Stuart Scott, the author of The Exemplary Husband and From Pride to Humility, describes this manifestation of pride as, "Since they seldom, if ever, think of others, it's unlikely they're even aware of service opportunities". If I could count the times I have to smack myself later for not recognizing an opportunity to minister to another... it'd be a big number, let's just say that! Usually in those instances, I'm more concerned with if my "needs" are being met - not theirs. (I write "needs" like that because it's likely that it's really my "wants or desires" that I have in mind.)
If I stop and think about this, I quickly want to defend myself. There has to be a reason! "I'm busy enough trying to get everything done in my own life". It sounds awfully selfish, doesn't it? The more I think about it, I come up with times that I've gone out of my way... well, how many times have I truly "gone out of my way" to help someone? More often than not, I figure if I can help someone out when it's convenient for me than that's good enough. Sad, isn't it?
Another characteristic of a person that struggles with this point of pride is that they quite often will wait to be coaxed into serving. Does this describe you? Ever? This doesn't have to be on-hands-and-knees "begging and pleading", but it often just entails a slight enticement, wherein the person asking simply points out a benefit to you that you may not have thought about. Perhaps it will get you recognition among your peers or the admiration of a "certain someone". I can think of many times that I've agreed to some measure of service for selfish reasons alone.
I am confident that it is quite rare in this world, even among professing Christians, that anyone does something for another for entirely selfless reasons. Usually, there is some benefit to ourselves. If you can manage to think entirely objective about this, try to imagine a time when you might have done something for another when you weren't expecting some sort of pay-off at the end. It doesn't have to be monetary or physical, but perhaps it's just an emotional pay-off or some intangible "coupon" that you figure you'll redeem later ("...but remember that time I did..."). Being completely honest with ourselves, we may find that we can count the times we did something truly selfless on one hand.
If we do get coaxed into some area of service, all too often we serve until we no longer feel praised enough, and then we leave service. It really is human nature: we need recognition for our part. It's a thought we've all had, "I just want to be recognized or acknowledged for my help in this process." However, when through this process of progressive sanctification, we realize that we are a new creation through Christ, and start putting on His love for others, we will begin to find a peace and fulfillment in the Spirit that was unachievable in our old self. We have been called to a life that is beyond any of the promises that this world can offer, and we have an obligation to share that with others, either to bring them to life in Christ, or to serve the other members of the His Church.
For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. (Galatians 5:13)
And in our service to others, our manner of thinking is paramount. We are not serving from ourselves and by our own means, for our own gain, but we are simply "stepping into" those works that He has ordained for us to perform since before the beginning of time.
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:10)
How do we effect this change in ourselves? Well, it's not of our own volition, but through the abundant grace of God, and in humble service to Him and His children.
Serving others in humility
As children of the King, we are to be on the lookout for ways to serve and help others. In all practical applications, we can be first to volunteer for those jobs that no one else wants.
Through the application of marriage, from The Exemplary Husband, through which these lessons on pride and humility were derived, the humble husband will especially serve his wife. The author, Stuart Scott, reminds husbands often that the responsibility of headship in the family and home is to be modeled in every way after the relationship that our Lord Jesus Christ has with His bride, the Church. As husbands, we are not to lord authority and headship over our wives and children, but we are to embrace our role as an opportunity to lay down our lives and devote our time, energy, and abilities to their spiritual and physical welfare. Our primary responsibility is to their spiritual maturity and development, and then to their physical needs.
Ultimately, in all things we are serving our God! In taking our responsibilities, jobs, family, and opportunities seriously, and in giving everything that we have to putting forth our best efforts, we are bringing glory to Him and living a life of worship and praise by investing all that He has given us wisely and faithfully.