When have you taken pride in something or someone? I can remember the feeling of pride and accomplishment in memorizing music for piano contests. Or looking back on my graduations and the pride that rose up as I considered my hard work and knowledge gained. And, there is nothing else that brings me greater pride than the gift of my family. While we may use the word “pride” or “proud” in our conversations to encourage others or show our pleasure in an accomplishment, there doesn’t seem to be any positive usage of “pride” in God’s word. I’ve not counted all the verses in the Bible pertaining to pride, but there appear to be at least one hundred fifty, if not more. We hear an awful lot about pride in our culture today; but what does the Creator of this culture have to say about pride?
The haughty looks of man shall be brought low, and the lofty pride of men shall be humbled, and the LORD alone will be exalted in that day.Isaiah 2:11
From Eve giving into the temptation so she could ‘be like God’… to the people in the days of Judges who did what was right in their own eyes…to God’s children disobeying God and worshipping the gods of the foreign nations…to the Pharisees who burned with hatred against Jesus because their pride was so great…to the final destruction of the Proudest of all Proud, Satan, the Bible is rich with illustrations and warnings regarding the pride of man.
Aside from specific verses with the word “pride” in them, the idea of pride rings throughout Scripture. In our fallen sinful nature, we are proud. We exalt ourselves instead of exalting God. Pride may be all throughout the Word of God, but God does not celebrate pride. The Bible speaks of pride as a warning to us. Men throughout the ages have spoken of pride as a warning to us.
C.S. Lewis said this about pride:
Pride leads to every other vice: it is the complete anti-God state of mind.
Maybe read that quote again. Let it sink in. Pride is a fountain from which all other sins flow. If you wanted to run as far away from God, opposing Him entirely, you would run to Pride. Pride tells us our ideas are amazing. Pride agrees with our flesh’s demands. Pride woos us with a face-tuned, photo-shopped, air-brushed version of ourselves.
This month began with people and corporations and universities celebrating pride. Celebrating this foundational sin that is the complete anti-God state of mind. Oh, there are many other things that are being celebrated this month, but ultimately pride is the issue. Pride that has caused man to say the Creator’s commandments don’t apply to him or her. Pride that has caused man to say the Creator made him the wrong gender. Man’s self-will is being exalted, not God. Yet, in the verse above from Isaiah, and all throughout the Bible, it is a promise that God alone will be exalted and all who are haughty and proud will be humbled.
It’s easy to talk about “those people out in the world”, but we must follow the psalmist’s example when he asks the Lord to search him and know his heart, to see if there are any wicked ways in him so that he might be led in the everlasting way. Let’s begin with ourselves and our families. Let’s fight our pride. Beginning with asking God to show you your heart, see how pride is specifically manifested in you. God has been faithfully revealing pride to me through my self-centeredness. Each time I demand my own way, or resist serving others, or become jealous or easily offended…this is pride because I think the world should revolve around me. This sin is ugly; it’s nothing to be celebrated.
All sin is ugly. It is directly against our holy God, it separates us from Him, and is eternally damning. If you are celebrating any of your sins, or if you are approving of those committing such sins (Romans 1:32), you are doing what is right in your own eyes as opposed to believing that God’s ways are right. This is the complete anti-God state of mind. It is pride.
God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble (James 4:6). So, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the LORD our Maker. For He is our God, and we are the people of His pasture, the sheep of His hand. (Psalm 95) He is worthy of all of our praise and honor. He alone is to be exalted. God is worthy of our true celebration!