I was “swallowing my pride” asking a woman I was jealous of for help. My stomach flip-flopped and I mumbled my words like a 9 year old offering an apology. My conscience was scolding me. I knew very well what the Bible says about pride and I knew I was failing miserably.
Have you been there?
Perhaps you have to confess a wrong, put your own self aside, or take a back seat when you know you should be in the lead.
Maybe you are harboring unforgiveness in your heart, refusing to have a servant’s heart toward your husband because he should be helping you, or maybe you’ve decided to follow your own path in spite of God’s leading in another direction.
No matter where your pride has created a stumbling block, studying what the Bible says about pride is an excellent way to chip away at that stockade and free you from it’s imprisonment.
Pride in the Bible
This post is a continuation of our discussion on Romans 12:2 and what it means to be “conformed to this world”. By allowing our hearts to harbor pride, we are indeed doing the opposite of what Paul commands us. Check out the first post in the series. “Do Not be Conformed to this World: 5 Strongholds We Need to Let Go of”
Satan is described as a beautiful angel of light, serving the one and only God of the universe. It is hard to imagine him like that isn’t it? He is a good place to start in this study. What does the Bible say about pride? How is pride affecting your walk with God? You might be surprised at the answer.
Examples of Pride in the Bible
There are endless examples of pride in the Bible beginning with Satan and the fall of Eve.
- Eve who was promised to be wise like God knowing good and evil. Satan appealed to the very sin that caused him to fall from Heaven.
- Sarah who devises a plan to have a child through Hagar and then becomes jealous of Hagar and resents her.
- Pharoah who refused to let the Children of Israel go.
- Saul who was chosen by God as the first king of Israel, allows satan to prevert his heart, falling into disobedience and his kingdom being given to another.
- Jonah who fled from God in disobedience and then became angry with God when He didn’t do things the way Jonah thought he should.
- Nebuchadnezzar who God humbled to the point of him eating grass.
- The Pharisees who refused to humble themselves to the Son of God.
What does the Bible Say about Pride?
Before we jump into a list of Bible verses about pride, let’s take a moment to look at what pride is. Often times we associate pride with haughtiness and arrogance, but in this series we are doing a lot of soul searching. Let’s see how pride might be hiding in your heart.
By definition pride means “inordinate self-esteem” and “a reasonable or justifiable self-respect”.
When pride comes, then comes shame;
But with the humble is wisdom. (Proverbs 11:2)
“God resists the proud,
But gives grace to the humble.”
The first definition refers to arrogance we often conjur up in our minds when we hear the term pride. But what about ” a reasonable or justifiable self-respect”?
It sounds to me that we are completely justified in thinking well of ourselves. And we often are! You work hard and are successful. We raise our children in truth and they grow up to be important leaders in the church. We fundraise and give our time serving others.
There is nothing wrong with these actions as long as they glorify God and not yourself.
Let me say that again. God wants us to do good as long as it is bringing Him glory and not ourselves.
But he who is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted. (Matthew 23:12-13)
With what shall I come before the Lord,
And bow myself before the High God?
Shall I come before Him with burnt offerings,
With calves a year old?
Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams,
Ten thousand rivers of oil?
Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression,
The fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?
He has shown you, O man, what is good;
And what does the Lord require of you
But to do justly,
To love mercy,
And to walk humbly with your God? (Micah 6:6-8)
I love these verses in Micah because there is nothing that we can actually DO to please God. Sacrifices (good deeds) do nothing, but humbling yourself before God falls into the list of what God requires of us.
Pride not only affects our relationship with God, but also our relationships with others. Check out “2 Strong Ways to Fight Pride in Marriage”.
Humility Cures Worldliness
Many of the Bible verses about pride I found while researching this post imply a disobedience of the people. Let’s talk a moment about disobedience.
Is God telling you to do something that you would rather not do? Are you ignoring God’s conviction in your heart? Is there a sin standing between you and God?
If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. (2 Chronicles 7:14)
Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.
Did you catch that? “Submit” to God and the devil will leave you. If you are running around trying to live righteously on your own, Satan will be hot on your heels. That is the pride we Christians often fall into. Submit, surrender, humble yourself, repent.
Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up. (James 4:6-10)
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion. (Romans 12:14-16)
How does God Deal with Pride?
How does God deal with pride? It is not a pleasant process. Pride is one of those sins that is often deeply embedded. We must experience uncomfortable and “humbling” circumstances for God to purge it from our hearts. Don’t resist these lessons. Do not dig your heels in and refuse to humble yourself. Stubbornness is not your friend here.
Before destruction the heart of a man is haughty,
And before honor is humility. (Proverbs 18:12)
An excellent example of how God deals with pride is found in Daniel chapter 4. King Nebuchadnezzar is walking about his palace and has already forgotten the God of Daniel.
The king spoke, saying, “Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for a royal dwelling by my mighty power and for the honor of my majesty?”
While the word was still in the king’s mouth, a voice fell from heaven: “King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is spoken: the kingdom has departed from you! And they shall drive you from men, and your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field. They shall make you eat grass like oxen; and seven times shall pass over you, until you know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomever He chooses.”
That very hour the word was fulfilled concerning Nebuchadnezzar; he was driven from men and ate grass like oxen; his body was wet with the dew of heaven till his hair had grown like eagles’ feathers and his nails like birds’ claws.
It is important to note that Nebuchadnezzar’s sin was not having a huge kingdom, but taking credit for it. Obviously, we are not ruling over kingdoms, but what areas of your success are you not giving credit to God for?
And at the end of the time I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my understanding returned to me; and I blessed the Most High and praised and honored Him who lives forever:
For His dominion is an everlasting dominion,
And His kingdom is from generation to generation.
All the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing;
He does according to His will in the army of heaven
And among the inhabitants of the earth.
No one can restrain His hand
Or say to Him, “What have You done?”
At the same time my reason returned to me, and for the glory of my kingdom, my honor and splendor returned to me. My counselors and nobles resorted to me, I was restored to my kingdom, and excellent majesty was added to me.
Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, all of whose works are truth, and His ways justice. And those who walk in pride He is able to put down. (Daniel 4:30-37)
How to Remove Pride from My Heart
One way that I struggle with pride is by letting people help me. I’m fiercely independent and stubborn and am similar to a three year old demanding they can buckle the car seat themselves (while mom struggles with patience).
I think one way to remove pride from our hearts is to allow God to put us into situations in which we choose to be humble. I am choosing to let people help me. It takes practice! Humility is not something that comes naturally to most of us.
For thus says the High and Lofty One
Who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy:
“I dwell in the high and holy place,
With him who has a contrite and humble spirit,
To revive the spirit of the humble,
And to revive the heart of the contrite ones. (Isaiah 57:15)
Repentance is the best way to remove pride from your heart. A true humbling of yourself and acknowledgment that God is in control of your life and we are meant to surrender all to Him.
Check out “5 Steps to Repentance: David as our Example”.
And don’t forget about the other posts in ths series about how we Christians are conforming to this world.
What is Idolatry and Why Christians Fall into this Secret Sin of the Heart