Text: Isaiah 14:12-14, Jeremiah 13:15. James 4:6
Pride is the state or feeling of being proud, a lofty and often arrogant assumption of superiority in some respect. It is an exaggerated estimate of one's own ability or attainment. It is giving oneself the credit for something God has accomplished and taking the glory that belongs to God and keeping it to oneself - 1Cor 4:7. It is a failure to accept and perceive the reality of one's dependence on God. Pride is lack of humility and the opposite of it. Pride and arrogance go hand in hand. It gives you a sense of excessive self-esteem and superiority over others.
The scriptures reveal many things about pride. Some examples will be considered below:
- Ps 12:3 "The LORD shall cut off all flattering lips, and the tongue that speaketh proud things."
- Prov 15:25a "The LORD will destroy the house of the proud:"
- Prov 16:18 "Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall."
- Prov 16:19 "Better it is to be of an humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud."
- Prov 29:23 "A man's pride shall bring him low: but honour shall uphold the humble in spirit."
- Isa 2:12 "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 brought low."
- Jer 13:15 "Hear ye, and give ear; be not proud: for the LORD has spoken."
- Jam 4:6 "But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble."
- 1 Pet 5:5 "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 Jhn 2:16 "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 world."
From all indications, God detests the proud and warns against pride and it is not of Him.
There are so many things that can make man to puff up and become proud. Examples are achievements, wealth, position, success, beauty, prestige in the community, attending a prestigious school or institution, distinction of having been born into a certain family, family connections, skills acquired and great offices. A whole community or a nation can be proud over natural resources deposited in their area or land or even scientific breakthrough can lead to pride. Spiritual gifts can lead to arrogating power that belongs to God to self. Any of these can lead to man's, or a nation's downfall.
Let us consider some characters who exhibited pride in the Bible and what became of them.
Nabal – 1 Sam 25:1-38
Nabal a Calebite, the husband of Abigail, was a very wealthy man. He had a thousand goats and three thousand sheep which he used to shear in Carmel. One of the days that he was shearing sheep, David sent pleasantries to him and humbly and politely requested that Nabal be favourable towards his men and himself by sending whatever he could find for them since it was a festive time. But Nabal proudly and arrogantly responded to the ten young men David sent. 1 Sam 25:10 -11 "Who is this David? Who is this son of Jesse? Why should I take my bread and water, and the meat I have slaughtered for my shearers, and give it to men coming from who knows where?" One of Nabal's servants who witnessed this scene reported to Abigail that Nabal hurled insults at David's men despite the fact that David's men had been good to them. Abigail tried to broker peace and appease David with gifts politely. David accepted the gifts and Abigail returned home in peace. About ten days later the LORD struck or smote him and he died.
King Nebuchadnezzar - Daniel 4:1-37; 5:20-21
He had a dream which Daniel interpreted as follows: The king had become great and strong and his greatness had grown and dominion extended to distant parts of the earth. But the Lord had decreed that he would live among wild animals and eat grass until he acknowledges the sovereignty of the Most High, renounce his sins by doing what is right and being kind to the oppressed. This dream was fulfilled for the charge against him was that he became arrogant and was hardened with pride due to his achievements. As he was walking on the roof of the royal palace of Babylon he said Dan 4:30 "Is not this the great Babylon I have built as the royal residence, by my mighty power and for the glory of my majesty? "Before he could finish this statement a voice came from heaven "O king Nebuchadnezzar, to thee it is spoken; The kingdom is departed from thee." Your royal authority has been taken from you." He arrogated the greatness of Babylon to himself. He was driven away from people and ate grass like ox as his dream was interpreted.
Dan 5:20-21 "But when his heart became arrogant and hardened with pride he was deposed from his royal throne and striped of his glory. And he was driven from the sons of men and his heart was made like the beasts and his dwelling was with the wild asses: they fed him with grass like oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven; till he knew that the most high God ruled in the kingdom of men, and that he appointeth over it whomsoever he will."
The Pharisee -Lk 18:9-14
The parable of the Pharisee and the Tax collector as told by Jesus.
The Pharisee exalted himself when he went to the temple to pray. He stood by himself and prayed "God, I thank you that I am not like other people-robbers, evil doers, adulterers - or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get." Because of his acclaimed self-righteousness and spiritual pride he went home unjustified. Jesus said "For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled and those who humble themselves will be exalted."
Uzziah king of Judah – 2 Chron 26:1-23
Uzziah son of Jekoliah and Amaziah became king of Judah at age of sixteen after the death of his father Amaziah. He did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, sought God and was in the fear of God. As long as he sought God, God gave him success. He acquired wealth and became politically and militarily powerful. He went to war with some nations and God gave him victory. He achieved a lot and his fame spread far and wide. Unfortunately, he became proud to his destruction. 2 Chron 26:16 "But after Uzziah became powerful, his pride led to his downfall. He was unfaithful to the LORD his God, and entered the temple of the LORD to burn incense on the altar of incense. "He arrogated the assignment of the priests to himself and when the priests confronted him, he became angry and raged at them in the LORD's temple. Instantly leprosy broke out on his forehead and the priests hurried him out of the temple of the LORD and banned him from the temple. He was removed from the palace and replaced by his son. He died a leper and his son Jotham succeeded him as king. His achievements, fame and power led to his pride and downfall.
Lucifer – Isa 14:12-14
Lucifer was an exceedingly beautiful angel in heaven. He became so impressed with his own
beauty, position and wisdom that he desired for himself the honour and glory that belonged
to God. These statements were credited to him. Isa 14:13-14 "I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High." For these reasons Lucifer was banished from heaven and cast out and stripped of his authority. His pride and desire to be like God led to his downfall and destruction.
Pride provokes God's displeasure, and leads to destruction but unfortunately it is not easy to see or identify pride in oneself but very easy to see or identify in others. Pride shuts God out of one's life since it is not of God but of the devil. It causes one to have low ability and worth of others and to treat others with contempt. It leads to ruin and downfall.
Evidence of pride in one can be in any of these forms.
- hardly consider other people's opinion.
- desire to be served.
- feel too confident in what you have and know.
- find it difficult to apologise or accept fault.
- find it difficult to share your spiritual and physical needs with others or seek help.
- have "I" mentality and statements like "If not for me.” "I did it."
- want everything to be revolving around you.
If you exhibit any of these traits, watch out.
Brethren, pride is not of God but of the devil. Avoid it. Ask God to reveal your weakness to you and pray about it.
Dear Father, I humbly request that you reveal my weaknesses to me especially any one that has to do with pride and grant me the grace to totally come off it.
In Jesus's name I pray.