Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. (Proverbs 16:18)
This is one of the first verses that springs to mind when someone mentions pride to me. Why does it come before destruction? What is it about pride that leads to a fall? Why does the LORD despise a “proud look” (Proverbs 6:17, NKJV)?
This pride that I’m talking about is human pride. This is the kind of pride that often rules our lives. As I see it, there are two kinds of pride. The first is human pride. The second is a god-given pride.
Human pride leads us to sin. It tries to take control of the throne of your life. It hides in the background guiding your decisions, emotions, reactions, and much more. Ultimately, when not careful, pride can become your god, an idol in your life, without you even realizing it. God says “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened” (Matthew 11:28). Pride says ‘I can do this on my own. I don’t need anyone!’ It can be blatant or hidden. For many Christians, it seems that pride shows up in unexpected ways. Pride can be the source of bitterness, hypocrisy, judging, even in the displaying of spiritual gifts. I would say, and believe others would agree, that pride is the source of vanity or lack of vanity. Vanity in turn causes many of the self-image, self-depreciation, and other such views of self that impact so many people. This human pride of ours, it can destroy us. Human pride deceives (Jeremiah 49:16), leads to downfall and ruins lives (Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel 4), causes unfaithfulness (1 and 2 Kings are great testaments to this), and is an abomination to the LORD – most of the prophets in the Old Testament write of this, Isaiah and Jeremiah are full of God’s denouncements because of Israel’s pride. Are you letting your pride destroy your relationship with God and other people? You may have to ponder and meditate on it to discover how pride is influencing you. Where does your pride cause you to be haughty, arrogant, willful, or otherwise ungodly?
I do believe that there is a healthy kind of pride. This pride comes from God and actually builds us up. It’s a humble pride that is seated completely in God. I believe that it is built on your faith in God and the trust in your relationship with him. It’s a pride that magnifies God. It’s innocent and simple in that it brings joy to self and to the beholder. It doesn’t cause haughtiness or arrogance, it doesn’t give you a ‘big head’ or anything like that. It doesn’t compare you to anyone else or their work. Godly pride is a gift that Satan twisted, just like so many other beautiful things God gave us. It causes you to respect yourself and others equally rather than viewing yourself as better than others. It’s not conceited or disdainful, but takes pleasure in good things being done.
I want to have godly pride that builds me up, brings me joy, helps me to respect myself, and shows people how beautiful God is. I don’t want a pride that could destroy my life much less my relationship with God. What about you? How prideful are you? Human pride or godly pride? More than that, who does your pride focus on glorifying? If you can answer that, you’ll know where you are and maybe know that it’s time for some changes.