Pride: What It Is and Why It's a SinFeb 28, 2023
What is pride?
Pride is not merely thinking too much of oneself, but rather thinking of oneself too much.
In other words, pride is living from a “me” center. Pride has me and my pleasure, satisfaction, and success as the driving force of my life.
Pride is looking out for #1! Taking care of me first.
It’s the mind (and heart) set that I am on my own and therefore I must protect myself, advance myself, make a way for myself, find fulfillment for myself, and ultimately live for myself.
Pride is independence.
Pride is independence—from people; those in authority, those who care, those I need and those I don’t need.
Pride is independence from God; along with His rules, His love, and the accountability I might have toward Him. It’s also freedom from the wrestle I have with my faith.
Pride is independence from the confines of culture along with its rules, expectations, norms, checks and balances.
Pride is basically independence from anything and anyone who might threaten, diminish, demand something, expect something, or hinder…ME.
Pride proclaims that independence is freedom, but it's not.
The kind of independence that pride exalts is at the root of selfishness. It’s at the heart of abuse, and it’s at the core of most every conflict we have with each other.
Pride separates us from the God who loves us. And although pride promises freedom, it delivers bondage. Rather than creating a solid foundation for connecting with others, pride makes genuine human or divine connection impossible.
Pride is expressed in many ways.
There are the external/obvious expressions of pride…arrogance, impatience, being short-tempered, selfish, bullying, having an apparent disregard for others, being unkind, the list could go on.
And there are the internal/hidden expressions of pride…insecurity, self-loathing, timidity, discouragement, hopelessness, fear, this list could also go on.
Why Pride is a Sin...
This is a good place to acknowledge that there is a healthy pride that is simply being satisfied with a job well-done; knowing that you brought your best to the table and God used it to create success. But the pride we are discussing here is the kind that exalts self-centered independence that insists on being the god of your own destiny.
Pride separates us from God.
Scripture teaches that we are dead in our sins; that before we accept Jesus' death as punishment for our sins, and invite Him to be LORD of our lives, we are separated from God.
"For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." Romans 3:23
"And the wages of sin is death. But the free gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ, our LORD." Romans 6:23
Not only are we separated from the God who gave us life, but we are following after gods that are not gods at all!
"Before you knew God you were slaves of gods that are not real." Galatians 4:8 CEV
Most everything that hinders us from experiencing fulfillment in our lives will find its source in pride because pride separates us from God.
“In the pride of his face the wicked does not seek him; all his thought are, ‘There is no God.’” Psalm 10:4 ESV
This is why God is so opposed to the proud.
“God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” James 4:6 NLT
He loves us and wants to give us life!
"In Him was life and that life was the light of men." John 1:4 CEV
Pride tells you that if you let go, you'll lose your identity. You'll lose your protection. You'll lose your self-respect and your worth. Pride tells you that no one, human or divine, will look out for your best interest and so you have to do that yourself.
Pride won't allow you to bow down under the sovereignty of God, for if you do so you would have to give up your own sovereignty. The "I can do it me-self!" attitude resists the very idea of needing a Savior. Need and self-sufficiency cannot co-exist. Confessing your brokenness, defeat, and desperation destroys pride.
But doing so also sets you free! This is the truth the devil tries to hide.
"If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it." Matthew 16:25 NLT
Humility tells the truth.
The opposite of pride is humility.
Humility is having a right understanding of not only who you are, but also Whose you are. Humility acknowledges that you are not ok doing life on your own. Humility sets you free from having to keep it all together all the time.
Humility understands that God is for you. He's not against you.
Humility is the cure for loneliness, insecurity, selfishness, arrogance and all the other expressions of pride.
Humility is knowing that we are created and loved by God. Humility reveals the truth that we genuinely live when we are connected to Him and that out of our connection with Him we can have deep connection with each other.
"And may you have the power to understand, as all God's people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love it. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God." Ephesians 3:18-19
Pride will blind you to the truth about Jesus.
When you first heard the good news that Jesus came to earth to repair the breach that you have with God; it was either foolishness to you (because you were steeped in pride and still determined to do life on your own terms), or it was life to you (because you genuinely understood how desperate you were to be reconnected to God). What you do with Jesus will expose what’s operating at your core.
At 11 years old I was already experiencing the loneliness of being on my own in the world. I felt left out, afraid, insecure, and isolated. I didn’t feel those things because of anything anyone else had done. They were just the growing awareness of living life separated from God. They were the subtle expressions of living a me-centered life. They were the symptoms of pride developing out of my disconnect from God.
I accepted Jesus into my heart and made Him LORD of my life that night at camp because of the deep sense of gratitude I felt in response to understanding that although I was separated from God, and my sins were responsible for His death on the cross, He was willing and eager to forgive me. I had no idea how complicated my life would be if I resisted His offer of salvation, but I knew enough at 11, that I never wanted to find out.
I’ll never forget the love and acceptance that flowed over me when I came face to face with the realization that even though I was guilty as charged, Jesus loved me and longed to have a personal relationship with me. He saw deep into the very core of me and accepted me completely.
My relationship with Jesus began that night at camp and has continued for decades. And every step of the way I battle pride. My human nature is determined to “do it me-self!” and to “look out for #1.”
Pride manifests itself in me by my obsession with how I feel, and what others might be thinking of me, and if I’m good enough, and whether I’m a part of the group or apart from the group. I keep score and harbor offense, and “do the work” of overcoming the hurt…it’s exhausting.
If I don’t bow down to the Lordship of Christ daily, I exalt myself. The “throne in my heart” is never vacate. Either Jesus occupies it, or I shove Him off and sit there myself.
And here’s the thing…because I struggle with pride daily, deep down inside, I must think that I know better than God how to find purpose, significance, and satisfaction in my soul. But, never have I ever been able to accomplish that on my own. The longer I live, the more I realize that apart from Him, I can do nothing.
Pride lies. Humility tells the truth.
So I start each day with a prayer like this, Lord, I know that IN You I find life abundant and true. It’s only in humble allegiance to You that I will experience the life You chose for me. I acknowledge that You know far better than I do how to navigate my way through this day. I choose to deny myself, take up my cross and follow You. (Matthew 16:24-26) I will lean into Your strength, Your power, Your love and companionship as I empty myself of me and fill myself with You. Let the light of Your love shine through me so that others might know how much You love them too. Amen.
You might enjoy this article about pride, What Does it Mean That God Opposes the Proud but Gives Grace to the Humble?
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