Recently, I was shocked to learn from God that I had pride in my heart that I needed to get rid of. I say I was shocked because I always thought of pride as something that other people had issues with, and that these people were kind of dumb for ever puffing themselves up in such a way. I had also very recently written a message about humility because God showed me some things about what it really meant to be humble. I guess it hadn’t entirely sunk in.
I also learned that pride is a sneaky kind of sin (well, most sin is sneaky.) that hides in your heart until you’re so desperately miserable that you can’t help but come crashing down at the feet of God, begging to be led out of whatever mess it is that you’ve landed yourself in. So that’s why I was shocked. I was miserable and crying out to God for deliverance, when God said, “You have pride in your heart.”
I said, “What? God, I think I heard You wrong.”
Then, one night when I was telling my wife about how rough things were going at work and how mad I was about something, and she said, “Sounds like pride, Jonny.” Well, I didn’t like that one bit. And then finally, things really blew up and I just had to surrender.
When I went to look the word ‘Pride’ up in the dictionary, it was interesting that the very last thing that the Cambridge Dictionary featured for ‘Pride’ was, ” Pride comes before a fall.” All of the other references were positive, including pride as satisfaction and pride as respect for oneself.
The Bible’s discussion of pride is overwhelmingly negative. That’s not to say that the Bible doesn’t want us to have satisfaction in life or to respect ourselves. The truth is that the world sees very little wrong with pride, but that’s because the world refuses to accept God’s importance in a person’s life.
In God’s eyes, there are two types of pride. The first is good pride, but the Bible doesn’t really call it pride. In fact, the verses that pertain to this concept look at it in terms of self-acceptance and wholeness of self. One such versus is GivenLife’s namesake Bible verse, John 10:10, (KJV) “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” As Christians, we can take pride in who we are in Christ.
The other kind of pride is the kind that drives a wedge between a Christian and God. God’s word says that it is wisdom to rid yourself of pride. The Bible also contrasts pride with obedience and subjugation. This is one reason why the world isn’t too keen on pride. In the world’s eyes, it’s not fun to obey or to subject yourself to authority. You shouldn’t have to do that if you don’t want to! The bottom line is that this kind of pride is sin. Leviticus 26:19 calls continuing sin “stubborn pride” (NIV), “pride of your power” (KJV), and an “arrogant spirit” (NLT).
The Consequences of Pride
Pride deceives. It makes you feel self-important and can make you feel as though the world is out to get you. When you’re consumed by pride, you’ll find yourself thinking that things just “aren’t fair!” You’ll also find yourself thinking, “Why should I have to do this? Someone else could just as easily do this, so why should I do it!?”
One of the first things that God did to help me start dealing with my pride was to tell me that I was supposed to fill the ice cube trays at work, and that I was supposed to do it without grumbling. No matter how maddening it was that people would put empty ice trays back into the freezer, I needed to just fill them up and praise God for teaching me. It was/is tough, and I still grumble from time to time, and have to ask for forgiveness.
God showed me that the answer to “Why me?” was because He is God. So, after a while, replacing the ice cubes became a reminder of how much God loves me. It’s still annoying when I’m in a hurry, and I try not to let it become a legalistic thing, but it’s now an important part of my walk with Jesus.
Another consequence of pride is that the Devil invariably brings condemnation upon prideful people (I Timothy 3:6). You’ll go from 60 to Zero in nothing flat – from feeling like the most important person in the world to the most worthless person in the world. There again, pride is deceptive. You are precious to God, not worthless.
God’s Word About Pride
The Bible is clear that pride is not part of God’s plan for our lives. Proverbs 29:23 (NIV) says, “A man’s pride brings him low, but a man of lowly spirit gains honor.”
The Amplified Bible says, “A man’s pride will bring him low, but he who is of a humble spirit will obtain honor.”
Psalms 138:6 (NLT) says, “For though the Lord is exalted, Yet He regards the lowly; but the haughty he knows from afar.”
So, Who’s Excited to Be LOWLY!?
Sounds like we’re supposed to be flogging ourselves every day, doesn’t it? The thing to remember is that God’s kingdom is a paradoxical kingdom. The last shall be first and the least are the greatest; the lowly are regarded by the Lord. Another translation says that ” He cares for the humble ” (Psalms 138:6 NLT). Again, from the world’s viewpoint, subjecting yourself to authority means that you will suffer, but the truth of God is that when you submit yourself to His authority in your life, you will be blessed .
In life, we will always exalt something or in other words, hold something in high regard. It will either be ourselves, something worldly, or God Almighty. God’s plan is for us to lay ourselves at His feet; for us to exalt Him above all else and then, thanks to Jesus’ sacrifice, we can be exalted by God’s presence in our lives. That’s what gives us the good kind of pride. Colossians 2:10 (NLT) says, “9 For in Christ the fullness of God lives in a human body, 10 and you are complete through your union with Christ. He is the Lord over every ruler and authority in the universe.”
To escape from pride, we need to humble ourselves completely to God and to realize that we need to be completely obedient and dependent upon Him for our every need. Stay connected to Jesus, listening for His firm, but gentle correction, and He will help you to cleanse your heart of pride and stay out of it in the future.