It comes before the fall (Proverbs 16:18). It has deceived the heart of Edom (Obadiah 1:3) and many others. It is revealed in both one’s actions and words (Psalm 31:18, 23). It is the bringer of disgrace and entrapment (Psalm 59:12; Proverbs 11:2). It has corrupted the hearts of men and women for ages.
“For from within, out of the heart of man, come… pride… All these evil things come
from within, and they defile a person,” (Mark 7:21-23).
Why is pride such a problem? Shouldn’t we have confidence in personal accomplishment? What’s wrong with valuing ourselves? Finding a balance between self-worth and prideful arrogance is tricky. Do we have worth and value? Certainly! God sent His son to die for us (John 3:16). Jesus teaches us that the entire physical earth is not worth even one soul (Mark 8:36ff). We must discern why pride is a heart problem.
Pride is a worldly virtue. There are certain virtues and character traits that Christians are to develop in their lives (Philippians 4:6-9; 2 Peter 1:3-10). Pride is not one of them. The New Testament reads, “For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world,” (1 John 2:16, ESV, emp. added).
Pride is the opposite of God and Christ. The Christian mindset or attitude is to show the mind/heart of Christ (Philippians 2:5-11). Jesus showed humility, service, submission, and sacrifice. In the same context, Christians are encouraged to look beyond themselves and put others before self. Pride, however, prevents us from being able to do these things. This is why we read, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble,” (James 4:6). A prideful heart is the one that says, “I will accept God’s grace, but on my terms.” One young woman carried her Bible with her every day. What few people knew, however, is that she carried a permanent marker inside her Bible’s cover and marked out all Scriptures and passages she did not like. Pride is a heart problem because it is at the core of selfishness. Submitting to Jesus Christ is about giving God the control of our lives and recognizing Him as the authority in our lives. We read, “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him,” (Colossians 3:17). Notice this is done with a grateful attitude instead of an “I am obligated” attitude.
Here are 5 practical ways to work on our prideful hearts:
- Recognize pride is a problem and that you struggle with it.
- Alter your focus from self to others.
- Learn humility by spending time with the humble.
- Recognize and show appreciation for the accomplishments of others with genuine joy.
- Express greater levels of, both quantity and quality, thanksgiving in your prayer life.
Remember, many problems are avoided when we stop worrying about who is the greatest (Mark 9:33-37), and start bowing our knees confessing Christ (Philippians 2:9-11). Hurt your pride, and “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you,” (James 4:10).