What does the Bible say about pride?
Pride is one of those sins that we throw under the rug. We consider homosexuality evil, murder evil, but when it comes to pride we overlook it. We have forgotten that it was the sin of pride that got Satan kicked out of Heaven. We have forgotten that God says He hates a proud heart.
This is something I really struggle with. Many people think I am not arrogant or prideful, but people don’t know the battle that I struggle with inside my mind.
I am far from humble and day after day I have to keep on going to the Lord about this. Every day the Holy Spirit is helping me to examine what are my motives for doing even the most meaningless things.
You can give, you can help, you can read to disabled kids, you can do the kindest acts, but do you do it with pride? Do you do it to be the man? Do you do it to be seen as nice? Even though you conceal it do you hope people see you?
Do you look down upon others? If you did would you admit that you struggle with looking down upon others? Is everything and everyone a competition to you?
Do you think that you are better than others or entitled to more than others because of how smart you, how you look, what you own, how much you make, your achievements, etc.
We can struggle with pride in so many different ways and never notice it. Do you always want to be right? Do you defend the Bible with love or do you just do it to win a debate? Would you be quick to admit that you’re wrong?
Sometimes humility is saying, “I don’t know” when a question is presented that you don’t have the answer to. Pride would rather tell someone an incorrect answer or a guess then to say, “I don’t know.” I’ve had discussions with many cult members who have done this.
Many pastors do this because they are seen as extremely knowledgeable and very spiritual and they feel like it would be embarrassing to say, “I don’t know.” We must learn to take the focus off of ourselves and put it on the Lord, which will result in more fruits of humility.
Christian quotes about pride
“Pride will always be the longest distance between two people.”
“For pride is spiritual cancer: it eats up the very possibility of love, or contentment, or even common sense.” C.S. Lewis
“Pride must die in you, or nothing of heaven can live in you.” Andrew Murray
“Pride is concerned with who is right. Humility is concerned with what is right.”
“Making mistakes is better than faking perfections.”
“Self is the most treacherous enemy, and the most insinuating deceiver in the world. Of all other vices, it is both the hardest to find out, and the hardest to cure.” Richard Baxter
“Pride is the worst viper in the human heart! Pride is the greatest disturber of the soul’s peace, and of sweet communion with Christ. Pride is with the greatest difficulty rooted out. Pride is the most hidden, secret, and deceitful of all lusts! Pride often creeps insensibly into the midst of religion, even, sometimes, under the disguise of humility itself!” Jonathan Edwards
“A proud man is always looking down on things and people; and, of course, as long as you’re looking down, you can’t see something that’s above you.” – C.S. Lewis
Satan fell because of pride
Pride always goes before a fall. There are many pastors who fall into egregious sin and they were the same pastors who said, “I would never commit that sin.” I would never commit adultery. Then, they start thinking that they are spiritual enough to do certain things, they don’t have to obey, they can add to God’s word, they put themselves in a position to sin, and they end up falling into sin.
We must say, “by the grace of God may I never commit that sin.” God gives us the grace and the wisdom so we don’t fall into traps from Satan, but pride stops you from thinking clearly. You are too stubborn to admit guilt, think lowly of yourself, to switch directions, etc. Satan was God’s top angel, but he became haughty because of his beauty. It was his pride that led to his destruction. Your pride is going to end up humbling you.
For example, it’s humiliating for an arrogant known trash talker to lose in sports. You were high before, but now you feel low because you are sitting in shame thinking about your arrogant antics. You are humiliated in front of the world. Imagine a great boxing champion who insults his opponent and before the match starts he tells his fans to chant his name, but then he gets beat down.
When the referee brings both fighters to the center of the ring he is going to lift the other man’s hand up and the former champion is going to have his head down. Your pride will humble you because it will end up costing you and leading to greater shame. Read the story of David and Goliath. Goliath in all his pride was saying, “I will take anyone.” He was so overconfident in his size and in his ability he thought that no one could beat him.
He saw a little boy by the name of David with a slingshot and he mocked him. In his pride Goliath didn’t understand that the Lord was with David. David didn’t say, “I’m going to do everything” he said, “the Lord will deliver you into my hands.” We all know how it ended. The prideful Goliath was brought down by the little boy and he was slain. Pride will hurt you in so many ways. Humble yourself now so you won’t be humbled later.
1. Ezekiel 28:17 Your heart was proud because of your beauty; you corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor. I cast you to the ground; I exposed you before kings, to feast their eyes on you.
