The views of pride vary so widely with each individual that it seems good if I say a few things regarding it in the very beginning. In this way whether you are in agreement with me or have a differing opinion, at least you will know where I am coming from and we can at least begin on the same page. Pride principally respects the temper of the mind. It is applicable to every object good or bad, high or low, small or great. There is a pride which consists purely of self-esteem, is positive in sentiment which we can entertain independently of others, lying in the inmost recesses of the human heart and mingles itself with our other emotions and passions. Then there is that pride which springs out of a comparison of one’s self with others. In a strict sense, such a person dwells on his own (real or supposed), perfection. A man who is proud values himself on his literary achievement, scientific talent, wealth, rank, power, accomplishments or his superiority over his competitors. Such pride seeks to display itself in all that can commend the respect or admiration of mankind. The pride of wealth, of power, or of other adventitious properties, commonly displays itself in an unseemly deportment toward others. Two words that are so close that they are almost synonyms are pride and parade, as the latter is the expression of the former.
WORLDLY PRIDE IS CONDEMNED
Pride, John assures us, is not of the Father but is of the world. “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.” (I Jn. 2:16). This pride is the boastful, swagger, vanity, ostentation, self-granulation so prominent with some people. This world to such a person is the theatre of vanity. His mind is filled with himself rather than God. He seeks and more often than not finds ample means and occasions to display his vanity and the more it is indulged the more it grows. The ASV translates it “the vainglory of life.” Life refers to the manner, curse and circumstances of living. And, the sad part is the proud of this world seldom recognize it in themselves.
Pride is a primary reason that some pay little heed to the Gospel. To be obedient one must empty himself of all glory and give glory to God. Paul spoke of the early preacher of the Gospel as “them that preach the gospel of peace and bring glad tiding of good things,” yet in the same stroke of the pen reminds us, “But they have not all obeyed the Gospel.” (Rom. 10:15-16). All of you acquainted with scripture can call to mind some that resisted the truth and when fairly considered, pride played a part in that resistance. Those who would not confess Christ, sought the praise of men more than God (Jn. 12:42-43). The Governor who was so impressed with the Gospel that he trembled; yet pride took hold and Felix would not obey. A king in all of his pomp “Rose up” leaving the presence of the preacher rather than hear more, and, we so often sing and lament of Agrippa who “was almost persuaded,” had he not been bound by pride.
Pride sometimes clasps a Christian who has sinned keeping him from confessing his wrong. “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (I Jn. 1:8-9). By reading the verses previous it is clear that John has in mind those who do not walk in the light yet claim fellowship with the Father in their darkened state. They would not acknowledge their conduct as sinful. Pride gained the upper hand leaving them in deceptive unrighteousness. Furthermore, by continuing in this mind-set they actually make God a liar and posses a heart empty of God’s word. “If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” (V. 10). Pride destroys the soul.
Pride steals the ability to pray from a Christian. As a prelude to His soon to be announced Kingdom, Jesus commanded the disciples to pray thus, “forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.” (Mt. 6:12). Earlier in this same discourse, Jesus had warned, if a man approach God in worship and remember that a brother has ought against him, to leave his gift and go first and be reconciled to his brother then return to offer his gift before God. Failure to follow this admonition would bring him havoc (Mt. 5:23-26). Pride must be seen and acknowledged for the great sin that it is. How many husbands and wives have allowed pride to destroy their home? How many parents have allowed a wedge to be driven between themselves and their children because of foolish pride? How many congregations have suffered division because of a brother who would not let go of his selfish pride. Only eternity will answer these questions, if indeed we are able to grasp the enormity of it then. “Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. Better is it to be of an humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud.” (Prov. 16:18-19).
Pride shows itself as the braggart speaks of his past sins. When we have repented of the sins we have committed, then, lay them aside and if possible forget them. By all means, do not bring them up to revel in them in the presence of others. Some sores are better left covered; after all, we keep our garbage under wraps don’t we? Not only that, there are those in the world that gain our help when they continually boast of their sin. Gay Pride is flaunted until that which was once shunned by all, is now accepted by politicians and public officials. “When pride cometh, then cometh shame.” (Prov. 11:2). Sinful Pride! Oh, the shame of it all—where will it end? Some members of the church who once followed Bible teaching as to how sinful people are to be won to Christ for their own salvation, are now tolerating friends and family members to the point that there is little or no distinction made between these sinfully proud ones and righteous people. Let me hasten to add—yes, these can be saved, when they quit sinning—not before. “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?…Wherefore come ye out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you. And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters saith the Lord Almighty.” (II Cor. 6:14, 17, 18). While we are instructed that “evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived” (II Tim. 3:13), one can not help but wonder whether this country might suffer the same fate as Sodom and the cities of the plains? “The Lord rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven; And he overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground.” (Gen. 19:24-25). Just where is God’s breaking point?
