Summary: Too many people don’t understand how bad pride can be for them spiritually. This sermon attempts to point that out.
Prides Devastating Effects
Back in college when I was really looking for what God wanted me to do with my life, I began a youth ministry. I took a position at a church in Missouri and began working with the youth of that church. One kid in particular sticks in my mind really well. He was the kid that thought he was better than everyone at everything. He continually threw in my face that he was better than me at basketball and everything else under the sun. It grew really annoying. Well, I guess it was the basketball thing that really got to me. I really wanted the chance to play him once because he kept telling me how much better he was than me. So I just wanted the chance to test his theory. Well, that day finally came at a church picnic. We were at the basketball court and I had my chance to play him. Now the point of the story is not whether or not I won the basketball game or not. The point is that in life people carry with them the baggage of pride.
We find ourselves in the airport again noticing all the people’s nicer things around us. We realize that we probably won’t ever have those nice things so rather than being focusing on that, we move on and now we are looking for someone who we think is below us. You know who I’m talking about. They are at the airport and they don’t look very nice. They aren’t the most attractive person in the world. When you see them you begin to feel really good about yourself. You think, “Man, I’m glad I’m not that guy.” And we look all around the airport and we see them, people who appear to be in a lower class than us with less money and we begin to get a big head. We look at them and we know deep down that we are just better than they are. We walk by them a few times. And we just hope that they will get a look at us because we want them to see how much better we are than they are. This is simply called the baggage of pride.
Everyone in life, mostly men, has carried with them the baggage of pride. Many people still carry it with them everywhere they go. Looking back over history you can see so many people who have dealt with pride. Alexander the Great, Nebuchadnezzar, the tower at Babel, Napoleon and even Hitler. Pride comes in many different forms and in many different ways. But the most popular way that you will find pride is simply in feeling like we are better than someone around us. Pride in the dictionary is described as “as unduly high opinion of oneself.” That means, we think that we are a lot better than we really are. We like to tell people about how good we are at everything. We have all met someone like this. It’s the guy in the office who gets really annoying because he is telling about one of his famous adventures again. It’s the person who continually rubs in the fact and makes sure that everyone around them knows that they have money or lots of things. They find their pleasure in trying to raise themselves up above everyone else. Anyone with less than them must be below them. They aren’t on the same playing field as everyone else. They walk on a different level of earth than the “common folk.”
Pride shows up in other ways too though. Sometimes it shows up when you are in a tough situation that you know you can’t handle. Someone offers to help you out in any way they can. They say something like, “Give me a call if you need anything.” You can think of 50 things you need right off the top of your head, but you think you can handle it yourself. This kind of pride is called self-reliance. Rather than finding friends and asking for their help, you try to deal with a difficult situation that you can’t handle by yourself. This is a form of pride that often goes overlooked. We mask it by saying, “I just don’t want to bother them.” But it’s just pride and trying to do it ourselves.
When it comes right down to it God doesn’t want us to live our lives that way. Pride will drag us down and actually make our lives more difficult. In fact, pride has devastating effects. Allow me to share some of those with you today.
I want to take you to a scene back in about 483 BC in Persia. There is a man who has just been promoted by the King to a very high position in the land. As he passes by the commoners, everyone bows. They all pay homage to this man because the King had commanded them to do so. As he walks he begins to get a big head about how wonderful and powerful he is. Then something, someone, catches his eye. He is told about a man who won’t bow to him as he passes by. And sure enough, as he goes by he notices the man who stands by the King’s Gate, but when he walks by, the man doesn’t bow. The man is filled with rage and he begins seeking a way to destroy this man who won’t bow. This is the story of a man named Haman in the book of Esther. We read this portion of his story in the book of Esther 3:2-6 (read).