288. SURE SIGNS OF PRIDE IN THE CHURCH

(The Faith Forum Series – Batch 4)

Even as Christians, pride is something that we must always be checking for in our lives, to ensure that it has not made its home in our hearts or trying to creep up on us. Pride can be so subtle in its entry, that before we know it, it can be a part of our character.

It is an ugly trait to have and one which it is clear from the Word, that God despises. It interferes with our close walk with God and undermines our purpose, as God exalts the humble and abases the proud.

It is unlike the character of Jesus Christ who lived in humility while here on earth. It is therefore a trait that is characteristic of the devil, who, due to his lofty and elevated view of himself, thought to exalt his throne above the stars of God. Needless to say, pride, which deludes, goeth before a fall and he was kicked out of heaven.

Revelations 12:9 states of this historical incident:

  • “And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.”

Isaiah 14:11-17 also states of the devil and his end:

  • “Thy pomp is brought down to the grave, and the noise of thy viols: the worm is spread under thee, and the worms cover thee. How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit. They that see thee shall narrowly look upon thee, and consider thee, saying, Is this the man that made the earth to tremble, that did shake kingdoms; That made the world as a wilderness, and destroyed the cities thereof; that opened not the house of his prisoners?”

It never augurs well for one that is full of pride. The Bible states that:

  • “Only by pride cometh contention: but with the well advised is wisdom” (Proverbs 13:10);
  • “When pride cometh, then cometh shame: but with the lowly is wisdom” (Proverbs 11:2);
  • “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);
  • “Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the Lord: though hand join in hand, he shall not be unpunished” (Proverbs 16:5);
  • “A man’s pride shall bring him low: but honour shall uphold the humble in spirit” (Proverbs 29:23);
  • Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18);
  • “For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself (Galatians 6:3);
  • “But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble” (James 4:6);
  • “Let another man praise thee, and not thine own mouth; a stranger, and not thine own lips” (Proverbs 27:2);
  • “Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit? there is more hope of a fool than of him” (Proverbs 26:12);
  • “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves” (Philippians 2:3);
  • “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);
  • “Before destruction the heart of man is haughty, and before honour is humility” (Proverbs 18:12);
  • “Thy terribleness hath deceived thee, and the pride of thine heart, O thou that dwellest in the clefts of the rock, that holdest the height of the hill: though thou shouldest make thy nest as high as the eagle, I will bring thee down from thence, saith the Lord.” (Jeremiah 49:16)
  • “In those days Hezekiah was sick to the death, and prayed unto the Lord: and he spake unto him, and he gave him a sign. But Hezekiah rendered not again according to the benefit done unto him; for his heart was lifted up: THEREFORE THERE WAS WRATH 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.” (2 Chronicles 32: 24-26)
  • “And Uzziah prepared for them throughout all the host shields, and spears, and helmets, and habergeons, and bows, and slings to cast stones. And he made in Jerusalem engines, invented by cunning men, to be on the towers and upon the bulwarks, to shoot arrows and great stones withal. And his name spread far abroad; for he was marvellously helped, till he was strong. But when he was strong, his heart was lifted up TO HIS DESTRUCTION: for he transgressed against the Lord his God…” (2 Chronicles 26:14-16)

Given that God hates pride and resists those who have a lofty view of themselves, we must therefore guard our hearts against this infiltration and not think of ourselves more highly than we ought to think. Paul implored Christians in Romans 12:3: “For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think.”

Even if we consider ourselves to be humble and are known by others as being humble, this does not mean that we can never become proud, as we have seen in the case of king Hezekiah in the Bible. He loved the Lord but there came a point where he allowed pride to creep into his heart (2 Chronicles 32: 24-26). It is something we must therefore always be examining ourselves for and when we find it, we must send it packing.

Sadly, there are some who claim to be in the body of Christ but are full of themselves. They have fully embraced pride and don’t intend to let go. The pride bug has hit them hard, although they do not see it.

I have always said and maintain, that it is impossible for a proud person to have a close, intimate walk with God. It matters not who the person is or how articulate he is and well-respected in Christian circles. If he is full of himself, he is deluding himself as to his level of spirituality. For, spiritual maturity begins with humility, realizing that you are nothing without God and not just saying this with your lips but living a life and behaving in a manner, that reflects this. The closer people get to God, the more they see not others but their own inadequacies, weaknesses, imperfections and shortcomings. This makes them fall flat on their face before God like Moses often did, in fear and trembling because they realize that it is only because of the grace and mercy of God, that they are not consumed.

In Psalm 130:3, the Psalmist, in contemplation of how holy God was and how far beneath his standard we have all fallen, asked the question, “If thou, Lord, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand?” In Psalm 8:34, the question was also asked, in appreciation for how great God is in relation to us puny human beings, “What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?

