Ephesians 2:8-10 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God--not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Contrary to the common saying, pride and joy do not go hand in hand. Our pride stands in opposition to our joy. One of the most basic foundational principles upon which Christianity rests is that we are a needy people--all of us and each of us. . . for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). And when we come to God discovering that He supplies abundantly all we truly need, we experience great joy, peace, love, and gratitude. The above verse points out that our salvation, our very life we are experiencing every day, comes from God, not our own works. And then what God is working in, we live out. The good works we live out are out of God's supply. Jesus reminds us in John 15 that the life we live must be lived in union with Him. And that's exactly where Adam and Eve missed it in the garden as they sought to be independent from God, to choose their own way. Thus they lost living in the glory of God, which was their covering. John Piper, in his book Desiring God, speaks of man "as an empty vessel beneath the fountain of God." And he goes on to illustrate our response to Him saying so beautifully, "When a little, helpless child is swept off his feet by the undercurrent on the beach and his father catches him just in time, the child does not boast; he hugs."
"The nature and depth of human pride are illuminated by comparing boasting with self-pity. Both are manifestations of pride. [I never thought of this before.] Boasting is the response of pride to success. Self-pity is the response of pride to suffering."
"The reason self-pity does not look like pride is that it appears to be needy. But the need arises from a wounded ego, and the desire of the self-pitying is not really for others to see them as helpless, but as heroes. The need self-pitying feels does not come from a sense of unworthiness, but from a sense of unrecognized worthiness. It is the response of unapplauded pride."
Even in thinking once again of rejoicing in suffering, we don't feel self-pity; we feel joy. Missionary Hudson Taylor, though sacrificing quite a great deal over his lifetime, said, "I never made a sacrifice. Unspeakable joy all day long and everyday, was my happy experience. God, even my God, was a living bright reality, and all I had to do was joyful service."
Our young grandson loves to play with Little People. Recently, he seems to have noticed that they all have a smile on their face. He'll point to their smile, in books or on the characters themselves, and ask the question, "Is he happy?" And occasionally, he'll say, "I'm happy. Are you happy?" In thinking of pride and its pitfalls, "Little People" are always happy walking with a Big God! "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble." Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time (1 Peter 5:5, 6). . . . Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven."