Overcoming the deadliest enemy – Pride

Overcoming the deadliest enemy - Pride

What is Pride?

Webster defines ‘Pride’ as

  • The quality or state of being proud; inordinate self-esteem; an unreasonable conceit of one’s own superiority in talents, beauty, wealth, rank, etc., which manifests itself in lofty airs, distance , reserve , and often in contempt of others.

Dictionary.com defines pride as

  • A high or inordinate opinion of one’s own dignity, importance, merit, or superiority, whether cherished in the mind or as displayed in bearing, conduct, etc.

How do you define pride? When you think of the word, ‘pride’ what comes into your mind? Selfishness, arrogance, self-righteousness, etc.,

But, these are all the outcomes of pride and not the definition of pride. Pride is so difficult to define. We often neglect the severity of pride. These days, pride has become a part of our life, such that we even stopped seeing it as a sin against God. Pride is the root of most of the sins. Pride may lead to tell a lie when you want to hide your status from being corrupted, it may lead to gossip about others or tease or hurt others,  it may sometimes make us to poke into others’ personal lives, it makes us to covet others or fuel our jealousy against others. The list might go on.

Imagine you have a fever, vomitting and cold. When you go to a doctor, he/she will check the symptoms and try to find the bacteria/virus that caused the disease. They can’t straightaway provide a medicine to cure.  When the root is found, it is easier to treat. In the similar way, when we treat the source of pride, it takes less time to treat on others.

Good pride vs sinful pride

As a coin has two sides, pride can be good or bad depending on the situation. There are places in the Bible where pride is encouraged. But, unfortunately, there are only a few verses to show about the good pride, whereas there are more than 100 verses to warn us about the sinful pride.

Good pride in the Bible

Psalm 20:7 NASB

Some boast in chariots and some in horses,
But we will boast in the name of the Lord, our God.

2 Corinthians 7:4

Great is my confidence in you; great is my boasting on your behalf. I am filled with comfort; I am overflowing with joy in all our affliction.

Now, there might be some questions in your mind. How bad is a sinful pride? How can we identify it? What are the effects and consequences of pride? Will I be able to stop acting like one with a pride?

In this chapter, we will focus on the pride factor and how to overcome it.

How bad is a sinful pride?

There are many incidents in the Bible, which warns us about the effects and the results of a prideful heart. In many places, in the Bible we see that God resists the proud  and destroys them., which warns us to be very careful with our thoughts and our behavior.

James 4:6 NKJV

But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.”

The Greek word for ‘resists’ is ‘antitássomai’ which means ‘to range in battle against’ or ‘to oppose one’s self, resist’.  God battles against the proud to make them humble.

Daniel 4:37 NKJV

Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, all of whose works are truth, and His ways justice. And those who walk in pride He is able to put down.

Does pride come hastily into our heart? Yes. We talk and hear many thoughts on the pride factor from the Pharisee in the parable in Luke 18. If you think for a second that you are not like that Pharisee in your heart, then you are in the grip of pride. We should be very careful with our thoughts.  Pride can be against God as Lucifer tried to exalt himself (Isaiah 2:11) or it can be against people. Pride doesn’t show its face out very easily and it is sometimes very hard to identify it. Here are some symptoms of pride:

  1. We will start taking credit for what God has done (Ezekiel 28:17)
  2. We will start boasting before God as the Pharisee did (Luke 18:11)
  3. We will put our trust in ourselves than on God
  4. We will not agree with others
  5. We will start desiring our own thoughts

Effects and Consequences of Pride

I was a studious person during my school days. I was expected to be a state rank holder  in the school which I failed. What could be the reason? It is the pride I had. I was so proud about my memory power and my handwriting and I had a thought that I was  better than anyone in my studies. I exalted myself in my studies. I failed to give the glory to the Lord. I didn’t even make myself into the first three ranks in my school. I was humiliated before everyone for which I left that school and continued in a different school for my higher secondary education.

We see many examples in the Bible who have fallen down just because of  what we call a ‘simple pride’. The most well known example of  the fallen pride would be ‘Lucifer’  in Isaiah 14:12-17.  What is the reason for his fall? Pride. The verse 13 starts with the phrase ‘for you have said in your heart’. So, where does the pride start from? It starts from the heart and then it goes into our thoughts and comes out as an action. Lucifer was proud in his heart about his beauty, wisdom, treasures and his possession. He desired to be like God who created him. It was the self-generated pride, which is the origin of all sins, that made him fall from his position.

The next person, we will learn about the fallen one is Goliath. We all knew, how he boasted about his strength before the army of the Israelites. Pride made Goliath arrogant and he depreciated everyone else in the Israel army. He even ridiculed David, when he went and stood before the giant Philistine. But God gave Goliath into the hands of David. The proud giant had fallen down before the timid boy for just a single stone from the sling. And, that’s how God handles the proud. He humiliates them using the humble.

1 Corinthians 1:27

But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty;

But, this pride not only affects the one who has it, but also the one who supports them. The fall of the giant didn’t cost his life alone, but the defeat of the entire Philistine army who were his supporters.

