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41 Evidences of Pride By Nancy Leigh DeMoss


Revive Our Hearts

1. Do you look down on those who are less educated, less affluent, less refined, or less successful than yourself?

2. Do you think of yourself as more spiritual than your mate, others in your church?

3. Do you have a judgmental spirit toward those who don’t make the same lifestyle choices you do … dress standards, how you school your kids, entertainment standards, etc.?

4. Are you quick to find fault with others and to verbalize those thoughts to others? Do you have a sharp, critical tongue?

5. Do you frequently correct or criticize your mate, your pastor, or other people in positions of leadership (teachers, youth director, etc.)?

6. Do you give undue time, attention, and effort to your physical appearance—hair, make-up,clothing, weight, body shape, avoiding appearance of aging?

7. Are you proud of the schedule you keep, how disciplined you are, how much you are able to accomplish?

8. Are you driven to receive approval, praise, or acceptance from others?

9. Are you argumentative?

10. Do you generally think your way is the right way, the only way, or the best way?

11. Do you have a touchy, sensitive spirit? Easily offended? Get your feelings hurt easily?

12. Are you guilty of pretense? Trying to leave a better impression of yourself than is really true? (Would the people at church be shocked if they knew what you were like at home?)

13. Do you have a hard time admitting when you are wrong?

14. Do you have a hard time confessing your sin to God or others? (not just in generalities but specifics)

15. Do you have a hard time sharing your real spiritual needs/struggles with others?

16. Do you have a hard time praying aloud with others?

17. Are you excessively shy?

18. Do you have a hard time reaching out and being friendly to people you don’t know at church?

19. Do you resent being asked or expected to serve your family, your parents, or others?

20. Do you become defensive when you are criticized or corrected?

21. Are you a perfectionist? Do you get irked or impatient with people who aren’t?

22. Do you tend to be controlling—of your mate, your children, friends, those in your workplace?

23. Do you frequently interrupt people when they are speaking

24. Does your husband feel intimidated by your “spirituality”?

25. Does your husband feel like he can never measure up to your expectations of what it means to be a good husband, spiritual leader, etc.?

26. Do you often complain—about the weather, your health, your circumstances, your job, your church?

27. Do you talk about yourself too much?

28. Are you more concerned about your problems, needs, burdens than about others’ concerns?

29. Do you worry about what others think of you? Too concerned about your reputation or your family’s reputation?

30. Do you neglect to express gratitude for “little things”? To God? To others?

31. Do you neglect prayer and intake of the Word?

32. Do you get hurt if your accomplishments/or acts of service are not recognized or rewarded?

33. Do you get hurt if your feelings or opinions are not considered when your mate or your boss is making a decision or if you are not informed when a change or a decision is made?

34. Do you react to rules? Do you have a hard time being told what to do?

35. Are you self-conscious because of your lack of education or natural beauty, or your socioeconomic status?

36. Do you avoid participating in certain events, for fear of being embarrassed or looking foolish?

37. Do you avoid being around certain people because you feel inferior compared to them/don’t feel you measure up?

38. Are you uncomfortable inviting people to your home because you don’t think it’s nice enough or you can’t afford to do lavish entertaining?

39. Is it hard for you to let others know when you need help (practical or spiritual)?

40. When is the last time you said these words to a family member, friend, or co-worker: “I was wrong; would you please forgive me?” (If it’s been more than a month, mark it down!)

41. Are you sitting here thinking how many of these questions apply to someone you know? feeling pretty good that none of these things really apply to you?

© Revive Our Hearts. Used with permission. www.ReviveOurHearts.com
[email protected]

Thanks, RW.

