What is pride? It is important that we know what Solomon is talking about when he uses the word. Spiritual pride is an attitude of independence from God. It is not taking pride in your work, celebrating victories, marking milestones, giving a pat on the back, or thanking someone. Lewis Smedes in Love Within Limits said, “Pride is an arrogant refusal to let God be God. To grab God’s status for one’s self.”
The Sin of Pride
In Proverbs 6 we read a list of six things the Lord hates. The first one listed is pride (v. 17). Proverbs 21:4 says, “A haughty look, a proud heart… are sin.” Ever meet people who think they are a notch above? The conservative who thinks he is more moral? The liberal who thinks he is more open-minded? Pride is no respecter of persons. We all want to call the shots and run our own lives. We want to be our own god. We want to find meaning and purpose our own way. However, when pride walks in God walks out.
The Sight of Pride
Both Proverbs 6:17 and 21:4 refer to sight – a proud and haughty look. We live in a narcissistic society consumed with self-centeredness and self-importance. It’s all about me and what I want. Pride is the need to be seen and heard. “The lamp that guides the wicked—haughty eyes and an arrogant heart—is sin” (Prov. 21:4). Pride distorts everything you see. You can’t admit when you are wrong, you blame everyone else, you have to be better, etc. Do you do things just to be seen? Is your vision distorted?
The Sound of Pride
There are also references throughout Proverbs to the pride of the mouth. Look at 14:3, 8:13, and 21:24. We all are familiar with this. Listen to people talk. They are politicking, jockeying for position, etc. We hear that we are to “swallow our pride,” but really, we should spit it out! Do you disregard the input of others and make decisions solely based on what you want? Is pride taking center stage in your life? Is your speech arrogant or condescending? There are no big shots or little shots in the family of God!
The Shame of Pride
“When pride comes, then comes shame” (11:2). “The Lord will destroy the house of the proud” (15:25). “Pride goes before destruction” (16:18). When you watch a Christmas parade, you know that Santa is coming at the end. Pride is like a parade. Where there is pride, destruction is coming. Years ago, they boasted saying the Titanic would never sink. What they said it would not do, it did. Peter said that he would never deny the Lord, but he did. We all need to be aware of the danger of self-confidence.
The Strife of Pride
“By pride comes nothing but strife…” (13:10). The disciples argued over who was the greatest. They argued over where they were going to sit and who got to sit on the right and on the left of Jesus. Every war, church split, divorce, and argument is caused by pride. The proud do not learn from their mistakes. They do not take advice. C. S. Lewis wrote, “Pride is a spiritual cancer; it eats up the very possibility of love, or contentment, or even common sense.” We all need to check our egos at the door!
The Solution of Pride
“The fear of the Lord is the instruction of wisdom, and before honor is humility” (15:33). Humility comes before honor. The humble are not after importance. In their humility is a glory that never fades. Jesus was born in a feed trough, to a poor family. He came meek and lowly to die a humiliating death. Salvation was achieved through humility and can only be received through humility. Jesus overcame the temptation of pride. Get in the presence of God. You will fall down in humility before holiness. You have to decrease before you can increase.