Did you ever notice how tempting it can be for us to brag about ourselves at certain time in our lives?
From Mongolian folklore comes this brilliant fable of a boastful frog: Two geese were about to start flying southward on their annual autumn migration when they were asked by a frog to take him with them.
On the geese expressing their willingness to do so if a means of conveyance could be devised, the frog produced a long stalk of grass, got the two geese to take it, one by each end, while he clung to it by his mouth in the middle.
The Voyage Is Moving Nicely…
In this manner, the three were making great progress when they were noticed from below by some men. The men loudly expressed their admiration for the device and wondered who had been clever enough to invent it. Whereupon the vainglorious frog opened his mouth and said: “It was I…” Naturally, he lost his hold, fell to the earth, and was dashed to pieces.
“Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18, KJV).
Moral of the story: “When you have a good thing going, keep your mouth shut!” However, I would like to re-write the moral of the story to read: “When you are full of yourself, look out for a fall!” Self-pride and boasting go hand in hand and always precede a fall.
Truly, at some time in the past we have all fallen into the trap of self-pride, however it would be worthwhile for those of us who are addicted to self-pride to curb that destructive habit. Boasting seems to portray strength and wisdom but it really is a weakness because this attitude reveals an underlying need for one-up-man-ship which has its roots in a sense of insecurity.
Pride is a spiritual sickness and those of us afflicted by it should make effort to deal with this weakness and overcome it. Pride is an infirmity that easily goes under the guise of being true or honest, and keeps its victims bound in many ways. For example, pride makes it not easy for us to forgive either ourselves or others.
Pride makes us feel self-sufficient in our successes when in truth, many others share in our accomplishments and well-being. Even so, all good accomplishments come from God.
Why do people boast?
Often, it is to make ourselves feel appreciated and acknowledged. Truly, we all want to be loved, appreciated and acknowledged, but it is the extremes that are dangerous, and especially so when it is meant to demean other people. Pride also encourages self-denial on one hand or excessive flaunting on the other.
We need to be always aware of the ills our self-pride and boasting can do to us and others. We have only to look at the vainglorious frog in the opening of our story and see the big picture. He could not pass up an opportunity to claim the fame, all to his ruin.
Also, beware of spiritual pride. At one time, Jesus sent out 70 disciples on an outreach mission of healing and teaching (Luke 10:1-12) and when they returned, they boasted that “even the spirits were subject to them…”
However, Jesus quickly upbraided them against self-righteousness, saying: “…rejoice not that the spirits are subject to you but that rather rejoice that your names are written in heaven” (Luke 10:20). Jesus’ reprimand was against self-righteousness and pride.
Are you a boastful or proud person?
At 1 Peter 5:5, the Bible encourages us “to be clothed in humility, for God resists the proud and gives grace to the humble,” and at Proverbs 8:13 we read that God hates pride and arrogance.
At Proverbs 6:17 we read “a proud look” is one of the seven things the Lord hates. Why?
Because God equates pride with arrogance.
Why does God resist the proud? Because it competes (or rather attempts to compete) with His sovereignty. And such was the beginning of the fall of mankind.
In contrast to Proverbs 16:18, we have Proverbs 18:12 which says: “Before destruction, the heart of man is haughty, and before honour is humility.” Self-pride, haughtiness and arrogance are all basically the same in meaning.
And humility is a learned attitude.
How do we learn humility? Our first step in learning humility is to recognize that God hates all three ills mentioned above. Other steps are to ask God for humility and thank Him for it even before seeing its full manifestation. And as we grow into humility, we become more aware of who we are: children of the Most High.
And knowing who we are would help us overcome feelings of insecurity. We would come to understand our civil rights and spiritual rights as well. We would come to know our position as children of God, and that He always causes us to have positive triumph in life (2 Corinthians 2:14).
And at the times when we are tempted to “claim the fame” we would just let those trying moments pass by.
In summary: As we develop humility, we become more aware of who we are: children of the Most High. And we would come to understand that He, our heavenly Father always causes us to triumph in Christ.
Suggested Readings: Proverbs 8:13, Proverbs 16:18-19, Proverbs 18:12,
Proverbs 27:1-2, Jeremiah 17:9, Matthew 6:3-4, 1 Peter 5:5.
Reflection: Self-pride leads to self-destruction; humility and fear of the Lord are life-preservers.
Prayer: “Heavenly Father, Maker of heaven and earth, help me to see through the falseness of self-pride and be clothed in your humility, In Jesus’ name. Amen.”
May the Lord richly bless you with His peace, love and prosperity.