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What is Pride?

If we take the secular view, pride seems to be a positive thing, in fact it is taught as a virtue in most education systems. The dictionary says this of pride: 

A feeling or deep pleasure or satisfaction derived from one's own achievements, the achievements of those with whom one is closely associated, or from qualities or possessions that are widely admired. 

"the faces of the children's parents glowed with pride" 

Confidence and self-respect as expressed by members of a group, typically one that has been socially marginalized, on the basis of their shared identity, culture, and experience. 

Be especially proud of (a particular quality or skill).

So why do I include pride in my list of feelings that steal freedom? If there are only positive aspects to the word pride why is pride so terrible? 

I think it is a matter of perspective, taking pride in your work is very different from being proud! 

And of course there is this:

“Pride is an inwardly directed emotional term that carries two antithetical meanings. With a negative connotation pride refers to a foolishly and irrationally corrupt sense of one's personal value, status or accomplishments, used synonymously with hubris. In Judaism, pride is called the root of all evil.” 

Whether we view ourselves as the best thing in God’s creation or the worst it is a corruption of the emotion pride that gives us that view.

In the previous study we looked at shame, I taught how shame is the emotion that opens the door to all the other negative emotions; the enemy and us use it to cripple our growth in Christ.

These feelings stop us living life to the full, as well as expressing ourselves as the best of humanity as God intended.

In the previous study I also showed the simple method of gaining freedom from all that afflicts us; whether its addiction, shame, fear, pride, anxiety or depression etc.


We can overcome them and gain freedom in Christ by repenting, believing, accepting and following. It really is that simple. 

Although it isn’t going to happen for all of us over night it does for some. All things are possible with God. 

So in the next few studies I am not going to go over the same things again, instead I will examine what the emotion is, how it works and how Satan uses it to steal our freedom. 

So what does the bible say about pride? 

There is a verse of scripture that is often misquoted; virtually everyone here has heard it: 

“Money is the root of all evil.”  

But 1 Timothy 6:10 actually does NOT say “money is the root of all evil.” What it says is, 

  “the LOVE of money is a root of all KINDS of evil” (NASB).  

There is a big difference! Money itself is not the root of all evil. Loving money can lead to all kinds of ill effects; however money is not the root of all evil. 

​ There is another sin however that I would suggest to you IS the root of all evil; I believe a strong scriptural argument can be made that the root of all evil is the sin of pride. 

So when do we first see this emotion of pride? It is right in the very beginning of the Bible.

What caused Satan to be cast from Heaven? He fell because of pride that originated from his desire to be God instead of a servant of God. He desired to be God and rule the universe. God cast Satan out of heaven. 

(Isaiah 14 v 12 – 15 and Ezekiel 28 v 12 to 19)

We are led to believe that pride was the reason that evil rose up in Satan. 

Let’s get one thing straight: God created Satan, he is a heavenly being or I should say was a heavenly being. 

God did not create Satan evil, neither did God create evil; rather by giving us higher beings both in heaven and on earth free will he created the potential for evil. 

Evil rises up from inside us as it did inside Satan, it does not ever come from God. 

Satan’s sense of pride and self-importance was the root of his turning to evil (going against God). 

We can see from Satan’s temptation of Adam and Eve that it was their pride Satan was trying to stoke up. Let’s look at the exchange:

1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the
wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman,
“Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”
2 The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 3 but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’”
4”You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman.
5 “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened,
and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom,
she took some and ate it.
She also gave some to her husband,
who was with her, and he ate it.
Genesis 3 v 1 to 6

Verse 4 is a blatant attempt at triggering a sense of pride.

“God is deceiving you, He doesn’t want you to be like Him, but I only want what’s best for you. You deserve to know as He does, you can definitely handle it. God is trying to keep you down; I want you to be as you should be, knowing what God knows...”

It was the pride of Eve and Adam that allowed the deception to work. What a great coup for Satan, he has trapped the pinnacle of God’s creation in the very same sin that made him fall.

I found this on a website called Bible Resources, it is excellent and explains very well the problem of pride:

Hubris (pride) was the character flaw that caused many to fail in Greek mythology.

In my counselling practice, I have noticed that it is also the stumbling block for many ministers. The wisdom of Proverbs declares in verse 11:2 that “when pride comes, then comes dishonour,” and in verse 16:18: “Pride goes before destruction. And a haughty spirit before stumbling.”

Remember the Biblical story of Nebuchadnezzar, the king, who was made to live and eat with the beasts of the field and wild donkeys because of his pride? Daniel 5:21 declares that he was “given grass to eat like cattle, and his body was drenched with the dew of heaven until he recognized that the Most High God is ruler over the realm of mankind and that He sets over it whomever He wishes.”

God truly places those in authority over His church as he sees fit and also removes whomever He chooses. Pride is probably the major reason for a lack of favour with God and therefore lack of success in ministry. It is also the major root issue in failure. As James 4:6 declares “…God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” 

Though this failure principle is commonly known in ministry circles, few of us readily admit to having pride and still fewer seem to actively repent. Because pride can be very subtle in its manifestations, many do not know the tell tale signs of pride. Consider the following characteristics of hidden pride and see if God reveals any indications of pride in your life. Be brave. Ask those who know you well if they see any of these characteristics in your life.

