“For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.” – Romans 8:20-21
When Satan tempted Eve in the garden, he offered her two things: freedom and glory. He offered her the ability to do whatever she wanted, and to look amazing to everyone who saw her. When the enemy did this, he tapped into the fact that Eve, along with her husband, was created for both of these things. The appeal in Satan’s temptation was that he offered a shortcut to them. Or so it seemed. As soon as Adam and Eve fell to temptation, it began to become evident that what they received were counterfeit freedom and counterfeit glory. Behind the thin veil of Satan’s offer was the exact opposite of what Adam and Eve thought they were signing up for. Instead of freedom and glory, they found bondage and shame.
Ever since then, the children of Adam and Eve have been longing for true freedom and true glory, and have been looking for them in all the wrong places. Satan is still at work offering shortcuts, and we are still prone to the same kind of deception and rebellion that drives us to pursue these things in the wrong way. Pride is found wherever we pursue freedom and glory on our own terms, without any connection to God. It comes when the prospect of being like God gets cast off in the pursuit of trying to be God. Satan baited his hook in this way with our first parents, and he is still at it with a great deal of success today.
The way to defeat pride is not to stop wanting freedom and glory. It would have been dishonest and ineffective for Eve to deny that she wanted what the fruit in the garden seemed to offer her. What she needed, and what we need, is to recognize that God offers us the real versions of these things. And by God’s design, the creation itself longs to see us get them. In some mysterious way, God has consigned all of creation to an experience of the decay that comes along with bondage to sin. In this way, the creation groans along with us, longing to experience what Paul calls “the freedom of the glory of the children of God”. This is not a sideshow in God’s plan for history. The revealing of the sons of God is what the creation eagerly longs for. And through union with Christ, we get to be a part of it.
How does this expectation help us to defeat pride? Not simply by telling us that pride is wrong. We were created to want the glory of God, and to want it in a way that glorifies God instead of ourselves. And this is what God promises to give us. He promises that someday, because of Christ, his character will shine through us unhindered. As his children, we will be free to shine like our Father. And in that day, we will be free from every inclination to hijack that glory and point it back at ourselves. This is the true freedom of the glory of the children of God. This is the kind of hope that kills pride.