Editor’s Note: Today’s devotional is excerpted from A Jane Austen Devotional, beginning with this selection from Pride and Prejudice.
“Pride,’’ observed Mary, who piqued herself upon the solidity of her reflections, “is a very common failing I believe. By all that I have ever read, I am convinced that it is very common indeed, that human nature is particularly prone to it, and that there are very few of us who do not cherish a feeling of self-complacency on the score of some quality or other, real or imaginary. Vanity and pride are different things, though the words are often used synonimously. A person may be proud without being vain. Pride relates more to our opinion of ourselves, vanity to what we would have others think of us.’’
“If I were as rich as Mr. Darcy,’’ cried a young Lucas who came with his sisters, “I should not care how proud I was. I would keep a pack of foxhounds, and drink a bottle of wine every day.’’
“Then you would drink a great deal more than you ought,’’ said Mrs. Bennet; “and if I were to see you at it, I should take away your bottle directly.’’ ~ Pride and Prejudice
According to Mary, pride and vanity are not the same thing, but they are closely related: “A person may be proud without being vain. Pride relates more to our opinion of our ourselves, vanity to what we would have others think of us.”
To have pride without sin is certainly possible — for example, one can be proud of accomplishing a goal or finishing a project without having a puffed-up ego. However, it is undeniable that at their core, both pride and vanity are self-focused. As relates to Mr. Darcy, this is particularly true. His unwillingness to move beyond his social circle — the refusal to introduce himself to new acquaintances at the ball, or to dance with young ladies who have no partners — is evidence that his own personal comfort is his primary goal.
Unfortunately, our society often promotes proud people and gives them great riches, but this nearly always leads the heart away from God:
The wicked in his proud countenance does not seek God; God is in none of his thoughts. — Psalm 10:4 NKJV
Perhaps it is because pride is the root of every sin. Pride led Lucifer to rebel against God; pride caused Adam and Eve to disobey God’s rules; pride caused King David to lust after what was not his; pride led Judas to betray his Master. The only person in history who ever lived free from pride is Jesus.
Where is your focus?
Do you live for making yourself happy, or do you seek to make God happy? Even as you seek after God’s heart, you may still struggle with pride because as a Christian, you are still being transformed. However, you can be certain that His way of living is richer, freer, and more abundant than your own.
Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. — 1 Timothy 6:17 NKJV
Excerpted with permission from A Jane Austen Devotional, copyright Thomas Nelson.
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Trusting in God instead of ourselves is completely counter-culture living. A rebellion against our age and against our own sinful humanity. How have you found that laying down pride in exchange for Jesus’ humility has changed your life for the better? Come share with us on our blog. We want to hear from you! ~ Devotionals Daily