Pride in Christ
Originally, my family and I are from Albania, a country in Europe. During the time my parents were growing up, there was religious anarchy, and the nation was predominantly split into two denominations, Catholic and Muslim. Catholics didn’t associate with Muslims, and Muslims didn’t associate with Catholics. If you were anything other than Catholic or Muslim, neither would associate with you! My parents were more than lost when it came to what and who God was, so they decided to just believe there was a God, but not follow a particular religion. They also vowed to never impose religion on their children and let them “choose their own religion” later in life. Needless to say, I grew up in a household where we were taught there is a God, but never went to a church. We were taught to be a “good person” so we could be “good enough” for Heaven. So, I prayed to God, I respected my parents, I got good grades, helped my family, and tried to be an overall good person.
This mentality ultimately yielded to pride. Whatever I wanted to do, I could and would do. I wanted to learn to ride horses – accomplished. I wanted to be captain of my soccer team –accomplished. I wanted to be on honor roll – accomplished. I wanted to become a nurse – accomplished. Me. Me. Me. I sure was one prideful person.
It wasn’t until I became a nurse that I truly had my experience of what conviction was. In August of 2013, I was sitting on the beach one night during a family trip, contemplating life…. alone. I always had an “interest” in religion, but it never was a priority. I knew there was someone called Jesus and there was a God, but the two couldn’t be the same – Right? I had everything I wanted: health, a great family, a career, lots of friends, and a “fun” life. However, one thing was missing. Happiness. It was at that moment that I felt this nag at my heart. I was truly alone.
“How could I have all these things and accomplished so much, yet feel so empty? What was wrong with me?”
After this I continued through life with this heavy feeling in my heart. My parents became worried. My friends distanced themselves. I couldn’t sleep. I was lacking something, but I didn’t know what. It felt like nothing I or anyone else did was making it better. I was lost and nothing seemed possible. After all, I could do anything, so why couldn’t I figure this out? I found myself reading inspirational quotes on the Internet. One in particular stood out to me: Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”
In December of 2013, I met a new friend, Dyanna, and started a Bible study with her. I wanted to know more about Jesus Christ. It was as if a light turned on! I found where all these “inspirational quotes” were coming from. Scripture! Luke 19:10, “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” And Romans 5:8, “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
“It was as if God was speaking directly to my heart! Every Bible study intrigued me more and more. I became excited. I became alive.”
On January 22, 2014, I was working a night shift. A patient came in who was “hard to handle.” Being prideful, I said to myself, “Oh I can handle this,” and volunteered. When she came up to me, the first thing I noticed was that she was holding a cross necklace in her hand. As I continued assessing her, I couldn’t help but notice how sad she looked. Everything I asked her, she responded with one-word answers and wouldn’t look me in the eye. It was then that I sat down next to her, a little frustrated, and said, “Ma’am, I am here to help you.” She then replied, “You can’t help me, only God can.” I responded, “Ok, but I am going to be your nurse for the rest of the night, and I want to help you feel better. What can I do to help?” She then responded with, “Oh really? that’s what you think? Well, your ‘helps’ are nothing but dirty rags.”
It was at that moment time stopped. Dirty rags, dirty rags. One of the Bible studies I had had with Dyanna was about good works being nothing but dirty rags. But how?! My parents said if we “did good,” everything would be alright, yet the Bible said good works are nothing but dirty rags, and here was this patient saying no matter what I “did,” it was a dirty rag!! I sat there in silence. After what seemed like hours, I said, “Would you like to read with me?” She replied dryly, “Read what?” I said, “The Bible.” It was at that moment she looked at me, assessing me! She replied, “Yes.” I then got my Bible, opened to a random page and started at a random verse. It just so happened to be John 5:24, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation, but is passed from death onto life.” It was then my patient held my hand and smiled. She asked me if she could borrow my Bible to read. I of course said yes and left the room. My head was spinning, and my heart was pounding. I needed to sit down. I walked to the locker room, and as soon as I closed the door, I fell to my knees. Romans 10:13, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” I begged God for forgiveness and asked Him to take away my sin. Oh, how I had it so wrong! No matter what I accomplished, how much pride I had, or the “good works” I did, none of it mattered.
“It was then, January 22, 2014, at 3:15 am, that I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Saviour.”
Every day continues to be a battle as I struggle to fight the desires of the world and lean upon the desires of God. Some days I even question my salvation and think, “I don’t deserve this” – and the truth is I don’t deserve this! No one does. 2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things are passed away; behold all things are become new.” As I continue my walk with God and grow in my Christian faith, I am thankful every day for His love, His blessings, and ultimately, His patience. I am thankful that He patiently waited for me. Our God is a patient God. We should not take pride in ourselves but humble ourselves, pray, and thank God for the “true Pride,” His Son, Jesus Christ. I can’t wait until the day I get to meet my Pride, but in the mean time I will, “Grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To Him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.” (2 Peter 3:18)
Will you give up worldly pride for the Ultimate Pride?
Will you learn who Jesus Christ was, is, and will forever be?