Pride is a sin so how can we avoid the sin of pride according to the Scriptures?

What is Pride?

Pride was the cause of the fall of Satan from heaven because he became lifted up in his own opinion.  He became great in his own eyes.  He overvalued or overestimated his own worth and when compared to God, there really is no close comparison.  What is pride?  Look at what’s in the exact middle of the word pride it is the letter “I” so I am in the middle of pride every time and when I put myself in the middle of everything, I am being prideful.

The Hebrew word for pride is “zadown” and it’s a lot worse than you might think as it means “insolence” and “arrogance.”  In the Greek the word “alazoneia” means “empty, bragging,” and again “insolent” so a person that has pride is arrogant, insolent, and empty of anything of true value.  That is what pride is it is a sense of value that a person has for themselves when the reality is that they are “empty” according to how God sees them and all that matters is what God thinks.

John’s Writing About Pride

The Apostle John wrote about pride in 1 John 2:16 “For all that is in the world-the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life-is not from the Father but is from the world.”  John was writing about pride in the desires of the flesh, the desires of the eyes and the pride of life.  This is what Eve experienced in the Garden.  She saw that the forbidden food was good for food (desires of the flesh), a delight to the eyes (desires of the eyes), and that it would make her wise (pride of life) so she took of it and ate (Gen 3:6) so pride caused the fall of man just as it did the fall of Satan, called Lucifer at the time as we read in Isaiah 14:14 where he writes what Lucifer was thinking; “I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.”  What he was really saying was that he wanted to become the Most High and receive the worship of heaven and kick God out of heaven, if that were even possible (which of course it was not!).

How to Avoid Pride

We can clearly see that pride is sinful and that no one has any reason to be prideful at all.  One way to avoid the sin of pride is to remain humble because as Proverbs 11:2 says “When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom” and “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall” (Prov 16:18).  We know that God resists the proud but will only give grace to the humble (James 4:6) and if someone has pride then God says that He is at war with them as if we read the original Greek in James it should read like “God opposes (Greek, “antitassō” means “at war with” or “ranging in battle against”) the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”  Peter writes that “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble” in 1 Peter 5:5 and the Greek word he uses for pride is “hyperēphanos” which means “showing one’s worth over or above others” and God calls this sin because what do we really have to boast about?  God calls pride sin and either we will humble ourselves or He will do it for us and one is considerably less painful than the other.

Serving Others

Another way to avoid the sin of pride is to serve others.  Our church does an occasional foot washing, not as an ordinance, but as a way to humble ourselves in serving others.  It takes a lot of humility to wash another person’s feet but if there is anything that we can do to humble ourselves, we are for it because God wants us to remain humble.  Peter tells us to “be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble” (1 Pet 3:8).  Jesus warns those who are full of pride “Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted” (Matt 23:12).  The ways of God are contrary to the ways of the world as we see Solomon write “Pride brings a person low, but the lowly in spirit gain honor” (Prov 29:23) and so we are told to “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time” (1 Pet 5:6).  Wait for the time for God to exalt us in due time; that time is not right now.  Once more Solomon writes how sinful pride is and that God hates it and is called “a way of evil” in Proverbs 8:13 “Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate.”

List of Defiling Sins

Jesus lists a number of sins that to most of us seem obvious but He classifies pride as just as bad as the other sins He lists in Mark 7:

“For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery,  coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness.” (Mark 7:21-22)

He goes on to say that “All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person” (Mark 7:23) so pride is defiling and evil and is grouped with such detestable sins as sensuality, slander, murder, and sexual immorality.  I venture to say that every sin has as its root human pride.  It would be next to impossible, at least it would seem so, to have no pride and still live in sin.  The person who is humble is sensitive to sin and offending or hurting others and sin is always against God but it also hurts other people.

Conclusion

The best way to avoid pride is to realize that we cannot even boast about our salvation for that is a free gift of God which we have no right to brag about (Eph 2:8-9).  If we serve others we can stay humble and avoid pride because it’s hard to serve others and still be full of pride.  You can visit those in the nursing homes who they say 6 in 10 never receive any visitors.  You can visit the sick, write or visit those in prison, and pray for the lost.  Have a heart to serve and you’ll have fewer tendencies to be full of pride.

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