The Pride Factor

“And if, in spite of all this, you still disobey Me, I will punish you seven times over for your sins. I will break your proud spirit by making the skies as unyielding as iron and the earth as hard as bronze. All your work will be for nothing, for your land will yield no crops, and your trees will bear no fruit.” (Leviticus 26:18-20 NLT)

Pride is a very serious issue when it comes to God’s view of things. This isn’t telling your child you’re very proud of the way they handled a difficult situation with grace and kindness. This is shaking your fist in God’s face and telling Him you don’t need Him, that you’ll do life your way. What it boils down to is being so enamored with yourself you can’t give attention to anyone else. David Platt wrote: “My biggest regret is my pride — my seemingly relentless focus on myself.” 

Unfortunately, Brother Platt isn’t alone. Solomon, often believed to be the wisest man who ever lived, besides Jesus, said in Proverbs 8:13: “All who fear the Lord will hate evil. Therefore, I hate pride and arrogance, corruption and perverse speech.”

The irony of pride is that it rears it’s ugly head in the most innocent environments – like families, work, and even church. And, honestly, there’s sometimes a thin line. To me, my wife is the most beautiful, most desirable women in the world. I’m very proud of her, not only because of how she looks, but how she orders her life around her love of Jesus. But because of how I feel about my wife, I’m not going to insult someone else’s wife because, in my mind and heart, she’s not nearly as desirable as my wife.   

Pride holds others in contempt; it’s defined by the Merrium-Webster dictionary as: “the act of despising; the state of mind of one who despises.” It’s thinking of oneself as better than others; exalting oneself to the point of grandeur. But the demonic aspect of pride is, we have a very difficult time seeing it in ourselves.

Photo by RODNAE Productions on

We can see it in others, which is common. It’s not unusual to see our faults in others much more easily than we can see them in ourselves, but the plot thickens when we begin to put ourselves in a place of honor that only God deserves.

In one of the churches I served as pastor, there was a retired pastor who led worship for us. He and his wife were two of the godliest people I’d ever had the privilege of knowing. In my darkest time, when my teenaged son was battling leukemia, I would often knock on their door. They would invite me in, hug me, love me, pray for me, give me hope.

One Sunday when I was away another pastor in my same church group was asked to step in. But when he arrived and found that our worship leader was retired from another denomination, he refused to be on the platform at the same time as him. That’s spiritual pride at its “finest,” and breaks the heart of God. It was good I wasn’t there that Sunday, or I might have done and/or said some things with which the Lord wouldn’t have been pleased.

It’s an evil that each of us has to continually be guarding against. We love Jesus “our” way because that’s the way we’ve learned to love Him. But we can easily allow spiritual pride in “our” way to rear its ugly head and cause us to do and say unloving things in unloving ways to someone who doesn’t share our view. Which results in God being dishonored and our witness for Him damaged.

As a result, we sometimes conclude that we just need more of Jesus, but I believe Burk Parsons hit the nail on the proverbial head when he wrote: “We don’t need more of Jesus, just less of self. We already have all of Jesus.” 

Food for thought.

Blessings, Ed 😊

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