greg_gordon — 2017-02-13T13:04:52-05:00 — #1
When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom. - Proverbs 11:2
Pride and the Devil
When we speak of pride we also often times think of the devil. He was the beautiful angel who through transgression and pride fell from his place with God to a fallen state. Lucifer, an anointed cherub of God became the devil, the father of lies (John 8:44). He was soiled and became filthy and the enemy wants to defile all those who are unsoiled also. When we are free from pride the enemy of our souls desires to sow prideful thoughts into our life. Pride is a preoccupation with self, it is to say that I am more important then all others. Pride says "I" am always right. Pride is when at all costs we need to revenge ourselves of our abusers. Pride says that we are more important then others and when sinned against our rights are more important. Personal glory and importance leads to a proud heart and opposition to God (1 Peter 5:5).
Pride and Selflessness
Pride is in some ways the opposite of selflessness. When we are humble we seek the good of others even when we have been hurt by someone. Disgrace and shame comes with pride because God diminishes the proud one under his own displeasure. Just like Nebuchadnezzar and Belshazzar, we can be blinded by Pride and a sense of self-importance thinking we are able to control situations and even people.
Ephraim of Philotheou says, "The mercy of God supports all of us, but if we are proud, God will lift off His grace and we will become worse than the others."
This is a profound thought that God himself shows everyone grace, mercy, and gives constant help. And when we see others in the body of Christ fail, or cause abuse, if we become proud, judge them overly and do not do it all in love, we can have God's grace lifted from our lives. And the sad result can be the brother who fails, when we judge him we can become worse then that brother. When we have pride against others in the body of Christ we have insulted the Creator Himself. We should never look down on others, never think we are better especially when we see another of our brothers and sisters fail.
The Publican and Pharisee
In Luke 18:9-14, we see the famous story of the Publican and Pharisee. It is a great contrast between pride and humility, self-assuredness and humility. The first error of the religious leader Jesus pointed out was of being "confident." It was a self-reliant attitude that I am in a better place with God then most and therefore can speak down to others and also not need God's grace as much. It is a subtle deception on the road towards knowing God we can start to trust on our past experiences of grace and not rely on the grace of God daily. And what happened? The religious leader, "looked down on everyone else" (Luke 18:9). He did not take the humble role of a being below others as a servant but rather assumed priority over others.
In such a contrast we see the Publican come to our Lord and simply say in humility, "God, have mercy on me, a sinner." (Luke 18:13). This one humbled himself before God, no matter how holy or progressed in our Christian lives when we humble ourselves we keep our position of walking with God in His presence. But once we exalt ourselves then we are cast away.
In a famous drawing of this scene, we see the Publican bowing and humble, and the Pharisee exalted and with one hand judging the other and the other praising God. Then in the picture we notice the hand of God blessing with grace and mercy the Publican only. Let this be a reminder that when we judge others we cannot praise God with the same breath and miss God's blessing in the process.
Serving Others In the Body
When we have pride in our own accomplishments and skills we are taking the credit for these things to ourselves. The reality is all giftings given to brethren in the body of Christ is to serve and help others, not ourselves. To follow the way of pride is to follow the way of the devil. The follow the way of humility is to follow in the way of the Lord.
bill_coley — 2017-02-13T14:30:58-05:00 — #2
Thanks for a helpful assessment of the roots and effects of pride, Greg. In these forums I have posted multiple times about what I refer to "spiritual hubris," a term to which I assign the same basic resume.
To my observation, pride often evades easy detection, especially by its carriers. Your post offers an important reminder and corrective. Thanks.
dave_l — 2017-02-13T14:49:28-05:00 — #3
It would do Christians good to see what the Pharisees believed and how it gave rise to their pride. There are many similarities in the area of free will and sovereignty in today's church.
Josephus made some interesting comments about the Pharisees regarding their beliefs concerning free will and sovereignty. He said they:
"make everything depend on fate and on God, and teach that the doing of good is indeed chiefly the affair of man, but that fate also cooperates in every transaction" –Josephus, Wars 2.8.14
"They assert that everything is accomplished by faith. They do not, however, deprive the human will of spontaneity, it having pleased God that there should be a mixture, and that to the will of fate should be added the human will with its virtue or baseness" –Josephus, Ant. 18.1.3
According to the Pharisees everything that happens takes place through God's providence, even human actions whether good or bad, God is in control of. This is widely taught throughout the entire Old Testament.
As far as sovereignty the Pharisees held to a certain view that made it impossible for either free will or the sovereignty of God to cancel out the other. As Josephus put it,
"Though they postulate that everything is brought about by fate, still they do not deprive the human will of the pursuit of what is in man's power" -Jos. Antiq. XVIII. i. 3; cf. Antiq. XIII. v. 9; War II. viii. 14
Josephus uses the word "fate," a term familiar in Stoicism, to communicate to his Hellenistic readers the Jewish idea of "providence."
So the Pharisees avoided the extreme views of both the Sadducees and the Essenes. The Sadducees argued that free will was ultimately determined by the course of history (Josephus, War II. viii. 14; Antiq. XIII. v. 9) , whereas the Essenes argued that everything was determined in advance and human will therefore was of no consequence (Josephus, Antiq. XIII. v. 9; cf. Antiq. XVIII. i. 5) .
Again the Pharisees seem to have prevailed and in later Judaism it is evident from the Mishnah as can be seen for example in Akiba's dictum:
"all is foreseen, but freedom of choice is given" (Aboth 2:16).
From Pharisees and Free Will;
gao_lu — 2017-02-13T17:26:42-05:00 — #4
Excellent devotional. Thanks Greg.
I have a sort of related question:
People sometimes say things like, "I am proud of my son [wife, whomever]." Some people distinguish between True pride and false pride. Are we just rationalizing pride?
In your minds, how does all that work out? Do you feel a twinge of disconfort when you say "I am so proud of myself, my work, my friend...?" What is the best response to that?
dave_l — 2017-02-14T05:37:47-05:00 — #5
What if you raised your children the best it can be done. A Godly home, teaching responsibility and giving plenty of love. But a daughter turns out to be a drug addict and prostitute? Can you take credit for that? If not, how can we take credit for the ones who do turn out?
I think of Herod who didn't give God the glory and was eaten by worms.
greg_gordon — 2017-02-21T09:37:54-05:00 — #6
Great question brother, I believe we need to speak words of affirmation to our children but also always depend on the Lord for any goodness in our children. If they feel their goodness is apart from God then that is one step of pride that separates them from the Lord.