This post last updated on November 12th, 2021
“Don’t let your pride get in the way.” That’s what my Mom used to tell me. Trust me, I gave her plenty of opportunities to remind me of that.
Experiencing satisfaction and joy in who we are, or in our accomplishments isn’t such a bad thing is it? And how is that different than being prideful?
Crown of the Virtues
Ever heard the saying “pride is a virtue?” Would you agree with that statement?
The Greek philosopher Aristotle thought so. In fact he thought of it as “a crown of the virtues,” teaching that “pride is the virtue of respecting oneself,” even going so far as to state that a person wouldn’t find any value in living if they had no measure of pride.
Let me just say that I don’t put much weight on philosophy as a means to find truth, particularly eternal truths.
Understand that philosophy is driven by questions alone and never really arrives at any conclusion. In other words, if substantial answers were ever provided to philosophical discussions, philosophers would find themselves in the unemployment line.
That being said, was Aristotle on to something? Is there a virtuous side to pride?
To answer that for the Christian, we have to ask, what does the Bible have to say about it?
Pride and Prideful
What my Mom was warning me about, and what I’m talking about in this post is being prideful. That form of pride is one of the most common human attributes, and we all wrestle with it.
Check these 3 out:
- When your son or daughter achieves some great level of academic or athletic feat, it’s not wrong to take delight in that, and to even honor your child.
- Your employer gives you an uplifting review, a bonus, and a raise. You should be proud of your hard work.
- Satan, in his pride looked at himself as equal to and even greater than God and that became his destruction.
Wait. Why is that last example different?
Ezekiel 28:11-19 gives us the backstory. We really see the difference in pride and a destructive, prideful attitude in verse 17, where God says of Satan, “Your heart was proud because of your beauty; you corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor.” (Ezekiel 28:17)
Boom. There it is. Heart pride.
And guess what characteristic we’ve spiritually inherited in the sinful human condition we’ve all been born into?
Heart pride, you say?
Man, you’re good…
Virtue or Sin?
Pride is mentioned no less than 46 times in the Bible, exact numbers of course depending on which translation you’re using.
Proud is used at least another 47 times than that and the word haughty is seen at least 10 times in the Bible.
Pride, proud, haughty. Three words used at least 103 times in Scripture and not once are they used in a positive way.
In fact, these 3 words are always found, Scripturally speaking, in reference to sin and evil.
Honoring accomplishments, having delight, and experiencing satisfaction in yourself is certainly not a sinful practice or attitude.
It’s when the view of yourself outweighs the regard you have for others that you’re at the very least flirting with sin in the form of a prideful heart.
That’s because it’s just not possible to follow the teachings and examples of Jesus when an excessive view of self is in the picture.
We lose consideration for others, and especially for God. Jesus taught us that we are to love God and others. Even more than that, Jesus taught these 2 as the greatest commandments (Matthew 22:36-40).
Is There a Prescription?
Do you have a prideful heart or attitude in any area of your life? Do you need to get that sucker in check?
Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Truthfully, there have been times in my own life when my prideful self even got in the way of my prayer life and of my worship of God.
Simply put, the cure for pride is humility. Thinking less of yourself than others. Putting
someone everyone else ahead of you.
Simple, but not easy. Putting it into practice takes discipline. I know. I don’t like that word, either. It’s usually followed by exercise.
And we need both of those to overcome a prideful attitude.
So if I had to write a prescription for the exercise to overcome a prideful heart and increase humility, here’s what that would look like:
- Start your day reading Ephesians 4. It’s 32 verses and you can do it while getting that first cup of coffee down the hatch.
- Follow that with a moment of reflection on what you just read. Pick 1 or 2 verses that stand out that morning.
- Pray over those verses.
- End your day with Colossians 1:1-17. It’s even fewer verses than the morning dose and you shouldn’t fall asleep reading them!
- Apply steps 2 and 3 to Colossians.
- Repeat daily for 30 days.
Believe me, those 2 passages will work wonders not only in pride and humility, but in many areas of your life. And in your relationship with God and others.
Pardon me while I go take my own medicine. . .