It is amazing how pride works.
Humans love to have their ego stoked.
Why do you think Facebook is so popular? People love to have the spotlight on themselves, even if they say they don’t.
But, as the saying goes, being popular on Facebook is like being rich with Monopoly money.
The same can be said for being popular in real life or even at the top of your game.
It can all go away in an instant with a single choice or action.
Just look at all of the celebrities who have fallen from the limelight. Brett Butler, Ed McMahon, Burt Reynolds, and many others going from riches to rags. How about politicians? Political leaders such as Anthony Weiner, Gary Hart, Jack Abramoff, the “Keating Five,” or Jim Traficant, to name a few, were all removed from their positions.
Pastors and people in the ministry have to be immune, right?
The first big American religious scandal to bring about a downfall happened to Aimee Semple McPherson. Others included Mark Driscoll, Jimmy Swaggart, Jim & Tammy Faye Bakker, Henry Lyons, Peter Popoff, Thomas Wesley Weeks Jr., Ted Haggard, and Bob Coy.
A single decision can destroy a person’s credibility.
The same can happen to any of us.
I remember when I worked for Whole Foods Market and received an award. I was on top of my game. My team had shown significant increases in sales and profits. Unfortunately, through a simple, yet subtle, shift in becoming prideful, my numbers went down the following year.
Pride causes a lot of problems.
Anyone anywhere can be at the top and lose it when their pride takes over.
But pride is so easy to fall victim to.
So how do we biblically fight the sin of pride?
- Get a right view of God.
Job 25:4-6 – How then can man be in the right before God? How can he who is born of woman be pure? Behold, even the moon is not bright, and the stars are not pure in his eyes; how much less man, who is a maggot, and the son of man, who is a worm!”
God is both superior to us and has supreme authority over us. When our view of God is incorrect, we don’t give Him the reverence He is due. Pride comes from putting ourselves above God. Start by focusing on just how great God is. Ask Him to reveal Himself to you more and more.
Isaiah 29:16 – You turn things upside down! Shall the potter be regarded as the clay, that the thing made should say of its maker, “He did not make me”; or the thing formed say of him who formed it, “He has no understanding”?
- Change your beliefs
1 Corinthians 4:7 – For who sees anything different in you? What do you have that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it?
God wants us to be an example of His love to others. When we are prideful, we find that our pride gets in the way of showing love. Think of some of the following questions:
- Do you believe you are better than everyone else?
- Do you think the world cannot be as good without you?
- Do you think that what you do or your role entitle you to special favors?
Romans 12:3 – For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.
If you believe any of those questions pertain to you then you are self-serving. Having an identity in Christ is to be filled with self-denial, not self-appreciation. Scripture needs to be our guide to show us our views of ourselves.
Proverbs 25:27 – It is not good to eat much honey, nor is it glorious to seek one’s own glory.
Pride is one of the hardest sins to repent of. Our pride will not allow us to see the need to do it. If you are ready to repent of it, then determine the type of pride you have (self-exaltation, self-proclamation, self-justification, etc…). Once you have determined the type of pride it is, pray specifically for forgiveness.
- Defend against the enemy
After repenting, it is very easy to fall back into pride. It is even possible to become proud of your humility. This world will do everything it can to drag you back into the pit of pride. The world believes that pride is a good thing. Ask God to transform your thoughts so that you take a right view on humility.
As a human, our flesh craves the feelings we get when we seek attention from others. We need to constantly be reminded that our sinful nature is dead. We need to ask the Holy Spirit to provide us a view on God that would be aligned with what God deserves.
Put on the whole armor of God. The only way to be prepared for pitfalls of pride is to be ready for them. Ephesians 6:14 tells us to put on the belt of truth. This belt should remind us that God is the only on deserving of honor, not us.
Spiritual warfare will never end so be prepared. God is more powerful than any spiritual attacks we will ever go through. So ask the Holy Spirit to provide you the power to rebuff the attacks and place your armor on every day.
- Flee temptation
It is going to be impossible for all the temptation to go away completely but it is possible to significantly reduce them. It is going to take specific steps:
- Focus on your relationship with God. Strengthen your devotional life. Prayer and meditation is extremely important. Focus on giving God glory and humble yourself before Him.
- Claim God’s promises. Go through Scripture and look for pride and humility and the truth that the Word has about them. Memorize the verses. When temptation come, repeat these verses to yourself. Here are a couple to start:
Matthew 18:4 – Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
1 Peter 5:6 – Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you
- Establish safeguards
Make changes in your life that will reduce the temptation. For example, if you look down on those who have a lower social class than yours, serve in a homeless shelter. If it is your looks that cause you pride, then get rid of the clothes and makeup that make you beautiful. If it is your car, trade in that car for something more modest.
Ask a friend to hold you accountable.
- Expect to beat the sin of pride
Don’t focus on the failures of the past but focus on God’s power over sin. Give God the praise He is due.