What is pride?
My brain conjures up an image of a cartoon character walking around with a puffed up chest. He brags about his accomplishments and shows off his talents. Other people stand back when he passes by, hoping to avoid contact; for pride is never good company.
I like this image of pride because it allows me to maintain my good girl persona. After all, I never boast of my greatness, nor flaunt my talents in front of others.
But walking around like a puffed up cartoon character is not the only depiction of pride, nor the most common. More often than not, pride hides deep within, only subtly showing through.
Examples of pride in disguise:
- Thinking your way is the best way (the “right way”).
- Believing you are always right in an argument. (Often fueled by the fact that you are right 90% of the time.)
- You think the world would be a better place if you were in charge.
- You like to be in control.
- You make big life decisions without consulting God.
- You view yourself as above other people (more important, more intelligent, etc.).
If you nodded your head in agreement through that list, you my friend have a pride problem. I know because these are my own signs of pride— thoughts I easily hide from others, but which still cause problems within.
The Problem with Pride
The Bible warns us about pride:
“Pride leads to conflict” (Proverbs 13:10), “Pride goes before destruction” (Proverbs 16:18), and “When pride comes, then comes disgrace” (Proverbs 11:2).
Jesus considers pride an internal evil: “For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.” Mark 7:21-23 (ESV, emphasis added)
Pride is dangerous because it takes us outside of God’s will. Pride says, “I don’t need God’s guidance or direction.” It convinces us to choose our own way instead of God’s way.
Additionally, pride sets us up against God. “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6). Francis Chan expands on this idea; “God actively fights against the proud person. The pride required to win your argument and defeat your “enemy” provides you with a new opponent: God.” Yikes! God as my enemy? No thank you!
The only way to avoid the perils of pride, is to take intentional steps of humility.
4 Steps for Deflating Pride
The original Hebrew and Greek words for pride, means arrogance or haughtiness of the heart. So instead of a puffed up chest, we can think of pride as a puffed up heart and mind. Therefore, deflating pride requires renewing our minds and softening our hearts toward God.
1. Ask God to reveal your prideful thoughts or actions.
Remember, pride hides deep within, and we cannot always see it clearly ourselves. But we also cannot overcome sin without identifying it first. Ask God for discernment and revelation as you examine your thoughts and actions.
2. Repent of your pride.
Once we recognize our pride, we need to repent. Don’t just say “God I repent of my pride;” be specific. Confess: “God, I tend to think I am better than other people, but that is just my pride revealing itself. I know you created people with different strengths and weaknesses, but we all are valuable in your eyes. I repent of these prideful thoughts, and ask you to help me see others like you see them.”
3. Pray for a humble heart.
God has the ability to change our hearts.
“And I will give them one heart, and a new spirit I will put within them. I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh.” Ezekiel 11:19
Since the problem comes from within, praying for a humble heart is the best defense against pride. When humility rules our hearts, there is no room for pride.
4. Repeat steps 1-3 often!
Considering the destructive nature of pride, we should not be surprised when our enemy continues enticing us back to a prideful state of mind. But we stand firm against these temptations by diligently recognizing our pride, repenting, and praying for a humble heart.
Pride comes more naturally than humility, but it also leads us down a dangerous path. Deflate your pride by taking intentional steps of humility, so you can live as a citizen in God’s Kingdom, instead of its enemy.