I have a question for you; do you have pride? No, I’m not talking about school pride or pride in your work. I’m talking about the sin of pride.
Pride is a very sneaky entity because its progenitor is satan who is very conniving and sneaky himself. Before you know it, pride could roll up on you without warning or notice!
How do I know?
A Portrait of the Sin of Pride
As I began my college career at North Carolina A&T State University, I knew that I had plans to get involved with the television station on campus. So, as I walked into Mr. DeVanney’s office, the Television Studio Manager, little did I realize that pride walked in behind me. As I began speaking, pride began speaking as well. And before I knew it, I began bragging and boasting about my level of experience with a camera. Mr. DeVanney listened and believed what pride was telling him.
As time progressed, pride continued to follow me without notice. Eventually, God saw fit that I received the opportunity I was fishing for – homecoming (or G.H.O.E. as we call it) in Aggieland. I finally received my first booking as the camera operator for one of the big homecoming events being held off-campus. However, pride didn’t come with me this time. Instead, it decided to sleep in because it had already worked so hard.
I proceeded to the location and filmed the homecoming concert on a camera that I had little experience with – despite what pride told my advisor prior to the engagement. Surprisingly, I did okay, but the audio started acting up. As a result, the footage was unusable.
Next up – the gospel concert. Everything was going as planned until I accidentally left the camera unattended sitting on the tripod. In production, that is a big no-no, anything could happen! It could tilt over, someone could knock it down, etc. Mr. DeVanney made sure that I learned a lesson. He went behind my back and laid the camera down on the ground. When I returned, I was in total shock and Mr. DeVanney stood disappointed.
That next morning, Mr. DeVanney brought me into his office. As he was scolding me, he reminded me that I had come in there bragging and boasting about what I had done in the past. That’s when it dawned on me. I allowed Pride to make a fool of me.
Recognize the Sin of Pride Before It’s Too Late!
God had been resisting me. It was like His palm was firmly planted on my forehead as I walked through life and it was really uncomfortable. It was constant. He doesn’t bodyslam the proud, He just resists them. But God gives grace – free gifts that we didn’t deserve or earn – to the humble and HE exalts them in due time (1 Peter 5:5-6).
Could it be that God is resisting you in your relationships, business, church, or another area of your life? With pride comes contention.
The Argument Against Pride
The reason we shouldn’t sin isn’t just that the Bible says not to or because it’s wrong. We don’t avoid sin just because we could get caught, it could mess up our future, or because we’ll miss out on blessings.
No! We should avoid sin because it hurts our relationship with God.
If you know that you have even a little bit of pride in your heart and you’re not that fazed by it, it’s like raising your fist in God’s face and saying, “Hey God, I don’t care that I’m regularly walking and living in this sin of pride. I’m okay with not having all that great of a relationship with you.”
If that’s you, then watch out. God is resisting you. And because He loves you, you likely have some humiliation coming which will process humility in you.
So, What’s The Play Call?
Examine yourselves with the following Pride Guide. While not all-inclusive, I’ve managed to separate pride into 4 categories: Pride of Spirituality, Pride of Knowledge, Pride of Power, and Pride of Appearance. Take each category to the Lord in prayer; ask God to search your heart. Repent and turn from the sin of pride unto full and complete reliance on God.
1. Pride of Spirituality
- The intentional, overt display of spirituality and false piety.
- Asceticism – The rejection of money, pleasure, joy, fame, or possessions with the misconception that it wins points with God.
- False Humility – Humility is seeing yourself and what you do the way it actually is. Pride is not seeing yourself or what you do the way it actually is.
- Brags about how much they are NOT materialistic.
- Excessively gives away nice possessions or money as a public show of self-sacrifice.
- Tells everyone, “I gave up a high paying career to do this ministry” or other good work.
- Makes excuses for the physical blessings in their life.
- Looks down their SELF-righteous noses at the wealthy or successful
- Spiritualize every conversation.
- Speak with a different accent or voice about spiritual stuff.
- Think they’re more spiritual or righteous than others around them.
- Despise or detest sinners, graceless.
- Insist on having certain roles in the church that they’re disqualified or unqualified for, just to prove to people that they’re spiritual.
- Talk a lot about their spiritual gifts as an apostle or prophet, but not about the less public ones.
- Look down on or badmouth Christians or other denominations who believe differently than they do about spiritual gifts.
- Brag about their fasting so that people KNOW they’re fasting, instead of “When you fast, do not look sullen like the hypocrites, for they make their faces unattractive SO THAT people will see them fasting. I tell you the truth, they have their reward.” Matthew 6:16
- Pray in public to be seen rather than to reach the heart of God; Rehearse or spruce up their public prayers using different words and phrases that they would never say when praying alone, as described: “Whenever you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, because they love to pray while standing in synagogues and on street corners SO THAT people can see them. Truly I say to you, they have their reward.” Matthew 6:5
- Say, “I’ll pray for that” when they have absolutely no intention of praying – but it sounds spiritual for sure.
- Don’t accept compliments, but instead say, “Thank you, but no. It was all God.” Knowing that if it was all God, it would have been a lot better than what was done.
