When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled . . . Matthew 2:3

At our gym, we have what I find to be a healthy competition. My friends and I push each other, making us better than we would be alone. It’s an immense amount of fun and I’m in far better shape for having those guys in my life than I would be without them. I need them.

If I’m painfully honest though – and I hate admitting this – there is a primitive part of me that isn’t in it for the fun and self-improvement. I have a primordial, dark side that just wants to be recognized as the greatest. At my best, I’m happy for my friends when they do well, even if it means beating me. At my worst, I’m bitter and annoyed when I’m not at the top. I’m in absolutely no danger of this, but deep down, there’s a part of me that desires to be known as the GOAT (greatest of all time).

This might be comical if it were only about the gym. My pride though, knows few limits. Part of me hungers for recognition in every facet of life, wanting others to be jealous of me, because I’m jealous of them. I want not only to be king, but to be god.

Suddenly, my dark side isn’t so amusing. We were created to love and follow God. Christ taught that a disciple must daily deny himself to follow him. My pride though, constantly desires that I follow me above all. This repulsive pride is lethal to my faith as it turns me from following God to following self.

It was pride that drove Herod to be insanely jealous of a baby. Hearing that the wise men came to worship Christ was too much for Herod, who longed for that kind of recognition. Because he couldn’t stand someone being elevated above him, Herod plotted to kill Christ. I may think Herod a monster, but honestly, I’ve got Herod-like pride. I’ve just never had Herod-like power.

If I want to know God, faith, and recovery, I must daily crucify that dark side of me that wants to be the GOAT. When I’m annoyed at the success and recognition of others, I need to be honest with myself, identifying my pride and demanding its death. If I want true life, I must continually abandon myself to follow Christ above all.

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