What Does the Bible Say About Pride?
Pride and Beauty
A Snare---Betty Miller
Unmasking Hidden Pride---Alfred
You've Got To Be Wrong In Order
To Get Right---Dennis Peacocke
By Alfred H. Ells
Hubris (pride) was the character flaw that caused many to fail in Greek mythology. In
my counseling practice I have noticed that it is also the stumbling block for many
ministers. The wisdom of Proverbs declares in verse 11:2 that
"when pride comes, then comes dishonor," and in verse 16:18
"Pride goes before destruction. And a haughty spirit before stumbling."
Remember the Biblical story of Nebuchadnezzar, the king, who was made to live
and eat with the beasts of the field and wild donkeys because of his pride? Daniel
5:21 declares that he was "given grass to eat like cattle, and
his body was drenched with the dew of heaven until he recognized that the Most High God is
ruler over the realm of mankind and that He sets over it whomever He wishes."
God truly places those in authority over His church as he sees fit and also removes
whomever He chooses. Pride is probably the major reason for a lack of favor with God
and therefore lack of success in ministry. It is also the major root issue in failure.
As James 4:6 declares " . . . God is opposed to the
proud, but gives grace to the humble."
Though this failure principle is commonly known in ministry circles, few of us readily
admit to having pride and still fewer seem to actively repent. Because pride can be very
subtle in its manifestations, many do not know the telltale signs of pride. Consider the
following characteristics of hidden pride and see if God reveals any indications of pride
in your life. Be brave. Ask those who know you well if they see any of these
characteristics in your life.
Signs of Pride
1. Insecurity. Research reveals clergy as one
of the most insecure of all professional groups. Insecurity is the root of many unhealthy
and ungodly behaviors. It provokes us to want the lavish praise and attention of others
too much. Much of pride is motivated out of ones unmet need for self-worth. Finding
ones identity and security in Christ is a must to avoid pride.
2. The need to be right. Ever encounter someone who has a hard time being wrong?
This is a symptom of pride. The need to be right prevents one from appropriately
evaluating issues as well as themselves (Galatians 6:3). A person who
needs to be right has an exalted investment in himself or herself and thinks that he/she
knows better than others. In religious circles, the need to be right is frequently
manifest through always saying God told me or God showed me.
3. Being argumentative. Individuals, who argue their point of view,
especially to those in authority over them, are allowing pride to get the best of them. At
the root of their argument is a belief that they are right and the other is wrong and
that their will should prevail. It is appropriate to advocate for a point of view or
position but not to do so in such a manner that you are more invested in your opinion than
in arriving at a mutual understanding.
4. More invested in being heard than in hearing. When someone develops a pattern
of needing others to listen to them rather than first hearing others, pride is motivating
the need. The need to be heard is common among clergy who are insecure. Oftentimes, the
individual does not feel loved or valued unless people "hear them out." In
truth, this is often just an expression of insecurity and pride.
5. Anger. Anger is a self-justifying emotion. This means that the nature
of anger is to prompt us to justify our position and blame another for the wrongdoing.
Justification of self leads to denial of our own complicity or wrongdoing. The scripture
warns that the "anger of man does not accomplish the righteousness of God."
(James 1:20). An individual who is angry a lot is suffering from pride.
6. Irritability and impatience. Even though I am a counselor, it was only
recently that I learned that the root of impatience in my life is anger and therefore
pride. When we are unable to be patient with another and are irritated, it demonstrates a
haughty view of self. We feel that our views, time or needs are more important that the
other persons. This again is more an indication of our pride than someone elses slow
movement or imperfection.
7. Lack of submissive attitude. Submission is the voluntary placement of
oneself under the influence, control or authority of another. When an individual pledges
their submission to you or another, yet is critical or argumentative of that authority,
then pride is the hidden issue. The test of humility and submission is being able to say
yes, maintain a positive attitude and trust God, especially when the decision
of your authority goes against your grain or better judgment.
8. Not easily corrected. Ever work or live with someone who wont
receive any negative or corrective feedback? This too is pride. Before he died, a pastor
in the East Valley was noted for being easily entreated and able to receive corrective
feedback from others. He would thank the person for the negative feedback and commit to
pray about it, seek counsel and get back to the person with what conclusions he came to.
