Pride, A Serious Sin?
By S.J. Black
My family and I moved into the house in which we are currently living, a little over two years ago.
As with any house you purchase from someone else, there is a period of time where you have to get settled and fix things up the way you like or want them to be.
You know things like adding a flowerbed or maybe re-painting a room to a color you like.
Or perhaps the former residents failure to keep something in what you would consider good repair.
Since we moved in I have had an on-going battle with a major poison ivy infestation in my backyard. This was something that I did not consider to be in a state of proper upkeep when we purchased our home.
Apparently, the people we bought the house from were not really "outdoors" sort of people.
When we moved in two of the big trees in my back yard had poison ivy vines the size of small trees growing up them. The larger of the two trees has vines growing all over it from the bottom of the trunk all the way up to the very top branches.
What makes matters worse is that when you have this sort of infestation in a tree or two, you begin to find vines sprouting up all over your yard.
Over the last two plus years, I have cut down vines out of the trees, sprayed weed killer on vines and even taken to sacrificing some patches of grass once or twice in covering vines with plastic to block out the sun light.
Sad is the thought that at one-time, years ago, the vines in my trees were just tiny little vines sprouting up out of the ground.
At that point in time, simply knocking the vines down with a weed eater could have solved my dilemma.
It occurred to me a while back that this is a perfect example of the sin in our lives.
How often do we not realize that sin has taken a foothold in our lives until it is too late?
Usually, a sinful habit or tendency is much easier to deal with if we "nip it in the bud."
When we get off course and let sin become rooted in some area of our lives it can be a major battle.
I was thinking about this one afternoon while battling my vines and something occurred to me.
We often have trouble defeating this type of sin in our lives because of pride.
Some people even have trouble admitting that they have a problem.
This trouble admitting we have a problem is commonly referred to as denial.
How often have we seen someone come across as, "who me, judgmental? No way, look at how righteous I am compared to that sinner. I just feel 'led' to point out their problem to them."
Or how about, "I am not an alcoholic, look at how successful I am! I just like to have a few drinks after work, but I have it under control. Alcoholics are the guys who live under the overpass."
Many are the times that people will not address the issue of a sin in their lives because their pride will not even let them admit to themselves there is a problem in the first place.
Heaven forbid if we have a problem and go to others in search of help with our problems. That might make us "weak" or a "looser" or a "bad person"…right?
Other times we will admit there is a problem, but our pride and desire to "do our own thing" keeps us from surrendering an area of our lives to God or even receiving salvation in the case of some unbelievers.
There have been many times that I have witnessed to someone even to the point of having long draw out conversations about their need of salvation.
Many do not want to admit they need salvation because they might have to get over their pride and admit to God that they are a sinner in need of salvation.
Often they will tell you that they are a "good person and not inherently sinful" and this is why they will not accept the Gospel.
They are too proud to admit that they are a sinful person and will rely on their own works to bring them salvation.
Others are so proud of their religion that they do not think that they need to accept Christ and stop trying to obtain a works based salvation.
You know the "I am a self-made man and rely on myself" sort of lost person?
That's very macho John Wayne, but you are still going to hell if you reject the message of Christ as the Messiah.
Recently, I have been witnessing to someone who is "too intellectual" in order to believe in the simplicity of the Gospel.
How sad it is to see someone think that God should line up the plan for salvation with his or her logic.
God is infinite and they cannot fully comprehend all there is to know about God and His ways with their finite little minds.
Since they cannot answer all "the questions" they choose to reject the Gospel.
Last time I checked we are saved by faith. If we have all the answers would faith really be faith?
It breaks my heart to know that one person I have been witnessing to recently will go to hell if they were to die tonight.
This person has heard the Gospel but they are so proud of their intellect and it appears that the Gospel is not "intellectual" enough for them.
Scripture tells us about people like this and their pride in Psalm 10:4:
"In his pride the wicked does not seek Him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God."
Jeremiah even questions how smart this sort of person really is compared to the Lord;
"The wise will be put to shame; they will be dismayed and trapped. Since they have rejected the word of the Lord, what kind of wisdom do they have?" Jeremiah 8:9
It must really break God's heart to see mere men think they are so intellectual and exchange the Gospel message for an eternity in hell because the Gospel appears too simple to them.