Some more examples are the fall of Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 4:30-34, 5:20), pride of Miriam and Aaron against Moses (Numbers 16:1-33), pride of Hezekiah (2 Kings 20:12-19), pride of the Pharisee (Luke 18:9-14) and the list goes on. If God is insisting  on something we should resist, then think how important should that be in our life. Because, pride is one of the roadblocks to life, which has its way into mankind from Adam and Eve, when satan injected his pride to become like God in Eve. The very first exercise of that pride earned them death and ejection from God’s presence from the garden of Eden.  From the above incidents we can conclude that,

  1. Pride isolates us from God
  2. Pride makes us to ‘choose the best place’ without giving the credits to God
  3. Pride makes us to forget our dependence on God
  4. Pride makes us think that we deserve a great place of honor
  5. Pride makes us to exalt ourselves before God and others
  6. Pride makes us to feel confident/boast before God and others
  7. Pride makes us to compare ourselves with others and their standards and making us self-righteous
  8. Pride makes us  think that we are ‘know-it-alls’
  9. Pride makes us think about outer appearance than inner beauty
  10. Pride makes us to dominate others
  11. Pride makes us talkative than listening

And some of the results of pride are,

1. It blurs our vision.

Romans 12:3

For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.

We should not overestimate ourselves and the only person we can compare ourselves with is Jesus Christ and we can evaluate our identity in Him. When we overlook ourselves with the things in the world, we might miss our eternal plans and true value in the eyes of God. In the above verse, we were asked to think soberly (It has the primary meaning of ‘not under the influence of drugs or alcohol’). So, the opposite of soberness would be drunk. Imagine a person being drunk. His sight won’t be clear and he will have a blurred vision and he,  can’t even stand on his own feet. This is what, happens to the person with pride. He/she is blindfolded and they can’t identify their right path. We limit ourselves  and we can’t see what God wants us to see.

2. Causes delusion in our mind

Our eyes are the gateway to mind. When our vision is not clear, we get confused with our thoughts and we end up doing the wrong things and out of our path from God.

Isaiah 47:10 NASB

“You felt secure in your wickedness and said,
‘No one sees me,’
Your wisdom and your knowledge, they have deluded you;
For you have said in your heart,
‘I am, and there is no one besides me.’

3. Causes us to stumble

Now, our vision is blurred and our thoughts are confused. So we get tripped  and fall down as we saw in the above examples.

Jeremiah 50:32

The most proud shall stumble and fall,
And no one will raise him up;
I will kindle a fire in his cities,
And it will devour all around him.”

When we try to take the best place, we sometimes may be humiliated by others (Luke 14:8-9). When we humble ourselves, God will make us reach higher (Luke 14:10).

Overcoming pride

So, now we know the main ‘Roadblock to life’ and we studied about how can we find our prideful nature and the effects of it.

It was not easy for me to overcome my pride and humble myself. It was the  hardest part and I had to break myself in this process. But His grace sustained me and set me free out of it. So, Is Pride a factor in your life today? Let us take a moment and overcome it today!

The only antidote to overcome pride is to humble ourselves before God! Humility reduces the flame of the pride. When humility increases, pride has less grip on us. We need to humble ourselves before God, it will automatically lead us to humble ourselves before others. And being humble isn’t easy. Everything within us will resist humility.

James 4:10

Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.

1 Peter 5:6

Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time

It doesn’t say that, it is an automatic process. It needs an action from our side. We need to take steps to humble ourselves before God. We are responsible for our humility.

Sometimes, God humbles us when we walk in pride.

Deuteronomy 8:2

And you shall remember that the Lord your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not

Daniel 4:37

Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, all of whose works are truth, and His ways justice. And those who walk in pride He is able to put down.

Here are some principles to remove pride,  which was taught to me in Sunday school. It is called as P-TRAPS or we can call it as steps to remove Pride-Traps

  • Pay attention to God’s word (Jeremiah 13:15)
  • Trust less in self (Psalm 40:4)
  • Remember God’s actions (Deuteronomy 8:14)
  • Associate wisely (Romans 12:16)
  • Practice patience (Ecclesiastes 7:8)
  • Speak with caution (1 Samuel 2:3)

When we started following these principles, we will start mourning for our sins. We will admit that, without God, we are nothing and start thanking him for the things he has done. When we become more intimate with God, we will start removing the things from us that God hates and start pleasing God!

The greatest example in the Bible of humility is Jesus Christ Himself. He teaches us what humility is and it is born out when we have a relationship with him. Jesus gave all his honor, his riches of heaven and humbled Himself and became human for us. Even on the cross, he was obedient to His Father and humbled Himself. When we think about the cross, we will automatically bow before God to humble ourselves. If pride blurs our vision, humility opens our eyes towards truth and gives us a clear perspective. And, God seeks true humility and not false humility. We need to glorify God by being ourselves. When we humble ourselves, we will be overwhelmed by His presence and experience the greatness of God.

 

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