The Silent Killer
Acts 5:5 And as he heard these words, Ananias fell down and breathed his last; and great fear came upon all who heard of it.
Pride. It is the sin with many faces. Sometimes it is blatant and obvious in our lives, but other times it creeps in unexpectedly and slowly over time begins to fester without shame. It’s a killer. A silent killer. And sadly we don’t even realize it is ravaging our lives because it is masked under so many other things, leaving us in danger of succumbing to it without even realizing it. It is sometimes camouflaged as the best of intentions, yet slowly but surely has the potential to destroy anyone in whom it resides.
In the book of Acts we see the start of the church. The Apostles were spreading the Gospel of Jesus and lives were being changed. It was amazing. The Gospel was unifying people like never before. They were of “one heart and soul”, sharing everything and claiming nothing as their own (Acts 4:32). That was God’s heart for the church and it was thriving. Until pride came in. A couple named Ananias and Sapphira decided to sell their land, keep a portion of the proceeds for themselves and lie to the apostles and the Holy Spirit about it. Immediately after being confronted they both fell down dead and, “great fear came upon all who heard it.”
Simply put, Ananias and Sapphira died as a result of their pride and so that the people would hear of it and be humbled before God. You see, God saw the pride, greed and selfishness that had creeped in through the wayward couple. He knew the potential it had to spread and destroy the sweet culture of love, peace and Christian unity that His people were experiencing. So He did something that created a fear and reverence for Him. Something that would stop pride in its tracks. God showed them who He was, so they would humbly realize who they were, in order for the dangerous sin of pride to spread no more. God did something drastic in their lives because the prevention and the destruction of pride were worth it.
We underestimate this five-letter word. We write it off as someone else’s issue. We dumb it down to simply being about cockiness and conceit. Sure, those are forms of obvious pride. But friends, if pride is as dangerous as it seems then it is important that we not only deal with the obvious forms of it, but put a face on the not so obvious ones as well. The ones that are silently taking us down because we are totally unaware of its disguise. Pride is not just about a selfie addiction. Pride can be hidden in a desire to make people happy, a generous servants heart, or even an extremely humble person. In other words, in order to find the pride in our lives we have to begin to ask the why behind the what. Why are we doing what we are doing? What is our motives deep down past all the charades? What do we want to be known for and why? A lot of times answering these questions will lead us to the root issue which is some sort of pride. Let me give an example.
For years I dubbed myself as a conservative. I would tell everyone that it was just not my personality to take risks. I was naturally a “play it safe” kind of girl. But once I began to ask the why behind my what, I realized that the only reason I don’t take risks is because I was protecting myself from failing and most importantly from being seen as a failure. You see, a part of pride can be having such a high value of oneself or a particular trait, that we, maybe even unintentionally, develop a habit of protecting that image at all costs. I had such a high value on others perceiving me as successful that I was not willing to take a chance on anything that had the potential to not succeed. That’s pride.
You see, we have to ask ourselves the hard questions like:
Do we really just like to make people happy, or are we people pleasing because we are trying to protect ourselves from not being liked? Pride.
Are we simply over-achievers, or are we trying to protect ourselves from feeling like and being seen as a disappointment? Pride.
Are we really humble, or are we acting overly humble in order to protect our reputation of being seen as a good Christian? Pride.
When questions are asked in this way it exposes some of the silent pride in our lives. It exposes the shields we surround ourselves with so that no one can see the real need. The real fear. It’s a way we can suffer in secret without being bothered by others who are clueless as to the shields we are living behind. Friends, it’s so important that we begin to put a face to this silent killer. Not only so that we can be released from the facade, but also so that we are not walking around unaware of the fact that we are housing in us one of the very things that God despises most.
All throughout scripture God warns us of the dangers of pride. We learn that: God opposes the proud (James 4:6), He wants us to do NOTHING out of pride (Phil 2:3), with pride comes disgrace (Prov 11:2), God detests the proud of heart and they will not go unpunished (Prov. 16:18), and it comes right before destruction and the fall (Prov 16:18). You see, there is a reason why God hates pride. The very makeup of it threatens to destroy everything He died for. It’s riddled with selfishness and greed. There is no love, unity or grace in pride. Pride makes it all about us and only us. And when things become more about us than about God, danger is imminent.
So He humbles us. He humbles us like He humbled the early church. He knew that if the pride that was in Ananias and Sapphira had set in amongst His people, that it would become more about them than Him. It would have changed their focus from graciously loving one another to selfishly protecting themselves. So He allowed dire circumstances to come into their lives, just as He does ours, because He loves us too much to let our own pride take us down. In fact, I believe that the humbling of God in our lives is actually just His graceful attempt to save us from ourselves. He knows the fall is coming and He knows it will be hard, so He graciously reaches His hand down into our lives and shakes us up just enough to get our attention. To get us back on track.
He has so much more for us than a life full of pride. But if we don’t learn to first identify the actual areas of this silent killer, then we are in danger of living lives full of facades, while unknowingly walking outside the will of our Father at the same time. And most importantly we will miss out on the soul-gratifying feeling of fully resting in who we actually are, with total peace of that being enough in the eyes of our Heavenly Father. Friends, He knows about our secret pride and He still loves us. He loves us enough to remind us that we don’t have to stay there. So, now that we are aware, let’s put a face on this sin and together strive towards being the free children of God we were created to be.
Questions to Journal Through:
1) What are some ways you may be masking pride in your life? What is the why behind your what?
2) Make a list :
When I do ________ ….I am actually attempting to protect myself from ________.
3) Begin to pray about those root issues and for God’s healing to flow in those areas.