|I don't know how many have
seen the pilot for the original Star Trek®. The
Enterprise went to a planet with a race who could create in people's
minds whatever they wanted them to see. The inhabitants captured the
captain. They took him to their underground home. The rest of the
landing party saw him abducted and tried to shoot their way in through
the entry to the elevator shaft. They brought their biggest phasers and
fired at the entrance, but saw no impact. You find out later they had
blasted through, but couldn't see it because the aliens made them think
it was still there. This shows a picture of pride. We can throw
everything we've got at it, but it still holds up appearances. It will
continue to give a false appearance, or front, even when its very
foundation is truly destroyed. This is how hard pride is to overcome.
Pride is all in the mind and heart. It really has no basis in reality.
Jesus saw this hardness of pride when He preached in His hometown
24 And he said, Verily I
say unto you, No prophet is accepted in his
Luke 4:24 (Luke 4:16-30)
This seems to be a spiritual rule. Men accept it
when someone they grew
up with becomes famous, goes to the moon or something like that. When
it comes to spiritual growth, that's where it touches their pride. To
see someone, whom you're older than or grew up with, superior to you in
a spiritual or moral sense, attacks one's pride. They can't see a
justifying reason for growth that had no impact on them. In their mind,
it indicates some area of personal deficiency.
This goes with what Paul said about the mighty of this world:
26 For ye see your
calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after
the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: 27 But God hath
chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God
hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which
1 Corinthians 1:26,27
Our ability to see and receive comes about through humility. Our pride
must go, and that's something this world finds hard, even impossible to
TOP AREA OF FAILURE
Pride is a top area of failure among Christians. It's one of the key
points of life and temptation in this world:
16 For all that is in the
world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of
the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the
1 John 2:16
The lust of the flesh hits such things as sexuality, gluttony,
addictions and laziness. The lust of the eyes hits covetousness. The
pride of life hits our personal strength, our very backbone. We more
readily acknowledge our failures in the lust of the flesh, and can
place the blame on a secondary cause - physical cravings. We know
they're wrong, but can at least hold to the integrity of right moral
The lust of the eyes can also be more easily recognized and admitted.
It doesn't reflect on choices, but on compulsions due to weakness of
the flesh. We can face this and admit a need for battle.
Ah, now we have the final one, the pride of life. To admit failure here
lays the axe at our very root. It calls for the toppling of our very
selves. It calls for humility, the admittance that all that comes from
us is worthless before God. We see how the faults are unacceptable, but
how hard it is to see our good is also filthy (Isaiah 64:6). Pride
holds on like a drowning man struggles to stay alive, until all the
energy is gone and finally slides under. It doesn't go on its own, and
doesn't give up without a ferocious fight.
We biblically know we're to be humble. Humility isn't just an act that
comes through effort. "We're supposed to be gracious, so lets force a
smile and pretend to be friendly." This sort of thing is as far from
what God's after as is night and day. We're not humble because we see
that's what we should be. We're humble because we receive a glimpse of
what we're really like. In God's light we see light. He gives us
revelation of ourselves, and we fall prostrate before Him in shame of
our own vileness:
9 For with thee is the
fountain of life: in thy light shall we see
Unfortunately, we receive this so slowly. We see it in one area and
walk humbly there, yet other strongholds of pride still remain. It
seems this will continue until we die, there's so much pride and it
does so much damage.
When we see our natural contemptibleness, we feel so weak and
worthless. This is when we finally lean on Him and let Him live through
13 For it is God which
worketh in you both to will and to do of his
Then His glory shines through. As we let Him live His glory instead of
doing it ourselves, this is when His grace pours through us:
6 But he giveth more
grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the
proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.
You see, the humble aren't humble because they're
told to be, they're
humble because they've seen the truth. Upon seeing this, they confess
their failure, and let His grace replace their prideful self
sufficiency. As long as we hold up our defenses of natural strength,
we're fighting God. He's resisting this and the going is tough for us.
We continue to convince ourselves that we're really quite a spectacular
example of Christianity, but all the while we're a stench in God's
nostrils and a burden to those around us who must put up with it.
5 Every one that is proud
in heart is an abomination to the LORD:
though hand join in hand, he shall not be unpunished.
This verse goes a little further, addressing the
totally proud, who
haven't humbled themselves before God in any area of life. We can see
that God hates the proud of heart, whether it's complete or partial.
The totally prideful openly rebel against God's commands and join
together in rebellion. We can see this in an action that was taken by
the largest of the three major denominations of the Jews in America.
They announced they are authorizing homosexual marriages in their
synagogues. This is openly in defiance of God's command by Moses in the
13 If a man also lie with
mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of
them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death;
their blood shall be upon them.
This is a perfect example of the second half of Proverbs 16:5.
WISDOM LEADS TO HUMILITY
We have a beauty here from James:
13 Who is a wise man and
endued with knowledge among you? let him shew
out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom.