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Perils of Pride #5: A Case Study

Daniel 4:29-37

29 Twelve months later, as the king was walking on the roof of the royal palace of Babylon,
30 he said, “Is not this the great Babylon I have built as the royal residence, by my mighty power and for the glory of my majesty?”
31 The words were still on his lips when a voice came from heaven, “This is what is decreed for you, King Nebuchadnezzar: Your royal authority has been taken from you.
32 You will be driven away from people and will live with the wild animals; you will eat grass like cattle. Seven times will pass by for you until you acknowledge that the Most High is sovereign over the kingdoms of men and gives them to anyone he wishes.”
33 Immediately what had been said about Nebuchadnezzar was fulfilled. He was driven away from people and ate grass like cattle. His body was drenched with the dew of heaven until his hair grew like the feathers of an eagle and his nails like the claws of a bird.
34 At the end of that time, I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes toward heaven, and my sanity was restored. Then I praised the Most High; I honored and glorified him who lives forever. His dominion is an eternal dominion; his kingdom endures from generation to generation.
35 All the peoples of the earth are regarded as nothing. He does as he pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth. No one can hold back his hand or say to him: “What have you done?”
36 At the same time that my sanity was restored, my honor and splendor were returned to me for the glory of my kingdom. My advisers and nobles sought me out, and I was restored to my throne and became even greater than before.
37 Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and exalt and glorify the King of heaven, because everything he does is right and all his ways are just. And those who walk in pride he is able to humble.
(NIV)

The first four chapters of the book of Daniel provide for us a biography of a man who, by all accounts, spent the majority of his life bound by the sin of pride. This person was King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. We are told by historians that Nebuchadnezzar reigned over Babylon for some 45 years. The first four chapters of the book of Daniel provide us “snapshots” of events which occurred during the reign of Nebuchadnezzar. For instance, in the second year of his reign, Nebuchadnezzar had a dream of a statue with a head of gold. When the prophet Daniel interprets the dream, he tells Nebuchadnezzar “You are that head of gold.” This is recorded for us in Daniel chapter 2. Then, some sixteen years later, Nebuchadnezzar sets up a statue covered with gold ninety feet high and attempts to force all his nobles to worship it. We know what happens. Three Jews, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, refuse to worship the statue and are thrown in a fiery furnace. When they are not killed, Nebuchadnezzar calls them out of the furnace and praises their God, the one true and living God. These events are recorded in Daniel chapter 3.

However, it is Daniel chapter 4 where we will focus our attention today. We are not given a time reference for Daniel chapter 4, but the chapter contains the last recorded events in the Bible of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar and it spans some eight years of time. Daniel chapter 4 records the events of a man who is consumed with pride and is humbled by God. The chapter begins with another of Nebuchadnezzar’s dreams. This time the dream is of a great tree which reached to the heavens and filled the earth, until it was cut down, leaving only a stump. The image shifts from a tree to a man who is made to be like a beast for seven years. Once again, Daniel interprets the dream and counsels Nebuchadnezzar to repent of his sins before the things described in the dream happen to him. And that brings us to the verses which are quoted at the beginning of the study, Daniel 4:29-37.

In verses 29-30, we read that all that the angel had prophesied against Nebuchadnezzar in his dream came to pass after twelve months. Notice the circumstances that precipitated the fulfillment of the prophecy. Nebuchadnezzar was walking on the roof of his palace. Looking around at the great city of Babylon, he utters the words we read in verse 30. “Is not this the great Babylon I have built as the royal residence, by my mighty power and for the glory of my majesty?” (NIV) It is Nebuchadnezzar’s pride that causes his downfall. In Daniel chapter 4 verses 24-27, Daniel has told Nebuchadnezzar that everything Nebuchadnezzar had came from God – that God gives such to anyone he wishes. Daniel urged Nebuchadnezzar to repent. But instead, Nebuchadnezzar claims that he derived his majesty and that Babylon derived in grandeur from the power of Nebuchadnezzar himself.

At that very moment, a voice was heard from heaven which announced that the prophecy against Nebuchadnezzar would be immediately fulfilled. In Daniel 4:31-33, we read that a heavenly edict was pronounced against Nebuchadnezzar. His authority was removed and a form of madness came over Nebuchadnezzar so that he became like a beast of the field.

Fortunately for Nebuchadnezzar, the story does not end at verse 33. In verses 34-37, we read of the restoration of Nebuchadnezzar. Just as the messenger of heaven promised, after seven years, his sanity was restored, and his kingdom was restored. Notice the sequence of events which occurs in verse 34. First, Nebuchadnezzar raises his eyes towards heaven. It has been said that an ox never looks up. But after seven years of eating grass, Nebuchadnezzar finally looks up to heaven. God then restored Nebuchadnezzar’s sanity. Next, Nebuchadnezzar praised God. Specifically, Nebuchadnezzar praises God just as he heard from the angel eight years before. He praised God because His dominion is the only one which is eternal, and he praises God because God does just as he pleases in heaven and among the peoples of the earth.

