I don't know about you, but, when I used to read about 'pride' in the Bible, I automatically, without even realizing it, excluded myself from any relationship with it. I assumed, falsely, that I wasn't proud and didn't have any desire to be prideful, so, those verses really didn't apply to me. I was the deceived one though, for we had a series of classes where the subject of pride was going to be covered in one class, but the class ended up continuing week after week. As I sat through the classes, I still was convinced that I didn't have any 'pride' to deal with. It took some time before I saw the light.
The Bible explains pride as something that opposes God. 'God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble...' James 4:6. If that were the only verse on how pride affects our relationship with God, that would be enough for me to want to get rid of any pride I might have. The Bible tells us in another place, 'Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, and He will exalt you in due time....' (1 Peter 5:6). So, if we want God to work through us, it would seem like we should want to cultivate humility. God will indeed work through us, but He will not share His glory with us if we give ourselves the credit for what He is doing, and rightly so.
There are places in the Bible where the actual word 'pride' is not used, but you can understand the concept at work. Think of Goliath and his arrogance against the Israelites, and what God did to him through David, a little shepherd boy at the time. Or think of Jezebel who painted herself to look sexy and manipulated people. Her end came and there was no beauty in that at all.
Pride is like a trap for us to fall into, set up by the Enemy of our souls. He wants us to fall, and he wants us to bring dishonor to the name of the True and Living God. Pride manifests itself in many different ways, mostly subtle.
One way we show others that pride is in our hearts, is when we hate one another. It can happen when we hate lost people, or really anyone. When we compare ourselves with others favorably, and we publicize someone else's faults, that is evidence of pride in our hearts. Thinking of ourselves more highly than we ought to is pride. John the Baptist was so accurate in saying about Jesus, 'He must increase, but I must decrease.' (John 3:30 ESV) Our lives are given to us in order to make His name known and to bring glory to God, not ourselves.
By default, we all have pride and we all will be dealing with pride for the rest of our earthly lives. But we can ask God to show us where pride is, in our hearts, and we can put it to death daily. It is hard for us to see pride because pride is deceptive.
Not only do we need to put pride to death, but we need to cultivate humility. We have to intentionally work with humility and embrace it. God promises to work with us when we are humble.
Here are a couple of ways to look to see where pride is in our hearts (though this list is not exhaustive, by any means):
1. Am I happy for others when they succeed in areas where I am gifted in?
2. Do I find myself gossiping about others?
3. When someone is being slandered, do I join in with the slander, or do I check both sides of the
situation to find out what the real story is?
4. When I make a mistake, can I admit to others that I was wrong and ask forgiveness?
5. When I see a professing Christian teaching something wrong or off, can I critique that person
without attacking him or her personally?
6. Do I enjoy it when my opponent loses or gets hurt?
7. Can I trust God to work through a situation where there is disagreement, or do I feel like I have to
take charge and tell everyone I know about it and try to get them on my side?
8. When I go to a church meeting or fellowship, am I more concerned with what others think of me,
or am I more concerned with what God thinks of me?
9. Can I disagree with someone else and not look down on him or her, but agree to disagree instead
of dividing against that person?
10. Is our understanding of Christianity 'God making much of us', rather than our making 'much of
Him'? Do we think God exists to make us happy?
The list could continue, but I will stop here. You can come up with your own questions to ask yourself. God does not want us to be humble in order to bully us around and humiliate us, but, if we truly understand how great and majestic God is, and how much we need Him, we would begin to understand why pride is dangerous to us. It promotes a false understanding of who we really are, before others. It promotes a false understanding of ourselves to ourselves. God will resist that, but the verses go on to say that the person who humbles himself before God, will be exalted by God.
I haven't read these articles on pride by Nancy Leigh DeMoss, but I have listened to her teachings and they are excellent. I skimmed over the page and looked at the topics on pride that she is teaching on here. Feel free to look at them as well.
|I don't know where this picture came from, but it is a|
great illustration of the subtlety of pride in our lives.