2. Proverbs 16:18 Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before stumbling.
3. Proverbs 18:12 Before destruction the heart of man is haughty, but humility goes before honor.
4. Proverbs 29:23 A person’s pride will humble him, but a humble spirit will gain honor.
Are you seeking the lowest positions?
Do you always want the best? Do you make sacrifices for others? Do you mind being put in the back so others can lead? Do you mind eating less so others can eat more? Do you mind waiting so others can go first?
When you seek the low position God will honor you and if it is His will He will bring you to a higher position. When you automatically seek the higher position you can be put to shame because God can say, “nope” and He can remove you from the higher position to the lower position.
5. Luke 14:8-10 “When you are invited by someone to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor, for someone more distinguished than you may have been invited by him, and he who invited you both will come and say to you, ‘Give your place to this man,’ and then in disgrace you proceed to occupy the last place. But when you are invited, go and recline at the last place, so that when the one who has invited you comes, he may say to you, ‘Friend, move up higher’; then you will have honor in the sight of all who are at the table with you.”
6. Philippians 2:3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves.
Be careful when God blesses you.
Pride causes you to be ungrateful and it causes you to forget God and all that He has done for you. I was reading Genesis 32 and was so convicted by the words of Isaac in verse 10, “I am unworthy of all the lovingkindness and of all the faithfulness which You have shown to Your servant.” We are so unworthy. We don’t deserve a thing. We are entitled to absolutely nothing, but often blessings change our heart. We become proud and we want more.
Some pastors wear $500 suits, but before they used to wear $50 suits. Some ministers used to associate with the poor and the weak, but now since they are more known they only want to be seen with people that are in high positions. You forget where you came from just like the Israelites forgot where they came from. When God delivers you from a huge trial as time goes on you can start to think that you delivered yourself. You become prideful and start going astray.
God blessed David with riches of all kinds and feeling entitled to everything his pride led him to adultery. Be thankful for every little thing even if it’s not much. When God blesses you and takes you out of trials seek Him like never before. That is when His people forget Him. That is when His people become proud, covetous, boastful, worldly, etc.
7. Deuteronomy 8:11-14 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.
8. Romans 12:16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.
9. Psalm 131:1 A song of ascents. Of David. My heart is not proud, LORD, my eyes are not haughty; I do not concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me.
10. Galatians 6:3 If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves.
Be careful when people compliment you.
Flattery will boost your ego. Receiving a compliment is not bad, but never encourage flattery. When you indulge in the flattery of others you start to become prideful. You start to feel yourself too much. You stop giving God the glory and you agree with them. It’s dangerous when you start to feel yourself too much. Look what happened to Moses. He lost sight of God and started thinking he was the man. If we are to boast then boast only in the Lord!
That is one of the reasons he was punished. His pride caused him to take credit for what God did. Look what he said, “must we bring you water out of this rock?” When people flatter you then you can start taking credit for everything. “I am the guy. I am beautiful, I did everything, I am the smartest.”
11. Proverbs 29:5 The one who flatters his neighbor spreads a net for his steps.
God is working on our humility
There are some situations that we go through that God uses to make us more humble. Sometimes God doesn’t answer a prayer right away because if He does we are going to get the blessing, but we are going to be so prideful. God has to work humility in us. God blessed Paul with a thorn so he wouldn’t become conceited. I believe He sometimes blesses us with certain trials so we don’t become conceited because we are sinful by nature.
Our sinful hearts want to proud and God steps in and says, “although you might not understand why this is for your own good.” Pride leads to destruction and God will save His child in any way that He can. You may ask for a job. It might not be the best job to others, but God is going to give you a job. You might need a car it might be a beat up old car, but God is going to give you a car.
You might think that you know more or you’re more spiritual than your pastor, but God might say, “you have to humble yourself for now and sit under him.” Maybe you have more talent than others and people don’t see it yet, but God might not put you in a higher position yet because He is working on your humility. Always remember that Joseph was a slave before he became a ruler.
12. 2 Corinthians 12:7 So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited.
The proud don’t listen.
Often the proud don’t know they are proud and they won’t listen because they are blinded by their arrogance. Pride stops you from hearing the truth even if there is clear evidence. It causes you to twist Scripture to justify sin. The Pharisees were blinded by their pride and if you are not careful you can be blinded by your pride as well. Open your heart to rebuke. Pride causes you to say, “no I’m not wrong, no this message is not for me, God will understand.”
Pride is the reason that the Pharisees went to Hell. Has God been trying to tell you things, but your proud heart would not listen? You don’t want to stand before God and hear Him say, “I’ve been trying to get through to you, but you just would not listen!” Pride is the reason why many will spend eternity in Hell. Many atheist deny the truth and they find every single way that they can to claim there is no God.