We read in Daniel 4:36 that God also restored Nebuchadnezzar’s honor and splendor. The king’s old advisors and nobles sought him out and restored him to the throne. And we read that Nebuchadnezzar became greater than he ever was before.

Verse 37 has an appropriate ending for this story. “Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and exalt and glorify the King of heaven, because everything he does is right and all his ways are just. And those who walk in pride he is able to humble.” (NIV) Nebuchadnezzar has learned three lessons from what happened to him over these eight years. First, Nebuchadnezzar learned how to praise God instead of praising himself. Second, Nebuchadnezzar learned that everything that God does is right and just. Notice that we hear no words of complaint from Nebuchadnezzar about his eight years of insanity. And third, Nebuchadnezzar learned that God is able to humble those who are proud. Nebuchadnezzar is the #1 exhibit of the lengths that God will go to in order to break the pride of a person.

What can we learn about the sin of pride which is applicable to our lives from the story of Nebuchadnezzar? After all, none of us is a king or queen ruling the majority of the known world in our time. Let’s look again at verse 30. “he said, “Is not this the great Babylon I have built as the royal residence, by my mighty power and for the glory of my majesty?” (NIV) None of us has built a great city as a royal palace as an edifice of our own majesty. Or have we? Maybe not with our hands, but perhaps within our heart. I personally have built for myself an statue of gold ninety feet high within my own heart where I worship what I have and the things that I have done (see 1 John 2:16). What do I sacrifice to this idol of my pride? I make regular sacrifices of applauding myself for being a better person than other people. I make regular sacrifices of serving my own needs, desires, and lusts rather than focusing on the glorification of Jesus Christ and the welfare of others. I make regular sacrifices of flaunting and abusing the authority that God has entrusted to me in my family, in my job, and at church. I make regular sacrifices of hurting those people who are closest to me. Perhaps you can identify a similar idol, which you have constructed within your heart.

What can we do about this idol to our pride which we have constructed within our heart? Consider with me the words of the Apostle Paul as recorded in Romans 12:1-3:

1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God — this is your spiritual act of worship.
2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — his good, pleasing and perfect will.
3 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.
(NIV)

Paul gives us a four fold exhortation for battling the pride in our heart. First, Paul says that we should worship God by offering up our bodies as a living sacrifice. This means that we should give up our rebellion against God and submit to His lordship of our lives. Being a living sacrifice to God means that we must strive to offer up a life which is holy and which is pleasing to God. If we live our lives in a manner to please ourselves, or in a manner to please other people, we are probably not living a life, which is holy and pleasing to God.

Second, Paul says that turn our minds away from the pattern of this world by the transforming power of God. We need to have our minds renewed. Most of us have been so immersed in the sins of our culture that only the cleansing power of God can remove the filth. And how does God renew our mind? I believe that the primary way God renews our mind is by the Word of God. Or, in a simpler term, through reading the Bible. There are other ways, of course, but I believe that the Bible is the primary thing God uses to renew our minds.

Third, Paul says that we should actively seek to know and do the will of God. That means we must turn away from doing our own will and be ready to fully accept whatever it is that God has in mind for us. I have a deep appreciation for the way Paul describes the will of God in Romans 12:2 – good, pleasing, and perfect. How can my will compare to the will of God? My own will is never good. It seeks to do evil. My own will seeks to please myself, but rarely does for any length of time. My own will usually leads to disaster. Why would I want to follow my own will when God’s will for me is good, pleasing, and perfect?

Fourth, Paul says that we should put away our tendency of thinking too much of ourselves. Rather, we should look at ourselves with sober judgment that recognizes that we are nothing without the gift of faith, which God has bestowed on those he has called.

By Berean Husband

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Perils of Pride #4: Proverbs about Pride

The book of Proverbs has a lot to say about the subject of pride. As we read through the book of Proverbs, we come upon two trains of thought regarding pride. First, the Proverbs ask “What are the problems that come with pride?” And second, the Proverbs ask “What are the blessings that come with humility?”

