This title may be perplexing. Simply put, pride doesn’t discriminate. It doesn’t care what nationality you are, what color your skin is, whether you are male or female, or your religion. Pride effects us all.
I remember when my youngest daughter was small. Every time she would walk past a mirror she’d pause for a moment, admire herself, and often declare how beautiful God had made her. Part of me loved that she had such a positive self image but another part of me was a little concerned that this love for herself would turn into more than just healthy self-esteem, but it would develop into a type of pride that would separate her from her Heavenly Father.
I’m not talking about the type of pride that allowed her to be pleased in a job well done or in a loved one who had demonstrated an admirable quality. The kind of pride that I’m suggesting means to have an excessively high opinion of our own worth or importance. It can bring out arrogant or overbearing conduct and it is this independent spirit that says, “I have no need for God.”
In fact, if there is one characteristic that sums up the condition of this fallen world it would be: pride.
Pride is extremely dangerous because, arguably, it is the root of all sin. It places your own selfish desires and interests above all others and is what leads us to rebel against God. It is what caused Lucifer to to fall, Adam and Eve to sin in the garden, and on and on. We see example after example of the effects of pride, not only in the bible, but currently, all round us! The human race is without a doubt still victims of this ravenous spirit! However, before we begin to point our fingers at the world in disgust, we need to be aware that we, as believers, are not immune to the effects of pride in our heart. Pride is not prejudiced! It can show up in anyone! Therefore, the bible is FULL of passages warning us of the dangers of pride and the consequences of having a prideful heart.
So how should we respond to the temptation and dangers of pride?
First, we have to realize that the biggest danger of pride is that it blinds us to our own sin. We can become so arrogant that when another believer brings our attention to sin in our lives, we become defensive. This arrogance also allows us to think and feel that we are better than other believers. You might very well be a better teacher, singer, or even pray better than someone else, but we must remember that all of us are equal in the kingdom of God. No one has greater status or a greater salvation than the person next to us. We have all been saved by and are continually being sanctified by grace.
Pride also makes us self-absorbed. It can cause us to become so focused on ourselves that we are oblivious to the needs of others. It causes us to be become easily offended or even angry when we have been wronged or when someone disagrees with us. The pride in our hearts makes it so we are unable to recognize or admit that we need to address our sin. Therefore, we tend to gravitate towards those who instead encourage our behavior. This not only separates us from our loving God but also from other healthy believers.
The world would tell us that these behaviors are good and even our right! In fact the world says that pride is a good thing. But God says something different! Jesus not only tells us to do just the opposite but He shows us as well. (Philippians 2:6-8)
We are instead to put on the character and humility of Christ and offer forgiveness. By doing so, we are able to see our sins, respond with repentance, and live a life that honors Him. (Romans 12:3) This attitude of humility must be attained each new day! Jesus says that “We must deny ourselves, pick up our cross daily and follow him”. (Luke 9:23) In order to truly worship God and experience the fullness of His presence, we must lay down our pride and be completely unaware of ourselves. This is only possible if we surrender our will to Him and ask His Holy Spirit for help.
As we find ourselves falling victim to pride all we need to to is call out to God in humility and ask for forgiveness. He is there waiting to receive us with open loving arms!
I’m pleased to say that my daughter has realized how dangerous pride can be and how humility is one of the most beautiful attitudes we can demonstrate. Although, I’m sure, even though she’s grown, she still smiles at herself in that mirror, with complete confidence in her identity as a daughter of the Most High God! I might even be a little proud of her! But that’s a good kind of pride.
Lord, thank you for all the warnings in the Bible, as well as the encouragements. Help us always to take heed of these warnings. Lord, we are utterly dependent on you. Help us to keep our eyes always fixed on Jesus who was all-powerful and yet humbled himself. Who made himself nothing and took the nature of a servant and will help us each day to surrender our own pride and follow Him.