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Is it wrong to take pride in doing things well?

October 15, 2009

I got this email from someone that visited The Bridge for the first time three weeks ago during a sermon on humility.  She asks a question that at least five people have asked me in the last month since the humility sermon so I wanted to share my answer:

I know without a doubt that every time I’m able to accomplish something it’s only through Jesus I’m able to do it… but is it wrong to take pride in doing things well?”

Here’s my response to this…

That depends on what you mean by “take pride in”.  When the Bible uses the word “pride”, it’s talking about thinking more highly of ourselves than we should in light of our sinfulness and God’s holiness.  Any thought that causes us to think of ourselves as worthy or good because of something other than the cross is sinful because it attributes to us credit or “glory” that should be attributed to God.  That’s why Paul says in Galatians 6:14, “May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus” – because he realizes that nothing makes him “good” or “worthy” other than the cross.

If by “take pride in doing things well” you mean that doing things well gives you a sense of self-worth and makes you feel good about yourself, then yes. It’s wrong because God deserves that glory – and I think you were hinting at understanding this when you said you realize that you are only able to accomplish anything through Jesus. Getting your sense of self-worth or self-goodness from anything besides Jesus is not only sinful pride, but always leads to despair because you’re bound to fail someday.

But if, on the other hand, you mean that you take joy in doing things well (which is what a lot of people mean by saying they’re “proud of” something) knowing that God should get the honor for everything you accomplish then that’s not only not wrong, but can be worship.

This was a long answer to a short question, but it’s the right question.  It may seem like splitting hairs in an email but God loves us and cares so much about our hearts that examining our feelings like this is… well, He absolutely loves it.  Again, thanks for the note.  It means more to me than you know.  Looking forward to getting to know you better!

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Melanie Cooke permalink
    October 15, 2009 2:53 pm

    Depends on the heart maybe? Am I doing this well to glory of Christ or to my own glory….just a thought

  2. Trae Cadenhead permalink
    October 15, 2009 2:54 pm

    Dead on Josh. God’s been teaching that lesson to me a lot in the last few weeks and once it really sunk in that nothing good comes from me, the light came on and God has really shown his blessings.

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