“Do not love the world or 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, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever” (1 Jn 2:15-17).
Pride is defined as “unreasonable self-esteem or conceit.” The testimony of Scripture is replete with examples of pride’s tragic consequences and why we should never underestimate its destructive nature.
In James 4:6, we learn that “God is opposed to the proud.” Solomon tells us that “everyone who is proud in heart is an abomination to the Lord…” (Prov. 16:5). In fact, the “proud look” is the first in a list of seven abominations hated by the Lord (Prov. 6:16-17).
Pride, as described in these and other passages, is a dangerous threat to our eternal well-being. Unfortunately, we are slow to see pride in ourselves. What we denounce in others may rage unchecked in our own lives. Churches have been shredded to pieces by the divisive pride of some of its members. Lives are reduced to shambles because others have refused to shake loose the death-grip of pride. How often we think, it’s not us—it’s the other person who is proud. The proud do not want to be told about their pride.
The battle against pride must be fought by each of us. For this to happen, we must be honest about our struggle with pride. Solomon warns, “When pride comes, then comes dishonor…” (Prov. 11:2). Later, he said, “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before stumbling” (Prov. 16:18). In the New Testament, we are told, “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall” (1 Cor. 10:12).
There is no value in living a life of over-inflated self-esteem. The person whose life revolves around himself lives a life of lonely isolation because pride not only cuts him off from God but also from his fellowman. As long as one trusts in himself, peace is an impossibility. Peter exhorts us, saying, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety upon Him, because He cares for you” (1 Pet. 5:6-7). One cannot cast his anxieties upon the Lord until there has been a humbling process. We must recognize our need for the Savior and that we cannot make a life worth living apart from Him. Spiritually speaking, this is where the journey begins.
In fact, one cannot obey the gospel of Christ until he first humbles himself. He must from the heart believe and confess that Jesus is the Christ (Rom 10:9,10). This is humbling because it sets One above you. Secondly, one must repent of their sins (Acts 17:30). This is humbling because it reveals we are not perfect. Lastly, one must be immersed in water in order to have our sins washed away (Acts 22:16). This is humbling because it reveals we have fully submitted to the Will of God in order to be saved. Remember the words of James who wrote, “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up” (Jam 4:10).