He was a role model for many of us.
9. Receiving correction but not changing. I worked with a man who often
would receive my correction and say thank you for the feedback, but would never change.
This too is a form of pride. The individual was placating me and people-pleasing me,
telling me what I wanted to hear but not really taking the feedback to heart. His
insecurity and fear prevented him from truly changing.
10. Needing others to take your advice. Counselors, such as myself, easily
fall into the trap of having to have others take their advice. Advice should always be
offered without strings attached. If you find yourself resenting the fact that your advice
is not followed, look deeper at the motivating issues in your life.
11. Needing to proclaim your title or degrees. A good friend of mine
requires everyone to call him pastor, saying that he has deservedly earned the
title. Demanding that others call you doctor or pastor or
bishop is usually a way of making you one up and them one
down. Once again, pride is fueling the requirement.
12. Being stubborn. Websters dictionary defines stubbornness as "unduly
determined to exert ones own will, not easily persuaded and difficult to handle or
work, resistant." The root issue of stubbornness is willfulness, which is I
want what I want when I want it. Another name for pride.
13. Comparisons and competition. 2 Corinthians 10:12 makes it
clear that comparing oneself with others is unwise. Comparison is a form of competition.
It is often overt. For example, emphasizing the size of ones church, the number of
converts, etc. However, it can also be the subtle sin of heart that inwardly grieves when
another is more successful or rejoices when another pastors ministry enters hard
times. The motive of heart is pride.
Note: Next issue--Acquiring Humility.
This article was taken from the Counselor's Corner,
Volume II, Issue 11, published by Counselor's Corner. Used With Permission.
Alfred Ells is a senior therapist with New Life Clinic, a
Christ-centered counseling and educational ministry. He is a gifted marriage and family
counselor, seminar speaker and author of several best-selling books, including One Way
Relationships, Released to Love and Family Love.
Al has been counseling and consulting with churches,
organization and individuals for over twenty years. He earned his Masters of Counseling
degree at Arizona State University. He founded "House of Hope Counseling";
assisted in the establishment of "Hope Community (Rapha-Hope)" in Scottsdale, a
Christ -centered residential addictions treatment facility; "Remuda Ranch", a
Christ centered program for women with anorexia or bulimia, located in Wickenburg,
Arizona, and "Life Gate", a residential treatment facility for adolescents and
Al resides in Mesa, Arizona with his wife Susan. They have
E-mail Al at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Or write to: Alfred H. Ells, M.C., Counselor's Corner, 2855 East Brown Road, Suite 3,
Mesa, Arizona 85213, U.S.A. Phone:(480) 325-9350.
This article was taken from the Overcoming
Life Digest (Jan/Feb 2000 Issue); click here to view Digest
Pride and Beauty A
By Betty Miller
Pride is another one of Satan's attributes. This pride is directed towards his own
beauty and accomplishments; Ezekiel 28:17 points this out: "Thine
heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy
brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may
behold thee." Many today are afflicted with this same pride. Those in the
world are seeking beauty today as never before. Beauty aids, make-up, glamorous clothes,
beautiful homes and plush automobiles are only a few of the things the world is seeking
today. These things in themselves are not evil, but the lust for them is. (I John
2:16, "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.") Satan's
unusual beauty was one of the causes of his destruction. It contributed to the excessive
development of his pride.
Spiritual beauty is also a deadly trap. God blesses many with His gifts and graces, but
then those same gifts become a source of pride when the people cease to be able to handle
them with humility. They begin seeing themselves as better than others and soon take
credit for their holiness and spirituality instead of glorifying God. This ultimately
leads to their fall. (Proverbs 16:18, "Pride goeth before destruction, and an
haughty spirit before a fall.")
