Humility: The Perils of Pride

In the introduction, we answered the questions: What is humility? Do you have it?

Today, we take a look at pride.

The real issue here is not if pride exists in your heart; it’s where pride exists and how pride is being expressed in your life. Scripture shows us that pride is strongly and dangerously rooted in all our lives, far more than most of us care to admit or even think about (29).

When I first read this book last year, I was also reading another pamphlet on the topic, From Pride to Humility: A Biblical Perspective by Stuart Scott. At the beginning of the pamphlet, Scott lists 30 manifestations of pride. And you know what? There are many more! I made a note of some of the areas where I see pride show up in my life: Perfectionism. Seeking independence or control. A lack of admitting when [I’m] are wrong. Being impatient or irritable with others (pg 7-10). In my daily interactions and personal reflections, I try to keep an eye out for these monsters.

There are a few other manifestations of pride that run rapid in the church: Complaining against or passing judgment on God. A lack of gratitude in general. Seeing yourself better than others. Minimizing your own sin and shortcomings. Maximizing other’s sin and shortcomings. Being focused on the lack of your gifts and abilities. Being consumed with what others think. Being devastated or angered by criticism. Being unteachable. Being sarcastic, hurtful, or degrading. A lack of compassion. A lack of asking for forgiveness. A lack of biblical prayer (pg 6-10).  

Have you found your sin of choice on the list yet? Again, there are so many other ways that pride rears its ugly head in our lives.

So what is pride?

Mahaney quotes John Scott who writes, “Pride is more than the first of the seven deadly sins; it is itself the essence of all sin (30).”

Scott defines pride as a form of self-focus, self-worship. Prideful people believe that they are or should be the source of what is good, right and worthy of praise. They also believe that they, by themselves, are (or should be) the accomplisher of anything that is worthwhile to accomplish, and that they should certainly be the benefactor of all things. In essence, they are believing that all things should be from them, through them, to them or for them. Pride is competitive toward others, and especially toward God (5).

The Big Picture: God hates pride.

Why? Because “pride is when sinful human beings aspire to the status and position of God and refuse to acknowledge their dependence upon Him (31).”

The Bottom Line: We must guard ourselves from being unaffected by the pride in our lives (Mahaney, 31). The danger is, “God will deal with your pride if you will not…Pride does not die once, but it must die daily (Scott, 25).”

So how do we deal with the pride in our lives? (I welcome responses in the comment section.) We’ll spend the next month or so answering that very question.

Points to ponder: Are you totally dependent on God? How often do you pray?

© Natasha Sistrunk Robinson 2013

2 thoughts on “Humility: The Perils of Pride

  1. Eeek, I’m in trouble!! Just the first set of manifestations–perfectionism, etc.–nailed me. Hmmm…I just used an interesting phrase…”nailed me”. I think that’s just what pride does. It nails me to the wall. It keeps me stuck and hanging, unable to be free in relationships, endeavors, emotions. I’ve been trying to really focus on the reality that my sins, all of them, including pride and the many ways in which it manifests, were nailed to the cross with Jesus. They are not part of my “cross to bear” as the devil sometimes tries to convince me. Wow, I think I might have talked myself into a little insight here!

    Anyway, the other way in which I’ve been thinking about humility is in the context of 2 Chron. 7:14. We Christians have been quoting this one alot lately because we want some relief from the cultural chaos that seems to be overtaking our country. Well, the first part of the prescription for healing in that passage is, “if my people called by my name will humble themselves…” Humility is a necessity when we deal with God, and when He responds to us. Sometimes I can really see how I am not humble with God. And it scares me because I know when that happens, I’m on shaky ground. One way that I’ve noticed when lack of humility is seeping in is when it’s been a while since I’ve confessed sin and repented from it. Some people are now saying that once we’re saved, we no longer have to confess sins to God because they’ve all been taken care of. I’m not sure about that…Are we using that as a justification for our pride?

    1. Chandra, The lack of confession is such an important trigger. There are some vivid models for confession by the prophets of the Old Testament. I do believe, however, that confession is also important for the New Testament believer if for no other reason than to remind us of how far we have fallen, how far we can go apart from Christ, and how deeply we need Him to help us. He wants us to ask for his help. True confession does not bring guilt, rather it frees us from the attachments to our “comfortable” sins. “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up (James 4:10 [NIV]). Thanks for joining the discussion. Blessings, Natasha

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