I hope impressing their friends with how "enlightened" they are is worth the eternity they will spend in hell.
Pride is one of the most dangerous sins in my personal opinion.
Letting pride slip into your life can lead you down a slippery slope and into a whole host of other sins.
In Ezekiel 28:17 we can read of how prideful Satan had become and this is the sin that got him kicked out of Heaven:
"Your heart became proud on account of your beauty, and you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendor. So I threw you to the earth; I made a spectacle of you before kings. "
It would appear obvious that Satan is full of pride and sinful, but what about the believer?
I think that all believers struggle with pride from time to time, some more than others.
You do not have to look far to find a ministry that started out well but then went down hill when the leaders became prideful.
I know several people who used to be senior pastors that God has since put on the shelf or given them a serious dose of humble pie in some other manner.
Some are no longer senior pastors because they became proud of themselves and began to seek glory and praise that belonged to the Lord alone.
What about the numerous TV evangelists that have been exposed as frauds over the years?
It is likely that some started out in the first place as crooks trying to make a fast buck..
However, I would venture a guess that some started out with an honest desire to serve the Lord and eventually allowed the money, fame and power get into their heads.
It happens, the spotlight and fame CAN be seductive.
I am not sure why someone would feel they need to live in a mausoleum at the expense of a well-meaning grandmother on a fixed income who is not capable of going to church.
Is it perhaps the desire for power and wealth because of pride the real motivation behind some of these ministries?
Scripture in Proverbs 16:18 tells us;
"Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall."
If it were me defrauding people 'in the name of the Lord' just to make a fast dollar, I personally would be very fearful!
The Lord says in Jeremiah 8:10:
"Therefore I will give their wives to other men and their fields to new owners. From the least to the greatest, all are greedy for gain; prophets and priests alike, all practice deceit"
What exactly do these preachers think made the Jewish religious rulers so upset when Jesus ran the moneychangers out of the Temple?
It was the fact that the corrupt religious rulers were 'fleecing the flock' of that day and age with this practice.
I often wonder whom Jesus would chase out of the ministry today with a whip in hand.
Despite the problem ministries there are still some good ones out there on the television.
On the other side of the coin, you can often see problems develop over time in ministries that have a calling to expose false teaching.
These ministries can get prideful and take on the character of 'holier than thou' if they are not very careful.
Don't get me wrong; false teaching is a huge problem in the church today. Each of us should listen very carefully and prove teachers against the Scripture.
Yet, a few of these headhunters in ministry go way overboard.
Listening to a few of them makes me wonder when they are going to start accusing the Apostle Paul or Jesus Himself of being a false teacher.
Pride is not something that only affects pastors or others in ministry; it can get the average believer just as easily.
Have you ever seen someone who maybe looks a little different walk into a church?
Say for example a confused young person with a "strange" haircut and a couple of tattoos.
What about the guy with the long beard and sort of a Hells Angle's biker look about him?
Did they get a warm reception?
I think often they would probably have a lot of people looking down their noses at them.
We have to be very careful not to fall into the trap of spiritual pride.
What if one of the women in the congregation became pregnant without being married?
There likely would be at least one 'puffed up super-saint' waiting to judge her.
"Honey, lets get the stake and the gasoline and have us a good old fashion burning, heaven forbid someone should sin and fall short of the glory of (me)…I mean God."
How sad, these are the type of people who need our love and help the most.
Jesus challenged the Pharisees that if one of them was without sin then they could feel free to cast the first stone at an adulteress.
Funny, all of them lost the urge to throw a single stone.
Perhaps pointing out their sinfulness made them loose their pride?
Pride creeps into our walk and traps us all one time or another, including yours truly.
The key is to be on guard against pride. However, it takes a conscious effort.
We need to take to heart what James wrote:
"Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up." James 4:10
The only way I can keep pride in check is to remember that Jesus said in Matthew 5:5,
"Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth."
As you go about your day, challenge yourself with a question.
What will your inheritance be?