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The Paradox of Pride

God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.  James 4:6 ESV

Photo courtesy of pixabay.I love a good roller coaster ride.

The uphill climb of a roller coaster grips me with anxiety as I anticipate that moment at the summit when the trajectory is about to change. Then comes the thrill of the descent, screaming and hands held high in the air. There is a false sense of victory as it slows to the finish—false because I did nothing but sit. The architects who designed the coaster did the rest. I merely chose to ride.

My husband says I’m a wood coaster rider since he thinks the real thrill can be found on steel coasters. They reach higher heights, have faster drops, and have upside-down loops. No thank you. When I see a wood coaster, I make the assumption it will meet my comfort level. Yet, my fear of steel brings the opposite of victory. When I stand waiting for the brave ones to pull into the gate, their faces lite with unabashed joy, it stabs my pride with a false sense of defeat.

Life holds a roller coaster of highs and lows—victories and defeats separate from amusement park rides. It also involves the process of comparison, and it can be found in every aspect of life. My job is better than hers. Pride. I meet someone whose position dwarfs mine. Defeat. I show up with my new-to-me SUV. Pride. My neighbor rolls in with a brand new luxury car. Defeat. My son receives a scholarship to a great school. Pride. Her son went to an Ivy League school. Defeat.

We have this tendency to evaluate ourselves, our lives, and our families using the measuring stick of others around us. Getting off life’s roller coaster of comparison is difficult. But that’s not God’s way. In his distinguished book, Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis said of pride, “A proud man is always looking down on things and people; and, of course, as long as you are looking down, you cannot see something that is above you.”

Find joy and contentment not by excelling in earthly things, but by looking up to God’s face. He will look back on you with love.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.) 

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Kathleen Neely

Kathleen Neely is the author of  three novels schedule for release in 2019. The Street Singer, Beauty for Ashes, and The Least of These. She won first place in the fiction category for new authors in the Fresh Voices contest through www.AlmostAnAuthor.com. Kathleen is a retired elementary principal and enjoys reading, writing, and spending time with her grandsons.


  1. Enjoyed reading this, Kathy. And needed to read it, too! Helpful analogy of the roller coaster ride. I''m so glad you are writing (and seeing God''s face)!

  2. So, so, so good!