Let’s begin this study by asking ourselves some questions:

Does it bother you when someone corrects you?
Do you accept praise for things which you have no control?
Do you cover over or excuse your mistakes?
If someone irritates you, do you ever say “I can get along without him”?
Do you have difficulty seeking advice or counsel?
Are you not grateful for God’s blessings?
Do you grumble about what God hasn’t given you?
Do you live your life in a sense of competition with other people?

Did you notice the sin of pride in your life as you answered these questions? Pride, just like any other sin, has consequences that come with it. Let’s look at some of the verses in the book of Proverbs that deal with the consequences that a proud person will suffer.

Proverbs 11:2 “When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.” (NIV)

The first problem that comes with pride is DISGRACE. One of things which a proud person really desires is to be honored by other people. But this verse tells us that the opposite will generally happen, the proud person will be disgraced instead of honored. It has been said that pride is the only disease that makes everyone sick except for the one who has it.

Proverbs 13:10 “Pride only breeds quarrels, but wisdom is found in those who take advice.” (NIV)

The second problem that comes with pride is CONFLICT. What do you find at the source of every conflict? Pride. All the way from the squabble on the schoolyard to wars between nations. All conflicts have a root of pride. And what about in our homes? What is the source of divorce? Let’s take an example couple – we’ll call them Jim and Beth. They get married, and move into their first apartment to set up housekeeping, and with them, they bring their pride. Instead of establishing a home, they each establish their own kingdom under the roof of that one bedroom apartment. Jim becomes King James and Beth becomes Queen Elizabeth. And what did Jesus say about what happens to a divided kingdom? Luke 11:17 “Any kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and a house divided against itself will fall.” (NIV)

Proverbs 15:25 “The LORD tears down the proud man’s house but he keeps the widow’s boundaries intact.” (NIV)

The third problem that comes with pride is the Lord’s WRATH. Notice that the Lord is an active participant – this verse does not say “the proud man’s house will be torn down”; it says “The LORD tears down the proud man’s house”. What are some of the ways the Lord might tear down the proud man’s house? I have seen houses torn apart by alcohol, drugs, adultery, and other destructive things that people bring upon themselves. But I have also seen houses torn apart by things completely outside of the control of the husband and wife, such as a loss of job or a medical problem.

Proverbs 16:5 “The LORD detests all the proud of heart. Be sure of this: They will not go unpunished.” (NIV)

The fourth problem that comes with pride is Lord’s HATRED. Some people say that God loves the sinner and hates the sin. That is not true. God hates the sinner because of the sin in their heart. You cannot separate a person from their nature. Yet, you might say, what about John 3:16? “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (NIV) God’s hatred of sin made a way for sinners to have the price paid for God’s hatred of their sin.

Proverbs 16:18 “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.” (NIV)

The fifth problem that comes with pride is FAILURE. There is no way that the works of a proud person can match up to his boasting. In 1 Corinthians 10:12, Paul writes “So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!” (NIV) This is a solemn warning for those of us who think we have our act together. And think along these lines with me. What causes most personal bankruptcies in America today? Pride. We think we have to keep up with the Jones’s. Our problem is we can’t afford what our neighbors buy. We overextend ourselves, and then along comes a problem, loss of a job, an illness, and people are wiped out financially because they can’t pay what they owe. What causes most divorces in the America today? Pride. We refuse to sacrifice ourselves for our mates. We turn to others outside of our marriage to fulfill our desires. This is also a primary reason why there are so many people headed to hell today. They won’t come to Jesus as Lord and Savior because of their pride. They think they can handle their own salvation.

Proverbs 29:23 “A man’s pride brings him low, but a man of lowly spirit gains honor.” (NIV)

The sixth problem with pride is HUMILIATION. It is far better to choose to be humble that it is to be made humble. Jesus told a parable that relates to this Proverb that I want you to see. Turn over in your Bibles with me to Luke 14:7-11.

7 When he noticed how the guests picked the places of honor at the table, he told them this parable:
8 “When someone invites you to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor, for a person more distinguished than you may have been invited.
9 If so, the host who invited both of you will come and say to you, ‘Give this man your seat.’ Then, humiliated, you will have to take the least important place.
10 But when you are invited, take the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he will say to you, ‘Friend, move up to a better place.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all your fellow guests.
11 For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
(NIV)

Now let’s look at the other side of the coin. The book of Proverbs also has a lot to say about the blessings that come with humility.

