His good pleasure. (Phil 2:13)