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Christian Living

Spiritual Life

Is All Pride Sinful?

Pride was the first great sin. Satan had been created a beautiful creature. After considering his own splendor and wisdom, he came to the conclusion that he knew more about running the universe than God did (see Ezekiel 28:14-19). Satan's attitude was called pride. It was the beginning of sin in the universe. We are exhibiting pride in its worst aspect when we feel that we can do a better job of things than the Creator. In the Bible it resulted in the statement, "I will exalt myself."

The sin of pride conveys a sense of inordinate self-esteem, arrogance, and haughtiness. One of the Hebrew root words translated "pride" or "proud" means to lift up or be high. We use the term high and mighty to describe a proud person. This attitude of heart is deeply wrong--thoroughly repulsive, in fact--before the Lord.

However, we also use the word pride to mean a sense of accomplishment or a desire to do well. For instance, you may be proud that your child makes a straight-A average in school. That does not mean you are trying to put yourself above somebody else; it means you are pleased with this achievement.

I think satisfaction in a completed job well done is proper, even though Jesus had a corrective for that attitude if it went too far. He said that when we have done all, we are to remember that we are "unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do" (Luke 17:10).

Pride, as a sin, must be guarded against. The best way to eliminate pride is to look at yourself, your family, and your achievements as objectively as possible. However, knowing what you can do well is certainly not pride. For example, a world class runner would lie with false humility if he said, "I'm just an old slowpoke." He should say, rather, "God has given me the ability to run very fast, and I use it for His glory and praise Him for it." If somebody is a wonderful architect or artist, he should say, "I thank the Lord for the talent He has given me."

Many times, God will give me a teaching that I did not know before. I can sit back, look at it, and say, "Well, isn't that interesting? I have never heard that before, and the Lord just revealed it to me!" I admire it because it is something that God gave me. It should not be a source of pride to build me up, but a source of satisfaction to know that the Lord has done it. The danger comes if I think I am more exalted than others because God gave me something that others do not have.

You must make an honest appraisal of who you are. This is proper and glorifies the Lord. But when you begin to compare yourself to other people, you begin to get into trouble. "I can build a better house than he can. I am faster than he is. I am smarter than she is. We are richer than they are." That sort of thinking leads to pride that is unhealthy and sinful. The psalmist said, "In God we boast all day long" (Psalm 44:8). We are proud of the Lord. I boast about Jesus because He is wonderful. That kind of pride is certainly all right.

Excerpt taken from Answers to 200 of Life's Most Probing Questions, Copyright 1984 by Pat Robertson. 

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