Pride, in relation to other people, is comparing ourselves with others and seeing ourselves as superior to them in some way – whether it be in character, conduct, or achievement. One of the worst forms of pride is spiritual pride, an attitude that I am more holy, or righteous, or faithful, or obedient, or more fruitful in evangelism than others.
Pride manifests itself in so many subtle, but lethal ways… In a hidden desire for the praise and admiration of men, an insistence on being “right,” the desire to be noticed and appreciated, fear of rejection, or just pre-occupation with myself my feelings, my needs, my circumstances, my burdens, my desires, my successes, my failures. These are all fruits of that deadly root of pride.
1. Want to be Well Known or Important (Isaiah 14:13-15; James 3:13-16; Romans 12:6). 2. Sinfully Competitive. 3. Want to Impress People (Luke 10:38-42). 4. Draw Attention to Myself (Proverbs 27:2). 5. Like to Talk About Myself. 6. Deceitful and Pretentious (Psalm 24:3-4, 26:2-4; Jeremiah 48:10; Proverbs 26:20-26). 7. Desire Recognition and Praise (John 5:41-44; Matthew 6:1, 23:5-7). 8. Not Fulfilled Serving Others (John 3:30). 9. Self Sufficient (Matthew 4:4; John 15:5; Acts 17:25; 2 Corinthians 12:7-10). 10. Anxious (Psalm 4:8; Philippians 4:6-7; 1 Peter 5:6-7). 11. Self Focused (Exodus 4:11; Job 10:8-11; Psalm 139:13-16; Isaiah 53:2; Jeremiah 1:5). 12. Fear Man (Proverbs 29:25). 13. Insecure. 14. Compare Myself. 15. Perfectionist. 16. Self Serving (Philippians 2:19-22). 17. Feel Better or Superior. 18. Think Highly of Myself (Romans 12:3, 16; James 2:1-4). 19. Credit Myself (1 Corinthians 4:6-7; 15:10). 20. Self Righteous (Luke 18:9-14). 21. Feel Deserving. 22. Ungrateful (Luke 17:11-19; Ephesians 5:19-20; 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18; Colossians 3:15-17; Philippians 2:14). 23. Captive to Self Pity. 24. Jealous and Envious (James 3:13-16). 25. Unkind and Harsh (Ezekiel 16:49; Psalm 17:10; Proverbs 24:17-18; Luke 10:25-37). 26. Love to Reveal My Mind (Proverbs 18:2). 27. Know It All (1 Corinthians 8:1). 28. Like People to Know I Know. 29. Hard to Admit I Don‟t Know. 30. Don‟t Listen to Ordinary People. 31. Interruptive. 32. Don‟t Get Much Out of Teaching. 33. Thinking of Others During Teaching. 34. Not Teachable (Proverbs 12:1). 35. Don‟t Admit Wrong Doing (Proverbs 28:13; James 5:16). 36. Do Not Welcome Correction (Proverbs 15:12). 37. Resent People Who Correct Me (Proverbs 9:7-9). 38. Contentious and Argumentative (James 1:19-20). 39. Get Angry or Offended With Others (1 Corinthians 6:7). 40. Constantly in Conflicts (Proverbs 13:10). 41. Have Little Esteem or Respect for Others (Numbers 16:1-3). 42. Do Violence with My Mouth (Psalm 101:5; Romans 3:13-14; 3 John 1:9-10). 43. Sow Discord (Proverbs 28:25). 44. Demean or Belittle Others. 45. Critical. 46. Self Willed and Stubborn. 47. Independent (Proverbs 18:1; Luke 1:51-52). 48. Unaccountable (Acts 2:42; Hebrews 10:25). 49. Unsubmissive (Hebrews 13:17; 1 Peter 5:5). 50. Feel Mature.
[Pride] is a secret and subtle sin, and appears in a great many shapes which are undetected and unsuspected.
Various forms of pride:
1. Self-admiration – “Look at me!”
a. Natural – my abilities, talents, assets.
b. Spiritual – my spiritual gifts, my ministry.
2. Self-aggrandizement – “Don’t I look good/great?”
a. Natural – my looks, my importance.
b. Spiritual – my position in the church.
3. Self-attention – “Listen to me!”
a. Natural – my understanding and viewpoint.
b. Spiritual – my Biblical and theological knowledge.
4. Self-justification – “I am right!”
a. Natural – my way is the right way.
b. Spiritual – our doctrine and polity is right.
