The Perilous Posture of Pride

The Perilous Posture of Pride

by Casey Norton

You’ve probably heard it said that pride comes before the fall.  That’s a reference to Proverbs 16:18, and it is something to which every believer should pay careful attention. 
It could be argued that pride is at the center of every type of sin. Pride is what drew in Adam and Eve to eat the forbidden fruit.  Pride is at the core of the love of money.  Pride drives bad decision after bad decision for so many people every day.  
What exactly is pride, and why is it such a bad thing?  Essentially, pride is the love of self.   Pride is sin.  It is sin first and foremost because God has commanded us not to be prideful.  Further, we have no right in loving ourselves because we are in no way deserving of any sort of glory. All glory and honor belong to God.  When we elevate ourselves, we are saying that, “there is no one greater than me.” What a dangerous posture to assume! We are robbing God of all the glory due His name.
This is why there are so many great warnings against pride throughout scripture. 
James 4:6, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”
Jeremiah 9:23, “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches…”
Proverbs 8:13, “To fear the Lord is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech.”
Daniel 5:20 “But when his heart became arrogant and hardened with pride, he was deposed from his royal throne and stripped of his glory.”
God’s word is abundantly clear; pride is evil.  Pride is sin. Building upon James 4:6, in verse 7 James further exhorts believers to submit to God and resist the devil.  The call to humility resonates in James 4:10, “Humble yourselves before the Lord and he will exalt you.” 
John Calvin’s insights into the depravity of man align with James’ caution against pride.  Calvin asserted, “Man’s nature, so to speak, is a perpetual factory of idols.”  When we elevate self, and practice self-worship, it comes at the ultimate expense of acknowledging God’s supremacy. We place ourselves on the throne of the Most High.  Pride can also be a subtle enemy.  Remember, Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. 
The aim of every believer is to glorify the Father.  To know Him, make Him known, and enjoy Him forever (a phrase made popular by pastor and author John Piper). Piper also states that, “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.”  When pride is our focus, we completely miss out on the centerpiece of our existence- finding true joy in God. 
So how do we fight against pride?  As believers we are called to recognize our inherent inclination toward pride, confront it with humility and prayer, and embrace the transforming power of the grace of God.  We should practice daily prayer, memorizing scripture, and professing the gospel to ourselves constantly.  Knowing and understanding the gospel and how God saved us is designed to humble us and destroy our pride.  We are hopeless without Christ. 
By fighting against pride, we not only avoid the pitfall of evil and are saved from heartache and destruction, but we are glorifying God!  Piper also says, “every humble attitude, every humble act of faith, glorifies the grace of God in Christ.”
So Christian, humble yourselves and pray.  Remind yourself from what, to whom, and by whom you were saved.  
The day is coming when God alone will be exalted.  May we be found already deep in the practice of our holy calling.

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