Guest Author: Amanda Solomon
Pride comes before painful humiliation. My loose translation of Proverbs 16:18. Man, are there times when we fall in life due to being consumed by pride. One specific time I took a “fall” was during quarantine this past summer.
Some of my high school friends and I would have weekly board game nights in which we each took a turn choosing the game. When my week came around, I chose to play Scattergories as I told everyone that I was amazing at it and was easily going to beat them all. As the dice rolled and the timer began, I looked at my list of categories that I had to come up with specific examples for each, and completely blanked.
This happened the next several rounds and not only did I take a fall, but I took a tumble, as my friends picked up on my lack of skill quickly. As a result, they began to taunt me for claiming to be so great at this game. I immediately felt embarrassed and ashamed as I had talked up my game and skill. Obviously, I was not able to show them off.
Like any competitive game board player, I wanted to succeed and show off my skills. While this may seem like a silly example, it can prove to be useful to relate this idea of pride to other common scenarios that we face each day. There have been many times in my life, and I’m sure yours as well, where I see pride come into play poorly. In these instances, pride really came before the fall.
Let’s first look at examples of pride and where it can stem from.
Pride comes from a selfish heart.
“This is what I have observed to be good: that it is appropriate for a person to eat, to drink, and to find satisfaction in their toilsome labor under the sun during the few days of life God has given them—for this is their lot.” (Ecclesiastes 5:18 NIV). This verse encourages us to take pride in a job well done when we have done our best and glorified the Lord in doing so. However, the Bible warns us to also be aware of selfish pride. There is a fine line between both. God says, “I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech” (Proverbs 8:13 NIV). When our pride stems from evil behavior and selfish ambitions; that is when we take the fall and lack humility. An example of selfish ambition is when you do something for someone else with the idea of getting something in return, and when you don’t get what you want you to become bitter and create strife between the two.
Pride can show up in our anxieties.
Thinking we can control our lives and situations. Not putting our faith and trust in the Lord is the exact opposite of faith. It also is the exact opposite of humility. “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5 NIV).
Sometimes, our pride can show up within our anxieties when we forget to cast our anxieties to the Lord (Philippians 4:6-7 NIV). This then leads us down a dark, destructive path of pride which again, turns us away from having humble hearts. An example of this can be when stressing out about a situation because it is not going the way you want it to.
Now that we’ve outlined some places that pride can show up in our lives, we need to look to the Bible for answers. There are some clear steps in the Bible that outline how and why we need to combat pride.
Below is a list of what I’ve found in my Bible studies:
To combat pride, you must die to yourself.
In Luke 9:23, Luke is talking about giving up ourselves to lead a proper life for Christ that is pure and humble. He shares Jesus’ view of pride. When doing this, Luke says, “And he said to all, ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” (ESV). This verse in Luke calls us as believers to lose our own identities in anything that we place our value in. This can include money, titles, prestige, status, etc.
We must give these things up to follow Christ. In the 21st century, this can look like not allowing our identities to come from anything other than Christ such as possession of the latest iPhone or the newest Jeep model. (Genesis 1:27 ESV) says, “So God created man in His own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them”. Therefore, as we are created in God’s perfect image, if we remember that and die to ourselves every day, we will humble ourselves; remembering that our identities are not our own, but an image of God’s.
To combat pride, you must put your trust in God.
Too often, we trust that we can handle whatever comes our way. Yet, the Bible states clearly that this is impossible. Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV).
To combat pride, you must be teachable.
“Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble” (1 Peter 5:5 ESV). As Peter states in this verse, we must listen to our elders and what they have to say as they will teach us how to walk and talk humbly.
To combat pride, you must be pure in heart.
Another step in combating pride so that we can be humble is by having a heart check. (Matthew 5:8 ESV) says, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God”. This means routinely checking your intentions in everything you do, say, and act on and making sure that they come from a pure heart and a humble mind. You can then pray over any impure thoughts and motives and ask for the Lord’s forgiveness.
This is no exhaustive list of the ways pride affects us and the ways we can deal with this. Let’s work together towards this state of humility, remembering it honors Christ to pursue Him fearfully. I’m going to close out this post with a prayer on humility.