181. THE FOLLY OF PRIDE

(The Information & Edification Series – Batch 4)

This morning, my Bible turned randomly to Proverbs 16 and so I read from verses 1-5, unable to move further, due to the need I found to meditate on the truths contained in those few verses.

Verses 2-5 state:

  • All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes; but the Lord weigheth the spirits. Commit thy works unto the Lord, and thy thoughts shall be established. The Lord hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil. Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the Lord: though hand join in hand, he shall not be unpunished.”

Several points can be gleaned from this portion of scripture.

Firstly, it reminds us that man has a heart problem. Pride is lodged deep in his heart.

Due mainly to pride, All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes.” He sees nothing wrong with what he does or how he behaves or if he knows that what he has done or is doing is wrong, he dismisses it as not really as bad as it is or fishes up an excuse as to why he did it or continues to do it.

This is the workings of pride. Pride results in you justifying everything you do or finding excuses for it. It makes you see yourself as a decent enough person, a really good person or even a saint, when in truth and in fact, you are a vile sinner, in need of God’ forgiveness and grace.

Pride also makes you live, not unto God who created you for HIS purpose but unto yourself. The Bible states that “The Lord hath made all things for himself”, yet, the prideful person does not consider God or only in jest or he or she uses his name when he or she thinks it will benefit self and give him or her some kind of clout or mileage.

The proud person sees all of life as an opportunity to serve self and not God. He does not consider himself to be under divine authority and accountability but in charge of his own life and destiny. He therefore flouts scornfully at the command: “Commit thy works unto the Lord and thy thoughts will be established”.

God is not really in his thoughts, for he lives like a god unto himself. The Lord hath made all things, including the proud person, for himself, yet the proud person lives, not for the God who made him, to serve him but for himself.

PRIDE IS THEREFORE A STATE OF REBELLION, as it is a deviation from the course and purpose for which a person was created. We were created for God, to promote HIS glory and not our own and to exalt his holy name. We were created to serve him as humble servants, to worship, honour and praise his name.

He brought us into this world, gave us his spirit when he created us and breathed the breath of life into us, for HIS purposes. We are therefore supposed to humble ourselves under HIS mighty hand, to cease the pursuit of the exaltation and advancement of self and get in line. We are to commit our works, everything we do, not unto ourselves but unto the Lord. HE is supposed to be our every focus.

The apostle Paul in the Bible understood this, after he had had his encounter with the living and resurrected Lord Jesus Christ. In 1 Corinthians 2:2, he declared, “For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.”

This mindset that we are supposed to have as mere human beings, formed from the dust of the earth is consistent with Colossians 3:17, where it reads, “And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.”

Two hallmarks identified in Proverbs 16 of the person that is proud in heart therefore are that (1) always eager to justify and excuse himself, he sees nothing wrong or very wrong with what he does, how he lives and who he is and (2) he lives his life unto himself, as if he is accountable to no one. He does whatever seems to be right in his own eyes, as the Israelites once did in Judges 17:6 and 21:25 and does not consider, that for everything he does, God will one day bring him into judgment (Ecclesiastes 12:14).

THE PROUD IS THEREFORE DELUSIONAL. He justifies his rebellion and wrongdoing and finds excuses to minimize the extent of his wickedness. He sees himself as good and good enough for God’s heaven. He makes his own decisions and choices. He lives for himself and his passions. He is his own boss and is proud of it. He does not allow and does not want Jesus to rule over him. For, he is content to rule over himself.

Surely, the proud person is on the wrong path to destruction but pride has so blinded his eyes, that he sees that path as the path to liberation. He runs away from God, who is the source of life and life itself, yet pride deludes him into thinking, that he will experience more and more of ‘the good life’, the further he gets away from him.

Like the Prodigal son who thought similarly, when he sought to create distance between himself and his earthly Father because he no longer wanted to live under his roof and under his rule but to go out and live ‘life’ for himself, any person that is genuinely saved but has allowed pride to overtake him, usually gets to the point where he realizes the error and folly of his ways.

Once this happens, he ceases to justify his rebellion, admits it for what it is and returns to his Father in humility and repentance. He humbles himself under God’s mighty hand because he realizes that he has been deluded. He was on the wrong path. He thought that life was out there to be experienced and that he was being restricted by his heavenly Father but life having not turned out how he thought it would, he has come to his senses. He has realized that God himself is and was always the fountain of life, that it is in Jesus that the fullness of the Godhead dwells bodily and that his banner over him was always love (Psalm 36:9; Jeremiah 2:13; Colossians 2:9; Song of Solomon 2:4).

