We can all be subject to pride. We can be proud that we are rich or we can be proud that we are poor. We can be proud that we are old or proud that we are young. We can be proud of what we know or proud of what we have accomplished. We can be proud of our strength or proud of our skill. We can be proud of our possessions or proud of our family. If we play a sport or a game and we win, we can be proud that we are better than our opponent. Pride can come into our hearts when we compare ourselves to others and we see ourselves to be better than they are. But pride is not good. 1 Corinthians 4:6b-7 “That none of you may be puffed up on behalf of one against the other. For who makes you differ from another? And what do you have that you did not receive? Now if you did indeed receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?” God makes us differ from another. Everything that you and I have comes from God. Since we have received everything from God, we should not boast or be proud as if we had not received it from God.
Our pride in comparing ourselves to others results in pride before God. A proud person doesn’t want to admit that he has shortcomings, faults, or sin. To admit these things would make him appear smaller or less important and therefore not better than the other person. So the proud person hides or ignores his faults. The proud person compares himself to others and concludes that he is more righteous than they are. It is easy for him to trust in his own righteousness rather than to trust in God and receive His righteousness. In speaking about the Israelites, the apostle Paul wrote in Romans 10:3 “For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God.” A proud person doesn’t need God because he believes he is good of himself. He believes that his ways and his decisions are right, so he may despise others.
Jesus gave the following in Luke 18:9-14 “Also He spoke this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: ‘Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men — extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.’ And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.’” God justified the sinful tax collector because he humbled himself before Him. Even though the Pharisee had done some good things and had not done the bad things that the tax collector had done, he was not justified because he was not humble before God. James 4:6 “But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: ‘God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.’”
Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, was proud before God. Daniel 4:30-32 “The king spoke, saying, ‘Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for a royal dwelling by my mighty power and for the honor of my majesty?’ While the word was still in the king’s mouth, a voice fell from heaven: ‘King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is spoken: the kingdom has departed from you! And they shall drive you from men, and your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field. They shall make you eat grass like oxen; and seven times shall pass over you, until you know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomever He chooses.’” The king was driven from men and ate grass like an ox. Afterwards, his reason returned to him and he was restored as a king. He then said the following. Daniel 4:37 “Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, all of whose works are truth, and His ways justice. And those who walk in pride He is able to put down.” If you and I walk in pride, God will also resist us and put us down. Proverbs 16:5 “Everyone proud in heart is an abomination to the Lord; though they join forces, none will go unpunished.”
The prophet Jonah was sent to the great city Nineveh. He prophesied that in forty days, the city would be overthrown. Jonah 3:5-6 “So the people of Nineveh believed God, proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest to the least of them. Then word came to the king of Nineveh; and he arose from his throne and laid aside his robe, covered himself with sackcloth and sat in ashes.” Jonah 3:10 “Then God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God relented from the disaster that He had said He would bring upon them, and He did not do it.” God did not destroy Nineveh because they repented and humbled themselves. In the same way today, when anyone repents and humbles himself before God, God is merciful. “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”
Each one of us can be guilty of pride. It comes when we compare ourselves to others and forget that everything we have and do we receive from God. My encouragement is that you humble yourself before God. James 4:10 “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.” I encourage you to be clothed with humility. 1 Peter 5:5-7 “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, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.”
I pray that your eyes will be opened to pride in your life. Humble yourself before God and be clothed with humility.