<<satisfaction; arrogance, smugness>>

Pride is an inwardly directed emotion that has two opposite out workings.

1/. This desirable or positive virtue is a humble and contented pleasure in any area of our lives, resulting from an accurate assessment or justifiable response to recognition for a job well done (Gal 6:4). By performing with excellence and doing our best, we have legitimate gratification and satisfaction
in our work and find joy in the accomplishments of others also, resulting in comments such as ‘I’m proud of you’ (2 Cor 7:4,14). This is a healthy feeling of self-confidence, where a ‘can do’ attitude coupled with effort led to success without any feelings of supremacy, of ‘what I did’.

While we should have satisfaction in what we have accomplished with God’s help, it needs to be handled correctly, so we do not think of ourselves more highly than we should – remembering wrongly directed, ‘pride goes before a fall’ as He will not share the glory due to Him with anyone else (Deut 8:17,18;

Even 'good pride' unless handled correctly can lead to deception and downfall

Prov 16:18,19; Isa 42:8, 48:11; Rom 12:3). Ensure when you are honoured you acknowledge the Lord’s hand, or else Satan uses this opening to get you proud and then a fall happens. Nebuchadnezzar allowed pride to bring him down, finally admitting “Those who walk in pride He is able to humble” (Dan 4:29-37). When the crowds shouted, “This is the voice of a god, not of a man” Herod was immediately killed by the Lord for “not giving praise to God” – a very severe lesson! (Act 12:21-23).

2/. This is a negative vice when it manifests as vanity, an inflated sense of one’s personal value that can easily be deflated or hurt through failure, and often results in a verbal or even physical reaction – criticism or complaining about not being ministered to. It frequently despises others or puts them down through a wrong sense of superiority, telling of their own often-exaggerated accomplishments, or making distorted claims and yet feeling threatened by comparison to other people. In haughty pride the arrogant do not seek God, thinking they have no need of Him or are unwilling to humble themselves to accept His offer of salvation – in contrast to those who humbly come recognizing their utter spiritual bankruptcy (Ps 10:4; Mt 5:3). Naaman almost missed being healed because of his self-importance, yet when he obeyed the simple, humbling instructions he was miraculously healed (2 Kgs 5:10-12). Such pride is essentially self-worship – giving ourselves credit and glory for something God has accomplished (1 Cor 4:7). The Bible teaches that God resists those who are proud, in fact He hates pride (Prov 6:16,17, 8:13, 16:5; Jas 4:6; 1 Pet 5:5,6).  

Egotism or vanity was Satan’s downfall. He aspired to be like God, declaring, “I will…” Although he
was removed from his position and will ultimately end up (with nothing) in the lake of fire forever, he instilled into humanity that same independent craving to be ‘as God’, and refusal to submit to Him (Gen 3:5; Isa 14:12-15; Rom 10:3). Pride was the motivation that became an act of rebellion. Satan’s

Pride opposes God and results in judgement

attitude and ending is contrasted to that of Christ who after He humbled Himself, was highly exalted by God and will be with His redeemed in heaven forever (Phil 2:5-11).

Characteristics of pride:

1/. Pride is deceptive, giving a false perspective – thinking we are rich and don’t need a thing, including God, when in fact we are desperately poor and needy (1 Cor 3:18; Rev 3:17). Self-sufficiency causes people not even to listen to God’s voice. Pride causes us to act independently of God, not to repent or be submissive to Him.

2/. ‘Pride goes before a fall’. People are deceived through pride which brings about destruction, so if you are confident that you are standing firm, be careful (Prov 16:18, 29:23; Obad 1:3; Mt 23:12; 1 Cor 10:12). Pride has been the undoing of many, including Nebuchadnezzar and Herod (Dan 4:30,37; Act 12:21-23). Observe the downward progression of King Uzziah, “After he became powerful, his pride led to his downfall” (2 Chr 26:16). In contrast God can instruct a humble person in His ways because they are teachable and dependent on Him (Ps 25:9). If we don't deal with our pride in private before God it will be embarassingly exposed in public.

3/. Pride is giving ourselves the credit for something that God has accomplished, and taking the glory that belongs to Him alone. It causes us to want recognition and credit for success by boasting, ‘look what I have done’, yet refusing to accept any blame for failures (which are opportunities to develop humility). The Christian should give credit to those who deserve it, while admitting their own mistakes and faults (Jas 5:16). Wisdom is negated by pride, which seeks to justify personal actions but God knows the real motive (Prov 11:2; Lk 10:29, 16:15).

4/. Pride is self-centred. Through pride, humans refuse to acknowledge God’s right and authority. Instead of Him being central, they assume that position, with life revolving around them, refusing to honour God as God. They remove themselves from His dominion, so He releases them to their fate, as

Aren't we all guilty of pride

sin has become the dominant force. Pride focuses on ourselves as the source and object of attainment, whereas gratitude acknowledges the true source (God) of anything we attain. Pride draws the attention to what I have done, gratitude acknowledges God is the giver of all good gifts, and I am but a recipient of His love (Deut 8:18; Rom 11:36; Jas 1:17). Pride over-values us, and under-values others.

5/. Pride can be (wrongly) employed as a weapon of power or control. It often drives people to demand their ‘rights’ rather than engaging in honest discussion or negotiation. Others play the ‘poor me’ card and manipulate people by demanding help instead of taking advice or action themselves. Pride can be jealous it has not achieved or be resentful of the success of others and seek to destroy them by verbal criticism. Am I jealous of others who have succeeded where I have failed?

6/. Pride makes people insecure. Proud people are often aloof, and resist identifying with others. They may be overly concerned with what other people think, and consequently are held back, unwilling to be involved. Pride is also challenged when we feel we are not in control, or things are not going our way but then is the time to trust His promises.

7/. Pride leads to arguments and prevents people living together in harmony (Ps 133:1). It also blinds our eyes to the truth, preventing us from acknowledging another’s point of view or asking for help when necessary. The antidote is humble and take advice from the wise (Prov 13:10).  We are instructed to clothe ourselves with humility and not think of ourselves as greater or less than we should for God resists the proud (Rom 12:3; Jas 4:10; 1 Pet 5:5,6).

In the spiritual realm our natural ancestry accounts for nothing – all that is of lasting value is attributable to Jesus, so we “boast in the Lord” (2 Cor 10:13-18; Phil 3:4-9). Jesus said, don’t rejoice or become proud of what you achieve in my name rather that you are part of the heavenly family (Lk 10:19,20). He contrasted the attitude and actions of the

Satan is always trying to gain the advantage over us

proud self-righteous Pharisee with that of the repentant tax collector (Lk 18:10-14). The Christian’s life should be one of humility, depending on God working in and through us for His good pleasure (Phil 2:13). We should be Christ centered, not self-centered, having an attitude of gratitude for the grace He has shown, while continuing to walk in submission and dependency on Him.

Pride has kept many people from accepting Jesus Christ as Saviour because this requires admitting sin and acknowledging that by our efforts we can do nothing to inherit eternal life. Such people think their good works will merit favour with God and this will get them into heaven, yet salvation is a gift from God, so no one can proudly boast in self-achievement or self-righteousness (Eph 2:8,9). After becoming a Christian good works done will reap a reward in heaven, yet must be done from a right heart-attitude of love for God and love for our fellow humans rather than to be honoured by them

The pride of life is anything that comes from a love of the world – whatever leads to boasting, arrogance and the exaltation of self (1 Jn 2:15,16). This self-importance or pride is one of the three main areas of testing, along with sex and money.

See also: deception, downfall, humility, independence, not being ministered to, power, self, self-sufficiency, vanity.