Proverbs 11:2 “When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.” (NIV)

The first blessing that comes with humility is WISDOM. Why would it be hard for a proud person to be wise? Remember, first, where does wisdom come from? God. And what does God think of the proud person? He hates them. So, why would God give a good gift to the one he hates? God wants you to become humble because He wants you to become just like the person whom He loves most dearly – His Son Jesus Christ.

Proverbs 15:25 “The LORD tears down the proud man’s house but he keeps the widow’s boundaries intact.” (NIV)

The second blessing that comes with humility is PROTECTION. There is a secular proverb which says “God helps those who help themselves.” This is not in the Bible, in fact, it is contrary to what the Bible says. God helps those who cannot help themselves.

Proverbs 15:33 “The fear of the LORD teaches a man wisdom, and humility comes before honor.” (NIV)

The third blessing that comes with humility is HONOR. Philippians 2:5-8 deals with the humility of Jesus.

5 Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in very nature a God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
7 but made himself nothing, taking the very nature b of a servant, being made in human likeness.
8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death — even death on a cross!
(NIV)

But if you keep reading in Philippians 2:9-11 you will find that Jesus’ humility leads to his honor.

9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
(NIV)

By Berean Husband

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Perils of Pride #3: The Origin of Pride in Man

Genesis 3:1-7

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 surely die,” the serpent said to the woman.
5 “For God knows that when you eat of 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.
7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.
(NIV)

Just as we found that the first sin of Satan was the sin of pride, we discover in Genesis chapter 3 that the first sin of man was also the sin of pride. Pride in mankind has its roots in the Garden of Eden. We know that Adam and Eve first sinned when they ate the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil against the direct command of God. But the question remains: Why did Adam and Eve eat the forbidden fruit? They ate the fruit because of pride. Yes, there were other reasons which we will examine in a moment. But for the purposes of this study we will concentrate on the sin of pride.

The first thing to notice in our passage in Genesis chapter 3 is that the sin of pride had its beginning when truth was exchanged for a lie. Notice in verses 2-3 that Eve begins with an orthodox belief. “The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 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.'” (NIV) Eve correctly repeats the command of God that was given in Genesis 2:16-17. However, in verse 4, we see that Satan exchanges the truth of God’s word for a lie. “You will not surely die,” the serpent said to the woman.” (NIV) The words of Satan are in direct contradiction to the word of God. I believe that it is a universal truth that all sin is based on a lie which is in contradiction to the word of God. In Romans 1:25, in Paul’s great treatise on the utter sinfulness of man, we read “They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator — who is forever praised. Amen.” (NIV)

The second thing to notice in our passage in Genesis chapter 3 is that the sin of pride is based on the temptation that man can share in the glory that is due only to God. Just as Satan himself was deceived and believed that he could in some way be equal to God, so man in his pride can be deceived that we can also be, in some small way, equal to God. We see this temptation in Genesis 3:5. “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (NIV) What is the temptation which Satan lays out before Eve? The ability to be like God. And it is the pride of man which tells us that this might just be possible. But God tells us that this is impossible. We read in Isaiah 55:8-9 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (NIV)

The third thing to notice in our passage in Genesis chapter 3 is that the sin of pride was accompanied by other sins in the fall of Adam of Eve. In Genesis 3:6, we read “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.” (NIV) When Eve looks on the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil looking through the glasses of the lie of Satan, what is it that she sees? She sees fruit that is: 1) good for food, 2) pleasing to the eye, and 3) desirable for gaining wisdom. Looking through the glasses of God’s word, none of these three things were true. But believing the lie of Satan changed the appearance of the fruit to Eve.

Allow me to draw a parallel here. Consider Genesis 3:6 in light of 1 John 2:16 “For everything in the world — the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does — comes not from the Father but from the world.” (NIV) Notice the equivalence between these two passages. Good for food = cravings of sinful man. Pleasing to the eye = lust of his eyes. Desirable for gaining wisdom = boasting of what he has and does, or “pride of life” in some Bible versions. But also notice the last phrase in 1 John 2:16. These lies do not come from the word of God, but from lies of the world.

