Have you ever noticed how the middle letter of the word "pride" is an "I"? It's that focus on "I" that often gets us in trouble.
I was talking about this subject with a friend who is relatively new Christian. He shared with me that one of his greatest struggles with his new found faith is the level of pride that exists in the hearts of many long term Christians. As he has become more involved in his church, he has had more opportunities to interact with people who have been Christians for a very long time. Though some of those long term Christians set an example for him in how faith and godliness work out in real life, a great many others just seem to ooze spiritual pride from their very pores.
These Christians seem to think they have got it all together spiritually, emotional and relationally in their lives, when in reality, they have as many problems as everyone else. My friend may be young in the faith, but he is not stupid, nor is he blind. My friend knows that Christians are still human, and he does not want to stand in judgment of others who have been in the faith longer, but you can imagine how frustrating it is for him when the ones he looks to as an example are full of themselves more than they are full of the Spirit.
Though my friend happens to be an adult, I have met many young people who have similar struggles. Many young people who have grown up attending church and learning about Christ turn away from their faith once they leave their parent's nest. Many of those young people lament that they would have stayed in the church if it were not for all the prideful Christians they met at church!
I know that pride is an issue I have to deal with constantly in my own life. I have come to believe that the longer we are Christians, the more prone to pride we become. This was the problem the Pharisees had in the New Testament, and not much has changed about the human condition since then.
If we want to invest ourselves in helping young people find a meaningful faith in Christ, we must learn to let go of our "I" problems and live humbly before God and man.