When it comes to unbelievers though, if they never get saved, they remain in their pride. That is, those that never had genuine relationship with Jesus and therefore never knew God as their Father, if they never come to know Jesus as Lord and Saviour, they will continue on in their rebellion. They will continue to live for self and to justify themselves, sure, that when they die, if there is a heaven and a hell, God will consider them and whatever good they would have done in this life as good enough, to let them in to his heaven.

While on earth, they rejected the path that God set for salvation. They rejected the initial act of obedience required by God, which in turn required mankind humble himself, to acknowledge his wrong and to accept the fact that he does not have what it takes in himself, to rule or save himself.

In pride, although salvation and access to heaven is a free gift offered by God to all, many people turn their backs on it because they do not wish to humble themselves under God’s mighty hand as 1 Peter 5:6 urges. They do not wish to abandon control of their lives and to hand it over to him in full surrender.

Think about it: Salvation flies in the face of pride and rightfully so. For, it requires pride, as deep-seated as it may be in a heart, to be dealt a death blow. It requires a man to no longer see all his ways as clean and good and right in his own eyes but to see his ways as God’s Word sees it and says it is.

God’s Word says for example “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.”(Isaiah 64:6)

God’s Word says that “There is none righteous, no, not one”. For:

  • “There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: Their feet are swift to shed blood: Destruction and misery are in their ways: And the way of peace have they not known: There is no fear of God before their eyes.” (Romans 3:10-18)

Salvation requires, after believing in the resurrection of Jesus Christ, to humbly confess the truth with one’s mouth, that Jesus (not mankind) is Lord and therefore, to align one’s self under his Lordship, realizing that we were created, not to glorify or exalt ourselves but to be his humble servants. It therefore requires pride to be completely done away with and instead of living for self, to live for the Lord who made all things for himself.

This is why Paul, having received God’s salvation humbly, (through faith in Jesus Christ and confessing with this mouth that he (Jesus), who had died but had risen up from the dead was indeed Lord), stated, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

To receive the Lord’s forgiveness for sins and obtain salvation, mankind must begin by taking the path of humility. There is no other alternative, no other route. The initial act of obedience, which enables mankind to receive Jesus Christ by faith in Him and which brings about conversion, requires or mandates, that the comer must come to the Lord humbly.

This is why in Matthew 18:2-4, it says of Jesus while he was here on earth:

  • “And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”

No man ever came to Jesus proudly and received salvation in his pride. Hence the reason why the Pharisee went away the same, after having prayed to himself loftily. He thought he was praying to God but he was really praying to himself because his posture of pride was wholly unacceptable to God.

He claimed to be praying but he did not come to repent to God of his sins but to give him a list of his so-called ‘accomplishments’. In his mind, he was deserving of God’s heaven because he had not committed as many sins as the Publican standing also in the temple with him and because in his mind, he had done so much good, while on earth.

As a result of his pride, which completely deluded him, he went away never truly seeing the vileness of his own condition before God and never repenting of his sins. He was full of pride and self-righteousness and so, eagerly sought to justify himself while ‘praying’ to God. As a result, he remained a sinner and if he died in that condition, he went to hell.

On the other hand, the Publican, a great sinner, who acknowledged that he was on the wrong path, had messed up in life, was deserving of hell, was sorry for his sins and needed God’s forgiveness and cleansing, humbled himself under the mighty hand of God. He was so ashamed of his sins ,that he did not go too close to the front but stood afar off, not even looking up to heaven when he prayed.

Luke 18:13 states “And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.”

His prayer was found to be acceptable to God and he went away with his sins forgiven, God repositioning him by grace, from sinner to saint.

On the impossibility of receiving salvation or forgiveness when a person comes to God in pride, Jesus, after giving the parable of the Pharisee and the Publican, stated: “Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein.”

THE OUTCOME OF A PROUD PERSON

In verse 5 of Proverbs 16, it states the portion of the prideful person. His outcome is not good. The scripture reads “Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the Lord: though hand join in hand, he shall not be unpunished.”

Interestingly, this verse did not say, that a person who is not a Christian and has pride in the heart is what is an abomination to the Lord and what will be punished. No. It says EVERY ONE that is proud is an abomination to the Lord” and would “…not be unpunished”.

This reminds us, that even those who profess to know Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour are not exempt from falling into pride and that they too will receive the chastening of the Lord if they remain stubbornly in that condition. Pride can affect Christians as well, if we are not careful! Those who profess to know Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, must therefore always guard against pride seeping into the heart and developing strongholds there.

Sadly, some professing believers are proud in heart and where this is the case, they are not exempt from God’s punishment. If they are true believers, this impedes a close walk with God, as God hates pride. If unrepented of, God will punish in the form of chastening, so as to rid his child of this wicked way.