The fourth thing to notice in our passage in Genesis chapter 3 is that the fruit of the sin of pride is bitter. Adam and Eve gained no wisdom from the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, but they did gain some knowledge. We see this in Genesis 3:7. “Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.” (NIV) What is the knowledge that they gained? They gained a knowledge of their shame. How bitter is the fruit of pride. We think we are something special and that we are due some special privilege that others cannot have. But when we learn the truth we find that our pride gives us nothing but shame.

So is there a lesson to be learned here? I believe there is. The lesson we can learn is how to resist the temptation of pride. Consider 1 Corinthians 10:13 “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” (KJV) Adam and Eve faced the temptation of the sin of pride. You will too. God gave Adam and Eve a way of escape. There was another tree in the midst of the Garden of Eden as well. It was the Tree of Life. More about that in a minute.

Let’s consider a student in school who has just failed an exam. He goes to his teacher and he argues that it wasn’t his fault that he didn’t pass the exam and that he deserves a passing grade. He tries to blame everything. The test was too hard. I didn’t have enough time. I wasn’t told what to prepare. We do the same when we don’t pass the test of temptation. Notice the three “BUT’s” in 1 Corinthians 10:13.

I argue “My temptation was unique – no one else has ever faced such a temptation.” But what does God say? “BUT such as is common to man.” Your test was no different than anyone else’s.

I argue “My temptation was too strong.” But what does God say? “BUT I am faithful and will not suffer you to be tempted beyond that you are able.” Nothing comes to you that God doesn’t allow and he allows no more than we can bear.

I argue “my temptation was impossible to get through.” But what does God say? “BUT I will make a way of escape so you can bear it.

We can face the temptation of the sin of pride with God’s help. Pride has been successfully defeated by others in the past. Pride is not too strong to be defeated now. God offers a much better way than the way of pride. This is the way of humility and servanthood. But those are the subjects of future posts.

Now, what was the way of escape that God gave Adam and Eve? It was the Tree of Life. What would have happened if Adam and Eve had chosen the fruit of the Tree of Life instead of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil? We are told the answer to this question in Genesis 3:22-24.

Genesis 3:22-24

22 And the Lord God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.”
23 So the Lord God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken.
24 After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.
(NIV)

The fruit of the Tree of Life would have granted Adam and Eve eternal life. However, once Adam and Eve had fallen, the fruit of the Tree of Life was forbidden to them. God drove them from the Garden and placed an angel to guard the way back to the Tree of Life. When we are faced with the temptation of pride, we too have a choice. We can choose to take and eat that fruit of the sin of pride. It looks good, and it tastes good, but it turns to bitterness in the belly. Or we can choose to eat of the fruit from the Tree of Life. The way will be hard for we must take up and bear a cross daily, but the fruit will be sweet to the soul.

By Berean Husband

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Perils of Pride #2: The Origin of Pride

Isaiah 14:12-15

12 How you have fallen from heaven, O morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations!
13 You said in your heart, “I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain.
14 I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.”
15 But you are brought down to the grave, to the depths of the pit.
(NIV)

Isaiah chapter 14 is a taunt against the king of Babylon that the house of Israel was to take up when they were released from bondage. However, I believe that these verses have a second meaning in that they also provide us a glimpse of what occurred in heaven when Satan fell. If that is true, then these verses record the first sin ever committed, and also God’s punishment for the first sin.

So what was the first sin? It should be no surprise that I believe that the first sin of Satan was the sin of pride. Its manifestations are recorded in verses 13-14. “You said in your heart, “I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain. I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.” (NIV) First, notice that the manifestation of the first sin began in the heart of Satan. It was not the rebellion that Satan led against God that was the first sin. It was something that went on in the heart of Satan. And is that not true for all our sin as well? All our sin begins in our heart. There is nothing that we do with our body which is evil that does not begin in our heart. And there is nothing that we fail to do with our body which would have been good that does not begin in our heart. We are told in James 1:14-15 “but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.” (NIV) Someone might say, “I thought it was Satan who tempted me. Or at least one of his demons.” What I gather from James 1:14-15 is that Satan doesn’t need to bother tempting us. Our own fleshly nature does the job quite well for him. We are tempted to sin by the evil desires that begin in our heart. We need to realize that the sin of pride begins in our heart and is not caused by outward circumstances.

