I recently had a conversation with my teenage daughter, in which she expressed why she doesn't like to sing in front of people. The Lord gave my daughter a singing gift, and I've told her since she was a child to walk humbly in that gift. I told my daughter not to be prideful, arrogant, or conceited about her singing. She interpreted my words to mean she shouldn't sing in front of people. She's so afraid of being prideful that she's always hesitant to sing. I had to explain to her again that there's a difference between letting her light shine and giving in to the sin of pride.
Pride is the opposite of humility. While humility compels us to lower ourselves and to esteem others higher, pride does the opposite. Pride compels us to esteem ourselves, our accomplishments, gifts, talents, education, wealth, and even our Bible knowledge over others. Pride breeds competition and causes division and strife in churches, families, friendships, workplaces, and even in nations.
The Bible is full of examples of the sin of pride. Adam and Even demonstrated pride in not only their desire to “...be as gods, knowing good and evil,” (Genesis 1:5) but their refusal to accept responsibility for their actions (see Genesis 1:12-13). Pride caused Cain to kill Abel in Genesis 4 and for the people to desire to build a tower to heaven and make a name for themselves in Genesis 11. Pride was at the root of Sarai’s decision to give Hagar to Abram in Genesis 16 and for Joseph’s brothers to sell him into slavery in Genesis 37. There are other examples of people in the Bible walking in pride as well as Scriptures that teach us why pride is so deadly.
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Pride Stops Us from Seeking God
“The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek God: God is not in all his thoughts.” (Psalm 10:4)
Pride is deadly because it stops us from seeking God. Prideful people don’t see the importance of seeking God or having a relationship with Him. They lean into their own understanding and think they know better than God. This is how the devil was able to trick Adam and Eve.
Pride Leads to Destruction
“Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.” (Proverbs 16:18)
As I mentioned before, pride will stop us from seeking God. When we don’t seek God’s face, instructions, wisdom, or guidance, we will surely find ourselves in a world of trouble. God orders our steps to ensure we experience the abundant life that should be ours in Christ. Unfortunately, prideful people are on the road to destruction, but they don’t know it. Indeed, they’re so focused on themselves and what they want that they won’t heed wise instruction and subsequently experience destruction. We see this clearly with Cain. God warned him (Genesis 4:6-8), but Cain ignored God and killed his brother.
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Pride Brings Us Low
“A man’s pride will bring him low, but a humble spirit will obtain honor.” (Proverbs 29:23)
The man or woman who exalts self will be humbled; it's just a matter of time. The prideful person seeks honor, recognition, and accolades, and will do anything in their power to obtain them. They will sabotage and use others, reject God, and abandon anyone who doesn't help them in their pursuits. As they climb the ladder to success, they will hurt anyone who gets in their way. The pride in that person's heart will eventually bring them low, denying them the honor they so desire. Isn't this precisely what Sarai did when she grew tired of Hagar and Ishmael? She threw them out of her house when they no longer served her purposes (see Genesis 21:9-10).
Pride Ignores God’s Judgement
“Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents...who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.” (Romans 1:30, 32)
Proud or prideful people can know God's judgment and still choose to ignore it. I've shared the Gospel with many people since I accepted Christ in 1989. One of the things I always say is, "Well, now you can't say you didn't know." Proud people believe that ignoring or denying God’s judgment nullifies it. It doesn’t. According to 2 Peter 2:4-6, God didn’t spare the angels, men in the days of Noah, or Sodom and Gomorrah. The same way people ignored God's judgment then, they're ignoring His pending judgment today. Thus, when we present the good news to people, and they reject it, we must continue to pray for them.
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God Resists the Proud
“But He giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.” (James 4:6)
I don’t know about you, but I need God’s grace. The Bible declares that God gives grace freely to humble people but that He opposes the prideful. All of us have experienced opposition in our lives. However, God’s opposition is a different sort. Imagine facing opposition in every venture you undertake. Your marriage will be difficult. Your children may be rebellious. Your career or business doesn’t take off the way you want. The resistance will eventually lead to frustration and anger. Perhaps pride is one of the reasons why some people aren’t experiencing the blessings they so desire. King Saul was prideful, and we know God resisted him.
Pride Is Worldly
“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man loveth the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.” (1 John 2:15-16)
Pride is so deadly because it loves the world and the things in the world. It seeks man's accolades instead of God's approval. We see this in our social media-driven society. People do all manner of activities for likes and follows. They experience more gratification over those likes and follows than they ever would over pleasing God. The Christian life isn't a popularity contest; it's a life of obedience and service to the Father. Jesus warned us in Matthew 6 about doing things only to be seen by people. God wants us to do things in secret but promises to reward us openly (Matthew 6:4).
No matter where you are in your Christian walk, you have to be on guard against pride. I believe everyone struggles in this area in one way or another. Some people are prideful in their appearance. Others are prideful in their careers or businesses. Some people have pride in the bank account balances. Others think their church, denomination, or pastor is better than others. Yes, pride can show up in a plethora of ways, and we need to be aware of them.
Pride is deadly because left unchecked, it will cause us to oppose God, ignore His judgments, warnings, and counsel, influence us to make ungodly decisions that will lead to our destruction. To help us combat pride, we should walk in humility, study the Bible, apply Biblical teachings, and seek a wise mentor who will tell us the truth when we're walking in pride.
Let us humble ourselves, let God use us for His kingdom and glory while giving all accolades to the Father.
A Prayer Against Pride in Your Life
Father, In Micah 6:8 You say, “O people, the LORD has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.” Today we choose to walk humbly with You. Open our eyes to the sin of pride in our life. We choose to live by Your Holy Spirit and to follow Your lead. Help us to hear You clearly, for we do not want to walk by pride or self-sufficiency, we want to walk with You. In Jesus name, Amen
Aretha Grant serves her local church as a bible teacher and elder. She loves writing and is the author of Overcomer: 25 Keys to Walking Victoriously. Aretha resides in Hagerstown, MD with her husband and two youngest children. You can read Aretha’s blog at www.arethagrant.com.
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Originally published Friday, 05 June 2020.