There is no greater barrier to the salvation of a person than the pride of life. All of us want to be important and have meaning in our lives. Therefore, we are prone to believing too much in ourselves. After all, most of us are taught, at an early age, that we are the ones who govern our present so we also shape our future. The details may be different depending upon where you’ve grown up in the world but the lessons are the same. We are all brought up with formulas for success. We might tell children things like “You can do anything you put your mind to” when what we’re telling them are lies that bring about destruction when they believe them.

People teach what they know. How can they do otherwise? As a Christian, I would try and raise my children with Christian beliefs. One such belief is reading the Bible as one means of getting to know the Lord. However, if I didn’t know how important it was to read the Bible then perhaps I wouldn’t teach that to my kids. Let’s say that I know how important it is to read the Bible but I don’t do it. However, I do tell my kids that they need to read theirs. Subsequently, I push them to read when I do not. My kids will be more likely to learn by the things that I do or don’t do than the things I say to do or don’t do. Therefore, whether or not I realize it, I am only teaching them what I know, even if I try and do otherwise.

There are many Christian parents who lament their lost children who were “good” and loved Jesus until they go to college or university where they are “led” astray. Some parents may quote the proverb, “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6 ESV). However, I think the axiom “Monkey See, Monkey Do” is more apropos. Although they mean the same thing many of us are so myopic as to believe that children do not pay attention to the things that they see us do. Instead, we look to their response to our “teaching” as the gauge for how well they are learning.

When we teach kids to do the things that we don’t do then what we’re really teaching them is to be people pleasers. Some might think that the heart’s desire of the people pleaser to please other people and incorrectly believe that such people are humble. However, the desire to please other people is one of pride. It’s an image where the question, whether or not it’s spoken, is asked, “What can I do for other people so I look good?” The child who is a people pleaser will do what you want them to do in addition to what those around them want them to do. When they move away from home and their environment changes then they too, will appear to change.

A stark contrast, in trying to please people, is pleasing God. When we read the Bible one of the things we learn about God is that He knows our hearts. So often we may do something wrong and then say, “God knows my heart.” When we say such things we are deluding ourselves and God, in His kindness, will let us know. When we learn that God knows our hearts and apply this knowledge we are humbled. When I say that God knows my heart, and I realize just how wicked that thing was I did, I cannot continue to be prideful because God knows and I know that He knows.

In the book of Daniel, we see some teenagers who live to please God. When Daniel and his friends Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah are taken to Babylon they are among the Jewish nobles chosen to minister before the king. Therefore, they are given royal food and wine to eat. However, instead of eating this food, they ask to eat only vegetables and drink only water because they don’t want to defile themselves with unclean food (Daniel 1:8-12). Although they have been exiled from Judah because of the many sins that the Jewish people have committed against God we know that these young men are living to please Him. Else, they could have eaten the food presented to them and no one would have faulted them for it.

We read in the second chapter of Daniel that King Nebuchadnezzar had a dream and wanted it interpreted. However, Nebuchadnezzar was a sly king. He knew that if he told his “magicians, enchanters, sorcerers and astrologers” the dream that they would just make up an interpretation. Therefore, he told them that they had to tell him what he dreamed and what it meant. That group of sycophants was sweating bullets and you can tell from their response.

“There is no one on earth who can do what the king asks! No king, however great and mighty, has ever asked such a thing of any magician or enchanter or astrologer. What the king asks is too difficult. No one can reveal it to the king except the gods, and they do not live among humans.”

Daniel 2:10-11 (NIV)

Daniel does something very interesting when he finds out about the King’s wishes and his edict to execute all of the wise men. He goes to God to pray, but first, he talks to his friends and tells them the situation and asks them to pray too (Daniel 2:18). Scripture tells us “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed” (Proverbs 15:22 NIV). I’ve often thought that meant we should take ideas and such to other Christians for opinions. While this certainly may be one interpretation of this scripture it occurs to me that a multitude of people praying to God for counsel is better than any human being’s counsel.

There are times when it’s difficult to share our prayerful desires with other people so we don’t ask people to pray with us. I’m learning that we don’t have to tell other people the details if we don’t want to. God knows and He appreciates it when people come to Him in prayer for one another. When we ask for help from other people in our prayers we are demonstrating humility. Sometimes we might think that only we can go to God with our problems so we hold onto them thinking that it’s just between us and God. And it is! However, when we take ownership of our problems in such a way there’s some pride wrapped up in there too. When we see Daniel go to his friends we’re seeing someone who acknowledges that it’s not just about him and God. It’s about all of them.

When we pray for other people it’s not because their problems are just their problems. It might seem strange but when we pray for other people we’re praying for ourselves too. Although we might not see it, what happens to one person does impact everyone else. That’s where we come back to people pleasers. The people pleaser is really thinking about themselves.

All of us, one way or another, are struggling with the pride that comes from wanting to please other people. It could be in your job, your blog, or anywhere else where you’ve done something and someone compliments you. There’s nothing wrong with accepting compliments. We know that kind words lift up the heart. However, we need to remember that it’s God who directs us and any talent, skill, or wisdom that we might think comes from us has really come from Him. Therefore, when we do things to please other people we’re doing it out of pride. However, when other people are pleased by our behavior that stems from God, He’s the one who deserves the credit.

Do you know God? God knows you and He loves you. He sees you as significant because you are. No one is insignificant to Him. He’s with you today, right now, and He wants you to know Him. Jesus died for your sins and mine so that we could be free of guilt, be freed from death, and live eternally with Him. Eternal salvation is just a prayer away.

Pray this prayer with me to accept the gift of salvation today:

Dear Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe You died for my sins and rose from the dead. I turn from my sins and invite You to come into my heart and life. I want to trust and follow You as my Lord and Savior. Amen.

If you prayed that prayer then congratulations! You are on the first step of a brand new life. Allow me to be the first to welcome you to my family, the family of God. There are abundant resources available online for new Christians. You can visit here for more information on what to do next. You can also leave me a comment and I’ll do my best to help you on the next step of this incredible journey.