Pride is turning from God to find satisfaction in self. Learn about this insidious sin and how to put it to death in this message.
Putting Pride To Death
This morning we move from the general to the particular. We have been discussing the idea of putting sin to death. We have come to understand that the root of sin is preferring anything to God. We have also seen that what is at stake is not just losing some rewards or not enjoying our spiritual life now, but our eternal destiny. We have also seen that the way we kill sin is with the sword of the Spirit, the word of God. At the moment of sin’s approach we must hold on to a promise from God that He will be more for us in Christ than sin will be. When that happens, sin’s power over us is broken.
Well, this morning we are going to exit out of the arena of the general, and move into the realm of the particular. This morning I want to examine the sin of pride, and how we put it to death by the Spirit.
I’m going to begin this morning with a very long list of ways that pride often manifests itself in our lives. I want you to listen very carefully to see if you see yourself in any of these ways.
- Complaining against or passing judgment on God (Numbers 14:1-4, 9, 11; Romans 9:20)
- A lack of gratitude (2 Chronicles 32:25)
- Anger (Proverbs 28:25; Matthew 20:1-16)
- Seeing yourself as better than others (Luke 7:36-50)
- Having an inflated view of your importance, gifts and abilities (Acts 12:21-23)
- Being focused on the lack of your gifts and abilities (1 Cor. 12:14-25)
- Talking too much (Proverbs 10:19)
- Talking too much about yourself (Proverbs 27:2; Galatians 6:3)
- Seeking independence or control (1 Corinthians 1:10-13; Ephesians 5:21)
- Being consumed with what others think (Galatians 1:10)
- Being devastated or angered by criticism (Proverbs 13:1)
- Being unteachable (Proverbs 19:20; John 9:13-34)
- Being sarcastic, hurtful, degrading, or talking down to others (Proverbs 12:18, 24)
- A lack of service (Galatians 5:13, Ephesians 2:10)
- A lack of compassion (Matthew 5:7, 18:23-35)
- Being defensive or blame-shifting (Genesis 3:12-13; Proverbs 12:1)
- A lack of admitting when you are wrong (Proverbs 10:17)
- A lack of asking for forgiveness (Matthew 5:23-24)
- A lack of biblical prayer (Luke 18:10-14)
- Resisting authority or being disrespectful (1 Peter 2:13-17)
- Minimizing your own sin and shortcomings (Matthew 7:3-5)
- Maximizing others’ sin and shortcomings (Matthew 7:3-5; Luke 18:9-14)
- Being impatient or irritable with others (Ephesians 4:31-32)
- Being jealous or envious (1 Corinthians 13:4)
- Using others (Matthew 7:12; Philippians 2:3-4)
- Being deceitful by covering up sins, faults, and mistakes (Proverbs 11:3; 28:13)
- Using attention-getting tactics (1 Peter 3:3,4)
- Being unable to say “No”, because you need to be needed
- Obsessively thirsting for marriage, because you are hungry to be adored
- Pursuing the right title at work, because you seek the glory of men
- Being overly concerned with appearance, beauty, or clothes
- Attempting to appear better than you really are
- Comparing yourself to others
- Insisting on having things your way
- Justifying your sin instead of admitting it
- Feeling sorry for yourself
- Being unwilling to ask for help
- Not being willing to attempt something out of fear of looking bad if you fail
- Being unable to rejoice when others succeed
Did you see yourself in any of that? Sometimes pride comes out in the words we say.
“That was my idea, but no one is giving me credit.”
“I’ll just keep talking since everyone else here is so boring.”
“If I needed your help, I would ask for it! I can do this on my own, thank you very much.”
“I’m the man! Look at me, everybody!”
“You are telling ME what to do? How dare you!”
“I don’t think you know who you are dealing with here!”
Have you ever said anything like that? I’m sure all of us have. It is actually ridiculous how easy it is to see pride in our lives in a multitude of different ways. It is so insidious. And the problem is, we seldom realize it when it is happening!
Well, if God is calling us to put sin to death, He certainly is calling us to put pride to death, as it seems to be the most common sin of all.
This morning I want to examine the sin of pride with you by asking five different questions.
1. What Is Pride?
Well, in order to answer that question we have to ask another one first. What is faith and unbelief? Let’s look at Jesus’ words in John 6:35 to understand what faith is. “Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst.” Do you see that believing in Jesus and coming to Jesus are synonymous? To believe in Jesus is to come to Him find satisfaction. Believing in Jesus is not just about agreeing with certain facts about Jesus. It is also about having an appetite for Him in your heart. Eternal life is not given just to people who agree that Jesus is the Son of God. It is given to those who drink from Jesus as the Son of God. Now, if faith is a coming to Christ for satisfaction, unbelief is a turning away from Jesus to something else for satisfaction. If that is true, then pride is a turning away from Jesus to find satisfaction in self. I believe that all sin is rooted in unbelief. All sin is rooted in turning away from God to find satisfaction in something else. And pride is simply turning from God to finding satisfaction in self.
