Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. (Proverbs 16:18)
Here is a great question to get this day started: Do you think you have a problem with the sin of pride at any level of your life? If you answered with an emphatic “No,” it is likely you are very proud of that fact!
You get the point; the sin of pride is something we all struggle with . . . all of the time. Pride was the foundation upon which the first sin was built, and it is the foundation upon which all of your sins and mine are built too.
It’s important to note that sinful pride can be difficult to detect at times. Do you remember when Peter denied Jesus on the night He was betrayed—not once, but three times—just as our Lord had prophesied? Pride did indeed go before a fall here; Peter responded to our Lord’s prediction of his denials with these words:
Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will. . . . Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” (Matthew 26:33, 35)
At first glance, it might not seem like sinful pride had taken up residence in Peter’s heart. We might think that Peter’s love for Christ simply prompted him to declare that he would stand up for His Lord no matter what he had to face. Yet upon closer inspection, we see Peter demeaning all the other disciples with his assertion that “Even if they all fall away . . . I never will!” In other words, “They may be weak, but I am strong; they may waver but I am the rock; they may be marked by fear, but I am faithful.”
You know the rest of the story. Peter denied the Lord three times before the rooster crowed—just as Jesus said he would—and Peter went away and wept bitter tears of shame and remorse. Peter had trusted in his own strength, rather than the strength of his Lord.
So how do we begin the climb out of the pit of pride? By trusting in God’s Word, just as Peter learned to do from his bitter experience.
Who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not? (1 Corinthians 4:7)
Paul is telling us that the key that unlocks the door leading out of the pit of pride is found in the understanding that everything we are and everything we have is a gift from our God. EVERYTHING! “From him and through him and to him are all things,” Paul wrote elsewhere. “To him be the glory forever! Amen” (Romans 11:36).
Your strength is a gift from God. Your faith is a gift from God. Your success in anything is a gift from God. Keeping that truth in its proper perspective will keep you out of the pit of pride. Scripture tells us that it is perfectly alright to boast . . . but not about what you can do. Boast about what Jesus has already done on your behalf and will continue doing for your good and His glory.
This is what the Lord says:
“Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom
or the strong man boast of his strength
or the rich man boast of his riches,
but let him who boasts boast about this:
that he understands and knows me,
that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness,
justice and righteousness on earth,
for in these I delight,”
declares the Lord. (Jeremiah 9:23-24)
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!