How do you know if someone has a problem with pride? Is there an easy fool-proof test? Yes, this is probably the easiest spiritual vise to test in another believer. Simply tell the brother that he has a problem with pride and watch the reaction! The more vehemently he denies that he has a problem in this area, the bigger his problem with pride. Only the truly humble brother will agree with you that yes, he has a problem in this area. Just think about that for a moment.
But the other side of this coin is that those who are often best at noticing the sliver of pride in their brother’s eye has the bigger beam in their own eye. So, if the above test tempted you to go out and try it out on someone else then that is a sure sign that you have a problem in this area also. It is often those who themselves have a huge ego problem that are most aware of other people’s egos simply because the two egos will clash as each vies for prominence.
Pride is such a big problem in the human soul that none of us can ever say that we have victory over it. That is why the truly humble brother will easily admit he has a problem with pride because he has come to realize how persistent and pervasive this problem is. Consider the following statement: “I used to have a problem with pride but the Lord has given me victory over it”. On the surface it sounds very pious and humble and we often hear people say words to that effect. But what the person is actually saying is: “I am so proud of my humility!” That is precisely the problem. Just at the time we think we have “achieved” humility is exactly when we don’t have it.
Unfortunately modern Christianity has turned the sin of pride into a virtue as they chant the mantras of self-esteem and self-love. Those who promote themselves most and who are best able to parade their achievements are hailed as truly great and those who refuse to speak of themselves are despised as lacking motivation, purpose and drive. I have little doubt that the man who called himself the chief of sinners (1Tim 1:15), and “less than the least of all the saints” (Eph 3:8) would not be very well respected amongst today’s preachers and very few people would have heard of him, had he lived today.
Pride, arrogance and self-promotion are not, and never have been, positive qualities in any person. They always have been, and always will be the worst of all sins and the root of all other sins. Andrew Murray said that “The lack of humility is the sufficient explanation of every defect and failure.” It was pride that motivated Lucifer to attempt to take the place of God, it was pride that sparked within Eve the desire to be like God and it was pride that was hurt when God accepted Abel’s sacrifice and not Cain’s. Thus the first three recorded sins were all motivated by pride. It is pride that spoils our relationship with God and it is pride that is at the root of every broken relationship with other people.
It is pride that prevents us from accepting correction from others and that stops us from seeing ourselves the way the Lord – and others see us. The very fact you are reading this message right now, and the reason the thought crossed your mind that this article is just right for someone else, shows the pride in your own heart! (Oh dear there go the last few readers I had!). This message is not for your spouse or brother, it is for you. And yes, I am writing to myself also!
When someone corrects us because of something we have done, we can respond in several ways: We can take it to the Lord in prayer, or we can respond with some self-justification or we can creep into a hole feeling hurt by the other person’s insensitivity, harshness etc. The moment we feel the need to justify ourselves, we declare that we are not humble and when we claim to be hurt, what we are actually saying is our pride has been hurt. It is good when our pride is wounded because that should work towards the destruction of it, but often our egos are so big that instead of the blows to our pride killing it, they make it stronger as we justify ourselves and compare ourselves amongst ourselves. That is very sad. I remember a brother claiming he was “suffering for Christ” after I had to correct him on a serious matter. Instead of the correction helping him, it had the opposite effect as his chest swelled with pride because he was so righteous that he was being persecuted “for the Faith”!
Sometimes we can be so arrogant that we become proud of the very thing we aught to be ashamed of. The phrase “gay pride” is one such example. These people know deep down that they should be ashamed of their lifestyle, but they will flaunt it and claim that they are proud of what is obviously a perversion. The church of Corinth had a similar problem when Paul had to admonish them that “you are puffed up, and have not rather mourned”. (1Cor 5:2). Yes, they should have mourned and wept in repentance at the sin in their midst but rather they boasted of it!
Andrew Murray also said that “humility is the only soil in which the graces root”. That is so true. All the attributes of Jesus Christ and the Fruit of the Spirit will only grow in the soil of humility. It is only those who have discovered the rottenness of their own flesh, and who are willing to die to themselves in order that they may gain the life of Christ, who will produce the true fruit of the Spirit. The church of Laodicea had no need for Christ because their pride had blinded them to their true spiritual state and thus became spiritually barren.
Humility is the key to a life of spiritual riches and blessing as the Lord pours His grace, gifts and blessing on the poor in spirit. Humility is the glue that holds human relationships together. Humility equips us to deal with adversity and problems and drives us to shelter in the Everlasting Arms in stead of trusting in our own weaknesses. Humility makes the cross easier to bear and pride makes it even harder to bear (think of the two robbers crucified with Jesus). Humility makes our company sweet to others while pride drives others away. Pride leads to a great fall but the Lord upholds, strengthens and protects the humble. Paul said “when I am weak, then I am strong” (2Cor 12:10). I think this can legitimately be paraphrased: “When I recognize that I am weak, then I am strong”
“God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” (James 4:6)
3310 W Magnolia Blvd
Burbank, CA, 91505
Tel 818 846 5520