We see what most would think is a pretty good excuse
for having pride,
wisdom. If a man is truly wise and knowledgeable, then wouldn't it
reason, he really has a basis for some degree of pride? In the world's
way of thinking, this is so. In God's true way of wisdom, it's just the
opposite. Look at the second half of this verse in James. We can see
that true, godly wisdom is naturally meek. It doesn't result in pride.
Meekness is a result of true wisdom. "What kind of wisdom is this?",
you ask. You see, true wisdom comes in the "fear of the Lord":
10 The fear of the LORD
is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge
of the holy is understanding.
As we realize how corrupt we are before God, not
just in some behavior,
but by basic constitution. We stand in fear of the Judge who sees and
knows all. Then it is we confess our natural iniquity and corruptness.
Then we take each step of living in fear of our own tendencies. Those
tendencies are to depart into independent, prideful and corrupt living,
apart from God's living His life through us, as we saw in Philippians
From this true wisdom and knowledge of both ourselves and God, we walk
in true humility. If we've received this revelation, we can't do
GOD'S APPOINTED LEADERS ARE
If we're unwilling to be thought less of, if we're unwilling to take
the lowest seat (Luke 14:7-11), then we're of little use to God. We're
a grief to the body, and a source of rebellion in the body of Christ.
We read of how Moses was so meek:
3 (Now the man Moses was
very meek, above all the men which were upon
the face of the earth.)
Moses was a real leader that had every reason, humanly speaking, for
pride. He was a beautiful specimen of true meekness. He was a leader
that didn't hold his power by arrogant, ruthless self-confidence. He
was willing to let anyone take his place, if this was God's will. He
led because God wanted him to. When Moses was slandered by the company
of Dathan, Abiram and Korah (Numbers 16:1- 34), he didn't start listing
how qualified he was for the position of leader of Israel.
God's true leaders don't rely on their doctorates for authority. Some
may have doctorates, but that doesn't qualify a leader. A leader that's
appointed by God, must first of all be humble. He must leave his own
position of authority in God's hands. You'll find an excellent example
of this in King David. He didn't kill King Saul to gain immediate
rulership. We also find that when his own son, Absalom, tried to kill
him and take the kingdom, he went trusting in God (2 Samuel 15:24-30;
We do have a godly leader that fell short in this area on one occasion,
Hezekiah humbled himself for the pride of his heart,
both he and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the wrath of the LORD
came not upon them in the days of Hezekiah.
His sin, which the inhabitants around the palace apparently got caught
in, was pride. They had some Babylonian ambassadors who came to show
honor to the king. He pridefully showed them all his treasures,
boasting of Israel's wealth. The verse shows this was great iniquity in
the sight of God. From this, we see that even a godly king can stumble
and fall so easily through pride.
Looking at the reason the ambassadors came, we can glean another
warning. Hezekiah was told by a prophet that he would receive a healing
from God. God confirmed He would accomplish this healing by having the
sundial return backward ten degrees. Following such a great miracle and
mercy from God, Hezekiah stumbles greatly into pride. We must be
careful, after receiving some great experience from God, to not be
pulled into natural pride.
THE PROUD PERSECUTES THE HUMBLE
2 The wicked in his pride
doth persecute the poor: let them be taken in
the devices that they have imagined.
We read a verse such as this, and visualize the wicked as being the
God-hating, irreligious person in society. This isn't always the case.
Wherever pride is, wickedness is. We can find this very picture
fulfilled by church going Christians. If there's hardness because of
pride, that hardened person will despise the humble Christian, who
condemns their action through his life and conduct. They want to think
of themselves as walking godly, yet are still unwilling to repent. The
proud heart has to condemn the godly Christian or else admit to its own
wickedness, humble itself and repent. If a person refuses to humble
himself, he naturally has to criticize the godly Christians. This
criticism is a form of persecution, since it's unrighteous slander, and
is seeking to harm the victim:
5 Whoso privily
slandereth his neighbour, him will I cut off: him that
hath an high look and a proud heart will not I suffer.
From this verse, we see how slander issues from pride. It flows for the
reason I mentioned in the previous paragraph, or for vengeance.
I found this definition of pride on the Online Bible CD from Online
Bible Software: "the character of one who, with a swollen estimate of
his own powers or merits, looks down on others and even treats them
with insolence and contempt". This very definition specifically points
out the characteristic of pride manifesting itself through persecution
8 He hath shewed thee, O
man, what is good; and what doth the LORD
require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk
humbly with thy God?
This is the creme-de-la-creme of verses on pride. It has been used for
a popular Christian song. It's a verse we would do well to remind
ourselves of over and over.
It itemizes behaviors that work together, doing justice (which is a
better translation of the Hebrew word here rendered "do justly") and
compassion. This is the same point Jesus mentioned in His condemnation
of the prideful Pharisees in Luke 11:42 (Luke 18:9-14). The third
characteristic doesn't follow through with the first two. You see, the
first two are ways we treat others. The third is in direct relation as
to how we relate to God. The first two are fruits of doing the third.
So, to fulfill God's requirements, we have to simply humble ourselves
before God and the rest will naturally follow.
