I came across a story about pride that I will love to share with you.
I, Nebuchadnezzar, was at home in my palace, contented and prosperous. I had a dream that made me afraid. As I was lying in my bed, the images and visions that passed through my mind terrified me… Then Daniel (also called Belteshazzar) was greatly perplexed for a time, and his thoughts terrified him. So the king said, “Belteshazzar, do not let the dream or its meaning alarm you.” Belteshazzar answered, “My lord if only the dream applied to your enemies and its meaning to your adversaries!
The tree you saw, which grew large and strong, with its top touching the sky, visible to the whole earth, with beautiful leaves and abundant fruit, providing food for all, giving shelter to the beasts of the field, and having nesting places in its branches for the birds of the air-you, O king, are that tree! You have become great and strong; your greatness has grown until it reaches the sky, and your dominion extends to distant parts of the earth.
“You, O king, saw a messenger, a holy one, coming down from heaven and saying, ‘Cut down the tree and destroy it, but leave the stump, bound with iron and bronze, in the grass of the field, while its roots remain in the ground. Let him be drenched with the dew of heaven; let him live like the wild animals, until seven times pass by for him.’ “This is the interpretation, O king, and this is the decree the Most High has issued against my lord the king: You will be driven away from people and will live with the wild animals; you will eat grass like cattle and be drenched with the dew of heaven. Seven times will pass by for you until you acknowledge that the Most High is sovereign over the kingdoms of men and gives them to anyone he wishes.
The command to leave the stump of the tree with its roots means that your kingdom will be restored to you when you acknowledge that Heaven rules. Therefore, O king, be pleased to accept my advice: Renounce your sins by doing what is right, and your wickedness by being kind to the oppressed. It may be that then your prosperity will continue.”
All this happened to King Nebuchadnezzar. Twelve months later, as the king was walking on the roof of the royal palace of Babylon, he said, “Is not this the great Babylon I have built as the royal residence, by my mighty power and for the glory of my majesty?
(Excerpt from Daniel 4)
Pride is one great enemy of our potential that disguises itself just to appear as healthy self-esteem to us. John Piper commented, “The safest way for us to stay supreme in our own estimation is to deny anything above us,” which describes pride. Pride always whispers to you, “You are above everyone. You don’t serve but to be served. You are not to learn but to be learnt from.” It keeps reiterating how much better you are and less effective others are, which is a slow poison that gently destroys your potential.
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C.S. Lewis said, “A proud man is always looking down on things and people: and, of course, as long as you are looking down, you cannot see something that is above you.” as long as you are proud, you effortlessly disregard the growth and success of others. What happened to the king in the story reveals how God despises pride. The king delighted so much in his success that he exalted himself above all. Hence, he did only what pleases him, which he reaped its fruits.
Let’s look at what pride really is, below
1. Pride is the unwillingness to learn from others: when you often feel nothing is worth learning from others, you are proud because it has made you belittle the knowledge you can learn, unlearn and relearn from others which is not beneficial to your potential as it limits you from maximizing them.
2. Pride is belittling others’ potentials: When you always feel no one has anything as valuable as yours to present, you repel the growth of your potential.
3. Pride is neglecting discipline and principles: The king in the above story felt he could do anything that pleases him since he was overwhelmed with pride. Pride makes you believe you don’t need to follow rules and apply discipline to anything you want to do. To deploy your potential, there are principles you will need to follow. Hence, a failure to do that will result in complacency.
Below are the remedies for pride
1. Consistently acknowledge the sovereignty of God in all you do.
2. Discover the principles to success and maximizing your potential then apply them to your life.
3. Seek the grace to be disciplined and be willing to be disciplined.
4. Be willing to learn from others.
5. Avoid belittling others’ potential.
6. Always acknowledge the place of grace in your achievements.
7. Be open-minded; be willing to accept corrections.
8. Consistently remind/affirm your willingness to overcome pride.
Get more understanding on Affirmations in a detailed post I made on it, Why You Need And How To Create Morning/Daily Affirmations.