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A Biblical Response to Pride

Updated: Nov 9, 2023

Article by Jeremiah Riner

I firmly believe pride is the devil's greatest weapon against us. He has won more battles with this devastating device than any other in his arsenal. Sadly, it's a tactic as old as time itself. Adam and Eve were fooled by pride. The people of Noah's day battled pride. Abraham was no stranger to this fight. David waged war against this foe and so was true of all other Israelite kings, judges, prophets, Jesus' disciples, the early church leaders and every single individual who has lived. However, the question remains, "What do we do with pride?"

The Bible gives much attention to this problem, but Proverbs 16:18-19 seems to drive home the seriousness of the issue of pride better than any other passage. Verses 18 and 19 state, "Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. It is better to be of a lowly spirit with the poor than to divide the spoil with the proud." In this proverb the Lord is teaching us that the fruit of pride is destruction and ruin. We are also told that it would be better for us to live a meager existence than be counted among the fools who celebrate the fleeting and temporary gain of their prideful accumulations. Therefore, if this is the fruit of pride and the warning from God about this deadly sin it is imperative we strike pride long before it strikes us.

In order to do this we must get to the root of pride. It is not enough to merely trim off some branches, but we must completely dig up the entire sin and burn it. In other words, we must have the funeral for our pride. After all, if we don't kill our pride our pride is certainly going to destroy us. This is by no means a simple task, but it is a very necessary task. Jesus spoke of this in Mark 7:20-23 as He explained that it is our sin nature which loves wickedness and defiles us before a holy God. Christ said in verse 20 that "What comes out of a person is what defiles him." He mentions in verse 22 and 23 that one of the many things our evil hearts produce is "pride" and that it "comes from within." Knowing this, we must be on constant guard to flesh out the pride in our lives by waging war on it daily.

We can't afford to take a day off because our adversary, the devil, will not be taking days off either. He knows how catastrophic pride can be in our lives and he takes great pleasure in tempting us constantly with this form of betrayal towards our Lord. Satan uses his clever schemes to lure us into pride and ties the pretty little bows of reason and pragmatism on them to convince us that our actions are justified and even "spiritual" at times. Nothing could be further from the truth. Each time we filter pictures for more likes, try to get the last word in our marital arguments, boast of our achievements compared to others, twist Scriptures to justify our sinful behavior, or delete our search history to keep others from knowing our true character we allow the roots of pride to grow deeper in the soil of our hearts. These examples and countless others are why we must crucify our pride daily and humble ourselves before our Mighty God.

Thankfully the Lord knows our frame and remembers that we are simply dust of the earth (Psalm 103:14). He is aware of our weakness and susceptibleness to pride, but yet He has made the ultimate provision for us to overcome this by His great grace. Our Father is patient and kind towards His children and comes alongside us to help us dig out those roots of pride and lay them in the burial grounds they belong in. As Christians, we don't rest in our efforts or abilities to win this war against pride, but we rest in the perfect and finished work of Jesus. The Gospel is what empowers us to overcome the temptations of pride and walk in life and liberty to serve our Savior. As the Holy Spirit then does His careful and daily work of producing the fruits of humility and self-control in our hearts we are then able to honor our Lord while resisting the temptations of the enemy...especially the temptation of pride.

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