“A man’s pride will bring him low, but the humble in spirit will retain honor.” (Proverbs 29:23, NKJV)
Muhammad Ali (born Cassius Clay, Jr.), the former heavyweight boxing champion, is quoted as saying, “It’s hard to be humble when you’re as great as I am.” We might find his attitude humorous, but pride is a common problem for us humans. It is also a trait we may have difficulty recognizing in our own lives although we can spot it easily in others’ lives.
While we may not want to admit pride is sin, God’s Word states otherwise (Proverbs 21:4). Even worse, Proverbs 16:5 calls it an abomination (repulsive, loathsome, unclean) to God.
Why does God hate pride so much? Because pride seeks to usurp His power and dethrone Him.
In Isaiah 14:12-14 Lucifer pridefully boasts that “I will ascend to heaven . . . I will set my throne on high . . . I will make myself like the Most High.” This is the same prideful spirit he tempted Adam and Eve to adopt when talking with them in the Garden. “For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:5, NKJV). They listened to his enticing words, and sin entered our world. If we aren’t on guard, Satan will also try to ensnare us with enticing promises of power. We must never place self on the throne (self-sufficient, self-willed, self-righteous). God must sit on the throne.
Obadiah, a small Old Testament book with only 21 verses, shows us some of the dangers of pride.
- It is deceptive (verse 3). (Also read Isaiah 44:20.)
- It rejoices at the misfortune of others (verses 12-13).
- It does not show mercy (verses 13-14).
- It will reap what it sows (verse 15) (Also read Galatians 6:7.)
Pride becomes a destructive force in our life. In fact, destruction is the exact word used in Proverbs 16:18. “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall” (NKJV). It destroys relationships, dreams, and status. We are left with the broken pieces of what once was because we allowed pride to rule our spirit.
The problem with pride is its deceitfulness, and we may not recognize it in our life. Proverbs 21:2 warns, “Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the LORD weighs the hearts” (NKJV). We think pride affects “the other person,” but we can easily fall into Satan’s trap. “But I’m filled with the Spirit and faithfully serving God,” you say. “That would never happen to me.”
Have you ever thought—
“I deserve the blessings I receive from the Lord. After all, I’m faithful and pay my tithes.”
“I do more for the Lord than what others seem to be doing.”
“I’m self-sufficient. I can handle this on my own.”
“My spirituality gives me more favor with God than others have.
“I think I should get more recognition for all I’ve done for the church.”
I read an interesting quote by David Rhodes. He observed, “Pride is the dandelion of the soul. Its root goes deep; only a little left behind sprouts again. Its seeds lodge in the tiniest encouraging cracks. And it flourishes in good soil. The danger of pride is that it feeds on goodness.”
The apostle Paul talks about his thorn in the flesh in II Corinthians 12:7. He recognized how God used this affliction, which he does not name, to keep him from developing pride.
“So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited.” (NLT)
Let this verse become our prayer as well. Lord, if necessary, place a thorn in my flesh so I will never allow pride to rule my life. I recognize it is a tool of Satan to destroy the good You wish to do through me. All honor and glory belong to You. You sit on the throne of my heart.