As human beings and especially as Christians, we have nothing of which to be proud and puffed up about, not our achievements, talents, good looks, spouse, family, children, gifts, bank account, house, car, position in society, the extent of our influence, where we have been, how far we have come, our job, intelligence, education, articulation, who we are affiliated to, what we have done thus far, our salvation (as if we earned it), how highly people regard us in Christian or societal circles or anything else. Yet, there is a temptation by some, to take pride in these things.

If you profess to know the Lord Jesus Christ, to assist you in determining whether you’re full of pride or it is beginning to take root in your heart and mind, below is a list of some of the sure signs of a person who is full of pride.

YOU ARE FULL OF PRIDE IF:

1. You NEVER OR HARDLY EVER SEE YOURSELF as having done anything wrong or very wrong, no matter how much you’ve hurt others and displeased the Lord with your actions.

Where your wrong is so blatant that you can’t pretend or delude yourself into thinking that you did nothing, you acknowledge it flippantly (many times along with an excuse to justify yourself, like: “Nobody is perfect” or “We are all guilty of similar actions”) and move quickly back into your self-righteous, pious position. There is therefore no real repentance.

2. Although you don’t dwell on your sins and don’t spend quality time repenting for your own failings but DISMISS it quickly, you are HIGHLY CRITICAL and love to DWELL on the sins or perceived sins and imperfections of others, which your eyes are quick to see.

When it comes to other people, even if they have repented where they have done wrong and spent quality time grieving over it before the Lord, you are unwilling or reluctant to move on. You consider it an indelible stain, that not even the blood of Jesus can wash off and you treat the person accordingly.

3. You begin to COMPARE with others, measuring your so-called ‘accomplishments’ or any thing good that you have done with others.

If you do a good act (which may or may not have an ulterior motive), you begin to look down at others (both Christians and non-Christians) because they did not do like you did or think of doing what you did or as much as you did or to the extent that you did.

You see yourself as better, greater, more spiritual, more special, more pleasing in the sight of God than another person, based on what you have done and what people have SEEN you doing. You think to yourself: There is no way that God could not be pleased with what I’ve done but I KNOW that he is displeased with so-and-so who did not do as I did or as good as I did.

Where a person has sinned in some way that you view to be detestable, you consider yourself as more spiritually mature than that person and convince yourself that you have points with God because you never committed that particular detestable sin. You therefore cast your nose down at that person, much like the Pharisee did to the sinner, when they both went to pray in the temple.

4. Your PRAYERS ARE NOT HUMBLE.

You may use self-deprecating terms here and there but the tone of your prayer, your posture when praying, the effort you make to be articulate and to use fancy words and to make the prayer lengthy (so as to impress the hearers), together with some of the things you say, give off the disgusting fragrance to others, that this is a man or woman that is full of pride.

The prayer and posture of a person that is truly humble and knows that he or she is an undeserving sinner saved by grace is markedly different. Such a person comes to God knowing that he does not deserve the right to have access to his throne (although he is told to come boldly) and therefore, his gratitude, due to his unworthiness, comes out in that prayer, in his tone, in his words and in his posture.

He is not preoccupied in using fancy words so as to impress God and his hearers but he keeps his prayer real because he knows that it is a conversation that he is having with the God he loves and has sweet relationship and fellowship with. He also knows that it is the effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man that avails much, not necessarily the wordy, articulate, intellectual-sounding prayer.

5. You begin to WRITE-OFF PEOPLE, even those who are genuinely saved because in your view, they haven’t reached your ‘standard’ of spiritual elevation as a Christian or have committed some sin which you think is too great and unpardonable, so you make yourself a judge, a perfect one and give the penalty of condemnation and perpetual non-forgiveness.

If the person truly sinned as you believe to be true, he or she may have already repented of it and been restored by Jesus, the only one that has the power to forgive sins. Yet, you dismiss Jesus altogether and his objective of reconciliation and restoration, you having placed yourself in the judgment seat as judge.

Yet, Romans 14:4 states, “Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.”

Romans 2:13 also reminds us, “For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment.”

In your pride though, which goes hand in hand with self-righteousness, irrespective of whether or not there has been repentance, you regard the person with disgust, think the person worthy of perpetual ostracism and you act in accordance with this belief, using your tongue to slander that person.

