Athlete, Check Your Pride


Tom Petersburg

Proverbs 16:18 (NASB)

Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before stumbling.

Physical symptoms are the warning lights on the dashboard of our lives that something is not functioning in our bodies as it should. In the same way, there are symptoms in our lives that trigger an alarm that something is amiss spiritually.

Pride is a symptom of wrong thinking. We think that the things that give us an elevated opinion of ourselves are a result of our own doing. Ignore the symptom of pride too long and we are headed for a nasty fall.

The more we stand out (in our appearance, personality, intellect, position, accomplishments, ability), the more susceptible we are to pride. We possess something that compels us to think we are above others. Even the realization that we have appeared to be humble has a way of making us prideful!

A notable retired NFL player relates how he was jerked to reality after leaving the game. An excited fan approached him for an autograph saying, “Didn’t you used to be (player’s name)?” Fame is fleeting.

Pride distorts life and how we think about it. We easily use the things that make us prideful to navigate life without having to depend on God. That is one of the reasons that God hates pride — prideful people pursue Him less.

Most of us don’t trust God until we have to. Things have to go terribly bad to bring us to acknowledge that we need God.

The remedy? Consider two things:

1. James 4:10 says, “Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.” It is not possible to spend quality time with God when we are filled with pride. Pride is a statement of self-sufficiency.

2. A MLB player who was constantly praised for his character, team-first attitude, success and servant heart said that every compliment turned his mind to praise God. He recognized that God gave him the abilities, opportunities and a transformed life. It kept him humble.

Need some more perspective? Check out the mindset of Jesus in Philippians 2:1-11,

Tom Petersburg  |


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