Pride is an ugly spirit. It colors our perceptions and influences our thoughts and actions like a poison designed to destroy. It always comes to make us stagger and stumble, even as it pretends to be our friend and ally. The worst part about it is not that it creeps in – often unnoticed – and, without fail, brings much destruction. The worst thing about pride is that it often comes by way of an unconscious invitation that we ourselves give. Sadly, this means that so much of the chaos in our lives might just be due to the door we’ve opened wide for pride and the dangers it brings.
Those who have pride in their hearts and lives are usually blinded to it, unfortunately. So not only are we almost always unaware of the doors that have been opened to pride, but we remain unable to confront it because we can’t see that it’s there. This is a tricky predicament indeed because, if left undetected, pride can and will destroy entire lives, families, and even communities. Think of people in high positions who rule with pride, and the effect it has on those who are under their authority. Pride is not a spirit to play with, or to ignore.
There are different kinds of pride that can infect our hearts. There is boastful pride (these are not technical terms, just a description of what I’ve observed about their nature), which causes people to elevate themselves above others and in others’ eyes. These are the people who are cruel or judgmental toward others, and who are always talking about themselves and their plans and accomplishments. We usually have a hard time appreciating and having relationship with people who carry this kind of pride.
There is also deceptive, or false pride, which comes in wearing the disguise of low self-esteem and insecurity. People who carry this kind of pride usually think they are humble because they don’t elevate themselves, but really they are deceived, because they are still obsessed with themselves. Although their thoughts are negative, they are still self-centered, which is the true nature of pride.
Then there is religious pride. Religious pride causes its victims to think and believe that they don’t need anyone but God, and that what they hear from and experience of God is the absolute truth. It sounds good on the surface, but inevitably leads people into spiritual isolation and rebellion because it cuts their hearts off from receiving wise instruction and from being shepherded into a deeper place of maturity. It wears the mask of seeking to honor God, but in reality it dishonors God, because it rejects the relationships which God has appointed in His Word to sharpen, strengthen, correct and encourage us in our walk with Him.
Another type of pride is what I will call sneaky pride. People who are trapped in sneaky pride are probably the most stuck, because they look and sound very much like they are all about doing and saying the right thing. In actuality, they claim to believe and live by certain truths, but they compromise those truths with their own understanding of them, and so elevate their own thoughts and feelings above the reality of God’s truth. They are often confused and in despair because, as far as they can tell, they are doing everything as right as they can, but they keep finding themselves stuck in messes that don’t make sense. Pride has blinded their eyes to their own rebellion and keeps them from seeing the error of their ways.
Very often, these people don’t consciously choose to compromise or rebel. Many of them have been wounded by people and life experiences, and those wounds have whispered lies that teach them to protect themselves and trust no one…not even God. And because pride has knocked on the door of their wounded hearts, and they are often so busy tending to their broken, hurting places, they don’t recognize pride or the dangers it brings when it comes with the intoxicating promise of relief by way of resolve.
This kind of pride comes in offering a first aid kit for broken hearts. In that first aid kit there are vows and agreements to ensure they will never be hurt the same way again. There are glasses with lenses designed to open their eyes to a new reality, one which elevates them to the position intended for God as they grow comfortable with judging by appearances and emotions. With these lenses, their judgments become truth and all of life becomes subject to such.
There are tools within this kit to build walls around their heart so that no more danger can get in (the real danger is already in, but they cannot see it). There are band-aids of addiction and justification to soothe their pain and make their reactive and intoxicating choices okay. And there is a tonic of self-pity and self-empowerment that becomes strength in their veins as they rise up with determination to have the upper hand if anyone should ever try to hurt them again.
In all of this, pride lands its fateful blow with the convincing argument that what they see and what they feel are the truth about their experiences. By the time they reach this point, pride is celebrating its work of binding them up in its fetters, while it opens the door for torment and chaos to come in and reign. They are now prisoners to their own limited vision, and are therefore kept from Heaven’s perspective about the circumstances of their lives. Even if they read the Word of God and mentally agree with it their hearts and choices cannot line up with it, and so frustration and discouragement become constant companions on their journey.
This is how so many wounded people live, without even knowing it.
It’s quite a dismal picture, I know. It may even sound harsh and judgmental to you. But I’ve been bound in the grip of pride, and I’ve learned that you can’t be gentle when dealing with such a spirit. I have also learned that God has not left us defenseless against pride. For those who desire to remain free of pride’s poison, there are two things God offers which we must be quick to grab hold of.
The first is accountability in relationships. There are friends you can play with, and there are friends you can pray with. If you’re doubly blessed, you will have a friend or two that you can do both with! However, the non-negotiable relationship in seeking to avoid the dangers of pride is the friendship that will confront it in your life. You and I need a friend or friends that will tell us when they see pride in operation, and then pray us through the process of kicking it out.
The second is a heart that is willing to see as God sees, which inevitably means the surrender of our own understanding. Proverbs 3:5-6 tells us not to lean on our own understanding, but instead to acknowledge God (to look to Him and become aware of His presence, power and purpose) in all our ways (our inner and outer lives). The promise offered in this is that He will then direct our paths and make them straight.
Maybe you don’t realize you need to be straightened out just yet. I know I need it, on a regular basis! We are human and therefore all prone to fall into the deceptions of pride. Everyone is susceptible to it, because we live in a fallen world that provides plenty of opportunities to be wounded. We need God to help us navigate through life in a world like this. And we need friends, real friends, to help us guard our hearts from the dangers of pride when it is lurking at the door, waiting to come in and set up camp.
Dear Woman of Breakthrough, be loosed from the grip of pride in your heart and life today! Remember that the enemy, who himself fell from glory by the hand of pride, comes only to steal from, kill, and destroy you. While the lures which pride uses may be enticing, the end of the matter is always a cruel suffering and ultimate destruction. Don’t play, and don’t waste time while this spirit is seeking to rob you of the life God intends for you.
Start by bringing your heart before God, sincerely asking Him to search you and show you if pride has any presence in your life. Ask Him for the gift of humility, and for the healing that will close up those wounds pride loves to tend to. Ask the right friends to be honest with you, and to keep being honest, so that you won’t be deceived by the blindness of pride.
If you have put your trust in the way you see things, and in what you feel about people or things, it is time to surrender those judgments, to lay down your own understanding, which is keeping pride on its throne, and to turn to God for new understanding.
He is gracious and will generously give you true wisdom and understanding. (James 1:5)
I leave you with these golden nugget from God’s Word today, hoping it will kindle a desire in you to be free and to put your trust in God alone. By that simple but intentional devotion, pride’s influence will lose its grip on your life, and your soul will prosper the way God has always intended for it to…
“Wisdom is a gift from a generous God, and every Word He speaks is full of revelation, and becomes a fountain of understanding within you. For the Lord has a storehouse of wisdom made accessible to His Godly lovers…When wisdom wins your heart and revelation breaks in, true pleasure enters your soul. If you choose to follow good counsel, divine design will watch over you and understanding will protect you from making poor choices. It will rescue you from evil in disguise and from those who speak duplicities…follow the way of wisdom and stay on the right path. For all My Godly lovers will enjoy life to the fullest and will inherit their destinies.” Proverbs 2:6-8, 10-12, 20-21 [Passion Translation].
“…To those who are called…Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God.” 1 Corinthians 1: