The Pride Coin

Jon Burgess


Miriam and Aaron began to talk against Moses because of his Cushite wife, for he had married a Cushite. “Has the Lord spoken only through Moses?” they asked. “Hasn’t he also spoken through us?” And the Lord heard this. (Now Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth.) Numbers 12:1-3


The contrast between the critical and competitive spirit of Miriam and Aaron and the humility of Moses is a bold leadership lesson for me this morning. The Lord hears everything that comes out of our mouth both public and private. He is not a passive God. He will call us on our sin. He loves us too much to let the root of bitterness grow. He will call pride out in His leaders the moment he sees it begin to take root in our hearts or find a home in our pockets.


Every time I come across the passage in my journal reading I laugh out loud. Not because this is a laughable scene but simply because the man writing how humble Moses was... was Moses himself. Being that all Scripture is God-breathed I have often wondered how Moses could have written about his humble spirit by inspiration of the Holy Spirit without stepping into a haughty spirit. This morning it hit me. This wasn't written out of reaction to the accusation against Moses. It wasn't some bolstering of his own reputation against reproach. This was written for my instruction to guard my heart against accusation so that I could be one who is more like Moses in leading and following God's lead. God instructed Moses to make very clear to all who would read that the only way we can avoid a haughty spirit is through a humble spirit via the Holy Spirit. In fact, to ignore God's instruction in writing this description of his own humility would have been to sin in the same way as Aaron and Miriam did through pride. I see now that on the coin of pride which we we are all tempted to carry around in our pocket, false humility is just the other side of the coin from a haughty spirit. It's a shiny coin that God would have us burn in the fires of repentance but its currency is often too useful in communication to simply let go of. In the Christian world, especially in Christian leaders, we pull out the coin of pride all time and flip it in the air to suite the situation.

Heads or tails? Which will it be?

Heads: This is the side of the Pride Coin we choose when we feel insecure in who are and feel the need to tear someone else down to lift ourselves up. If we look for flaws we will find them. The haughty spirit hides under the cloak of feigned concern, the pretense of "best practices". The phrase, "let's pray for that leader", usually looks more like preying upon that leader. If I'm not careful I'll often find myself in the presence of Miriam, Aaron and the Pharisees rather then in the presence of God as I consult the Coin of Pride. The haughty spirit lifts my head high wihile pushing others down.

Tails: We abide by the false humility side of the Pride Coin when it makes us look more pious. We dare not own the fact that God is using us or has gifted us or has called us to do big things through Him otherwise we might be accused of pride. Is it not the very definition of pride to downplay what God is doing in and through us as His instrument of redemption? How will people see Him if we hide him? Jacob Norby describes it this way: "False humility is a form of psychosis which was imprinted on most of us since birth. It is a mental illness because it locks us in a victim state of keeping our light turned down, denying who we really are and silently begging for permission to simply show up as ourselves in the world. But there is good news. This is a jail whose lock is broken. We can walk free whenever we know the truth, and by so doing we show others an example of an end to madness. An example of freedom." When we shine Christ, we show Christ and people come to know Christ. He is the truth that will set people free so why would we hide His Image through the pride of false humility?


Lord, I repent for spending the Coin of Pride. I have used the currency of the critical whenever I have felt insecure or began to compare myself with those around me. I have been made in your image. I am humble when I soak in this truth. I become a leader You can use, not when I shrink back in false humility, but when I shine out. I become a humble man like Moses when I obey You, say what You call me to say, regardless of how it may be interpreted by the religious around me. I'm reminded of the quote by Ken Blanchard: "Humility does not mean you think less of yourself. It means you think of yourself less." Moses was the most humble man on earth because he couldn't get his mind off of You! That's how I want to live and lead! I'm burning the Coin of Pride in the fires fo repentance this morning so I can show Your image in all I do!

Devotions for February 23

Numbers 12,13
Psalms 90
Mark 2

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