Like Jonah, who, in a bout of pride and self-righteousness, refused to go preach to the people of Nineveh at God’s instruction and then, after going, got angry because the people repented and God forgave them (meaning he wiped the slate clean), your heart is not for reconciliation and restoration but condemnation and punishment. That is, you desire some sinners who you have assessed in your mind to be great sinners (and they are), to be punished by God because you do not like them and/or are so disgusted with their sin. You want to see them suffer, not be forgiven or at least suffer before they are forgiven, as if you are more holy than God and as if you yourself are not a great sinner, deserving of the worst of punishments as well.

Those who haven’t reached your ‘standard’ (that lofty place you have created for yourself in your mind) are completely good-for-nothings, worthless, a joke and deserving of ostracism, scorn, hostility and condescending treatment. After all, you delude yourself into thinking, that they are not on your level or your plane. They are failures and God will never use them for anything great.

6. You believe that GOD WILL NEVER DO A GREAT WORK IN SOME PROFESSERS OF CHRIST who you have labelled as nothing special (especially those who may have fallen in the past) and believe that he will only do so through those who belong to your clique or who you believe belong to the special group of ‘very spiritual’ Christians.

You therefore dismiss the gifts God may have placed in a brother or sister who you do not think much of and his or her God-given purpose. Because you do not believe that God has gifted that person with a particular gift e.g discernment (because in your mind, that is too great a gift to give to such a nobody), you do not benefit from it as God may have intended for the body of Christ to benefit, due to your unbelief.

You invest your energies in downplaying the person’s work, testimony and try to convince him or her and others, that God has not gifted him or her in that particular area (simply because that does not line up with how you believe God gifts his children or who you believe is worthy of having such a gift) and you think that God reserves the gifts you consider to be ‘great’, for those you consider, in your folly, to be as important as yourself.

7. You have deluded yourself into thinking of the body of Christ as having CLASSES, TIERS OR LEVELS of importance and you act accordingly because you believe that it is okay to have CLIQUES.

Instead of endeavouring to keep the bond of unity as God’s Word commands, not having respecter of persons (which God hates) and seeing every brother and sister as equally special, important and useful to the body of Christ and God’s Kingdom agenda, you operate in such a way that supports cliques. You genuinely believe, based on your actions, that those who are more social, outgoing, extroverted and whose good works are more seen and known by the public eye and those that have not sinned as much as other Christians are perceived to have sinned are more special and spiritual than other believers and should associate only or mainly with such special people like themselves and on their level, while merely tolerating the rest of professers.

8. You begin to COMPETE. You are not content to shine but want to shine the brightest.

Those who you believe are making you look bad (because it is all about you really and not about Christ) or seem to be outdoing you in activities and impact, you begin to resent, hate and feel the need to show them up or take them down a notch or to do more and more, so that you (not them) can remain in the spotlight. Like Cain, you cannot speak peaceably to such persons, as your heart is fully of envy, bitterness and resentment because in them shining bright for Christ, it is putting shade on you or you believe it is dulling your shine.

9. You FORGET or perhaps have never really understood that you are not special or righteous in your own self but THAT YOU ARE JUST LIKE OTHER SINNERS, you being a great one yourself.

The only difference is that if you are truly saved, it is God in his grace who did it, not because you were special or more deserving but because he chose you before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4). Your works, if accepted by God are not because of anything to do with you but solely because you are IN CHRIST.

IN CLOSING

As indicated before, there are other signs of pride in an individual in the Church but I have stated just a few. As you would have noted, the signs of pride are very related. Where a person is guilty of one therefore, he or she tends to exhibit the others as well.

God will never, in my view, do a great work in a man or woman that is full of pride. Although such persons have an elevated and lofty view of themselves and may therefore be busy doing much, they will usually find that their activities do not achieve much impact, if any. It is as if they are beating the air with their efforts.

God works with humble Christians (especially those who others consider to be nothing much or write-offs) because humility is what he loves. For, when he uses humble vessels, vessels that others have given up on or discarded and dismissed as rejects, they don’t take the glory for themselves but out of a heart of gratitude, point it ALL to Him.

1 Corinthians 1:27-29 informs us:

  • “But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence.”

(Written on 28th January, 2020, added to thereafter)

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

  • Note 95 – ‘Are You Too Puffed Up, Full Of Yourself Or Prideful?’
  • Note 249 – ‘Twelve Indicators Of A Healthy Church’

Additionally, under the ‘BIBLE-BELIEVING Daughters’ Page:

  • Note 32 – ‘Look At What ‘I’ Have Done!
  • Note 33 – ‘Four (4) Brief Lessons For The Body Of Christ’
  • Note 157 – ‘Cliques – An Enemy Of Unity In The Church’
  • Note 166 – ‘Humility, Intellectualism and the Power of God’
  • Note 181 – ‘The Folly Of Pride’

Additionally, under the ‘BROKEN Daughters’ Page:

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

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