In which pride becomes all too recognizable

by Craig on January 10, 2011

The venom of pride can be lethal to faith.

Without faith there can be no eternal life.

With no eternal life only this life remains,

and then death,

and then worse.

I’ve been sitting at the feet of Bernard of Clairvaux, learning of the steps of pride that lead to spiritual disaster.

First comes a pernicious curiosity. (here)

Then a mishandling, misuse, and abuse of the right. (here)

Then a persistent preference of the ignoble and easy path over the elevated way. (here)

The next four steps are all of the same family, sharing bits and pieces of each other. On a staircase they would be steps of different length, and drop, and invite the stumble like a candle invites a moth.

Step 4:


In the words of Bernard of Clairvaux, “Opinions fly around, weighty words resound.  He interrupts a questioner, he answers one who does not ask.  He himself puts the questions, he himself solves them…not to edify anyone but to display his learning.  He is able to edify but does not try to….In the multitude of words you may recognize boastfulness.”

If this were just not such an accurate description of who I used to be I’d write more about it. If it were not something I must always fight I’d tell you I would never step here again. But it’s too familiar in my past, and follows me like a stray even now. God’s grace on this one for me…

Please God more Grace – I never want this to be – ever again.

I covered every inch of this step before I tumbled past it. Other than confession, I really can’t add a thing. Bernard describes this step so precisely that to add would be to subtract.

Step 5: “Singularity”

Bernard sums this one up simply, “I am not as other men are.”

For 20 of my 26 years as a Christian I would place myself in situations destined for a fall. I would think my faith to be superior, because my knowledge was deep, and my relationship with God, intimate So I could be where other men could not – and not sin – because I was better.

I hate to admit this publicly. I worry that you might read this and leave. But note, it was for 20 of my 26 years. Knowledge came first for me, wisdom came later – and at a great price.

This pride begins with a desire to show oneself as a different breed – a better one. It is a lie of first magnitude. Solomon knew this, he would see things and people promoted as new. But he was keenly aware that there was nothing new under the sun.

Aside from Our Lord, take the most significant person ever to live, and remove their life from history. It would mean nothing to this earth. Like water would rush into a river if a dam were opened wide, someone else would have stepped in to replace the missing piece.

Nature abhors a vacuum and in the history of humanity there has only been one irreplaceable person.

Satan was the first to want to be “singular”. We never invent sin, we only repeat it.


You know how I crashed down this stairway.

Thank you for keeping the flame burning at the top of the steps,

for keeping watch each day for your prodigal.

I’m sorry it has taken so long for my spirit to be as it should have been so many years ago.

I’m grateful for the crushing, the defeat, the failure, that destroyed me to build me.

Please Lord, you know I can speak, and write, and hide among the words.

Please keep my words  only true – only true.

Please keep my life a reflection of what I say I believe.

Help me remain watchful because pride is an ever crouching lion in the tall grass – and a siren call beckoning sweetly.

Cause me to remember these steps because to know them is to see the lion and recognize the Siren.

Five steps down – seven to go…

God Bless

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Debbie January 10, 2011 at 11:35 am

These steps are getting more and more serious, are they not? Thank you for leading us in such a heartfelt prayer that I need to pray too . . .often . . .everyday. Something that I learned, because I kind of tended to be the opposite of boastful,( I would put myself down), was that that was pride too. I would make myself singular in a different way . . . I was the weirdest, the worst, etc. Still pride. Still needed and need His grace. Thank you for taking us through these healing and teaching steps. God bless you and your gift of helping us see that light at the top of the stairs! :)


Craig January 10, 2011 at 11:40 am

Ahhh, just like you have Deb, I have learned that “putting myself down” can also be a sneaky way of pride – it’s insidious this pride thing. To be proud of our humility is just the sneakiest of all isn’t it? God Bless – and thank you Deb,


Kent Kruelski January 10, 2011 at 9:51 pm

I can most defiantly relate to this part brother; “I hate to admit this publicly. I worry that you might read this and leave. But note, it was for 20 of my 26 years. Knowledge came first for me, wisdom came later – and at a great price”.

(I will be so bold in my next statement.)If your as close I am and you are in Christ Jesus brother, then you get the big ones. I mean the hard grinders that make us come closer to God unlike most Christians. Deb can relate also, and she has relayed it in the past many times.

To be blessed like this is a great honor to me. If I am to be that candle put on the candlestick holder for all the world to see then let it be so.Do not hide me.

Even if I loose my hands and feet so let it be and let the Lord be magnified in me because he has taken them from me. For I love the Lord and I give me, for you or the world so one more, just one more, can live also in Christ.

God bless brother.
Thanks you for the blog post. I enjoyed it.


Joyce L Gibson January 10, 2011 at 11:28 pm

Oh, I am looking for that light at the top of the stairs. Thanks for accompanying us on the way down and giving hope that He will give true, pure humility.


Anonymuss January 10, 2011 at 11:42 pm

I am still learning and being transformed, too, Craig. Parts of me are just plain road kill-painfully so. I appreciate your honesty and frankness. You are real.


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