… lest being puffed up with pride he fall into the same condemnation as the devil. (1 Timothy 3:6)
If you believe pride and arrogance are just small character flaws or unique idiosyncrasies of your personality, you may wish to rethink that.
I’m not referring to pride in a job well done. I’m talking about an inflated opinion of importance or superiority. It is the unrestrained, undisciplined mindset that resists or outright rejects human and divine authority.
Such an unattractive characteristic pushes people away while inviting only trouble. For example, being smug with a police officer during a traffic violation usually generates a stiffer penalty. Being arrogant with your boyfriend’s parents probably leads to a breakup. A snobbish attitude on a sports team typically alienates the other players. Such a puffed-up, stuck-up, egotistical outlook just doesn’t work well with others.
God hates it too.
God hates all sin; but according to Proverbs 6:16-17, in a listing of sins called out as hated and offensive to God, pride tops the list. I think it ranks highly because, at its core, pride opposes God’s sovereign supremacy and control. Pride questions and rebels against God’s authority.
Pride is the reason the devil exists. In what some may call allegorical, Isaiah 14:12-21 describes the fall of Lucifer, also known as Satan or the devil.
Lucifer, whose name means “day star” or “the shining one,” was a radiant creature in Heaven. He enjoyed an exalted position of authority and prestige.
Then pride set in. He started thinking. “I will ascend … I will exalt my throne … I will be like the Most High …” He was so full of himself that he envisioned rising above God’s supreme authority.
In response, God reacted swiftly and emphatically to Lucifer’s inflated perception and rebellion by throwing him out of Heaven. Jesus may have referred to this very event when He said, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven” (Luke 10:18).
No, pride is not something anyone should ever emulate, entertain, encourage or emphasize. God gives several warnings against such a mindset:
- Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. (Proverbs 16:18)
- A man’s pride will bring him low. (Proverbs 29:23)
- The pride of your heart has deceived you. (Obadiah 1:3)
- God is able to put down those who walk in pride. (Daniel 4:37)
- God resists the proud. (1 Peter 5:5)
- The proud will receive the same condemnation as the devil. (1 Timothy 3:6)
By comparison, God’s followers are called to walk in humility before Him and with other people. He even explains how and why He wants us to maintain a humble mindset and lifestyle.
- Before honor is humility. (Proverbs 18:12)
- By humility and the fear of the Lord are riches and honor and life. (Proverbs 22:4)
- Seek humility. It may be that you will be hidden in the day of the Lord’s anger. (Zephaniah 2:3)
- Serve the Lord with all humility. (Acts 20:19)
- Therefore, as the elect of God, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, long-suffering …(Colossians 3:12)
- Be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men. (Titus 3:2)
- Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up. (James 4:10)
- Be submissive to one another, and clothed with humility because God gives grace to the humble. (1 Peter 5:5)
Imagine the kind of world we could have if everyone had a humble mindset in all human interactions. Honor would replace disrespect. Willing service would conquer demanding entitlement. Gratitude would drive out selfishness. Love would overcome anger. Peace would overrun impatience. Relationships would thrive instead of die.
Now think how a humble mindset would affect interactions with God. Reverence and praise would infiltrate worry and doubt. Submission and obedience would express complete reliance on Him. Appreciation and thankfulness would overcome expectations and demands.
Please understand, God isn’t looking for wimpy pushovers. He longs for passionate followers who are courageous and trusting enough to yield to Him, His supreme authority and His sovereign control.
May we all pray, Father God, don’t let pride blind, deceive or mislead me. Help me to be the authentic, real person You created me to be, not puffed up with a false sense of importance. I submit wholly to You and rely solely on Your supreme authority. Thank You for Your sovereignly controlling everything for Your purpose. Amen.