Their pride is blinding them. I’ve heard atheists say, “if there is a God I would never bow down to Him.” I’ve silenced Jehovah Witnesses who knocked on my door. I showed them things that they couldn’t refute and they gave a long pause as they didn’t know what to say. Even though they couldn’t refute what I said they wouldn’t repent because of their pride.
13. James 4:6 But He gives us more grace. This is why it says: “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.“
14. Jeremiah 5:21 Hear this, you foolish and senseless people, who have eyes but do not see, who have ears but do not hear.
15. Romans 2:8 But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger.
God despises a proud heart.
There is an outward expression of pride and an inward expression of pride that no one knows about. God knows the thoughts of the arrogant and He despises them. This is really scary because you don’t have to be someone who is constantly boasting or openly flaunting yourself. God sees the pride that other people don’t see and obviously it is the inward pride that brings out outward expressions of pride.
I believe being prideful in heart is something we all struggle with. We might not say anything, but inside there might be a little struggle of wanting to be seen, being selfish, wanting a bigger name, wanting to show off, etc. God hates that and it disgusts Him. For those in Christ who struggle with this like me we must acknowledge that we struggle with this. We must pray for more of God’s grace. There is pride in all believers and pride is at war with the spirit of humility.
The proud that God is referring to in Proverbs 16:5 will not even acknowledge that they are proud, they won’t repent, they won’t seek help. God lets us know in this passage that the proud are not saved. They are an abomination to Him. Praise be to Jesus Christ, not only for saving us from this sin and others, but praise Him because through Him we are able to make war with this sin.
16. Proverbs 16:5 Everyone who is proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD; Assuredly, he will not be unpunished.
17. Proverbs 6:16-17 There are six things the LORD hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood.
Pride stops you from being one with others.
Pride causes others not to share their sin and faults. I love pastors who say that they have struggled with something. Why you ask? It lets me know that I am not alone. Humility helps you connect more with others instead of trying to put on a front. In all honesty it makes you more likable. It makes you more down to earth. You think of yourself less and think of others more. You truly care about how others feel.
You’re happy for the good news of others and you’re sad when others are sad. Many times pride stops you from weeping with others especially if you’re a man. We say, “men don’t cry” so we hold back tears in front of others. A person with humility goes out of their way to help and make others feel at home. They empathize with others. They don’t mind doing the most despised jobs. They are more focused on how can I help the body of Christ.
Believers are all one and we have to work together. The proud heart says, “I only want to do this and that’s it and if I can’t do it I’m not doing anything.” Not only that, but the proud heart does not want help from others. A proud man says, “I don’t need your help I don’t need your handouts. I can do it on my own.” God wants us to ask for help, advice, etc.
18. 1 Peter 5:5 In the same way, you who are younger, submit yourselves to your elders. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.”
19. 1 Peter 3:8 Finally, all of you, be like-minded and sympathetic, love as brothers, be tender-hearted and humble.
Pride seeks revenge.
Pride stops us from letting go. We want to fight, we want to get even, we want to give comeback insults, we don’t want to forgive our spouse, we don’t want to walk up to a person and apologize. We don’t want to look like a sucker. We don’t like the feeling of being the bigger man/woman. Are you harboring bitterness and resentment towards someone? This is all because of pride. The best thing to do is always apologize even if you feel like it is not your fault.
It really catches people off guard. Your wife can confront you for something that you did that she didn’t like. She might be expecting an argument, but when you say, “I apologize and it won’t happen again” that can catch her off guard. She probably wanted to tell you off in anger, but now because you humbled yourself she can’t anymore.
We don’t like our pride being hit. Imagine a man being insulted while his girlfriend is around. If he was by himself he might be angry, but there is a chance that he doesn’t do anything. If his girlfriend is watching then he is more likely to react because his pride is taking a hit. Pride says, “I can’t look bad in front of others. I have to do something. I can’t look like I care in front of others.”
It’s pride that stops someone from reconciling with their adulterous spouse. Pride says, “well you just don’t know what they did!” You have disobeyed every single command of a holy God. God didn’t hold that against you when He brought His Son to bore your sin. God says to forgive! Pride makes exceptions to God’s Word.
Pride says, “God understands”, but what does God say in His Word? Forgive, apologize, reconcile, etc. If you hold on to things it is going to turn into hatred. I never said it was easy, but God will help you to let go of the pain, the anger, and the bitterness caused by others, but you must boldly come to Him and cry out for help.
20. Proverbs 28:25 He that is of a proud heart stirreth up strife: but he that putteth his trust in the LORD shall be made fat.