RELIOUS PRIDE IS UNACCEPTIBLE
Religious Pride was assailed by the Lion of the tribe of Judah upon every encounter, but never with more force than when speaking the parable as recorded by Luke in Lk. 18:10-14. “Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. 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. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.” All too often, we fail to recognize the reflected image of the Pharisee in our own arrogance. Religious Pride is revealed in this parable in various forms.
First, there is the mark of egotism. One may congratulate God on His good fortune to have such a wonderful disciple who boasts of being a worshipper of the Almighty. Such seek and enjoy the limelight gladly accepting the praise of others. Such was “Diotrephes, who loved to have the preeminence.” (III Jn. 9). He was not the last disciple that Satan has used for his purposes. Religious Pride is never more dangerous than when a man demands that he be a public participant in the assembly when he lacks the ability or when his moral state is questionable. Yet, there are brethren who demand their rights even when the conscience of others is trampled and great and lasting harm is done to the church. Religious Pride demands its rights!
Second, the mark of critical humility. Those who are filled with Religious Pride never march right up and say, “I am religiously proud.” No, they masquerade in self-abasing humility. With soft speech (sugar being unable to melt in their mouth), they appear all too willing to suffer for the sake of He who died for them. With head shaking as though it gives them pain to say a word against anyone, their speech is carefully calculated to tear into the flock with a vengeance that makes wolves envious. The Pharisees of our Lord’s time refused to say a good thing about anyone. Considering once more Diotrephes, who overflowed with talk saying harmful things against John and turned others out of the church (see the September issue). As the Pharisee in Luke 18 pointed to the publican off away from himself as an evil person, people who are religiously proud are not content to exalt themselves, they must tear others down seemingly thinking that such actions in some way makes them better. Never do they realize that “every one of us shall give account of himself to God” (Rom. 14:12). How God hates pride, especially religious pride. Solomon wrote, “Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination (disgusting BO) to the Lord.” (Prov. 16:5). Some wish for pride, other envy the proud, the world dotes on pride, while to God it is disgusting, He loathes it. It is like the smell of vomit to God. Is there anything more repulsive? Many sermons are directed toward hatred, lust, lying, false doctrine, missing worship, innovations in worship, failure to give (to others and to the church), the failure to take the gospel to others (stateside and to foreign countries), laziness, intolerance, forgiveness, failure to pray, immodest dress and various and sundry other needful things. But, how many sermons have you heard on Pride? The neglect surely is not because such teaching is not needed. Maybe, just maybe, one reason is because the pulpit contains its share of pride. One thing for sure. Where, in all the world does contempt for God sicken Him more than from those occupying the pulpit–local teachers or widely known preachers? Remember pride smells like vomit to God.
Finally, Pride does not allow one to be happy. “Godliness with contentment is great gain” (I Tim. 6:6). I am aware that Paul penned these words regarding money, but they do have a wider application. Pride prevents contentment as he finds it impossible to be content fearing that someone else will receive as much or more than he. Never can he escape the desire to be lifted up. Lying on his bed he agonizes over someone who received the honor he feels he was due, or, he plans ways for others to see how great he really is, often creating animosity between himself and his fellowmen. “He that is of a proud heart stirreth up strife,” and “ by pride cometh contention.” (Prov. 28:25, 13:10). Barney Owens 1410
A Sister was asked the secret of her beautiful complexion.
“I use truth for my lips,
pity for my eyes,
charity for my hands,
uprightness for my figure,
and love for my heart.”
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Wednesday, Thursday, Friday 7:30 P.M.
Saturday 6:00 P.M.
Lord’s Day 10:30 A.M. (and) 3:00 P.M.
Preaching By Brandon Stephens of Tebbetts, Missouri