THE GREAT CONDEMNATION
"How vital is this humility?", you may ask. The scriptures speak
pointedly on how severe God's condemnation is on pride. Take a gander
12 For the day of the
LORD of hosts shall be upon every one that is
proud and lofty, and upon every one that is lifted up; and he shall be
15 For thus saith the
high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity,
whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also
that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the
humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.
In the first verse, we see that God's return is specifically aimed at
the condemnation of pride. It is the crown of rebellion. From this, you
will hopefully see how contaminating any pride is. It's the very flavor
of Satan himself (Isaiah 14:12-16). It's Satan's might and the basis of
his temptation to Eve, in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:5).
In the second verse, you see God uses the expression "high and lofty".
From the first verse you see a similar expression of the proud, "proud
and lofty". God's driving home the point that He's the only one who's
truly glorious. True humility doesn't deny facts and pretend something
that isn't. That would be pretending a lie. God is the only truly great
one, who's pure and worthy of all praise. He's truly "high and lofty".
The wicked pride of man and the devil strive to become "gods"
themselves, independent of God, hence the Garden of Eden temptation to
know good and evil personally. Judging your own way independently.
Going on into the rest of 57:15, the people who will get to spend
eternity with God are those who are of a contrite and humble spirit.
The "contrite" are those broken before God. Their pride is demolished.
In fact, it's interesting to note that the Hebrew word translated here
as "contrite" is translated elsewhere as "destruction". If our
self-strength isn't broken before God, our spirit is adamant like a
wall of stone. We must be fervent in this to see we're not deceiving
ourselves. If we fail in this, we may find ourselves being the enemy
the Lord talks about in Isaiah 2:12.
If we're broken, we should be able to recall the event, or rather
events when this occurred. Yes, we can go back to rebuild the wall and
be adamant again, but we can't have a broken wall and not recall the
events in this destruction. This contriteness and humbleness isn't
something natural to us. It will only exist through the destruction of
the wall of pride. If we can't recall its destruction, we need to get
on our knees, seeking God to do this work in us. We need to be
thoughtful about what we're asking Him to do. If we're sincere in our
approach to God in this matter, He will accomplish the task. Our soul
and eternal destiny lie in the balance on this. Isn't it worth the
battle to attain?
We're warned by Paul to take special care amongst ourselves, lest we
fall back under the great condemnation:
6 Not a novice, lest
being lifted up with pride he fall into the
condemnation of the devil.
1 Timothy 3:6
This particular verse warned about appointing a
Christian to a position of spiritual leadership. The problem of pride
is always at our door, and we need to take extra precaution to avoid
falling into its pit. Peter addressed this issue almost like a
continuation of the verse in 1 Timothy 3:6:
5 Likewise, ye younger,
submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of
you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God
resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.
1 Peter 5:5
The spiritually mature are sufficiently grown that they can more safely
handle the danger presented with being a leader. The elder in the Lord
are established in a humble heart, so the danger isn't as great.
In this verse, it's interesting to note, subjection still works both
ways. Not only the younger to the elder, but also the elder to the
younger. We're all to keep a good eye on each other, lest any should
start to slip away. The heart of humility in the elder would readily be
willing to accept reproof, if it was needed. Being humble, he not only
sees his own weakness, but walks with fear and trembling before God.
WHERE PRIDE CAN REIGN
2 My soul shall make her
boast in the LORD: the humble shall hear
thereof, and be glad.
For the Christian, there's a permissible pride. We can, and should, be
proud of God. This isn't pride over being His, like we deserve our
position. That's where humility should reign. You see, the world is
ashamed of God, and many consider it lowly to be "religious" (Mark
8:38). For the lover of God, he doesn't shamefully hide the fact. He
loves God. Our attitude toward God should be one that shouts for Him,
because we know He's tops!
NOW'S THE TIME TO ACT!
Pride is an issue of the utmost urgency. The love of Christ and the
unity of His body, lie in the balance over this issue. If we, as
Christians, won't totally humble ourselves, hatred and persecution will
go on in the midst of our own ranks:
10 Only by pride cometh
contention: but with the well advised is
Failure to glorify God and find His strength in
persecution, will evade
us. We're in a war zone as long as we abide in the flesh on earth. We
can't afford to be unprepared before God. Our time's limited, and when
we pass on, we'll regret it if we let the greatest opportunity slip by!
We won't be able to come back and do it over.
If you think you're one of His and in reality aren't, you can eliminate
this possibility by doing what I said in the section, THE GREAT
CONDEMNATION. Do you recall the destruction of the wall? Do you taste
the dust in the air from the demolition of this wall? The dust is
always there to taste in the one who's still humble, for this is the
nature of humility.
If you're not a Christian, you can see where the battle must be met in
your soul. I've told you how to gain the victory. Saying you're taking
your position in Christ is all a farce, if the wall of pride remains
untouched. He's faithful to bring you through, if you'll let Him. Don't
resist any longer.
Free to Copy under Creative Commons BY-NC-ND3.0 License by Darrell Farkas
All quotations are from the King James Version of the Bible