Jack-in-the-Box Pride

Rebecca Van Noord

It’s dangerous to become too confident in the maturity of our own faith. Our pride is like the spring of a jack-in-the-box: Just when we think it’s broken or that we’ve gotten the lid on tight, it springs back to life. It rears its ugly head, bobbing around like a circus fool.

It’s so easy to get caught up in our own achievements—even when it comes to faith. We can grow in knowledge and then look down on others who still need to grow. The psalmist of Psa 131 presents the solution with a sure, succinct declaration. He fully submits to God’s order. He doesn’t wrestle with the things that don’t make sense—he is able to place these in God’s hand. His inner peace comes from total trust in God: “My heart is not haughty nor my eyes arrogant, And I do not concern myself with things too great and difficult for me. Rather I have soothed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother, like the weaned child is my soul with me” (Psa 131:1–2).

Maturity of faith is found in childlike trust—trust that sees ourselves as small and God as mighty. Peter also speaks about peace that is a result of having faith that submits to God. Submission allows us to act wisely in a situation, all “for the sake of the Lord” (1 Pet 2:13). Doing good will silence the ignorant (1 Pet 2:15), and if we do good while enduring the mistreatment of others, God will show us His favor (1 Pet 2:20). Ultimately, it’s Christ who serves as the example of submission. Even while suffering and enduring abuse, Jesus “did not commit sin, nor was deceit found in his mouth” (1 Pet 2:22). Instead, He “entrusted himself to the one who judges justly” (1 Pet 2:23).

Jesus’ act of redemption should be the focus of all our actions. While pride is rebellion against Him, forgiveness and grace through Christ are enough to drive us to the end of ourselves and send us into the haven of God’s love. His sacrifice eliminates the need to be prideful and self-seeking. It quiets our souls.

How are you turning to Christ’s sacrifice in moments of pride?

This article was originally published in Connect the Testaments: A One-Year Daily Devotional with Bible Reading Plan.