If you have been a Christian for any length of time, you have undoubtedly heard about the evil of pride. If you have not, change churches; for pride is a fundamental condition of our heart. If we are going to understand sin and pursue holiness, we need to be able to recognize pride and the way it is worked out in relation to people as well as the world. This is what we will be looking at in this and the following two newsletters.
What is pride? Pride is a subjective sense of one’s greatness on account of one’s achievements, one’s status, or one’s possessions. If a person is proud, they are great in their own eyes. This, of course, is a great evil. Pride is one of the things listed by Jesus in Mark 7:22 as one of the things that defiles the heart. The Lord hates pride (Pr. 8:13). Proud people put themselves in the place of God (Eze. 28:2), which is the reason Satan was cast from heaven (Eze. 28:17). Pride characterizes him still (2 Tim. 2:4). A proud person has no need of God. Their trust is in their own greatness. Like God, they will not share their glory with another.
It is not surprising, then, that God doesn’t just hate pride but actively opposes the proud (Isa. 2:11, 17; 13:11; Ez. 7:24). God will not abide anyone or anything that stands in opposition to him, but will jealously guard his own glory. You may think that your pride is a drop in the ocean, given all the sin out there, but it is still a drop that is an offence to God and one that he will deal with. He is patient now (Rom. 2:4) that even the proud may turn to him and away from themselves, but his patience will come to an end and the proud will be destroyed.
While God opposes the proud, he loves the humble. It is the humble who will be exalted, whereas the proud will be brought low (2 Ch. 7:14, Lk. 1:52. Jas 4:10). Let’s be clear though. A seemingly humble person without Christ is proud to the core. They just hide it well. Clearly the humble who look to Jesus Christ are those who see how destitute they are and how much they are in need of a Savior.