Very few people will ever admit to a pride that is problematic. It seems an ugly attribute that is so undeserving, but that is perhaps according to our own estimation of ourselves when we are often so right in our own eyes. The praise of others that resonates with our own self-determinations can mask the blind spots we cannot see or the criticisms we will not hear. The quest for personal significance lies at the heart of this problem.
The drive to leave a legacy and to make our mark will have many aspire to be at the top of their tree. Very few people will genuinely and voluntarily submit to another’s perspective. Many will simply not commit themselves to active listening with people to whom they feel superior. Some will not lay aside their own visions of grandeur to find greatness in the harness of others whose views and gifts are most valuable when they are properly understood.
It is when we die to self in humility that we actually find ourselves. Self-effacement brings us to genuinely pursue the heart and interests of others so that we allow ourselves to be enriched by them. We earn the right to lead by serving and by therefore building the heart-to-heart bridge that precedes the building of the head-to-head one.
For those who seek spiritual authority and empowerment, it is good to remember that God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble (James 4:6). Humility guards any of us against self-deception as we find our identity in who God has called us to be and as we allow Him to lead us and to give true expression to our gifts and strengths. Our self-worth is not simply located in what we think gives us internal peace and satisfaction.The pursuit of humility – especially in leaders – gives protection from pride, the existence of which we are often unaware.
Of course, those who will empty themselves cannot be full of themselves!