- Say that they’re lower or worse than everyone else.
- Tell you how very humble they are; “In my humble opinion…”
2. Pride of Knowledge
- Excessive displays of how smart and knowledgeable one is; a know-it-all.
- Irritated whenever someone attempts to teach them something.
- Consistently answer “I know, I know” or “Yeah, I already knew that…” to most situations.
- Too smart for formal education or training; “But what could I learn?”
- Often interrupt people mid-sentence to correct or share their knowledge, “I don’t mean to interrupt, but…”
- Finish other people’s sentences, “I know what you’re going to say. You were going to say…”
- Constantly try to prove people wrong.
- When their actions are questioned, the response is, “Don’t you think I know what I’m doing?”
- Refuse to listen to the ideas or wisdom of those leading them OR those they lead.
- Use big words when unnecessary, and then explain them to you.
- Despise and detest people of other political beliefs.
Defensive when corrected or criticized (Note: If you ever get defensive in marriage, then you have pride and it has to be dealt with. We think the best defense is a great offense when our pride is hurt. But, “with pride comes only contention…” Proverbs 13:10)
- Attack back when questioned or confronted about a valid mistake or wrongdoing.
- Struggle to admit when they are wrong.
- Defend their kids and attack anyone who addresses their kids’ wrong behavior (because they think it reflects badly on them).
- Refuse to or are slow to say, “I was wrong. Will you forgive me?”
- Blame everyone for their own actions; despise accountability.
- Set up excuses in advance so any failure isn’t their fault.
- Lie, deflect, or make excuses when corrected or criticized.
- Say things like, “Everybody makes mistakes. Heck, you make mistakes, too.”
Argumentative – They just have to be right
- Don’t discuss differences to learn, but rather to show off how much they know.
- Have an “I told you so” mentality; they will constantly remind you about when they were right and you were wrong.
- Must have the last word at all costs.
- Argue strange, hard to defend beliefs or doctrines to impress others with their intellect.
Critical – Highlight others’ flaws to make themselves feel better
- Quick to correct or criticize spouses, kids, pastors, and other leaders.
- Criticize with no intention of building up or improving the situation.
- Use harsh teasing to tear down.
- Negative, always complaining.
- Don’t show much mercy or grace to others.
- Mean spirited.
3. Pride of Power
- The overt display of one’s capabilities. “But once he became powerful, his pride destroyed him. He disobeyed the LORD his God…” 2 Chronicles 26:16
- Controlling – being obeyed gives their SELF a satisfying feeling, sense of power
- Excessively taking care of, controlling, or shielding older children; pay the consequences for their kid’s irresponsibility.
- Use manipulation to keep significant others or adult children close.
- Try to control or sway their adult children’s marriages.
- Use others in relationships to keep them hanging on.
- Use temper tantrums to influence others, e.g. throw their wedding ring, threaten to boycott events, scream, threaten divorce, or withhold affection.
Legalistic – Control through excessive rules; manipulate obedience in others
- Don’t want kids to rebel mostly so that the parent’s SELF-image isn’t tarnished.
- Must have the appearance of spirituality in strict dress codes and grooming.
- King James Version is the only version of the Bible they will read (huge red flag).
- Hold fast to a few chosen Old Testament laws.
Refuse to practice submission – Makes their SELF falsely feel inferior, especially if they have a positional leader
- Want the autonomy to decide how to live their life; lack of submission to God. “God opposes the proud, but he gives grace to the humble. So submit to God. But resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and he will draw near to you.” James 4:5-8
- Hate being told to do anything.
- Will submit in the little things, but not in the big things.
- Refuse to follow godly church leaders.
- Husbands won’t submit to God.
- Wives won’t submit to husbands.
- Children won’t submit to parents.
- Employees won’t submit to employers.
Self-Reliant – Consistently reject guidance, help, or wisdom from God or man. “When they were fed, they became satisfied; when they were satisfied, they became proud; as a result, they forgot me!” Hosea 13:6
- Overtly and defiantly independent.
- Fear or worry a lot because they depend on their own abilities.
- Hate to rely on others.
- Think their abilities are superior to others.
- Refuse to let others make decisions.
- Are bothered when a decision is made without their input or consent.
- Don’t see much need for prayer.
- Willing to help, but not to be helped.
- Willing to financially support, but won’t ask for support.
- Rarely say the words, “Thank you” to God or man. “But Hezekiah was ungrateful; he had a proud attitude, provoking God to be angry at him…” 2 Chronicles 32:25
Excessive need for credit, praise, or admiration
- Hungry to be made mention of for accomplishments, service, or selflessness.
- Lie about events or accomplishments, beyond embellishing a story to make it fun.
- Lie to take credit for things they didn’t do.
- Don’t give compliments or credit to whom it is due.
- Hate sharing the spotlight.
- Shoot down or don’t share other people’s good ideas.
Importance – The feeling that the value of their SELF grows with accomplishments, status, wealth, or success. “By your great skill in trade you have increased your wealth, and your heart is proud because of your wealth.” Ezekiel 28:5
- People who exploit others to get rich, i.e. health and wealth televangelists, those who prey on the elderly’s money, etc.