Signs of Pride 

1: Insecurity
Research reveals clergy as one of the most insecure of all professional groups. Insecurity is the root of many unhealthy and ungodly behaviours. It provokes us to want the lavish praise and attention of others too much. Much of pride is motivated out of one’s unmet need for self-worth. Finding one’s identity and security in Christ is a must to avoid pride. 

2. The need to be right
Ever encounter someone who has a hard time being wrong. A person who needs to be right has an exalted investment in himself or herself and thinks that he/she knows better than others. In religious circles, the need to be right is frequently manifested through always saying ‘God told me’ or ‘God showed me’.
3. Being argumentative

Individuals, who argue their point of view, especially to those in authority over them, are allowing pride to get the best of them. It is appropriate to advocate for a point of view or position but not to do so in such a manner that you are more invested in your opinion than in arriving at a mutual understanding.
4. More invested in being heard than in hearing 
When someone develops a pattern of needing others to listen to them rather than first hearing others, pride is motivating the need.
5. Anger 
The scripture warns that the “anger of man does not accomplish the righteousness of God.” (James 1:20). An individual who is angry a lot is suffering from pride.
6. Irritability and impatience
When we are unable to be patient with another and are irritated, it demonstrates a haughty view of self. We feel that our views, time or needs are more important than the other persons. This again is more an indication of our pride than someone else’s slow movement or imperfection.
7. Lack of submissive attitude 

Submission is the voluntary placement of oneself under the influence, control or authority of another.
8. Not easily corrected 
Ever work or live with someone who won’t receive any negative or corrective feedback?
9. Receiving correction but not changing
I worked with a man who often would receive my correction and say thank you for the feedback, but would never change.
10. Needing others to take your advice 
Advice should always be offered without strings attached. If you find yourself resenting the fact that your advice is not followed, look deeper at the motivating issues in your life.

11. Needing to proclaim your title or degrees
A good friend of mine requires everyone to call him ‘pastor’, saying that he has deservedly earned the title.
12. Being stubborn
Webster’s dictionary defines stubbornness as “unduly determined to exert one’s own will, not easily persuaded and difficult to handle or work, resistant.”
13. Comparisons and competition
2 Corinthians 10:12 makes it clear that comparing oneself with others is unwise. Comparison is a form of competition.

The above list is aimed as a reminder and warning to those that lead and teach, but its warnings should be heard by all people and the traits listed causes many who follow Christ to stumble.

At cornerstone a lot of our work is in addiction; pride is the number one cause of someone not putting down their addiction or not staying free from it once it has been put down. 

Why do I say this? Well as we have just read:

The wisdom of Proverbs declares in 11:2 that “When pride comes, then come dishonour,” and in 16:18: “Pride goes before destruction. And a haughty spirit before stumbling.” 

The first step that must be made to overcome an addiction is to admit in our own strength we are powerless to stop. 

Pride leads people to never really admit that their addiction controls them, or they admit it but only a little. The thoughts they can have would be something like this: 

  • “I just need a little support to get back on my feet and then I will be able to beat this...” 
  • “If I can just cut down a little I will get it under control...” 
  • “I am not an addict; I can deal with it and will stop when I want to... 

Every single one of these attitudes will not solve your addiction and hinder your recovery.

“Pride goes before destruction. And a haughty spirit before stumbling.” 

  Just like Adam and Eve, we think we are smart enough; that we can do it independently and not need advice, help or anyone else telling us how to live. 

It is easy (and sadly I have seen it many times) for Christians to put their brothers and sisters in Christ that have addictions in a different league to them, a somewhat lower league.

  • No self control 
  • No discipline 
  • No will power 

This in its self is a form of pride. I personally think that all Christians can learn a lot from there brothers and sisters that are seeking recovery from addiction, especially those that have admitted and accepted this first step, why?

How many of us in church need, actually need Jesus every day, to turn to Him and submit to Him every day? 

Those in recovery do. 

How many of us in church have been to the darkest places and truly know the difference Christ brings to our lives beyond what we are told? 

Those in recovery do. 

How many of us in church understand that the Bible tells us we are all addicts and have to come to Jesus for recovery? 

Those in recovery do. 

How many of us in church KNOW what it is to submit fully and be recovered to Christ? 

Those that have been through recovery do. 

The truth is the entire world is addicted; we are all addicted to sin. What stops us from realising that and acting on it? Our PRIDE! 

Plain and simple; our pride stops us from repenting, submitting, following and obeying. 

You can even say the world is split into those who have been blinded by pride and those who are seeking restoration and recovery in Christ by submitting and daily giving up their pride or taking it to Jesus as it rears its head.

This split does not change in the church, there are those that are following Jesus and there are those trapped by pride. 

Pride kills, pride stops us from growing and it always comes before a fall...

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