The Word of God has much to say about pride, haughtiness, and arrogance—none of it good. Few things more clearly define the attitude of a sinner than pride. The relationship between pride and godliness is nearly mathematical in its inverse proportionality: as sin is manifested in pride, godliness is manifested in humility. Small wonder, then, that one of the chief characteristics of our present culture is pride that often boils over into arrogance.
Satan is the father of arrogance; Isaiah exposed his infamous and outrageous ambition in these recorded thoughts of Lucifer: “I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High” (14:13, 14). God’s instantaneous response to such rebellious arrogance was: “Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit” (v. 15).
Though Satan was not successful in his personal rebellion against God, he was successful in tempting Eve to sin and thus infusing the human race with the same sinful arrogance that brought about his own ruin. The apostle John, labeling the three chief characteristics constituting the lost world, reveals that one of them is “the pride of life” (I John 2:16) and forcefully affirms that it “is not of the Father, but is of the world” (v. 16).
We may expect pride and arrogance from the world of lost sinners. But when these sins manifest themselves in the lives of believers they are equal parts grievous and outrageous. Just as He did not countenance this sin in Satan, God will not abide it in His children. We might feel that we are not guilty of such heinous sin. Maybe we have never spoken aloud the words recorded about Satan—“I will . . . I will . . . I will . . . I will . . . I will.” But then, neither did he. They were the thoughts of his heart only to be expressed by his actions.
Surely, most of us do not allow even our thoughts such outrageous liberty as to suggest that we will be like the Most High. Yet, what is it but the primal sin of rebellious pride and arrogance when we fail to consult the Lord regarding the decisions we make or when we fail to consider what His Word teaches when we pursue our ambitions? When we give lip service to following the Lord but really justify doing our own will have we not ascended into heaven and exalted our thrones above the stars of God? Can self-will, the pursuit of our desires, or the neglect of God’s purpose for us be considered anything less than that very sin which caused Satan to be cast out of heaven?
Though God is filled with loving kindness, this sin is particularly destructive, and God will not countenance it in His children. God chastens such behavior with purpose and determination: “thine eyes are upon the haughty, that thou mayest bring them down,” David affirms (II Sam. 22:28b). His son, Solomon, echoes the same theme: “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall” (Pro. 16:18); and, “Before destruction the heart of man is haughty” (Pro. 18:12a). The New Testament is no less adamant in this regard: both James and Peter assert the same truth. “God resisteth [“opposes,” “arranges against”] the proud” (Jam. 4:6; I Pet. 5:5). We should never wish to put ourselves in a position where God opposes us, for even though it is for our ultimate good, the experience will never be pleasant. May we recognize and root out the vestiges of pride that would rob God of glory and us of blessing.
Previous Page | Next Page