But when his heart became arrogant and hardened with pride, he was deposed from his royal throne and stripped of his glory~ Daniel 5:20 NIV
It’s a strange thing.
A tiny amount of the right kind of pride is actually a good and healthy thing (Romans 11:13, 2nd Corinthians 7:4, Galatians 6:4). However, even a smidgen of the wrong kind is a really terrible thing (Proverbs 16:18, Proverbs 13:10). Even too much of the right kind of pride can quickly become a really awful thing (1st Corinthians 8:1). Pride is the sin that transformed Lucifer (the Grand Poobah of angels) into Satan.
The thing about pride is it’s weirdly easy to spot in others but super hard to see in ourselves. The more of a problem we have with pride the less likely we are to believe we have a problem with it. Pride causes us to think we are better and smarter than we really are. It also keeps us from seeking the God who has the power to actually make us better and smarter than we really are. Without question, the scariest thing about pride is that it can destroy a person without them ever even knowing they have a problem.
There is little in this world God more opposed to than pride. He has nothing good to say about it. Seriously. Therefore Christians should regularly examine themselves to see if they have an issue with pride. When a God who defines Himself as love (1st John 4:8) says He hates something (Proverbs 8:13) we ought to do everything within our power to avoid getting tangled up in that thing. Pride typically manifests itself in one or more of the following tendencies:
You refuse to take advice from anyone you view as less successful or feel is less intelligent than you are-
One sure sign of pride is believing the only people who have anything to offer in the way of advice or counsel are those who are more successful than we are. While, I do not necessarily recommend seeking career advice from the pizza guy (unless, of course, you’re also a pizza guy), that does not mean the pizza guy doesn’t have some spiritual, moral or practical wisdom to impart.
You rarely apologize or admit wrong-
This is a biggie. If you can’t say you’re sorry even when it’s painfully obvious you have reason to be sorry. Trust me. You have a problem with the potential to destroy you.
Everybody else’s sin is a bigger deal than your own-
Prideful people constantly compare their sins to the sins of others. The problem with grading personal holiness on a bell curve is that it not hard to find SOMEONE who is more sinful than you are. It’s critical we remember God does not want us to be like other people. God wants us to want to be like Jesus.
You refuse to go to Church-
There are at least a million excuses for not going to church. Some of the more popular include “church is boring”, “the people are too judgmental” “our family is super busy”, “the kids have sports” “the music is too girly/too hard to sing along with/too loud/too old/too new” and “the pastor is an idiot/talks over my head/is a hypocrite”. At the heart of most spiritual excuse making is a lack of willingness to submit to the spiritual leadership of others and/or a sinful desire to completely control our intake of spiritual food.
You refuse to forgive-
It takes humility to forgive others, because at the heart of forgiveness is the acknowledgement that we ourselves are far from perfect. Humble people forgive because they recognize their own desperate need for forgiveness. Prideful people rarely (if ever) acknowledge their own sinfulness and therefore have a tough time forgiving others and letting go of grudges.
You’re sure you understand all the facts all the time-
Prideful people tend to think they have the inside track when it comes to understanding the motives and actions of everyone around them. The truth is most of us know a whole lot less than we think we know about why people do what they do. There is nothing wrong or sinful about judging the rightness or wrongness of a person’s actions (Luke 12:57, Acts 4:19, 1st Corinthians 5:12). However, motives are an altogether different issue. Only God knows the inner workings of the human heart. The best policy where motives are concerned is to assume good intent and leave the judging of motives to God (1st Corinthians 4:5).
The only way to deal with pride is through brutal self-honesty, constant self-reflection (2nd Corinthians 13:5) and a heartfelt commitment to making real and lasting changes in the way we view others and ourselves. Dealing with our pride is worth any effort it takes because God promises grace, spiritual power and peace to the humble in heart (James 4:6, James 4:10, Luke 14:11, 1st Peter 5:5-6).