This is the fifth blog in this series on love according to 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Pride is something that we all struggle with because it basically comes down to not submitting to God’s authority in some area of our life.
The Bible gives us many warnings against pride and the repercussions it brings. I will only focus on a few but I encourage you to study it on your own asking God to show you and help you in the areas you struggle with pride.
When I worked as a server at a restaurant, I waited on a family one time that appeared to be very wealthy. While the father stepped away from the table the family cautioned me to do everything he requested perfectly and on time. They basically told me he was not to be disappointed at all.
I instantly felt intimidated and was on edge the entire time I waited on them. After they left I thought how deceived this man was. He thought because of his wealth he was higher than anyone else and deserved absolute perfection. Galatians 6:3 says,
“If anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself.”
Pride blinds us of our true value and the value of others. When we’re caught in pride, we inflate our value and devalue others. When in reality we all have the same value. No one in this world is greater or less than anyone. Galatians 3:28 says, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” The smartest, most successful man in the world is no different than a homeless drug-addict in God’s eyes. We’re all sinners and Christ died for every one of us.
When we measure ourselves to others we will either feed our own pride or tear ourselves down. When we see ourselves and others as God sees us, we will keep from thinking we’re better than or inferior to others. 2 Corinthians 10:12 says, “Oh, don’t worry; we wouldn’t dare say that we are as wonderful as these other men who tell you how important they are! But they are only comparing themselves with each other, using themselves as the standard of measurement. How ignorant!” (NLT)
Pride is what led to Satan’s destruction. If he could become prideful after knowing God in His full glory, then how much more susceptible are we to pride. In 1Timothy 3:6, as Paul was giving warning against putting a new convert in the position of an overseer of the church, He stated, “he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil.”
When we fall into pride, we stand against God who opposes the proud. When we ignore God and try to handle our life on our own, we open the door to Satan’s deception and influence. He deceives us by telling us we don’t need God so He can drag us down with him. Proverbs 16:18 says,
“Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.”
Whenever I fall into pride, thinking I’m so wise, God humbles me by allowing me to fall. This opens my eyes to see my weaknesses, and it reminds me that I can do nothing without God. I am absolutely nothing without Him.
Praise God that even though we do fall, He is always there waiting to help us when we’re ready to humble ourselves and accept His help. Proverbs 24:16 says, “The godly may trip seven times, but they will get up again. But one disaster is enough to overthrow the wicked.” (NLT) “Godly” means “righteous.” We are made righteous when we receive Jesus. Without Jesus, we have nothing to protect us when we fall.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve acted in pride and found out later that it only made me look stupid. Those who are caught in pride are blinded from reality. Everyone else but them can see their folly.
This is one of the reasons why God tells us to listen to advice, because when we’re caught in pride we don’t see our own faults. Proverbs 13:10 says, “Pride only breeds quarrels, but wisdom is found in those who take advice.”
God will often try to reach and humble us through others. If we don’t humble ourselves, we’ll continue to make a fool of ourselves. Proverbs 19:20 says, “Listen to advice and accept instruction, and in the end you will be wise.”
Loving God Keeps Us Humble
Sometimes I think the more we grow with Christ, the more tendencies we have to fall into pride. We have to be careful that we don’t start thinking we’re holier than others and forgetting that it’s God who sanctifies us, not us. 1 Corinthians 4:7 says, “For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?”
Those who are proud and compare their sins to others, instead of to God’s Holiness, will not be merciful to others. Pride does not promote love, it tears people down. We can’t love others when we think we’re better than them.
1 Corinthians 8:1-3 says, “…of course we know that all of us possess knowledge [concerning these matters. Yet mere] knowledge causes people to be puffed up (to bear themselves loftily and be proud), but love (affection and goodwill and benevolence) edifies and builds up and encourages one to grow [to his full stature].
If anyone imagines that he has come to know and understand much [of divine things, without love], he does not yet perceive and recognize and understand as strongly and clearly, nor has he become as intimately acquainted with anything as he ought or as is necessary.
But if one loves God truly [with affectionate reverence, prompt obedience, and grateful recognition of His blessing], he is known by God [recognized as worthy of His intimacy and love, and he is owned by Him].” (AMP)
All the knowledge and wisdom we receive from God does us nothing if we don’t love others. People aren’t interested in how much we know, they’re looking for true genuine love, the kind of love that only God can give. We have to love God in order to love others. As this verse says, to love God is to have reverence for Him, to be obedient to Him, and to be grateful for what He has given us.
I’ve found the best way for me to stay out of pride is to be continually filled with praise and awe of what God has done in my life. Just remembering where I used to be, and where I still should be, and seeing where He has taken me, fills my heart with gratitude and keeps me humble. We often think about all that God has not done for us instead of praising Him for all that He has done.
We can see this in Luke 17, where Jesus healed ten men of leprosy. Only one of them, when he saw he was healed, came back praising God and threw himself at Jesus’ feet in thanksgiving. In verse 17-18 Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?”
Also in 2 Chronicles 32:24-31, we see King Hezekiah’s pride. Verse 24-26 says, “In those days Hezekiah became ill and was at the point of death. He prayed to the Lord, who answered him and gave him a miraculous sign. But Hezekiah’s heart was proud and he did not respond to the kindness shown him; therefore the Lord’s wrath was on him and on Judah and Jerusalem. Then Hezekiah repented of the pride of his heart, as did the people of Jerusalem; therefore the Lord’s wrath did not come upon them during the days of Hezekiah.”
God does so much for us that He deserves our utmost respect and praise. Praise keeps us humble because it keeps us focused on God and not ourselves. When our hearts are filled with gratitude toward God we will stay out of pride.
Amanda Beth is a wife and mother of four children, and author of an upcoming book titled: YOU CAN HAVE A HAPPY FAMILY Steps to Enjoying Your Marriage and Children. She has been married for 14 years and has experienced transformation in her life and marriage since she surrendered her heart to Christ ten years ago. http://www.amandabeth.net/