Last week, we looked at the importance of pride and, as promised, this week we will delve deeper into the nature of pride as outlined in the scriptures.
- Pride is a soul issue
For you have said in your heart: ‘I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation On the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.’ (Isa. 14:13-14, emphasis mine)
According to Strong’s Concordance, the word ‘heart’ in this context means ‘mind’. We see this same translation in other scriptures where pride is mentioned (Proverbs 16:5, 18:12, 21:4, 28:25; Psalms 101:5). Pride has to do with wrong thoughts and attitude. Other expressions used in the scriptures for pride are a high look, proud look, thinking of yourself more highly than you ought, and high minded. There are also instances where we see pride referred to as ‘a haughty spirit’ (Pro. 16:18). Here again, one of the the words for ‘spirit’ used in this context is ‘mind’. It is an important concept to grasp, particularly when we come to our discussion later in the series on how to overcome pride.
2. The opposite of pride is humility
Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before a fall. Better to be of a humble spirit with the lowly, Than to divide the spoil with the proud. (Pro. 16:18-19)
Before destruction the heart of man is haughty, and before honour is humility. (Pro. 18:12)
The Cambridge English Dictionary defines humility as ‘the quality of not being proud because you are aware of your bad qualities.’ The Google Dictionary states it is ‘having a modest or low view of one’s importance’. In essence, it is a recognition that all of our righteousness is as filthy rags (Isa. 64:6), it is the righteousness of Jesus Christ in which we are able to stand before a Holy God (Isa. 61:10) not any righteousness in and of ourselves, so we have nothing of which to boast.
3. Pride is a sin
Pride and submission are mutually exclusive. How do we know this? Because pride and humility are opposites and it requires humility to submit. Submission means ‘the action of accepting or yielding to a superior force or to the will or authority of another person’ (Google dictionary). The Collins Dictionary gives the meaning of submission as ‘a state in which people can no longer do what they want to do because they have yielded control to someone else’. In both definitions, we note that submission is an act of the will i.e. it is your decision whether to submit or not. We see throughout scripture that it is a requirement of God that we submit to Him, to others in authority, wives to husbands, and children to parents. It is not a suggestion it is an instruction. Anything that causes us to disobey God is sin.
Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.” Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, (1 Peter 5:5-6)
Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. (Eph. 5:22; see also Col. 3:18)
Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. (Rom. 13:1)
4. Pride is part of our carnal nature
We will continually struggle with pride even when we are saved. Our spirits are regenerated through salvation but not our souls. This is why we have to work out our salvation with fear and trembling (Phil. 2:12b). In Romans 7, Paul shows us the struggle we go through daily as we seek to bring our souls into subjection to our spirits. This recognition should stir in us the need to be on constant guard against pride, particularly because God hates it so much. It is so easy for material things, spiritual giftings, and achievements to make us prideful. Is this why some people wanting riches don’t get them because God is protecting them from themselves? We must always remember who is the source of all that we have and all that we are (2 Pet. 1:3; James 1:17). Look how earnestly God had to warn the Israelites not to forget that God was the source of their new found wealth. It was not through their own power and might (Deut. 8:11-18). He also warns the rich in 1 Timothy 6:17 not to be high minded by trusting in their riches rather than in the living God who gave them the riches in the first place. He reminds us in Romans 12:3 that even our faith comes from Him. Why so many warnings? Because it is our human tendency to ascribe to ourselves the things that have been provided by God. Those things then become a curse to us. It happens so subtly.
Having gained a better understanding of the nature of pride, next week we will begin to look at the consequences of pride.