The New American Standard Bible Dictionaries defines the Greek word for pride as “showing oneself above others, haughtiness, arrogance.” Pride is a lifting up of self. When John describes the world, he does so by saying, “Do not love the world nor 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 and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.” There John says all that is in the world can be categorized in three areas – the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the boastful pride of life. We are concerned with that third area this morning – the boastful pride of life. Pride is the exaltation of self.
2. How Does God Regard Pride?
He Regards It As Evil. Proverbs 8:13 says, “The fear of the Lord is to hate evil; pride and arrogance and the evil way and the perverted mouth, I hate.” First Solomon says the fear of the Lord is to hate evil, and then he describes the evil the Lord hates. It is pride and arrogance.
Listen to the words of Isaiah 13:11, “Thus I will punish the world for its evil and the wicked for their iniquity; I will also put an end to the arrogance of the proud and abase the haughtiness of the ruthless.” God flatly states He is going to punish the world for its evil and iniquity. But what evil will He punish? The arrogance of the proud, and the haughtiness of the ruthless.
Do you agree with God? Do you regard pride in your life as evil? I have a suspicion that we really don’t. We are far too easy on pride. Instead of killing pride, we take it prisoner and give it food and shelter. We don’t really see it as evil and wicked.
He Hates It. Proverbs 6:16, “There are six things which the Lord hates, yes, seven which are an abomination to Him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that run rapidly to evil, a false witness who utters lies, and one who spreads strife among brothers.” Did you see which sin tops the list of those the Lord hates? Haughty eyes. Pride! Proverbs 16:5 says that everyone who is proud in heart is an abomination to the Lord.
He Is Opposed To It. In both James 4:6 and 1 Peter 5:5 the Bible says, “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Listen, God is opposed to the proud. That means that if you are proud, He is your opponent. He is fighting against you. You are His enemy. My friends, if there is one thing I don’t want, it is for God to be opposed to me!
3. How Will God Respond To Pride?
Proverbs 16:5, “Everyone who is proud in heart is an abomination to the Lord; assuredly, he will not be unpunished.”
Proverbs 16:18, “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before stumbling.”
Malachi 4:1, “For behold, the day is coming, burning like a furnace; and all the arrogant and every evildoer will be chaff; and the day that is coming will set them ablaze,” says the Lord of hosts, “so that it will leave them neither root nor branch.”
What does the Bible say God will do with the proud? Punishment. Destruction. Blazing Furnace to consume the chaff. God will respond to man’s pride with swift and severe judgment. That’s how bad it is.
4. What Does Pride Boast In?
Jeremiah 9:23, “Thus says the Lord, ‘Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches; but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord who exercises lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things,’ declares the Lord.”
In that passage the Lord tells us of three things that we should not boast in – our wisdom, our might, and our riches.
God used Assyria to bring judgment upon Israel. Assyria had no idea that God was actually granting them victory in their conquest of Israel. Listen to how God responds to the pride of the king of Assyria in Isaiah 10:12-13, “So it will be that when the Lord has completed all His work on Mount Zion and on Jerusalem, He will say, ‘I will punish the fruit of the arrogant heart of the king of Assyria and the pomp of his haughtiness.’ For he has said, ‘By the power of my hand and by my wisdom I did this, for I have understanding; and I removed the boundaries of the peoples and plundered their treasures, and like a mighty man I brought down their inhabitants.” Later in verse 15 God says, “Is the axe to boast itself over the one who chops with it? Is the saw to exalt itself over the one who wields it? That would be like a club wielding those who lift it, or like a rod lifting him who is not wood. Therefore the Lord, the God of hosts, will send a wasting disease among his stout warriors.”
Paul says in 1 Corinthians 8:1, “Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up.” I have seen that many times. If you study the Scriptures hard because you want to know God and how to love Him, that’s good. But if you study the Scriptures hard so that people will be impressed with your Bible knowledge, that’s pride!
In 1 Corinthians 1:26-27 Paul writes, “For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong.” Why did God deliberately decide not to choose and call many wise? The answer is given in verse 29 and 31, “so that no man may boast before God”, “so that, just as it is written, ‘Let Him who boasts, boast in the Lord.” Those that are wise according to the flesh love to boast in their own wisdom. But did you know that God hates it when man boasts in his own wisdom? He even designed salvation to be through faith and not by works, so that no one may boast!
In Luke 10:21 Jesus rejoiced greatly in the Holy Spirit, and said, “I praise You, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and have revealed them to infants. Yes, Father, for this way was well-pleasing in Your sight.” God hates boasting in wisdom so much that He purposely hid spiritual truths from the worldly wise, and revealed them to infants.
When you think about it, how ridiculous it is for us, little peons, with peanut size brains, to boast in our wisdom!! Romans 11:33-36 say it best, “Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who became His counselor? Or who has first given to Him that it might be paid back to Him again? For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.”