Second, notice that the manifestation of the first sin of pride of Satan was focused clearly on the “self.” What I mean can be seen in all the “I” statements in Isaiah 14:13-14:

“I will ascend to heaven”
“I will raise my throne above the stars of God”
“I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain”
“I will ascend above the tops of the clouds”
“I will make myself like the Most High”

Satan’s first sin occurred when he became the object of his own worship instead of God. All of these “I” statements in verses 13-14 indicate a person who is more interested in their own self-exaltation rather than the glory of God. Notice that Satan did not intend to dethrone God. He intended to become like God – “I will make myself like the Most High.” And just to give a small preview of the next post, is that not the same thing Satan offered Eve in the Garden of Eden? A chance to be like God. Genesis 3:5 tells us “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (NIV) This is why it is possible for a Christian to have the sin of pride. We are not seeking to replace God. In that case we could not be a Christian. We just want to be a bit like God. To get a little bit of the glory that is due only to God.

Third, Satan’s first sin occurred when he desired a place that was not rightfully his to take. There is another passage very similar to Isaiah 14:12-15 found in Ezekiel 28:12-19. This passage in Ezekiel is, on the surface, the word of God against the King of Tyre. However, I believe it is also a message about Satan. These verses in Ezekiel tell us that Satan had every possible benefit and privilege which could be afforded by God. But he was not satisfied. He wanted the one thing that could not be his – equivalency with God. Did not King David have the same problem? God gave him everything, but David desired the one thing he could not have – another man’s wife. We read in 2 Samuel 12:7-12:

7 Then Nathan said to David, “You are the man! This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you from the hand of Saul.
8 I gave your master’s house to you, and your master’s wives into your arms. I gave you the house of Israel and Judah. And if all this had been too little, I would have given you even more.
9 Why did you despise the word of the Lord by doing what is evil in his eyes? You struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword and took his wife to be your own. You killed him with the sword of the Ammonites.
10 Now, therefore, the sword will never depart from your house, because you despised me and took the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your own.’
11 “This is what the Lord says: ‘Out of your own household I am going to bring calamity upon you. Before your very eyes I will take your wives and give them to one who is close to you, and he will lie with your wives in broad daylight.
12 You did it in secret, but I will do this thing in broad daylight before all Israel.'”
(NIV)

Is it not the same with us? God has showered us with blessings beyond our ability to count. By grace, we have received things which we have no right or claim to. But we are never satisfied. Our pride tells us that we deserve more. Who is God to think He can withhold from us the lustful desires of our sinful heart? Surely we know what we need better than God does. Our pride leads us to fall into the trap of Satan, to desire the things we cannot have.

But now notice the punishment of Satan for his first sin of pride. This is seen in Isaiah 14 verses 12 and 15. “How you have fallen from heaven, O morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations!” “But you are brought down to the grave, to the depths of the pit.” (NIV) The punishment of Satan was far more than just being told that he could not have what he lusted for, the punishment of Satan was his loss of everything he had. So, is the sin of pride that serious? It was the sin of pride which led Satan to rebel against God. What started in Satan’s heart eventually led to an action which would forever damn Satan. So the answer to the question is “Yes, pride is that serious.” The sin of pride in the life of a Christian could lead into further deliberate acts of rebellion against God. We could begin to worship ourselves instead of God. We could begin to seek the worship and adulation of other people. We could begin to take what has been forbidden to us. And what might the consequences for the sin of our pride be? For Satan it was the loss of everything. David was repaid with exactly what he had sinfully done. I don’t know what the answer might be for you or for me.

By Berean Husband

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Perils of Pride #1: Why Write About Pride?

1 John 2:15-17

15 Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
16 For everything in the world — the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does — comes not from the Father but from the world.
17 The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.
(NIV)

Why write about pride? My decision to write about pride flows from the series which I just completed on holiness. You can read the entire nine-part series here on the “Berean Wife” blog. When I first waded into the idea of holiness, I had what might be called a small “Isaiah 6” experience. When I found myself face-to-face with what God expects when He says we should be holy, I found that my life was nothing but the impurity of dust and ashes. During my journey through the study of holiness, the light of God’s word continued to point out the impurities in my life. And nothing stood out more than the impurity of pride. I never realized just how deep-seated pride was in my life until I started listing all the ways that I considered myself to be a better person than others around me. But more about that in a minute.

