A man received a promotion to the position of Vice President of the company he worked for. The promotion went to his head, and for weeks on end he bragged to anyone and everyone that he was now a VP. His bragging came to an abrupt halt when his wife, so embarrassed by his behavior, said, "Listen Bob, It's not that big a deal. These days everyone's a vice president. Why they even have a vice president of peas down at the supermarket!" Somewhat deflated, Bob rang the local supermarket to find out if this was true. "Can I speak to the Vice President of peas please?" he asked, to which the reply came: "of fresh or frozen?"¹
Photo Credit: Greene Family
The world defines pride as a feeling that you respect yourself and deserve to be respected by other people and a feeling that you are more important or better than other people.² From a spiritual viewpoint, the late Adrian Rogers says, "Pride is a declaration of independence." It is like saying, "God, I am self-sufficient. I have everything I need. Your services are no longer required."
In Proverbs 6:16-19 being proud is listed as the first of the six/seven deadly sins the Lord hates. "These six things the Lord hates, Yes, seven are an abomination to Him: A proud look, A lying tongue, Hands that shed innocent blood, A heart that devises wicked plans, Feet that are swift in running to evil, A false witness who speaks lies. And one who sows discord among brethren." Pride lives in the heart of man and it precedes destruction.
King Uzziah, an Old Testament King of Judah, became king when he was only sixteen years old. He started his 52-year reign seeking the Lord and was mentored by the Old Testament prophet Zechariah. However, as he became successful in both his political and military endeavors, he changed. He grew very proud and thought very highly of himself. Uzziah was a very good man and a great leader, but when he prospered, his pride began to develop to the point he became very angry when he was confronted by Azariah and eighty other courageous priests of the Lord about his burning incense to the Lord. Proud people do not like to be confronted and be told what they should or shouldn't be doing. While he was still angry at the priests, God allowed him to fall to leprosy. At the end of his life, he was known more for his arrogance and pride than the man he first was. His "destruction" manifested as we see in 2 Chronicles 26:22-23 when it says, "Now the rest of the acts of Uzziah, from first to last, the prophet Isaiah the son of Amoz wrote. So Uzziah rested with his fathers, and they buried him with his fathers in the field of burial which belonged to the kings, for they said, 'He is a leper.'" Note, he was not remembered as the great King he was, but as the leper he became due to pride. This is an apt example of pride coming before the fall.
We all have some degree of pride in our lives. And, all pride isn't bad. If you are proud of your child's accomplishments; if you are proud of re-staining an old dresser, that is pride in the good sense. The apostle Paul was proud of the Corinthians when he said, "I am acting with great boldness toward you; I have great pride in you; I am filled with comfort. In all our affliction, I am overflowing with joy." 2 Corinthians 7:4
But, let's look at some characteristics of a proud person. One may possess various degrees of these traits.
In the world, a proud person may:
- Look down on people and things;
- Glory in themselves;
- Focus on the failures and bad points of others;
- Be overly confident in their knowledge;
- Be self-righteous;
- Feel a company or ministry should be privileged to employ them;
- Be a demanding person;
- Have to always prove that he or she is right and you are wrong;
- Blame others, but rarely themselves;
- Be concerned about their reputation and how others perceive them;
- Argue and defend oneself when criticized;
- Seek adoration and praise from others;
- Have a difficult time saying they are sorry;
- Have a difficult time asking for forgiveness;
- Want to be served by others;
- Compare themselves to others, especially in the area of class, money, possessions, and even spirituality; and/or
- Boast in their achievements and accomplishments.
|Photo Credit: Shutterstock|
In the spiritual realm, a proud person may:
- Not be able to confront their individual sins, because they would rather deal in vague generalities;
- Try to hide their sins and faults;
- Find it hard to share their spiritual needs;
- Believe they have no need to repent;
- Be self-righteous;
- Believe in their intellect about spiritual aspects; and/or
- Neglect God because they feel they are good enough or know enough already.
As believers, we should desire to break the power that pride may have in our lives - before destruction befalls us. We do this by asking God to change our heart. Our desire should be to turn from our pride toward humility - a topic we will discuss next week. While a proud person finds it hard to even pray, let us pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ and for those who are putting off accepting the Lord due to pride, so they will be filled with the hope, joy, and peace that can be received when we are close to Jesus. Pray the Holy Spirit will soften their hearts to hear the Word of God and desire His presence in their lives.
Bible Verses on Pride:
You have been deceived by your own pride because you live in a rock fortress and make your home high in the mountains. Who can ever reach us way up here?’ you ask boastfully. But even if you soar as high as the eagles and build your nest among the stars, I will bring you crashing down, says the Lord. Obadiah 1:3-4
And I will break the pride of your power, and I will make your heavens like iron and your earth like bronze. Leviticus 26:19
He sees everything that is high; he is king over all the sons of pride. Job 41:34
Let the lying lips be mute, which speak insolently against the righteous in pride and contempt. Psalm 31:18
The fear of the Lord is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate. Proverbs 8:13
When pride comes, then comes disgrace but with the humble is wisdom. Proverbs 11:2
Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. Proverbs 29:23
I will punish the world for its evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; I will put an end to the pomp of the arrogant, and lay low the pompous pride of the ruthless. Isaiah 13:11
I am acting with great boldness toward you; I have great pride in you; I am filled with comfort. In all our affliction, I am overflowing with joy. 2 Corinthians 7:4
For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. 1 John 2:16
Dear Heavenly Father, please let me keep a check on any pride that may seep into my life. Let me learn to recognize pride in myself and let me learn to lay my prideful moments at your feet. Help me to become a humble person. Please fill me with your Holy Spirit as I seek to understand pride and humility in both myself and others. Let me stay prayed up and in communication with you daily. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
¹Anonymous. Vice President of Peas. Stories for Preaching. Retrieved from www.storiesforpreaching.com
²Rogers, Adrian. “The Peril of Pride.” One Place. 15 Feb. 2011. www.oneplace.com.
Feel free to share this post with your friends and family. I write for you and others.