Proverbs 16:18 “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.”
While I was on my mini-vacation with my son up at my dad’s mountain house for a long weekend together, Mike (from our church’s ministry board and member of our small group) graciously pinch-hit for me for the first topical Bible Study on “Deadly Distractions and Destructive Temptations”. The first issue of discussion in this six week series was on the sin of “selfish pride and an arrogant spirit”. The purpose of this series is to correct or turn around wrong courses in the Christian life, redirect us onto paths of righteousness and to improve our walk with the Lord this side of Heaven. If it’s broke in the eyes of the Lord, fix it.
Psalm 36:10-12 “Oh, continue Your loving-kindness to those who know You, and Your righteousness to the upright in heart. Let not the foot of pride come against me, and let not the hand of the wicked drive me away. There the workers of iniquity have fallen; they have been cast down and are not able to rise.”
The lesson teaches that of all the sins that can distract us from living effectively for Jesus, pride is one of the most insidious. It twists our perspective on the good gifts of God. We are tempted to believe that any successes or blessings come through our own efforts of depend on our own abilities. Pride takes root in our heart and takes our focus off of God, and life becomes all about us, our accomplishments and goals, not His, in this world. More people tell me that pride is the root problem in our society today, than anything else - The “I” problem. The attitude is: What “I” want, when “I” want. “I” see it, “I” want it, and “I” get it. The secular culture’s focus is: It’s all about “me” and getting “my” needs met in pure existentialism. Yikes!
Proverbs 6:16-19 “These six things the Lord hates, Yes, seven are an abomination to Him: A proud look, A lying tongue, Hands that shed innocent blood, A heart that devises wicked plans, Feet that are swift in running to evil, A false witness who speaks lies, And one who sows discord among brethren.”
When we succumb to the temptation of pride, it takes root in our heart and eventually blossoms into out-and out rebellion. God doesn't let pride go unnoticed. The Bible is quite clear in its description of pride and warnings against its dangers. Self-righteousness goes hand-in-hand with pride and Jesus taught His followers that external behaviors matter less than what is in our hearts. Pride causes us to emphasize “self” rather than God. Pride has become an issue today and needs to be dealt with, because people begin to view themselves as “all-important”. We need to know how to week out and avoid any arrogant pride that has taken root in our lives. Focus on loving, trusting and obeying God and loving others by the Golden Rule (Matthew 7:12 & Luke 6:31) and “do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others (Philippians 2:3-4), because “Pride brings a person low, but the lowly in spirit gain honor (Proverbs 29:23), Clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time” (1 Peter 5:5b-6).
There is much more on this relative and live issue to unpack, so I’ll break here and continue from this point in the next post. May the light of God’s truth illuminate our path and our steps on this pilgrimage journey to glory in the kingdom of heaven.
Blessings, in Christ, Brian