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Pride - The Root of All Evil (Article 18-6)

We often hear or read that being “prideful” is wrong and a sin in God’s eyes. In fact, scripture makes it abundantly clear that God hates pride (Proverbs 8:13) and there is more hope for a fool than a prideful man (Proverbs 26:12). When we think about how scripture equates being a “fool” to a dog’s vomit (Proverbs 26:11), we are able to understand just how bad it is to be prideful. To be blunt, pride is the root of all evil. So, what is it about pride that makes it such an egregious sin in God’s eyes? Why can’t we be prideful?

Can We Be Prideful?: There is a difference between the kind of pride that God hates and the kind of pride we can feel about a job well done (Galatians 6:4) or the kind of pride we express over the accomplishment of loved ones (2 Corinthians 7:4). The difference is that any pride that stems from a form of self-love or self-worship, thus denying God His rightful glory, is wrong. This form of pride denies God His rightful glory and undermines His essence. Paul asks the question “What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?” (1 Corinthians 4:7). Anything we accomplish in this world would not have been possible were it not for God enabling and sustaining us. The problem is that a prideful person doesn’t see it this way. He is blind to the truth. A prideful person doesn’t understand or want to accept who he is in relation to God and that he needs God for all things.

Self-Glorification. Man's pride gives rise to emphasizing and glorifying the “self” and all that the world has to offer to it. The "self" dwells in a human realm, thus turns to the world to be sustained. The "self" and its insatiable appetite can never be satisfied, leaving the flesh in a constant state of restlessness with no hope of peace. It is from the perspective of one’s “self” that gives rise to words such as selfish, self-righteous, self-sufficient, self-pity, self-centered, self-assurance, self-absorbed, self-important, and self-image. In short, pride stems from our desire to be our own God. There is nothing spiritual about a prideful person, for he resides in a different realm than His Creator, and as a result, remains apart from Him. Above all, the kind of pride that stems from the “self”, separates us from God and serves as the greatest hindrance to be one with Him.

Self Pride Separates Us From God. A prideful man’s thoughts are far from God’s thoughts for he is consumed with his own thoughts (Psalm 10:4). “In his pride the wicked does not seek him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God.” It is only when we recognize that our only purpose in life, is to be “one with God” can we begin to appreciate just how deadly of sin pride is and why it should be viewed as the “root of all evil.” Instead of it empowering us, as we are deceived to believe it does, pride renders us powerless. The truth is that the power to find true and meaningful happiness can only be achieved by abiding in (dwelling in) Christ (John 15:5). There is no other way. Anyone believing otherwise is a fool. The problem is we either can not see our prideful nature or do see it and desire not to change our thinking (repentance). Second, even if we do recognize our prideful nature and desire to change, we fail to recognize or understand we our powerless to change ourselves. The power to change can only be achieved by way of Christ and the power of His Spirit (The Holy Spirit). However, to obtain this power, we must first recognize our spiritual poverty (spiritual bankruptcy, thus need for Christ) in order to be transformed into a humble state of existence. Why? Humbleness is the exact opposite of pride. It exists in a spiritual, not worldly, realm - The realm in which our Lord and Savior and Heavenly Father exists. A humble person recognizes who is in relation to God and his need for God for all things. In short, humility is the opposite of the spirit of pride and God seeks for us to be: “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3). The “poor in spirit” are those who recognize their utter spiritual bankruptcy and their inability to come to God aside from His divine grace. The proud, on the other hand, are so blinded by their pride that they see no need of God or, worse, that God should accept them as they are because they deserve or are "entitled" to His acceptance. Consequences of Pride: Throughout Scripture we are told about the consequences of pride. Proverbs 16:18-19 tells us that “pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. Better to be lowly in spirit and among the oppressed than to share plunder with the proud.” Satan was cast out of heaven because of pride (Isaiah 14:12-15). He had the selfish audacity to attempt to replace God Himself as the rightful ruler of the universe. But Satan will be cast down to hell in the final judgment of God. For those who rise up in defiance against God, there is nothing ahead but disaster (Isaiah 14:22). The worse consequence of pride is that it keeps many people from accepting Jesus Christ as the Lord and Savior. Admitting sin and acknowledging that in our own strength they can do nothing to inherit eternal life is a constant stumbling block for prideful people. We are not to boast about ourselves; if we want to boast, then we are to proclaim the glories of God. What we say about ourselves means nothing in God’s work. It is what God says about us that makes the difference (2 Corinthians 10:18).

The Cure. The cure is only by way of Christ. See, Christ restored humility back into the world, and it is only by submitting to Him and His righteousness can we once again find the path back to our Heavenly Father, thus once again, becoming “one with Him.

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