This was evident in the story of king Hezekiah in the Bible. He served and loved God but began to get puffed up. The Bible states in 2 Chronicles 32:23-26, that the wrath of the Lord was therefore upon him but thankfully, he came to his senses and humbled himself, which resulted in God turning away his wrath from him.

The scriptures read:

  • “And many brought gifts unto the Lord to Jerusalem, and presents to Hezekiah king of Judah: so that he was magnified in the sight of all nations from thenceforth. In those days Hezekiah was sick to the death, and prayed unto the Lord: and spake unto him, and he gave him a sign. But Hezekiah rendered not again to the benefit done unto him; for HIS HEART WAS LIFTED UP: therefore there was wroth upon him, and upon Judah and Jerusalem. Notwithstanding Hezekiah humbled himself FOR THE PRIDE OF HIS HEART, both he and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the wrath of the Lord came not upon them in the days of Hezekiah.”

THE NOTHINGNESS OF MANKIND

Notably, the statement in the above photo to this Article which states that ‘Behind every strong woman is herself‘, makes no mention of God whatsoever. It gives the impression that she is self-sufficient, has need of no one but herself and can be successful all by herself.

This is consistent with man’s flawed, humanistic way of thinking. He loves to entertain the fallacious idea, that outside of himself, there is nothing, no one higher and no one greater. Yet, this is nothing but fantasy because it is not based on reality.

Although mankind has a tendency to think that he is great, invincible and will conquer everything in his own strength, God exposes this thinking, by letting mankind know that in his eyes and compared to HIS greatness, power and magnificence, mankind is as nothing. Mankind therefore operates with the philosophy that ‘outside of me there is nothing‘ but God lets him know that the truth is that ‘he (mankind) is nothing‘.

In particular, Isaiah 40:15-17 states:

  • “Behold, the nations are as a drop of a bucket, and are counted as the small dust of the balance: behold, he taketh up the isles as a very little thing. And Lebanon is not sufficient to burn, nor the beasts thereof sufficient for a burnt offering. All nations before him are as NOTHING; and they are counted to him LESS THAN NOTHING, and vanity.

God’s Word makes it clear that mankind has nothing to be proud about. To be puffed up is folly, vanity and to operate foolishly. It is impossible for mankind to live a life pleasing to God, if he is full of pride and entertaining foolish notions of self-sufficiency. God detests this way but loves humility.

God’s Word makes it clear how God feels about the proud and the destructive end of the proud, who rebelliously and stubbornly continue on in his own ways, unrepentantly. The authoritative Word of God states for example (and EVERY WORD is true), that:

  • Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall. Better it is to be of an humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud.” (Proverbs 16:18)
  • “The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate.” (Proverbs 8:13)
  • For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.” (1 John 2:16)
  • “With the pure thou wilt shew thyself pure; and with the froward thou wilt shew thyself froward” (Psalm 18:26)
  • For the froward is abomination to the Lord: but his secret is with the righteous. The curse of the Lord is in the house of the wicked: but he blesseth the habitation of the just. Surely he scorneth the scorners: but he giveth grace unto the lowly.” (Proverbs 3:32-34)
  • “But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.” (James 4:6)
  • “For if a man think himself to be something, when he is NOTHING, he deceiveth himself.” (Galatians 6:3)
  • “A man’s pride shall bring him low: but honour shall uphold the humble in spirit.” (Proverbs 29:23)
  • “When pride cometh, then cometh shame: but with the lowly is wisdom.” (Proverbs 11:2)
  • “Though the Lord be high, yet hath he respect unto the lowly: but the proud he knoweth afar of.” (Psalm 138:6)

(Written on 02nd June, 2021)

Dear Reader, if you found the above Article to be beneficial, interesting, informative or edifying, you may also be interested in reading the following:

  • Note 32 – ‘Look At What ‘I’ Have Done!’
  • Note 166 – ‘Humility, Intellectualism and the Power of God’
  • Note 172 – ‘Are You Trying To Establish Your Own Righteousness?’
  • Note 184 – ‘Could You Be Sincerely Wrong?’
  • Note 192 – ‘Attitudes And Approaches To The Word Of God’

Additionally, under the ‘BROKEN Daughters of God’ Page:

  • Note 1 – ‘God Be Merciful To Me A Sinner’

Additionally, under the ‘SINGLE Daughters of God’ Page:

  • Note 95 – ‘Are You Too Puffed Up, Full Of Yourself Or Prideful?’
  • Note 301 – ‘Born In Frailty, Died In Foolishness And Futility’

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