Pride- The Anti-Virtue

Posted: March 6, 2007 in Bible Study, Biblical Topics, Christ, Christianity, Religion, Virtues

“No one, however, is more wealthy than such a man; no one is more powerful, no one freer than he who knows how to leave all things and think of himself as the least of all.” Thomas A Kempis (1380-1471), The Imitation of Christ.

Pride- it can be the origin of many of our sinful actions. It sets us up to opposition to God and his role in our lives. Our pride, at it’s core, a rejection of Christ’s sacrifice. When we are prideful we act as if we can accomplish our purpose without God’s love and assistance. For that reason pride is an affront to God and his plans for each one of us.

Even more problematic, pride can lead us into outright rebellion against God. Why? Pride often leads to rationalization of our actions. We don’t study the bible to find God’s true word, we study to justify our own lifestyle. This isn’t just sloppy bible study techniques, it is outright rebellion to God’s word. This means we don’t seek forgiveness for sinful actions since we don’t even believe we are sinning. How can God forgive a man who won’t even recognize that he is in need of mercy? That is the powerful blindness that pride can create in each one of us.

Is it our fault we are prideful? Yes and no. We are born sinners, fallen men, with a nature inclined to pride. The world makes it worse by teaching us that self-esteem is radically important in our lives. We are told that without self-esteem we can’t have functioning relationships, good careers, and overall fulfillment in life.

However, self-esteem (especially the unrealistic version of it delivered in our public schools) soon becomes worship of the self. Opinions (unchecked against facts) are granted sacred status, emotions (justified or not) cut a wider path than truth, and dreams (the more unrealistic the better) are pandered to with near sycophantic flattery. But should the Christian hold such a high regard of self? No. When we place our abilities as primary, we are denying God the trust he requires.

“Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him.” Job 13:15.

“[God answered Job] Wilt thou trust him, because his strength is great? or wilt thou leave thy labour to him? Wilt thou believe him, that he will bring home thy seed, and gather it into thy barn?” Job 39:11-12.

“And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, LORD, hast not forsaken them that seek thee.” Psalm 9:10.

“Oh how great is thy goodness, which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee; which thou hast wrought for them that trust in thee before the sons of men!” Psalms 31:19.

When we place too great a trust in ourselves we often fail to trust God.  Christ stated that no man can serve two masters, who will be your master- self or God?  We know that self is corrupted, fallen, and full of worldly desires.  What does self possess that makes it worthy of our trust?  Nothing.

The only place we may repose our trust and store our treasures, without fear of fail and decay, is in Heaven.  For God is not corrupted, he is not a liar (like man), but a righteous savior and Lord.  He blesses those who trust in Him beyond our own ability to comprehend.

So I implore all of us (myself included), let us crucify ourselves to this world and it’s corrupted desires.  Leave pride behind and follow Paul’s advice:

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.”  Philippians 2:3-4.

Leave self behind and follow Christ.

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Comments
  1. elbesino says:

    Amen, brother. I was stripped of self-esteem many years ago, when I could not find any justification for my own “honor”; for more than 20 years I thought of myself as less and less a man. In our society, that meant I could not even look in the eye of a bum and believe I “was better”…as we so think. One day, in total despair, feeling so completely worthless, I cried out to God, saying words to the effect of “Lord, I don’t even have SELF-ESTEEM!”

    And like a jolt, almost in mid-cry, He stopped me, and I suddenly understood that, in His eyes, a man with no esteem was of greater value in His work than a man who highly esteemed himself. It was like a streak of white hot fire that seared my understanding. And it was then that I began to understand what it meant to seek the welfare of others, to recognize what “poor in spirit” meant.

    Thank you, brother. May God continue to open our eyes of understanding of Who He is. So that when we look upon the face of the “least of these,” His brethren, we truly see the face of God. (Jo. 14:9)

  2. timbob says:

    Greetings. Pride is the core of all rebellion as the “it’s all about me” mentality kicks in. In times past I’ve done damage to the cause of Christ because of spiritual pride. I praise God for his forgiveness and for lessons learned, but I would much rather not have caused the damage in the first place. Isaiah 57:15 is an awesome verse that I have laid up in my heart.
    Have a great day in Christ Jesus.

    timbob

  3. damewigginsoflee says:

    Good old pride — the ultimate source of my inevitable demise, without a doubt! The ‘anti-virtue’ — i like that.

  4. faithwalk says:

    Pride can take on so many forms we don’t even recognize it until God shows us. Because I had very low self esteem I thought I had no pride but it came in another door, through my children, our business, and church. We had the “perfect christian family” and I was very, unknowingly, proud of it. The when our oldest turned 16 things began to unravel.
    As the Lord stripped everything away, I saw how very proud I was in more areas than I could imagine.
    The result has been a lot of time on my face in repentance for many things, truly seeing and knowing that we are of ourselves incapable of any good, any faith, anything at all. Even repentance is graced to us by the Father through the Holy Spirit. We are NOTHING and Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior is EVERYTHING. he is our hope, our strength and life.
    In Him we move and breathe and have our being. I am ever so thankful for His mercy, His love and His grace.
    Without it I could not live.
    Blessing to you!

    Susan

  5. cumby says:

    A daily battle indeed. A few years ago, on a New Year’s morning, I awoke to the sound of a voice saying, “You can do nothing without Me.” I replied “Yes Lord, I know.” But in my heart I began to think of lot’s of things I can do on my own. I was wrong.

  6. In my support group I heard something that fits, I think. Someone shared that self-will is me—thinking about [me thinking about me]. She went on to share that this is human nature, but that we can choose to put up the stop sign that stops this kind of thinking. I thought it was insightful.

    I thought what you wrote here was insightful as well.
    Kate.

  7. mcalmond says:

    Good straight and clear punching message and warning. Wonderful! Thank you!

    Pride says I do not need the Lord Jesus, thinking of ourselves more highly than we ought, it is self centered, self sufficient and self exalting/glorifying.

    Humility is an absolute dependency upon the Lord Jesus Christ, that says, I need him, every moment of every day, I need you Lord Jesus, for apart from you I can not nothing of Kingdom life and value.

    Thank you for such a good post.

    Blessings in Christ Jesus!

  8. mauthor says:

    this has nothing to do with your topic(well, actually it kind of does if you have seen the DVD or book, but have you heard about “the secret”, and if you have, what are your thought about it. Maybe you should make that your next topic.

  9. Never heard of it, who is the author?

  10. Mark Wilson says:

    I think self-esteem is vital to life and love and enjoying life.

    But the counterfeit is pride and that is like a poison to ourselves and to those around us.

    In the same way humilty is vital to good relationships with people, but low self-esteem and rejection of self is the counterfeit – they often masquerade as humility.

    Christianity is so often about balance isn’t it?

    Hey, pop over to http://christianmen.wordpress.com/ and leave a comment for the men!

    God bless,
    Mark.

  11. mauthor says:

    The author is Rhonda Byrne.

  12. […] I have to go back and read my old post, “Pride: The Anti-Virtue.” Those darn goods saying such good things is going to my […]

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