I’m in the midst of reading C.S. Lewis’s phenomenal book, Mere Christianity. If you read at all, it is well worth reading this. It’s been giving me one A-ha moment after the other.
I have the pesky habit of highlighting important passages in non-fiction books. In this one, almost everything’s highlighted—to a degree that the unmarked parts stand out more than the marked ones.
What really hit home with me was his chapter on Pride, one of the seven deadly sins and in Lewis’s eyes, the greatest of all. More than any other vice, pride is the devil’s sneaky way to inflate our egos and tell us that we’re better than everyone else.
This element of competition, says Lewis, is what makes pride so pernicious. Greed will make you crave more than you already have, but pride will make you crave more than your neighbor has.
“We say that people are proud of being rich, or clever, or good-looking, but they are not. They are proud of being richer, or cleverer, or better-looking than others. If everyone else became equally rich, or clever, or good-looking, there would be nothing to be proud about. It is the comparison that makes you proud: the pleasure of being above the rest."
This enmity can even be found in spiritual life. Whenever you feel better than someone else—even holier than someone else—it’s your pride talking. Whenever you feel especially powerful, it’s your pride talking. Because pride wants and delights in having power. Power/control over others, power/control over your life, power/control over matter.
You see where this is going. The entire Law of Attraction movement—you could say the entire New Age movement—is all about power and control.
Sure, it disguises itself as self-empowerment and feels really, really good.
Who doesn’t like to hear that they’re an incredibly powerful creature?
Who doesn’t like to hear that they’re a “co-creator” (the slightly humbler version) or like a god... that, in fact, God the Almighty doesn’t exist and that we humans are the manifestation kings and queens that, once awakened to their full potential, make the universe go round?
Remember, pride is what made the devil the devil.
Lucifer, the greatest of God’s angels, refused to do what was expected of him because it was beneath his dignity.
It was what Satan whispered into Eve’s ear in the Garden, “You will not die; for God knows that when you eat of [the tree of the knowledge of good and evil], your eyes will be opened and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3:4-5)
Being like God is what Satan has promised mankind throughout the ages. It’s what he promised Eve and it’s what he’s promising us today in the form of worldly power, magick, spellwork, and the Law of Attraction.
Here’s what Lewis has to say about this:
“It is a terrible thing that the worst of all the vices can smuggle itself into the very centre of our religious life. But you can see why. The other, and less bad, vices come from the devil working on us through our animal nature. But this does not come through our animal nature at all. It comes direct from Hell. It is purely spiritual: consequently, it is far more subtle and deadly.”
I’m not all that far along on the road to humility myself, so this is where I stop giving you advice about achieving it. But C. S. Lewis says the first step is to realize that you’re proud. I’d say the second step is to get a conversation with God going and ask Him to help you develop greater humility. I’m sure He’ll be happy to oblige.
Here's the link to this amazing book again, in case you want to read it.