After a recent hospitalization, I assured my wife Marsha that I would follow my doctor’s orders to the strictest degree. He told me to ease back into my regular schedule gradually because I needed to regain my endurance. I was sent home with an anti-viral prescription that I needed to take in its entirety. I spent my first week at home and I did not do much more than some pleasure reading, being with my family and watching TV. The second week out of the hospital, I worked half days in my office at the church and went home to rest in the afternoons. During the second week, I finished the anti-viral drug that I had been prescribed By the third week, I was on a semi-regular schedule at the church I pastor.
Why was it so easy for me to submit to the authority of my physician, humble myself and follow his orders? I regularly encounter people who fail to believe their physicians or follow the physician’s’ orders. I sense it is an issue with pride. “He does not know what he is doing.” “I do not believe him.” “Who does he think he is?” “I do not need that medicine.” And yet I struggle with my own pride in so many other areas. Some areas are easy to be humble in but it is a struggle in other areas. What does the Bible say about pride that might help all of us to be more humble?
1. Pride is hateful to God.
Solomon wrote in Proverbs 16:5: “Everyone proud in heart is an abomination to the Lord; though they join forces, none will go unpunished.” An abomination is anything that is an abhorrence to God. That means that God hates my pride and finds it particular disgusting. I should hate what God hates and love what He loves. I should hate my own pride because God hates it. When I am tempted to consider my own self-worth, I should also remember that I am about to begin an endeavor that God despises.
2. Pride often originates in self-righteousness.
Luke recounts a Pharisee who was particularly proud of his righteousness when he prayed. “The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men—extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess’ (Luke 18:11-12).” When I am proud, I really believe that I am spiritually superior to other people. I really believe I am further along in my spiritual progress than others. However, the biblical truth is that I cannot claim any credit for whatever progress I have made in the gospel. I am saved by grace (Ephesians 2:8-9) and I grow in Christ by grace (2 Peter 3:18). God gets the glory for anything that is good in me. Pride is self-centered whereas grace is God-centered.
3. Pride is a problem of the heart.
In an encounter with the Pharisees and scribes, Jesus taught that spiritual defilement does not come as a result of not washing your hands, but defilement comes from a man’s heart. Mark 7:21-23: “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, All these evil things come from within and defile a man.” When I am prideful my heart is not right with God. My heart is at odds with Him. Pride is a result of this “heart problem.” Pride is not an attitude problem or an external issue in my life. It is a result of the sin of my heart.
4. God resists me when I am proud.
James taught this principle in his epistle. James 4:6: “But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” James loosely quoted Proverbs 3:34: “Surely He scorns the scornful, but gives grace to the humble.” I can be sure that God and I are not moving in the same direction when I am caught up in the sin of pride. God resists our efforts when we are prideful. We will not progress in pride because God creates resistance in our way.
5. Pride leads to contention.
Solomon proves helpful again as it relates to pride. He wrote in Proverbs 13:10: By pride comes nothing but strife, but with the well-advised is wisdom. The Hebrew word for “strife” can also be translated “contention, brawl.” When pride is present, peace is absent. How much peace would we experience in our homes, marriages, work places, relationships and churches if we repented of the sin of pride? When I hold on to my sin of pride I am unable to experience the blessing of peace and tranquility. This can affect my wife and children, not to mention my place of ministry.
The sin of pride is explained and illustrated in numerous places in God’s Word. Some would say that it was pride that caused Adam and Eve to disobey God in the garden and partake of the forbidden fruit. Examine your own life. Where can you see pride in your life? How is it preventing you from experiencing God’s blessing in your walk with Christ, your marriage, your family life or ministry? Study God’s Word. What are some of the other Truths that speak on pride? Remember that God will give you grace to destroy the sin of pride in your life.