Many refuse to give their gifts back to God because they love to be seen exhibiting
them and using them to manipulate others. If they persist in refusing to surrender them,
the Holy Spirit will eventually depart, and Satan will gladly replace God's gifts with his
false gifts. The change can be so subtle that the person does not even recognize Satan's
take over. In fact, many think they have received greater gifts. The big difference from
this point on, however, is that their gifts no longer stress fellowship with the Lord, nor
cause souls to repent, nor stimulate joy and peace in the Lord. The false gifts that have
been substituted will only excite the flesh.
Examples of this would be prophecies that promote pride in others, words of knowledge
that deal with only the things of this world (houses, cars, lands, business deals, etc.),
or words that promote giving to their ministries. Even casting out devils and doing
wonderful works can be done by those whose hearts are not right with God. Matthew
7:22-23 says, "...Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name?
and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then
will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity."
Excerpt from the book Exposing
Satan's Devices; Click here to order
Got to Be Wrong in Order to Get Right
By Dennis Peacocke
After almost thirty years of dealing with people on a spiritual, psychological, and
pastoral level, I have come to a firm conclusion and a significant observation: until you
freely admit your errors youll never grow. While this observation is a relatively
obvious one, it is amazing to me how many devices people use to keep from admitting that
they are wrong about much of anything.
In our fallenness we love to blame others; we love to blame circumstances; we love to
use emotional or physical intimidation to keep "blame away from us." Most of all
the really good escape artists love to challenge the one who observes their errors and do
the old "180 degrees trick" which plays out that there really is nothing wrong
except your judgmental attitude!
Logic is obviously against all of this psychological ju-jitsu on one irrefutable level:
unless one is born perfect, everything he does is "wrong" until he learns to do
it right by trial and error. So why is this obvious reality so tough for most people to
admit? I think its pretty clear: Pride and "having to be right" is the
flip-side of our gnawing awareness of how fragile and insecure we really are. Put another
way, fear and insecuritys defense is the swaggering offense of pride and
Biblically, this fear, this slavishness, comes from our basic consciousness of our
being unable to truly measure up to any ultimate standards, let alone Gods.
Christs answer to our slavish fears is for us to admit to our fallen reality and let
Him clothe us with His perfection. Unfortunately, while I know all Christians believe
this, my experience is that all too many of us still dont live there. Instead of
living in conviction of sin, we live under the condemnation which comes from erroneously
having to defend the entirety of our being, when really most error is really only dealing
with one aspect of ourselves. I call this ubiquitous error, taking the part for the whole.
So what if youre wrong? How can we get it right until we eagerly seek to find
someone to show us how, by pointing out the imperfection of what were doing now, how
to do it right? What fools we are until we admit to this reality and begin to practice
lifting the level of our play by freely admitting that it needs to be lifted.
What is painful to me as a believer about all of this is that Jesus called His children
to become disciples and make disciples. A disciple is a disciplined learner, and
one cant be a disciplined learner until one is coachable, which means looking for
where one is doing it wrong so you can be corrected to do it right.
"Discipleship" is a dirty word in much of the Christian community today, and
it should be obvious why: because youve got to be wrong before you can grow and too
many of us believers hate to admit to this, especially many of the leaders. The world
doesnt need more of the, "Im always right spirit" as unbelievers are
quick to tell us. Someday Christs kids will see how often were wrong and then
well have a revival, and because were wrong well get a whole lot righter
and thats the bottom line.
This article was taken from THE BOTTOM LINE, May 2000 Issue,
published monthly by Dennis Peacocke's ministry, Strategic Christian
Services. We highly recommend his ministry and teachings. Dennis Peacocke is one of
the most profound thinkers of our day. He and his wife and family reside in Santa Rosa,
California. Dennis can be contacted through his website at: http://www.gostrategic.org or you may write him at:
Strategic Christian Services
2200 Northpoint Parkway
Santa Rosa, CA 95407
Phone: (707) 578 7700
We also carry his book, Doing Business God's Way in our Chapel Bookstore. You
will not find a better book addressing Christian economics. It is not a book about
tithing and giving, although these topics are addressed. This book addresses economic
lifestyles that affect all levels of our society, with the explanation of why some of them
work and some of them don't. Anyone who is interested in how God is going to impact our
generation in the economic realm should read this book. You may order this book online now
click here: BibleResources.org