A Twist in Motives: The Problem of Pride

It can come out of nowhere—or be so subtle I don’t even notice it at first. A twist in motives.

My heart and thoughts can be in the right place as I start an activity—writing, singing, serving in ministry, helping someone, or even in online interactions. And then bam—a desire to impress pops up. Pride has slipped in, unwanted yet there. Whether ever so slightly or a glaring example, my motives have taken a twist. I hate it when it happens.

I’m not alone, though. A twist in motives can sneak up on any of us at any time, especially when we’re doing something we can do rather well. It’s natural—and okay—to feel good about a job well done. The problem occurs when we start to puff up and get prideful, secretly wondering if we’ve impressed certain people. It’s crazy how we get prideful over the talents and abilities God alone has given us, isn’t it?

Thankfully, the Lord has made me acutely aware of my prideful tendencies. Most of the time I immediately recognize a prideful thought and can go to battle against Satan as he tries to snare me in his trap. I confess to the Lord my twist in motives and ask Him to help me want “to bless and not impress.” (That’s a phrase I keep handy at all times—a phrase I strive to live by.)

I don’t know if any of you have a similar struggle with pride trying to weasel its way into your heart, but I think the apostle Paul may have. Whether he battled pride or a different problem, he told the believers in Rome, “So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me.” (Romans 7:21)

Let’s continually be on guard against the enemy’s attempts to get us to slip into pride, his plans to corrupt our initial desire to serve or bless. Let’s be on the lookout for a twist in motives.

“Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10 KJV

*I’m so thankful the Lord uses me in spite of my human weaknesses. Anyone else?

*Flickr photo by .Bala

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, comes out the first week in May. Sign up is free and to the right!


  1. Thanks so much for this post and yes pride creeps into my life sometimes too. I normally can see it happening and then work really hard to get rid of it. It is human nature but we need to work at it and not be prideful in what gifts God has given us.

  2. “Bless, not impress” – thank you for that term, Cheryl. I hadn’t thought of it as a twist, but that also describes it well.

  3. Nanette & Jana, you’re welcome! And thank you for adding your thoughts. Always much appreciated!

  4. You are not alone, not one little bit. I’m right there with ya. I love your focus to bless rather than impress.

    Great post.

  5. Oh, you are not alone! Pride is a sneaky one, and a tough opponent. I love “bless, not impress.” I will remember and use that one on myself regularly.

    BTW–do I need to sign up for Life Notes each quarter or will it come after my initial sign up? I don’t want to miss it!

  6. Nancy & Kirsten, thanks for letting me know I’m not alone in this struggle of pride. So glad the phrase “bless and not impress” may help you in the days to come.

    Kirsten, no you don’t need to sign up for Life Notes each time. It will come every quarter. I think the next issue will come out around May 3. Thanks for checking!

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