- Think their worth to God is based on their sacrifices of time, family, or money.
- Think that everybody needs their help.
Workaholic – believes work gives their SELF more worth
- Believe that their value is based on performance.
- Obsessed with praise for their discipline, schedule, productivity or busyness.
- Love the feeling of their SELF being praised and built up more than they care about the SELF of their kids who don’t believe their SELF is worth much anymore.
- Work long hours doing the work of 2-3 people. Often called a Workhorse or a Machine.
- Serve or work so much that it hurts their family relationships.
- Volunteers for everything.
- Hungry to be depended on.
- Can’t say no.
- People pleaser.
- Unable to set boundaries.
- Addicted to power and control.
- Don’t delegate much.
Grandiosity – Feeling of superiority to the common man, in their essence, to the point that some even believe they are god-like
- Condescending or disdainful attitude toward people because of their differing tastes.
- Look down their noses, demean, belittle, intimidate, bully others whose likes or dislikes differ from their own ‘superior’ ones.
- Have an unrealistic sense of, and sustained view of, their own SELF as better than other people.
- Have a strong perceived sense of personal uniqueness or coolness.
- Believe that few people have anything in common with their SELF.
- Believe that their SELF can only be understood by very few, special people.
Boastful and arrogant “Proud men will be brought low, arrogant men will be humiliated…” Isaiah 2:11
- Overly materialistic, hoping people will think more highly of them.
- Skillfully brag about their successful ministry, business, family – but in a humble sounding way.
- Hint around at their success.
- Claim that they’re a genius or one of the best ever; one of the best on their team.
- Talk a lot about their importance, status, accomplishments, possessions, education, title, position, credentials or financial status.
- Name drop the high-profile people they associate with.
- Surround themselves with ‘good looking’ or successful people.
- Think certain tasks would lower their image or value of their SELF.
- Feel entitled to white-glove treatment at any cost.
- Feel superior to or are prejudiced towards less wealthy, refined, educated or less successful people; superior to those from a different country or culture.
Inconvenience to others – the world revolves around their SELF. Self-centered, ego-centric, self-absorbed
- Feel powerful when people have to wait on them, e.g. people who purposely drive slow in the fast lane and won’t let people pass.
- Regularly make everyone wait on them to get to the meeting before they can start.
- Inconsiderate. Disrespectful of other people’s time
Not interested in other people
- Rarely ask questions of others because they’re more interested in their SELF than in the SELF of others.
- Dominate conversations by talking about their SELF.
- Resist complimenting others.
- Wait to be served instead of serve.
- Neglect others.
- Not generous.
- Abandon their family to pursue their own SELF feeling good.
Depression – There are a lot of legitimate medical and traumatic reasons for depression. Focus on SELF and believing what’s not true about their SELF is a very common one. Pride is a major cause of depression for hundreds of millions of people
- Overly concerned with others’ opinions of their SELF.
- Social isolation.
- Are afraid of not being liked.
- Are afraid of being criticized
- Are afraid of being rejected, again.
- Are afraid of embarrassing themselves.
- Interpret innocent remarks as demeaning, threatening, or critical.
- Unable to laugh at themselves when they do something funny.
- Can’t accept good-natured teasing.
- Have a hard time forgiving.
- Are offended when their idea, ability or motive is questioned.
- Quick to anger.
Envious – think that when others have things they don’t, it makes their SELF look bad. “For where there is jealousy and SELF-ishness, there is disorder and every evil practice…” James 3:16-17
- Constantly compare themselves to others.
- Bothered when someone equal to them has success.
- Wants other people’s status symbols to make their SELF look better.
- Sabotage those close to them so good things or success won’t happen.
- Believe other people are envious of them
4. Pride of Appearance
- Try really hard to impress people with their looks or physique.
- Narcissistic, overt SELF-love, Conceited, SELF-glorification, Egotistic, SELF-worship. “Your heart was proud because of your beauty; you corrupted your wisdom on account of your splendor…” Ezekiel 28:17
- Feel their appearance gives them more worth.
- Think their beauty makes them superior to others.
- Flaunt their figure/physique so others will praise them.
- Spend excessive time on hair, clothing, weight, body, shape to impress.
- Forced anorexia or bulimia.
- Obsessively work hard to avoid the appearance of aging.
- Excessively post photos or videos of themselves exercising.
- Spend excessive time for their SELF to look good while neglecting family.
Two final things to remember…
- These signs of pride are what I found through personal observation, written down, and then consolidated here for your reading. Sharing the facts.
- If you only saw yourself in a couple of places on this list, then you have just a little bit of cancer. Desperately pursue treatment. Everyone is infected with Pride. Don’t be okay with it. This is serious.
At the end of the day, we’ll always battle pride, but if we know what it looks like when it flares up, we can knock it back down before too much damage is done.
If people can’t recognize what the signs of cancer look like, then they’ll never know they need help. As for today, I warn you. Be careful and stay on the lookout for pride. It is the son of satan who’s proud to admit it.
So, stay close to God so you can stay away from pride! Think about it.