The Pride of Life

John writes that we should not love the world.  1 John 2:15-17 “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world — the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life — is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.” The third characteristic of a love for the world is the pride of life. It is demonstrated through arrogance, showiness, pride in self, and boasting. Having the pride of life is a matter of thinking too highly of self. Romans 12:3 “For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.”

When you see what you have accomplished in life, the children you have begat, the wealth you have accumulated, or the faith that you have, you might be tempted to be proud of what you have done and who you are.  Moses warned the Israelites against that attitude. Deuteronomy 8:17-18a “Then you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gained me this wealth.’ And you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth.”  God gives you the ability and the power to gain whatever wealth or possessions you have or to accomplish whatever you have done in your life.  You have received everything from God.  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?”  Who makes you differ from another?  God.  Who gives you everything you have received?  God.  Then why do you boast? Why are you proud?

Pride can be a form of self worship. When we are proud or when we boast, we take credit upon ourselves when it belongs to God.  We should be giving glory to God. God doesn’t want anyone else to get the glory that He deserves, because He is God – the source of everything good (James 1:17).  Pride is an attitude that implies that we are self-sufficient and don’t need God. It requires humility to come to God and depend upon Him.  Peter teaches us about submission, pride and 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.”  The first admonition here is to submit.  A proud person doesn’t want to submit because he sees himself as better than the other or that he knows what is best and he thinks that the other should submit to him. But a humble person is willing to submit.  Being clothed with humility is to have humility as an outstanding characteristic that others see, like they see your clothes on your body.  Others can readily see if you are clothed with pride or humility. One of the great truths is that “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Why would God resist the proud? It was previously stated that pride can be a form of self worship.  God doesn’t want worship to go to anyone but Himself. The proud person does not submit to God; he believes he is self-righteous and self-sufficient – in his mind he doesn’t need God.  He doesn’t see his faults.  God resists the one that is proud; He rejects the one with that type of attitude.  But God gives of His grace to the humble.  The humble person is willing to admit his inability to save himself, willing to admit that he doesn’t know the way to go, willing to submit to God and do His will, and eager to thank God for His blessings.  God’s blessings and grace are upon those who are humble.

You might have a problem with pride if: – if you have trouble accepting criticism; you feel that those that criticize you don’t understand you or they can’t be right. – if you dominate many conversations; you like to talk about yourself or what you have done or what you think or what you know. – if you argue a lot with others; you know what is right and they don’t and you are not willing to yield to them. – if you feel superior to anyone; because of your possessions, knowledge, social standing, race, national origin, physical characteristics, clothes that you wear or any of a number of things, you are better than another. – if you seek praise and you feel that you deserve the praise because you are better than others. – if you like to be different; being different from others makes you special and not like everyone else. – if you are very competitive; winning is very important to you because it shows that you are better than others. – if you have to have things your way; you know what is best. – if it is important for others to see and know how you are better than they are.  – if you are eager to boast about why you are so special.

When you are proud, your focus is upon yourself rather than on God or other people. You need to see others as better (more important) than yourself.  Philippians 2:3-11 “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”  Be like Christ who humbled himself and became a servant of God and of mankind.  He was not proud even though He was the son of God.  He voluntarily humbled himself and so should we.

Pride is an insidious spiritual disease.  I encourage you to ask God to show you your pride and help you to be humble.

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