By Stephanie Parker

So I'm leading a little neighborhood Bible Study and thought I'd share my observations with you all in case any of you want to do the Bible study with me! It's Beth Moore's 'Breaking Free' study. I'm just on Day 1 of the homework but these are my observations! I'd love for any of you to follow along if you are in need of a great Bible study in the new year! You can share your thoughts and questions in the comments section! You can find the Bible Study book at lifeway.com or in their store.

Today's topic is PRIDE and how it can hold us captive and prevent us from living the free and abundant life God has for us. The study today talks about King Uzziah and how he struggled with pride toward the end of his life (Read 2 Chronicles 26 for the whole story). We all have areas of pride but God takes it so seriously because pride makes it impossible to put God first. I heard someone say that pride is like bad breath.... everyone can smell it but you don't often realize you have it. I've also heard it said that pride is the root of all sin. So today, prayerfully ask God to show you areas of pride you might need to surrender at his feet. Here are some definitions of pride that might help you identify where you struggle with it in your life:

-Pride puts itself first.
-Pride hungers for glory, adoration and acclaim. (Pride is self-worship)
-Pride is quick to talk, slow to listen.
-Pride is self-protective and insecure.
-Pride is focused on someone else's sin instead of its own.
-Pride is entitled
-Pride is critical
-Pride is puffed up or self-deprecating
-Pride is defensive because it always seeks to put your will and way above someone else's.

PRIDE = CAPTIVITY.

I personally struggle with pride in my relationship with my husband! I tend to want to fight for my own way and I struggle with the concept of being 'slow to speak and quick to listen.' I suppose it's the hardest to exercise humility with the people that are the closest to us. But our closest relationships will always test how serious we are about making God the Lord of our lives! I truly want God to break down my areas of pride so that those closest to me can see Jesus in how I act and talk.

It's interesting that King Uzziah started his reign seeking God and honoring him in all of his decisions (2 Chronicles 26:4-5)... but then, as God blessed him, God's blessings got to his head and he started believing that HIS hands (not God's) had made it all possible and had brought him success. How often do we misconstrue God's blessings or the talents God has given us as our own doing? Romans 11:35-36 says, "Who has ever given to God, that God should repay them? For from him and through him and for him are all things. To him be the glory forever!"
Every talent, every blessing and every thing comes directly from the hand of God.

My question for this day of homework is: Where do you specifically struggle with pride in your life and how can we be better about fighting the tendency to become prideful?

Our example, as we fight against pride by the power of the Holy Spirit, is Jesus. He was the opposite of prideful:

"In your life together, think the way Christ Jesus thought. He was like God in every way, but he did not think that his being equal with God was something to use for his own benefit. Instead, he gave up everything, even his place with God. He accepted the role of a servant, appearing in human form. During his life as a man, he humbled himself by being fully obedient to God, even when that caused his death—death on a cross." -Philippians 2:5-8

"Be humble before the Lord, and he will make you great." -James 4:10

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Stephanie Parker has three main loves: God, her husband, Brett and her kids!  When Stephanie created the Zipadee-Zip in an effort to solve her daughter, Charlotte's, sleep issues, she never imagined that it would become a business.  She is incredibly grateful to God for how Sleepingbaby.com has grown and how it has enabled other families to get the restful sleep they need.   Stephanie's husband, Brett Parker assumed the role of CEO which has allowed Stephanie to focus on what she loves which is the creative side of the company, like product and print development.  After the Zipadee-Zip was featured on Shark Tank, Stephanie went on to create the book Shepherd's Treasure, a Christian alternative to Elf on the Shelf. In her free time, Stephanie loves to spend time with her family and friends.  Her hobbies include acting, singing, painting, learning and speaking foreign languages and going on adventures with her family!  You will find her all summer waterskiing, fishing and laughing with her family on the weekends.