Pride affects our purchases.
In fact, the world encourages us to be proud. “Be a better you, follow your heart, be proud of your accomplishments, flaunt what you have, believe that you are great, everything was made for you.” Pride is killing us. Women are purchasing expensive skimpy clothes because of pride.
Your pride can hurt your confidence and increase envy. Pride causes you to say, “I’m not good enough. I need to enhance myself. I need to look like that person. I need to alter my body. I need to buy expensive clothes. I need to reveal more.”
We want to be seen with the newest things. We want to spend money we don’t have instead of saving. Satan uses pride against us. He uses it to tempt us with things such as brand new $30,000 and $40,000 cars. He says, “you would look amazing in this” and you start to picture yourself with these things and you start to picture other people noticing you with these things. 1 John 2 says, “the pride of life comes not from the Father.” Those thoughts don’t come from God.
Pride causes us to make awful choices. We must remember that we don’t know what will happen tomorrow. Many people are in debt today because of pride. Examine yourself! Are your purchases because of pride? Do you want to keep up with a certain image as others around you?
21. 1 John 2:15-17 Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world–the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life–comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.
22. James 4:14-16 Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil.
Pride takes away from God’s glory.
God gives us attention. One glance of your eyes and His heart beats faster for you! Look at how much He loves you. Look at the great price that was paid for you! We are not to be conformed to the image of the world. The more we are conformed to the image of our Creator we realize how much we are showered by God’s love. I don’t have to go out and seek attention from others because my God gives me attention! He loves me! Realize that your value comes from God and not the eyes of the world.
Pride does the opposite of what we were created for. We were created for the Lord. Everything that we have belongs to Him. Our heart is to beat for Him. Every breath is to be for Him. All of our resources and talents are to be for Him. Pride takes away from God’s glory. Picture someone on a stage and the spotlight is on them. Now picture yourself walking on stage and pushing that person so that the spotlight will be focused on you.
You’re the main focus of the audience now not the other person. You might say, “I would never do something like that.” However, that is what being prideful does to God. You might not say it, you might not know, but that’s what it does. It pushes Him aside and pride competes for His glory. Pride seeks to be acknowledged and worshiped, but 1 Corinthians 10 tells us to do all to the glory of God.
23. 1 Corinthians 10:31 So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
What’s going on in your heart when you do things?
Hezekiah was a godly man, but out of pride he showed the Babylonians all of his treasures. It might have seemed innocent and meaningless to give someone a tour of your place and your wealth, but his heart wasn’t right. He had the wrong motives.
He wanted to show off. Even in the smallest things that you do examine your heart. What is your heart saying? Is the Holy Spirit telling you that your motives are wrong when you do certain things?
Repent! We’ve all been guilty of this. The little small things that we do out of pride that people will never catch. They would never know we did it out of pride, but God knows. When you say certain things people might not know why you said it, but God knows. The heart is deceitful and it will lie to us and it will justify itself. Sometimes we have to sit down and say, “did I do this or say this with an arrogant heart?”
Do you preach for the Lord to save souls or do you preach for an open door? Do you sing for the Lord or do you sing so people can admire your beautiful voice? Do you debate to save or do you debate to boast about your wisdom? Do you want people to see something about you? Do you go to church for a spouse or for God?
Examine yourself! The way you look at others, the way you talk, the way you walk, the way you sit down, the clothes that you wear. God knows that some women walk in a certain way to be seen and flirt with their eyes. God knows that some men wear muscle shirts to show off their body. Why do you do the things that you do? I encourage you to examine every small detail of your life this week and ask yourself, “what was my motive?”
24. 2 Kings 20:13 Hezekiah received the envoys and showed them all that was in his storehouses–the silver, the gold, the spices and the fine olive oil–his armory and everything found among his treasures. There was nothing in his palace or in all his kingdom that Hezekiah did not show them.
25. 2 Chronicles 32:25-26 But Hezekiah’s heart was proud and he did not respond to the kindness shown him; therefore the LORD’s wrath was on him and on Judah and Jerusalem. Then Hezekiah repented of the pride of his heart, as did the people of Jerusalem; therefore the LORD’s wrath did not come on them during the days of Hezekiah.
I encourage you to pray to the Lord for help with humility, pray for help with genuinely being interested in others, pray for help with loving others more, pray for help with being more of a servant, pray for help with thinking of yourself less, pray that the Holy Spirit helps you to identify areas of your life where you may be prideful.
Be still and take a moment to think how can I honor the Lord instead? Though we may struggle with pride we put our trust in the perfect merit of Christ and we are being renewed daily.