Pride isn’t always bad, but if we aren’t careful we can easily tip the balance from what is healthy to a destructive pride. Let’s use the HelpFinder Bible to see what Scripture says about pride.
There is a positive, healthy side to pride—being proud of your children or spouse, taking pride in your work. But the Bible looks mainly at the destructive side of pride because it has such great power to damage our relationships with others and with God. Pride is destructive when it involves wanting too much recognition, taking too much credit, wanting your own way, thinking your way is best—in summary, thinking too highly of yourself. It causes us to face the world from a selfish point of view, blinding us to our faults and leading to jealousy, envy, and a judgmental attitude toward others.
When is pride healthy and appropriate?
ROMANS 15:17 | “So I have reason to be enthusiastic about all Christ Jesus has done through me.”
Paul was proud not of what he had accomplished but of what God had done through him.
2 CORINTHIANS 5:12 | “Are we commending ourselves to you again? No, we are giving you a reason to be proud of us.”
Like Paul, if we take pride in anything, we ought to take pride in the integrity and honest of our ministry and life.
What’s the difference between healthy confidence and unhealthy pride?
JOB 19:25 | “I know that my Redeemer lives.”
1 JOHN 3:2 | “But we do know that we will be like him.”
Healthy confidence is a realization and an assurance that God loves you, that he has given you talents and gifts and the ability to use them for him, that he has offered you salvation and eternal life in heaven. Knowing this gives you complete certainty that your life can have meaning now and forever.
2 CHRONICLES 26:16 | “When he had become powerful, he also became proud, which led to his downfall.”
Pride is the ingredient that causes our confidence to become arrogant and cocky. When we think we can do it ourselves and then we stop seeking God’s help—these are the warning signs that confidence has turned to arrogance.
What are the effects of pride if left unchecked in my life?
1 KINGS 1:5 | “About that time David’s son Adonijah . . . began boasting, ‘I will make myself king.'”
Pride will delude you into thinking you have almost God-like qualities that demand the
respect and reverence of others.
2 KINGS 14:10 | “‘Be content with your victory and stay at home! Why stir up trouble thatwill only bring disaster on you and the people of Judah?’ But Amaziah refused to listen.”
2 CHRONICLES 26:16 | “But when he had become powerful, he also became proud, which led to his downfall.”
An inflated estimation of your status and successes leads to the presumption that you can do anything you want. And that will, eventually and ultimately, set you up for a downfall.
2 KINGS 5:11 | “But Naaman became angry and stalked away.”
Pride can keep you from accepting the very help that can save you.
1 CORINTHIANS 10:12-13 | “If you think you are standing strong, be careful not to fall. The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience.”
Pride can blind you to your vulnerability to temptation and lead you to commit sins you never thought you could.
NUMBERS 22:22-23, 25, 29, 31 | “As Balaam and two servants were riding along, Balaam’s donkey saw the angel of the Lord standing in the road with a drawn sword. . . . The donkey bolted off the road. . . . The donkey . . . tried to squeeze by and crushed Balaam’s foot against the wall. . . . ‘You have made me look like a fool!’ Balaam shouted. ‘If I had a sword with me, I would kill you!’ . . . Then the Lord opened Balaam’s eyes, and he saw the angel of the Lord.”
The next time your pride is hurt and you feel anger rising up within you, don’t assume that you are right and everyone else is at fault. Balaam’s anger immediately flared up against his donkey. Balaam assumed that he was right and that the donkey was at fault. Fortunately for Balaam, God revealed to him that the donkey had saved his life. Instead of soothing your pride by justifying your actions, see whether you can justify your motives. This will tell you if your anger is warranted and your pride overinflated.
GENESIS 11:4 | “‘Let’s build a great city for ourselves with a tower that reaches into the sky. This will make us famous.'”
EZEKIEL 31:18 | “O Egypt, to which of the trees of Eden will you compare your strength and glory? You, too, will be brought down to the depths with all these other nations. You will lie there among the outcasts who have died by the sword. This will be the fate of Pharaoh and all his hordes. I, the Sovereign Lord, have spoken!”
2 CORINTHIANS 3:5 | “It is not that we think we are qualified to do anything on our own. Our qualification comes from God.”
Power is intoxicating—with it comes recognition, control, and often wealth. Each of these feeds pride, and pride leads us away from God and into sin.
PSALM 18:27 | “You rescue the humble, but you humiliate the proud.”
PROVERBS 16:18 | “Pride goes before destruction, and haughtiness before a fall.”
MATTHEW 23:12 | “But those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
God loves the humble but humiliates the proud. Don’t humiliate yourself by thinking you’re above rescuing. If you reject your Savior now, on the day of judgment he will reject you because of your arrogance and pride.
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