The pride of life comes not from the Father but from the world.
—1 John 2:16
When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.
Where there is strife, there is pride, but wisdom is found in those who take advice.
—Proverbs 11:2; 13:10
The eyes of the arrogant will be humbled and human pride brought low; the Lord alone will be exalted in that day. The Lord Almighty has a day in store for all the proud and lofty, for all that is exalted (and they will be humbled),
The arrogance of man will be brought low and human pride humbled;
the Lord alone will be exalted in that day, and the idols will totally disappear.
—Isaiah 2:11–12, 17–18
God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.
Let the one who boasts boast about this: that they have the understanding to know me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,” declares the Lord.
The last idol we will uproot in this time of prayer and fasting is pride, the arrogance we can easily flaunt regarding our possessions, positions, accomplishments, expertise, experiences, religious deeds, and families, to name a few. Pride takes credit for the things God is responsible for! From the verses above, we learn in 1 John 2 that human arrogance does not come from the values of God, but from the values of the world. In Isaiah 2, we see God’s ultimate plan for the proud in this world—to humble them! All those who consider themselves high and mighty will be brought low, and only the Lord and those He chooses to honor will be exalted in the end.
To avoid pride, we look at the next set of verses for guidance. James 4 helps us avoid pride in relation to God. Yes, he opposes the proud and will humble them in the end, but we also can bank on the fact that God favors the humbled and will exalt them one day! To make sure we are in line with God’s values, James instructs us to humble ourselves before God and wait for Him to lift us high one day. Philippians 2 helps us avoid pride in relation to others. Pride and humility can’t be faked. They show themselves in the way we treat others. When we are worshipping the idol of pride, we consider ourselves more significant than other people. When we are worshipping God, we become truly humble like Christ, considering others as more significant than ourselves. This can be seen in all sorts of ways—the way we treat our servers at a restaurant, other drivers in traffic, people in our small groups, neighbors on our street, authority figures in the community, and those in our own home. If we want to know if we are proud, all we have to do is take inventory of how we’ve been treating others! Lastly, the final way we can avoid pride is in our witness, as seen in Jeremiah 9. Instead of boasting in our character or accomplishments, we can boast about the Lord’s character and His accomplishments, especially in His work to allow us to know Him!
- In what area of your life do you tend to exhibit the most pride? How is this idolatry? How does this detract from focus on the Lord?
- What people in your life are being robbed of knowing God’s character and accomplishments because of your pride?
God’s Mission, My Mission
Evangelism demands that you not think too highly of yourself. The unbelieving world expects you to look down upon them. They expect you to condemn them for their unrighteousness. They have labeled Christians pious and holier-than-thou. This is why the world takes so much satisfaction in seeing prominent Christians morally fail. There is a sense of “I told you so. They are not better than us.”
The truth is they are right. We are not “better” than those who are far from God. We are all trying to function within this fallen world. We are all trying to keep our heads above the water while the waves of temptation come without ceasing. The main difference is that Christians have been given the ability to consistently choose righteousness through the power of the Holy Spirit. Christians have hope to go along with peace, forgiveness, joy, and love.
The point is that we have been given these gifts. We have no room to boast or look down upon our neighbor. We have been the recipients of amazing grace. So as you interact with those who are far from God, pray that God would break your heart for them – even as they make poor choices or scoff at your faith. They need Jesus in the worst way. You can be their messenger.
Pray that God would have you reach out and share about this unconditional love that changed your world.