Pride- a feeling or deep pleasure or satisfaction derived from one's own achievements, the achievements of those with whom one is closely associated, or from qualities or possessions that are widely admired.
Let’s be honest. Pride is something that each of us has. It can be subtle, clothing itself in “humility” or it can be blatant and flashy. We will use it in phrases like “I am so PROUD of you” or “I take pride in my appearance” or “I am proud of who I have become”. Often times we can see pride as something that is celebrated and necessary to achieve goals or any level of success in our lives.
The worlds perspective of pride and God’s perspective pride are two very different things. Pride removes the praise and honor that is due to God and we redirect it back to ourselves. In other words, pride is the love and admiration of self over the love and admiration of God.
Lucifer was guilty of this very thing and he was cast out of heaven because of it. In Isaiah 14:13,14 it says, “You said in your heart, “I will ascend to the heavens; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of Mount Zaphon. I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.”
Now we may not blatantly say these words, but it’s in our hearts where we first go astray. When we don’t continually allow God to search our hearts and check our motives our hearts will go astray. When left unattended, like a garden that isn’t weeded, pride will sneak in and wreak havoc in every area of our life and choke out the healthy fruit God is trying to produce through us. Pride is sneaky, it’s always looking for a crack in our foundation. Pride will also blind us to the truth of the condition of our heart because we have exalted ourselves above correction, conviction and discernment.
God speaks to me in different ways, most of the time it’s through nature or my kids, sometimes He speaks to me through visions. During worship on a Sunday morning God showed me a vision of what pride looks like:
I saw a man sitting on a throne, except the man was skeletal. I could see his bones through his skin. He had the look of pure joy and ecstasy on his face. He held a scepter in his hand, commanding those standing before his throne to bow and worship him. When people hesitated his face changed from joy to rage, demanding those refusing to bow be punished. The worship of the people “fed” him but he was never satisfied (hence the skeletal nature of him). I remember in this vision I was completely disgusted by the scene and I screamed “I WILL NOT BOW TO YOU ANYMORE”. Then a huge eagle appeared and picked me up and removed me from the crowd.
When this picture was painted of what was going on in my heart I was horrified that I allowed something to sit on the throne of my heart that was meant for God and God alone to sit on. You see, pride slowly crept into my heart. I began with good intentions but it slowly turned from being a mouth piece for the Lord to being a puppet who would say and do what was necessary to get applause and reaction from a crowd, using God’s name and scripture to incite a response. I quickly forgot about the weightiness and honor of the platform and I was more concerned about what I would wear and say to make people like and applaud me.
God dealt with this in the only way I would receive, but is also biblical, He sat my butt down, removed my influence, shut my mouth and closed doors.
In Proverbs 16:18 it says,“Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.” Let’s define “haughty” really quick: arrogantly superior and disdainful. Disdain means: the feeling that someone or something is unworthy of one's consideration or respect; contempt.That “someone” and “something” for me was God and the Holy Spirit. I exalted my gifts and talents, I got high on applause and recognition. I would secretly hope someone would post something about how great I was on social media to feed that desire in my heart. My motives went from serving the Lord to pretending to be the Lord.
In all of us pride resides to some extent. It may look different for you then it did for me. In my opinion the subtle underlying pride is the most dangerous form. It wears a mask of holiness but reeks of selfish motives and manipulation. When this form of pride is questioned it will quickly show the roladex of godly deeds performed to prove they are doing God’s work. This charade will only last so long because God will ALWAYS deal with pride. In my case I was stubborn and refused to acknowledge where I drifted, I would point the finger and blame those around me, claiming to be misunderstood.
God sees behind the mask, He sees our heart and He will deal with our pride. He cares more about the condition of our heart then he does the call on our life. There are many stories in the Bible where men and women were gifted and talented and called to accomplish great things for the kingdom but their pride overtook them and destroyed them.
St. Augustine of Hippo wrote, "'Pride is the commencement of all sin’. If this isn’t the truth I don’t know what is. Pride says, “you are irreplaceable”, “you are untouchable”, “you are always right”, “who are they to correct you”, “you need a title”, “if it doesn’t benefit you don’t do it”, “people will think you are so great if you post your kind deeds on social media”. When pride is planted in your heart it will slowly decay your morals and the things you would have never consider you now dabble in. Pride is like the gateway drug because it leads you to believe you are above God’s correction.
We have the ability to ensure our hearts stay surrendered and humble before the Lord. It sucks but it’s necessary to ask God and give God permission to expose the areas in our hearts and lives that don’t line up with His will. When He exposes it we have the choice to acknowledge it, repent and change OR we can rebel and completely ignore it. When we ignore it pride steps in and does what pride does, steals, kills and destroys.
I have not come to a place in my life where I am above pride sneaking in, however I do NOT want to re-live that season in my life.
I am more conscious to check my motives before I say "yes" to something.
I surrender my dreams to God to ensure they are actually from Him.
I ask for wise counsel.
I choose the posture of transparency so I don't allow pride to hide in my actions.
I am now more conscious of my motives in my social media posts, my meetings with people, my response in conversations.
I am not perfect (far from it) but I have lived through what pride does to a person and I want YOU to learn from my mistakes so you aren't derailed because of a heart posture that can be corrected before a fall.
Scriptures on pride
Proverbs 11:2 “When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.”
Proverbs 13:10 “Where there is strife, there is pride, but wisdom is found in those who take advice.”
Proverbs 18:12 (MSG) “Pride first, then the crash, but humility is precursor to honor.”
Proverbs 29:23 “Pride brings a person low, but the lowly in spirit gain honor.”
Psalm 10:4 “In his pride the wicked man does not seek him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God.”
1. What areas of your life have you allowed pride to sneak in?
2. When corrected or challenged, how do you respond?
3. How has God exposed pride in your life?
4. Is rebellion or surrender your response when pride is exposed?
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