What is pride?

Undue confidence in and attention to one’s own skills, accomplishments, state, possessions, or position.

Why is pride so bad?

Pride is rebellion against God because it attributes to self the honor and glory due to God alone.

God hates pride.

(Prov 8:13 NIV)  To fear the LORD is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech.

Symptoms of pride
Not able to see our faults

Proud persons do not think it necessary to ask forgiveness because they do not admit their sinful condition.

 First Timothy 3:6; 6:4; and 2 Timothy 3:4 use a word literally meaning “to wrap in smoke.” It emphasizes the plight of the one who has been blinded by personal pride.

Loves to quarrel

(1 Tim 6:3-4 NIV)  If anyone teaches false doctrines and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, {4} he is conceited and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions

Failing to see that what we have comes from God

(Deu 8:11-14 NIV)  Be careful that you do not forget the LORD your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees that I am giving you this day. {12} Otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied, when you build fine houses and settle down, {13} and when your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied, {14} then your heart will become proud and you will forget the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.

Not willing to accept God’s sovereignty

(Psa 131:1 NIV)  A song of ascents. Of David. My heart is not proud, O LORD, my eyes are not haughty; I do not concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me.

Contempt for others

This attitude toward God finds expression in one’s attitude toward others, often causing people to have a low estimate of the ability and worth of others and therefore to treat them with either contempt or cruelty.

Holier-than-thou attitude

(Luke 18:9-14 NIV)  To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told this parable: {10} “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. {11} The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men–robbers, evildoers, adulterers–or even like this tax collector. {12} I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’ {13} “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ {14} “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

Critical of others

(John 8:3-11 NIV)  The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group {4} and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. {5} In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” {6} They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him. But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. {7} When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” {8} Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground. {9} At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. {10} Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” {11} “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

The Pharisees are always critical of others because they think that they are holier than everyone else. Jesus challenged them on this. As a result, no one could even start to stone the woman caught in adultery.

A critical spirit reveals pride. It betrays the inner spirit that we are holier than the others we are trying to criticize.

The Bible warns about being critical of others and not being aware of our own shortcomings.

(Mat 7:4-5 NIV)  How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? {5} You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

Not associating with people less than ourselves

(Rom 12:16 NIV)  Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.

Boasting before others

(1 John 2:16 NIV)  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.

Too high regard for ourselves

It does not mean that if we don’t boast, we are not proud. Pride can manifest in other forms such as having a high regard for ourselves, even without boasting to others.

The Bible talks about pride in our inner thoughts.

(Luke 1:51 NIV)  He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.

Racial pride

(Luke 3:8 NIV)  Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham.

Pride in our achievements

(2 Ki 19:22-23 NIV)  Who is it you have insulted and blasphemed? Against whom have you raised your voice and lifted your eyes in pride? Against the Holy One of Israel! {23} By your messengers you have heaped insults on the Lord. And you have said, “With my many chariots I have ascended the heights of the mountains, the utmost heights of Lebanon. I have cut down its tallest cedars, the choicest of its pines. I have reached its remotest parts, the finest of its forests.

Pride in the effectiveness of our ministry

(Luke 10:17-20 NIV)  The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.” {18} He replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. {19} I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. {20} However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”

Effectiveness in ministry can lure us into spiritual pride. But God can work His miracles through anyone. He even used a donkey to work a miracle. So we should not be too proud when God decides to work a few though us.

Pride in our wealth

(Ezek 28:5 NIV)  By your great skill in trading you have increased your wealth, and because of your wealth your heart has grown proud.

Overstepping our authority/responsibility

(2 Chr 26:16 NIV)  But after Uzziah became powerful, his pride led to his downfall. He was unfaithful to the LORD his God, and entered the temple of the LORD to burn incense on the altar of incense.

Effects of pride
God will oppose you

(Luke 1:49-52 NIV)  for the Mighty One has done great things for me– holy is his name. {50} His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation. {51} He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. {52} He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble.

(James 4:6 NIV)  But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

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

A example can be found in the Bible of how God will bring down the humble.

(Dan 4:28-32 NIV)  All this happened to King Nebuchadnezzar. {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.”

This is not the end of the story. If one is willing to humble himself, God will restore him. This is how God restored Nebuchadnezzar back his sanity and glory.

(Dan 4:34-36 NIV)  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.

God will not answer your prayers

(Job 35:12 NIV)  He does not answer when men cry out because of the arrogance of the wicked.


God will not draw near to you

(Psa 138:6 NIV)  Though the LORD is on high, he looks upon the lowly, but the proud he knows from afar.

We cannot love properly

(1 Cor 13:4 NIV)  Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.


How to prevent ourselves from being proud
Regular time of confession before God
Thank God for all good things