5. Self-sufficiency – “I can do it!”
a. Natural – my abilities, my leadership.
b. Spiritual – our programs will make it happen.
6. Self-aspiration – “Let me win!”
a. Natural – competitive spirit; one-up-manship.
b. Spiritual – our statistics will prove us successful.
7. Self-seeking – “Give me mine!”
a. Natural – my rights; what I deserve.
b. Spiritual – our political rights and physical edifice.
8. Self-exaltation – “Praise me!”
a. Natural – my credit, glory, commendation.
b. Spiritual – our procedures and success.
Pride isn’t limited to self-righteousness. Our pride can also be self-preoccupation: being overly concerned with what others think of us and strongly desiring that others would think highly of us. Shyness can result from proudly fearing saying something stupid. Thinking extensively of how we look or act in public can come from a deep desire to impress others. Regularly redirecting conversation to ourselves can be prideful self-centeredness. The bottom line is that when we are proud, we think a lot about ourselves.
Fundamentally, sin is a matter of our hearts, for as fallen creatures our ruling desire is to remove God from His throne and to sit there instead.
Pride gets no pleasure out of having something, only out of having more of it than the next person. We say that people are proud of being rich or clever or good looking, but they are not. They’re proud of being richer, or cleverer, or better looking than others. If everyone else became equally rich, or clever, or good looking there would be nothing to be proud about.
There is no pride so dangerous, none so subtle and insidious, as the pride of holiness.
Humility, Whitaker, 1982, p. 56. All quotations taken from books published by Whitaker House are used with permission of the publisher. Whitaker House books are available at Christian bookstores everywhere.
How does the zeal of the flesh reveal itself? Because it’s driven by law, it treats people with law. It does not rejoice over them but finds fault, jumps to conclusions, accuses, is argumentative, doesn’t listen, gloats when a brother is down, and loves to come out on top. This zeal isn’t for God. It’s for Self. And it’s powerful. It diminishes the future of the church by robbing everyone of beautiful things that might have been.
There is the pride of being “radical” or the pride of being “realistic.”
There is the pride of being able to “spot a sinner” or the pride of being able to “notice the hurting.”
There is the pride of doing “only what you want to do” or the pride of doing “whatever needs doing.”
There is the pride at being “unbiased” or the pride of being “loyal.”
There is the pride of being “perfectly honest” or the pride of being able to “get along with people.”
There is the pride at being “on top of an issue” or the pride of having an “open mind.”
There is the pride at all one has “acquired” or the pride over all one has “sacrificed.”
There is the pride over “how great our church is” or the pride of “knowing exactly what’s going wrong.”
There is the pride of being a “victorious Christian” or the pride of being one who “struggles with God.”
There is the pride that says “I can stand tall” or the pride that says “I’m willing to get on my knees.”
There is the pride that says “our church is growing” or the pride that says “we’re staying faithful.”
Pride comes in many forms but has only one end: destruction (Dick Rasanen).
Perfectionism means striving for an impossibly high standard, usually for selfish ends. In the case of those who are anorexic, the perfectionist drive centers on having the perfect body and eating perfectly; but the underlying issues are selfish motives and sinful desires. Their distorted mind-set descends into bizarre thinking and behaviors because they are actually worshipping themselves. Hardened by their own pride, they become willing to destroy their own body and sacrifice themselves in the pursuit of their ideal self-image. Blinded by their self-righteousness, they cannot see Christ as their righteousness.
Boasting is the voice of pride in the heart of the strong. Self-pity is the voice of pride in the heart of the weak.
Spiritually segregating people as those less worthy of God’s acceptance is still a problem today. And while racial unity is still not where it needs to be, we still segregate people based upon other intangibles (such as wealth, education, attractiveness and convictions) that we might consider impure. We still have a tendency to look down upon others different from us and believe they are less deserving of God’s grace than we are.
What are some characteristics of pride? Thinking more of myself than I do of God. Believing I am better than others. Not being willing to admit weaknesses. Being unteachable. Inability to delegate. Having a primary goal of serving myself. Wanting to lead to receive personal glory. Needing to always be honored and appreciated. Overconfidence. Unsubmissiveness. Worry. Unwillingness to be corrected. Not asking for help. Continually correcting others. Ignoring the spiritual disciplines of prayer, church and Bible. Feeling morally superior to others. Talking more than listening. Refusing to ask for forgiveness. Being overly sensitive.
Behind most church fights and unresolved divisions is ugly human pride. And the worst kind of pride is religious pride, the Pharisaical pride of self-righteousness and superiority.