Have you noticed how the word “pride” is used in society lately?
I think it started with phrases like, “take pride in your work” and “take pride in your appearance.” And now, people are encouraged to take pride in their race, and there are even parades celebrating pride in sexual orientation. It seems as if it’s the next step after that whole decade-long focus on “self-esteem.”
Pride is now an accepted norm. Society has decided that pride is something good.
But you don’t see a Christian Pride parades, and there’s a very good reason for it:
Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall. (Proverbs 16:18)
In his pride the wicked man does not seek him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God. (Psalm 10:4)
The eyes of the arrogant will be humbled and human pride brought low; the Lord alone will be exalted in that day. (Isaiah 2:11)
For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. (1 John 2:16)
There are even numerous verses where God comes right out and says He hates pride:
To fear the LORD is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech. (Proverbs 8:13)
The LORD detests all the proud of heart. Be sure of this: They will not go unpunished. (Proverbs 16:5)
C.S. Lewis, perhaps the greatest Christian writer of the twentieth century, wrote this about pride: “According to Christian teachers, the essential vice, the utmost evil, is Pride. Unchastity, anger, greed, drunkenness, and all that, are mere flea bites in comparison: it was through Pride that the devil became the devil: Pride leads to every other vice: it is the complete anti-God state of mind…”
Indeed, it is the complete anti-God state of mind.
When I think about the idea of pride in relation to who God is, it seems ridiculous. How can I, in the presence of an omniscient, omnipotent, almighty, infallible, and holy God elevate myself even one inch above the dust from which He formed me?
Yes, He loves me. Yes, He sent His Son to die for me.
But, He sent Jesus to cure us of the pride that wanted to eat the forbidden fruit and be like Him—and it goes beyond that. In our prideful hearts we don’t actually want to be like God, we want to be God. We want to decide right from wrong, good from evil, who is blessed and who is cursed.
We want to do whatever we want—without any guilt or regret at all.
And that’s why, in the list of the seven deadly sins, pride tops the list.
Pride is, at its very essence, an enormously incorrect view of the universe and of oneself.
There can be only one God, and thank God I am NOT it!
Can you imagine what life would be like if we were all gods with all our flaws and petty jealousies and incredibly limited understanding of absolutely everything in the universe?
The human race would not last 30 seconds.
And that is why the Bible says true greatness is exhibited in humility, not pride. That is why we must submit ourselves to God and ask for forgiveness that only comes through Jesus Christ.
In all the words of Jesus in all the gospels, not once did He exalt Himself or exhibit pride in any form. In fact, he told us to learn from Him because He is gentle and humble of heart. (Matthew 11:29)
He told us the meek will inherit the Earth. He told us he who exalts himself will be humbled and he who humbles himself will be exalted. (Luke 14:11)
He washed feet.
Charles Spurgeon, often regarded as the “Prince of Preachers,” once gave a sermon entitled “Pride Cannot Live Beneath the Cross.”
And oh, how true that is.
At the foot of the cross, where love ran red. Where He paid it all for me. Where mercy and grace flowed out for a wretch like me in a flood of love so deep, so pure it changed everything forever. The God who was and is and is to come died for me. He who created the universe and everything in it died for me. He who was in the beginning, through whom all things were made, without whom nothing was made that has been made, who was life itself, who was and is the light that shines in the darkness and the darkness will never overcome—died for me.
So, Lord, help me to lay every last bit of my pride at the foot of that cross each day where it can be crucified by the love of Jesus Christ.
Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded. Because of what law? The law that requires works? No, because of the law that requires faith. For we maintain that a person is justified by faith apart from the works of the law. (Romans 3:27-28)