The verses just quoted, 1 John 2:15-17, tell us much about how to face the truth of our personal sin, or as George Whitefield might say, our “actual sin.” There can be no denying that we have a multitude of sin in our lives. I am guilty of having the cravings of sinful man. I acknowledge that I have perverted most everything that God has intended for good. I struggle with gluttony and I struggle with laziness. I have committed sexual sins that have had the gravest of consequences. I am even more guilty of lusting with my eyes. I have been consumed with looking at things that I had no business looking at. I have been filled with envy when I see what other people have that I do not have. But all these sins pale in comparison with the last category of sin given to us by John. The KJV calls it the “pride of life”. The NIV says “and the boasting of what he has and does”. There is a riddle that goes something like this “Question: What is the only thing that vanishes the second it is claimed? Answer: Humility.” In the past I might have thought I was a humble person, but when I came face-to-face with my impurity, I came face-to-face with my pride.

Let me be specific. What I say may seem like bragging. In the past it would have been. Now I see that all these things are sin. Please accept what I say as a confession, and not as boasting. First, I am guilty of being proud that I am more committed to church than other people around me. I looked down upon those people who missed a Sunday morning worship service or did not come to church on Wednesday night. Why could not everyone commit to church three times a week like me? Second, I am guilty of being proud that I was entrusted with positions of authority in the church. I used my authority as a source of pride, not an opportunity for service. Third, I am guilty of being proud that I do not do certain things that the world does. We have a saying here in the Deep South: “I don’t drink or smoke or chew, or run around with women who do.” If you are not from the South you might not understand what this means. I am proud that I don’t go see movies with any sex or cussing and I don’t drink beer. That sets me apart from a vast majority of people in the church. Now I see that this is nothing but self-righteousness and a cover-up for sins I do commit on a regular basis. Fourth, I am guilty of being proud that I think I know more about the Bible than other people. That is, until I went to a different church last weekend, and found a group of Christians who made me realize I know nothing. I thought I read a lot of books. That’s a joke. I thought people were privileged to be in my Sunday School class to hear my latest insights. Now I am beginning to realize that I know nothing and do not have a clue how to share the Bible with others.

Now, let’s look at 1 John 2:15 again. “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” (NIV) What does my pride tell me about myself? My sin of pride is the sin of loving the world, and my sin of pride separates me from the love of God. How is it that pride is the same as loving the world? As I meditate on this question, I find two answers. First, the sin of pride is the same as loving the world because we only have a choice between two masters. We can chose to love God and serve him, or we can chose to love the things of this world and serve them. Pride in our lives means that we have chosen the later. Second, the sin of pride is the same as loving the world because my pride causes me to seek the adulation of the world. Pride cannot seek the approval of God, nor can it be approved by God. James 4:6 tells us “But he gives us more grace.” That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” (NIV) So my pride must turn somewhere else for its approval, and the only other place to turn is to the world. I am thereby separated from the love of God because I have turned away from Him to seek my approval from another place.

So, just how stupid is the sin of pride. 1 John 2:17 provides an answer to this question. “The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.” (NIV) Have you ever built a sand castle? I’m talking about a really nice sand castle with towers and moats and bridges and flags? Something you could really be proud of. Something that people who walked by stopped to look at. What did it look like the next day when you went back to the beach? It didn’t look like anything, it was gone. The tide and the waves swept that sand castle into nothingness. The same is true of everything that causes us to have pride. It will all be swept clean away in an instant of time. But what is it that will endure forever? The one who does the will of God. I am reminded here of Matthew 7:21-23

21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.
22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’
23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
(NIV)

Notice that all the things that these people said that they did for God were a source of pride because they were not done under the authority of the will of God. Our only answer before God for our righteousness is the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, not what we did here on earth. Pride is vanquished when we put our righteousness under the light of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Isaiah 64:6 “All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.” (NIV)

By Berean Husband

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