Pride is a big problem.
Although the Bible makes this truth abundantly clear, we often live with a significant amount of self-deception in this area of our lives. We notice pride instantly in someone else’s life, but we tend to either overlook it or blatantly justify it in our own lives.
When we allow pride into our lives, it is typically “in the name of” something else, such as “a healthy self confidence,” “standing up for myself,” or some form of a personal “identity” that we want to protect.
In other words, we rarely call pride by its actual – and biblical - name.
Pride has been an issue since the dawn of creation, even before humans were created. Although the exact origin of Satan is a bit “fuzzy,” we know that he was created “very good” by God (Gen. 1:31), so something must have happened between the time he was created and the time he appears to Eve in Genesis 3.
In other words, Satan wasn’t always “Satan.”
Whatever the details of this “fall” might be, it seems that Satan was unhappy with his assigned position and wanted more. There is talk of a “revolt” or “rebellion” in heaven, which presumably caused Satan and his angels to be cast out by God (2 Pet. 2:4; Jude 6; I Tim. 3:6).
The root cause of this rebellion was pride. Satan and his angels wanted to be more than God made them to be.
And ever since then, pride has been the source of almost every sin imaginable.
Satan used pride to tempt Eve in the Garden (Gen. 3:5).
Satan used pride to cause Cain to kill his brother (Gen. 4:1-8).
Satan used pride against Pharaoh during the Ten Plagues (Exodus 7ff).
Satan used pride to divide the Corinthian church (I Corinthians 1).
And it worked every time.
Pride is deceptive and tricky, isn’t it? We often cross the line between “confidence” and “pride” without realizing it. It is often a very thin line between thinking, “I did my best” to thinking, “I AM the best.”
Pride is the reason why many relationships will never be mended. It is the reason why so many people are so easily offended. It is the reason why our self-esteem seems to rise and fall based on what others think and say about us. It is the reason why marriages, families - and even churches - crumble.
The apostle Paul had the following things to say about pride:
“Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.” (I Cor. 1:31)
“…love does not envy or boast…” (I Cor. 13:4)
“If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness.” (2 Cor. 11:30)
“But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” (Gal. 6:14)
“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Eph. 2:8-9)
Paul does mention that there is an appropriate level of “boasting” that takes place among spiritual people who are engaged in spiritual things (2 Cor. 1:14; 9:2; Gal. 6:4; 2 Thess. 1:4; etc.), but this boasting seems to be the exception to the rule. Most of the time, pride is condemned in Scripture.
What role has pride played in YOUR life? Has pride taken root in your heart, causing you to engage in symptomatically sinful behavior, the source of which you may be completely unaware? How would I know if this had happened to me?
Next week, we will take a look at 4 questions that you and I can ask ourselves regarding pride in our own lives. Until then, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time He may exalt you” (I Peter 5:6).