Pride is an uncomfortable topic. It is something we can usually identify in others pretty easily, but we typically fail to see it in ourselves. Pride makes it easy to point fingers, to pass judgment, and frequently leads to unkindness and even slander. Pride ultimately leads to destruction if not checked and corrected. What are the signs of pride? How can we identify pride in ourselves, and why should we?
18 Pride goes before destruction,Proverbs 16:18 NKJV
And a haughty spirit before [a]a fall.
To answer these important questions we likely never ask ourselves we must first acknowledge and understand the source of pride.
What is the source of pride?
Satan has been ravaging mankind, planting seeds of sin, evil, disobedience, destruction, and division since the Garden of Eden. In his pride, Satan convinced Eve that God was holding out on her and in her pride she sinned, Adam sinned, and mankind was cursed and cast out of Eden (Genesis 3).
Ever since mankind has been betrayed by the lies of Satan. In his pride, he desires to be like God, to be placed above God, and we are God’s image-bearers whom God loves. We are who God sent His Son as a sacrifice for. Satan will do anything he can to lead us further and further away from God, and pride is his fuel and one of his weapons against us.
Pride comes from the king of pride, the king of lies, from Satan himself, a very real enemy.
One of the most dangerous things about Satan is that we cannot see him, and he uses this to his advantage. I was just reading Unshakeable Hope by Max Lucado with my family lastnight and in chapter 3 Max explains that the devil’s days are numbered, which they absolutely are (spoiler alert, Jesus wins!).
He also gives some statistics I was honestly sad to discover, that as of 2009 only 35% of American Christians believe Satan is real. The same enemy who brought division and lies between God and Adam and Eve does the same to you and me. In his pride Satan wants to steer us away from God, convince us that God is not real or at least that He is not good, all while hiding that he, too, is a very real enemy.
He knows that if we believe he is our real enemy then we will also learn the truth, that he has no power over us unless we let him because Jesus has already defeated him and will one day defeat him once and for all. His days are certainly numbered (Revelation 12; Revelation 19). In the meantime, he is working hard to separate as many people as he can from the Love and Truth of God, all fueled by his pride.
Satan is the source of pride in this world. In his pride, he plants seeds of prideful ideas and desires in our hearts that when allowed to grow give birth to sin and leads to division, death and destruction throughout our lives and our relationship with God.
15 Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.James 1:15 NKJV
Satan is a very real enemy whose methods stem from his own pride and lead to our own sin from pride. His desires are to steal, kill and destroy all righteousness and godliness.
10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.John 10:10 NKJV
How can we identify pride?
Knowing that Satan is a real enemy and the source of pride means that we know what we are fighting against. Our enemy is not the guy who cut us off on the freeway, the neighbor who blocked your car in the driveway, the spilled coffee in your lap… the enemy, though, certainly wants you to think that it is God’s fellow creations, image-bearers, and blessings that are to blame. He wants you to take on his own pride and point anywhere but him as the source of ill and evil around you. He wants to create division and destruction and lead you away from holiness and a right relationship with God.
10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the [a]wiles of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of [b]the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.Ephesians 6:10-13 NKJV
In Isaiah, we see a pattern that gives us a clear indication of pride. The “5 I will statements” refers to claims from Satan who wanted to be above God and like God. Satan wants to have God’s power. In his pride, he thinks he could overthrow God and take His place, but fortunately for all of creation, God is God no matter what Satan thinks or does.
12 “How you are fallen from heaven,Isaiah 14:12-15 NKJV (emphasis mine)
O [a]Lucifer, son of the morning!
How you are cut down to the ground,
You who weakened the nations!
13 For you have said in your heart:
‘I will ascend into heaven,
I will exalt my throne above the stars of God;
I will also sit on the mount of the congregation
On the farthest sides of the north;
14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds,
I will be like the Most High.’
15 Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol,
To the [b]lowest depths of the Pit.
How do the “5 I wills” apply to me, though?
Ask yourself these questions, and reference them back to those “5 I will statements”.
- Do you tend to think you know best, or that you should always handle things yourself?
- Do you lean on your own council, ideas and desires?
- Do you tend to put yourself before others?
- Do you tend to follow your own path and plans?
- Do you tend to trust yourself most and place your own desires as the most important?
How do you hold up? Are you lining up more with Satan’s pride, or with faithful obedience to God?
It is not too late to turn from pride and seek to live as God has called us all to. It is not too late to give your pride to God, repent, and let Him clean your heart and renew your spirit.
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,Psalm 51:10 NKJV
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
We are each responsible for our choices and responses to Satan’s lies, and we are responsible for what happens with the seeds of pride he wants to plant in our hearts. We can choose to pretend this enemy does not exist, and to allow his influence over us, make excuses, point the finger, or even beat ourselves up – or we can take it all to God with a repentant heart, willing to surrender to His will and power in our lives, and accept His invitation into a relationship with Him through faith in Christ as your Savior. Once accepted, we must live in it. Let God in, and let His Spirit work in you to fight this sin and pride at its source and start.
Choose righteousness, repentance, and surrender every day. Choose to acknowledge this very real enemy, and also recognize our very real God who has power over all things, has defeated him already, and is our righteous Protector, Provider, and Promise Keeper. Choose to use the tools God has given us to fight against selfish pride and sin.
I encourage you to pray for God to reveal any pride in you that needs to be cleaned up. It hides in nooks, crannies, and crevices we don’t think to look, but God sees it all and wants us to be His holy and blameless people. We will never be perfect, but we should be seeking to be more like Christ every day and less like our old selves. Shed the pride and let God truly be sovereign in your life.
Choose God today, and every day, and cast pride out at its source.
How can I pray for you?
How can we as a community pray for you, encourage you, and help you on this journey? Let us know in the comments or feel free to request a private prayer. I love to pray over my brothers and sisters in Christ!