Pride is Destructive

Pride is a hot topic these days. Pride in yourself as an individual, pride in accomplishments, pride in importance, pride in knowledge, or superiority over others. Unfortunately, most uses of pride in the Bible are negative. The truth taught in the pages of God’s word is that pride is destructive.

Pride destroyed Adam and Eve’s relationship with God in the garden. Pride destroyed King’s Saul’s reign. Pride destroyed Israel and many other nations. Pride is still alive and active today waiting to claim souls, families, and nations. We must learn the truth of pride in our own hearts and how to destroy pride before it destroys us.

Pride is destructive

What the Bible Says About Pride

The Bible tells us that God hates pride and the proud person is foolish destined for destruction. Pride is placing our desires, will, or way above God’s and it is destined for failure. Let’s explore some scriptures in Proverbs that give us a clear view of the Bible’s stance on pride.

  • “To fear the Lord is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech.” Proverbs 8:13 NIV
  • “When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.” Proverbs 11: NIV
  • “Where there is strife, there is pride, but wisdom is found in those who take advice.” Proverbs 13:10 NIV
  • “A fool’s mouth lashes out with pride, but the lips of the wise protect them.” Proverbs 14:3 NIV
  • “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.” Proverbs 16:18 NIV
  • “Pride brings a person low, but the lowly in spirit gain honor.” Proverbs 29:23 NIV
  • “The Lord detests all the proud of heart. Be sure of this: They will not go unpunished.” Proverbs 16:5 NIV
  • “Better to be lowly in spirit along with the oppressed than to share plunder with the proud. “Proverbs 16:19 NIV
  • “Haughty eyes and a proud heart— the unplowed field of the wicked—produce sin.” Proverbs 21:4 NIV
  • “The proud and arrogant person—“Mocker” is his name— behaves with insolent fury.” Proverbs 21:24 NIV

Examples of Pride in the Bible

We’ve seen that pride is at the root of the human heart. There is no shortage of examples of pride in the Bible. However, I want to focus on a few stories in the book of Joshua that show the destructive nature of pride on a person, a family, and a nation.

Pride Destroys Families

But the Israelites were unfaithful in regard to the devoted things Achan son of Karmi, the son of Zimri, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took some of them. So the Lord’s anger burned against Israel.

Joshua 7:1 NIV

Joshua has just received the promise of God that He will be with him like He was with Moses and that the Israelites will conquer the promised land. So, why when we get to the first battle after Jericho is Israel unsuccessful? The answer is simple, there was sin in the camp.

The spirit of pride was in Achan and instead of following God’s instructions to completely destroy Jericho and take nothing (Joshua 6:17-19), he took clothing, silver and gold for himself. Now, his pride not only caused him to disobey God’s instruction, but also to rob God since the silver and gold were to be for consecrated to the Lord’s treasury.

In Achan’s pride, he put his selfish needs above God’s law, his nation’s security, and his family’s fate. He believed he knew better than God and deserved these things for himself. Pride is blinding. Perhaps if he had thought clearly, he would have asked these questions: 1. What happens when man disobeys God? 2. Why do I deserve more than others?

In the end, Achan’s pride destoys his family. The penatly is death for his immediate family and I’m sure shame for his extended family. Not to mention the immediate loss that Israel suffered in battle because of his sin. (Joshua 7:16-26 NIV)

This is a warning to us as mothers. Our pride in disobeying God or thinking we are owed more than we have can negatively affect our families. We must avoid convincing ourselves that we know best or that we can get away with sin even on the smallest level. I hope you will stick with me as we discuss how to break the spirit of pride in the last section.

Pride Destroys Nations

The Israelites sampled their provisions but did not inquire of the Lord Then Joshua made a treaty of peace with them to let them live, and the leaders of the assembly ratified it by oath.

Joshua 9:14-15 NIV

Sometimes after a great win, we get prideful in our own abilities and forget we need God. Israel had got rid of the sin in the camp, defeated Ai, and renewed their covenant with God. Joshua was feeling pretty on top of the mountain as a leader.

Then, they did not ask the Lord’s counsel. See, the Gibeonites had heard about Israel. They knew they had been defeating great nations since Egypt and they trembled at the great acts they had heard about the God with Israel. So, they decided to be sneaky. (Read the full account in Joshua 9.)

The Gibeonites dressed in old clothing, took along old sacks, and grabbed moldy bread. They lied to Joshua and the leaders of Israel saying they were from a far off country and wanted to make a treaty. Remember, Israel was not to make treaties with any of the nations that in habited the promised land, but were to completely annihilate them all.

Instead of asking God if they should make the treaty, Joshua relied on his own pride as a leader and chose to believe these men and accept their treaty. This meant the nation of Israel had at that moment broken their covenant with God. They now could not destroy all of the nations of the land. This started a trend of making allowances with idolatrous nations that would eventually destroy Israel.

This is another warning to us as leaders. Whether it’s in our home, church, workplace, or among friends we have influence, we should always seek God’s counsel before giving advice or making big decisions. Our choices made in the pride of thinking we don’t have to seek God’s counsel through His word or prayer can have destructive consequences.

Proverbs 16:18

Breaking the Spirit of Pride

We can not fight sin in our own power. The weapons God has given us are spiritual. We have to start with the truth: pride is sinful, we need a heart change, and the Holy Spirit must do the work. Once we are honest with ourselves and agree with God’s views on pride, we can start to see the spirit of pride broken.

Submit to God in All Things

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

James 4:7 NIV

Submission is the act of bowing to a higher authority. Since there is no higher authority than the God-head, we submit to God by agreeing that His ways and judgements are worth obeying. We may not always understand or in the flesh agree, but that all becomes inconsequential when we consider that we are the servant and He is the master.

Pride rears its ugly head to buck authority and say we know best. It also acts as though maybe God isn’t always perfect or in control. It’s dangerous behavior and thinking. By submitting to God in all things, we resist Satan and His lies.

The ways to do this is 2 fold:

  1. Know the word of God. Read it, study it, memorize it, and meditate on it.
  1. Obey the word of God. James 1:22 NIV says, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.”
Micah 6:8

Live Humbly

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.

James 4:10 NIV

The next step to breaking the spirit of pride is to live humbly. When we submit to God, we are living humbly before Him. But, we must also live humbly with others to keep us from having a superior attitude or haughtiness which is also sin.

James 3:13 NIV tells us it is the wise person who lives humbly and does good deeds: “Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. ” And Jesus himself said, “For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” (Matthew 23:12 NIV)

We live humbly when we put the needs of others before our own and when we serve like Jesus. It is not the natural state of the man to deny self but the more we do, the easier it becomes. And, when we reap the rewards of righteousness, there is not greater joy than knowing we have pleased our God.

Johnathan Edwards, the great theologian wrote an essay on pride entitled “Undetected Spiritual Pride.” It is the perfect guide to detect pride in our lives and how it is manifesting itself. I hope you will take a few minutes to read and pray through it.

A Prayer Against a Prideful Spirit

Lord, thank you for showing us such an example of humility by coming into our world, taking on flesh, and surrendering your life for mine. I feel so underserving of this sacrifice. Forgive me when I act pridefully in disobedience to Your word. Please strengthen your Spirit within me and convict me of my pride. Show me how to submit and walk humbly. Your ways are higher and better than my own. I yield all to You. Amen.

2 thoughts on “Pride is Destructive

  1. Lieren

    This was convicting for me today! Thank you for the reminder that pride is not the positive thing we often tend to think it is.

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