Summary: While we might not think it, pride can be an open door that Satan uses to inflict harm on us.
THE POWER OF PRIDE
1. Illus. of Loraine at GPBC
• Came to see me. Had a list of weird things going on in her life, things that were destroying her but that she had no explanation for.
• As I listened, I began to try to fit what she was telling me into a model. Physical? Didn’t seem to be. Emotional? Perhaps, but if so unlike anything I had ever seen before.
• That only left one option: the source of her problem was spiritual in nature.
• I did not know what to do, or how to help her. If I had know then what I know now, I would have recognized that she was spiritually oppressed.
2. Over the last 25 years I have met hundreds of Christians with no apparent physical or emotional issues going on (they had been evaluated by their physicians or a Christian counselor), yet they had symptoms like these: hopelessness, feelings of worthlessness, irrational fear, obsessive thoughts (often wicked or blasphemous), tormenting thoughts and voices (often in first person), unhealthy anger, bondage to sinful habits, difficulties (distracting thoughts, headaches etc) praying or reading the Bible. I have come to a conclusion: they are being oppressed by the evil one!
3. When we become Christians, we are taken out of Satan’s kingdom and translated into the wonderful Kingdom of the Son of God. We are set free from the power of the evil one by the shed blood and empty tomb of Jesus. Think of it this way: it is like we were living in the house with a villain who systematically hurt us, and would have eventually have killed us. Then Jesus rescued us, and took us to live in a house that belonged to Him, a place where the villain had no access to us.
4. However, Satan can regain a measure of control if he can deceive us into bringing certain practices into our life. See Ephesians 4:27. The word "topos" = place, ground, opportunity, or foothold. There are certain practices that, if we bring them into our lives, give Satan an opening into our lives. Think of it this way: it’s the spiritual equivalent to giving the old villain we talked about the key to the locked front door of your new house, and telling him, “come in anytime and do whatever you want to me!”
5. We’ve looked at three of these front door keys: occult practices, bitterness, and a rebellious heart.
6. Today I want to look at one more: a prideful spirit. When you develop a prideful spirit you open yourself up to spiritual oppression and bondage.
7. There are three principles about pride that we need to understand. What are these principles?
I. WHAT IS PRIDE?
1. We all know pride when we see it. But, if you had to give someone a definition of pride, what would you tell them?
2. See 1 Corinthians 4:6-7. The Corinthians were puffed up, that is to say, prideful. What were they doing that made Paul say that? They were comparing themselves to one another. “I am prettier than you, I have more education than you, I have more stuff than you etc. so I am better than you!” Later in the letter we find out some of them were even swelled with pride over spiritual things. “I’ve got more spiritual gifts than you do. Paul baptized me; you were only baptized by Apollos. I am better than you!”
3. Definition: Pride is arrogance based on having qualities or possessions that are better than someone else’s.
4. Illus. of picture in man’s office
• A turtle perched on top of a fence post on a county road.
• Caption read, “If you ever see a turtle on a fencepost, you know he had help!”
• Pride is saying, “Look how superior I am to those poor turtles there on the ground. Too bad they couldn’t be like me! I’m better than they are, because I’m on the fencepost!”
5. Look again at 4:7. What do you have that you didn’t receive? Who gave you the mind to acquire that education? Who designed your body so that you are pretty or athletically built? Who gave you those opportunities to acquire things?
6. Pride is exalting ourselves above others based on qualities or accomplishments.
II. HOW CAN I TELL IF I HAVE A PRIDEFUL HEART?
1. You need to understand something about your heart- it is filled with wickedness and self-deception! Jeremiah 17:9. “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked. Who can know it?” “Tim, if that is the case, how can we ever find out what is in our hearts, be it pride or whatever?” Well, let’s think about that for a minute.