Not only are we prone to boast in our wisdom, but also our might. We have an example of this in Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon. One day as he was walking on the roof of his royal palace and reflecting on the greatness of his kingdom he said, “Is this not Babylon the great, which I myself have built as a royal residence by the might of my power and for the glory of my majesty?” (Dan. 4:30). At that very moment, a voice came from heaven telling him that he was going to be driven away from mankind, and would eat grass like the cattle for seven periods of time. And, that is exactly what happened. Notice the conclusion to the story in Daniel 4:34-37, “But at the end of that period, I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes toward heaven and my reason returned to me, and I blessed the Most High and praised and honored Him who lives forever; For His dominion is an everlasting dominion, And His kingdom endures from generation to generation. All the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, But He does according to His will in the host of heaven And among the inhabitants of earth; And no one can ward off His hand Or say to Him, `What have You done?´ At that time my reason returned to me. And my majesty and splendor were restored to me for the glory of my kingdom, and my counselors and my nobles began seeking me out; so I was reestablished in my sovereignty, and surpassing greatness was added to me. Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise, exalt and honor the King of heaven, for all His works are true and His ways just, and He is able to humble those who walk in pride.”
Notice how God responds to the proud who boast in their might. He humbles him! He strips away his sovereignty! He reduces him to the status of a beast! By the time God is done humbling him, Nebuchadnezzar has become a new man. It appears that he now believes and worships the true and living God.
Not only do we love to boast in our wisdom and might, but also in our riches. That’s exactly what Israel was prone to do, and so God has to warn her. Listen to the words of Deuteronomy 8:11-18, “Beware that you do not forget the LORD your God by not keeping His commandments and His ordinances and His statutes which I am commanding you today; otherwise, when you have eaten and are satisfied, and have built good houses and lived in them, and when your herds and your flocks multiply, and your silver and gold multiply, and all that you have multiplies, then your heart will become proud and you will forget the LORD your God who brought you out from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. He led you through the great and terrible wilderness, with its fiery serpents and scorpions and thirsty ground where there was no water; He brought water for you out of the rock of flint. In the wilderness He fed you manna which your fathers did not know, that He might humble you and that He might test you, to do good for you in the end. Otherwise, you may say in your heart, `My power and the strength of my hand made me this wealth. But you shall remember the LORD your God, for it is He who is giving you power to make wealth, that He may confirm His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day.”
There you have it! God gave them the power to make wealth, but they would be tempted to boast in those riches.
The Lord said to the church of Laodicea in Rev.3:17, “Because you say, “I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,” and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked.” When we boast in our riches, we extol our self-sufficiency. We don’t need anything. We don’t even need God! That sounds a lot like us. We live in the United States, the most powerful and prosperous nation on earth. We have medical insurance, and auto insurance, and home owner’s insurance. We have stocks and bonds, and savings. The affluent are in very grave danger of believing they don’t need God any more. They can easily feel that their riches will provide everything they need. However, just let them discover they have cancer, or that they have lost their job, or their business has failed, and they will quickly run to the Lord.
Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 4:7, “What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?” You say, “I worked hard for everything I have. Nothing was given to me. I earned it!” Really? So, where did you get the strength to work? Who gave you the health that you enjoy? Who gave you the sharp mind to earn that money? At the bottom of every blessing we enjoy is the goodness of God.
So, having taken a good long look at pride, the question remains – how do we put it to death? Last week I told you that we do not put sin to death merely by saying “No!” to it. Killing sin is not a matter of strong will power. If that were the case, only those with a strong will power would be able to kill sin. However, the word of God teaches that every true child of God can put sin to death.
In order to overcome sin, we must use the weapon that God has given to us for killing – the sword of the Spirit, the word of God. In the moment of battle, we need a word from God that promises more for us than the sin promises. When we are tempted, we need to hear God’s word with faith in order to see the Spirit supplied and miracles wrought. Remember, we can only put sin to death by the Spirit. The Holy Spirit is like the power of electricity. We can only tap into the power of electricity by inserting an electrical cord into an electrical socket. We must plug our faith into the socket of God’s Word to experience the power of the Holy Spirit in killing sin.
So, the question remains, what promises of God do we need to trust in the moment of temptation in order to kill pride? Well, I have come up with a short list of them. Think of these as bullets to put in your gun in order to kill pride.
- Luke 18:14, “everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
- 1 Peter 5:5, “You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders; and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE.”
- Isaiah 66:2, “For My hand made all these things, Thus all these things came into being,” declares the LORD. “But to this one I will look, to him who is humble and contrite of spirit, and who trembles at My word.”
- Proverbs 11:2, “When pride comes, then comes dishonor, But with the humble is wisdom.”
- Psalms 25:9, “He leads the humble in justice, And He teaches the humble His way.”
- Psalms 138:6, “For though the LORD is exalted, yet He regards the lowly, But the haughty He knows from afar.”
- 18:12, “Before destruction the heart of man is haughty, but humility goes before honor.”
- 22:4, “The reward of humility and the fear of the LORD are riches, honor and life.
I would encourage to take a few of these promises of God, and commit them to memory. I’m sure you already have some of them memorized. When pride begins to rise up in you, immediately go to the Word, and believe that there is superior satisfaction in God than in self, and find the power of pride begin to melt away.
© The Bridge
Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way and do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction. For web posting, a link to this document on our website is preferred. Any exceptions to the above must be approved by The Bridge.