Summary: Eight symptoms of pride are discussed.
For the last couple of weeks, we have been talking on the subject of humility. I feel the Lord would have me continue that theme today. Why all this talk about humility, because humility is the ticket to your future. There are some places in God that you can only enter if you bow low and walk in humility. Ps 138:6 “Though the LORD is on high, Yet He regards the lowly; But the proud He knows from afar.”i Nobody with a proud heart get close to God. God resists the proud;ii He keeps the proud at a distance. Isa 57:15 “For thus says the High and Lofty One Who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: ‘I dwell in the high and holy place, With him who has a contrite and humble spirit, To revive the spirit of the humble, And to revive the heart of the contrite ones.” The dwelling place of God is with people of a contrite and humble spirit. Where He dwells is where I want to be. Amen?
I went to California a couple of weeks ago on American Airlines. Before I was allowed to board the plane, I had to show them at the counter my ticket for the flight. The price had been paid before the flight. Nobody boarded the plane without a ticket. The place I want to go has a price and requires a ticket-- called humility. That’s why we have been on the subject these last three weeks.
Pride is something every human being has to deal with. It was pride that caused Lucifer to rebel against God. By pride the devil became the devil. Pride is the first and most foundational of all sins.iii Pride and envy were behind the religious rulers desire to crucify Jesus.iv Pride is the ugliest, most despicable, most defiling of all sin. And pride is a bigger problem is most peoples’ lives than they know.
Unfortunately when religious people try to deal with pride, they usually develop a superficial pseudo-humility that is far from the real thing. They try to be humble; they try to act humble; they may even be downright self-loathing—but the heart down deep is not changed. You find that out the moment you cross one of them. They’ll walk around looking at the ground, but you say something they don’t like and they’ll chew you up like a bulldog. The real condition of the heart is anything but humble. The Pharisees of Jesus’ day did all kinds of acts that on the surface appeared humble. They clothed themselves with sackcloth, bowed their heads in contrition, gave alms to the poor. But Jesus said it was all “to be seen of men.”v It was a good show but when it came down to Jesus stepping on their territory, they crucified Him.
I’m saying all that to say, “That is not what we want to produce when we talk about humility.” We don’t just want to add a few religious mannerisms that appear contrite. What we want to do is cooperate with the conviction of the Holy Spirit and deal with those areas of pride that He points out in our lives. Especially these last few weeks, He is faithfully showing me areas of pride that I need to address. Most are very subtle, but down in the secret places of my heart the Holy Spirit is saying—don’t give place to that. That is pride and you need to put away that behavior. Last week we talked about four things God is telling His church to do (2Chron. 7:14): (1) Humble yourselves (2) Pray (3) Seek His face (4) Turn from your wicked ways. In response to that message, I’ve been asking God to show me how to humble myself. Friend, that is a prayer God will answer! The answer has been more than enough for me to handle.
To help you with that same process, I want to share a few symptoms of pride that will enhance your awareness of the problem—and maybe help you cooperate with the Holy Spirit as He leads all of us in a path of humility.
Eight symptoms of pride:
1. Preoccupation with APPEARANCES
In 1 Samuel 15, King Saul had disobeyed the Lord and Samuel confronted him with God’s displeasure. This should have been a point when Saul fell on his face before God, broken that he had displeased the Lord, repentant of his disobedience, concerned with only one thing—getting right with God. But listen to King Saul’s words to Samuel in that context, 1 Sam 15:30 “Then he said,(Saul to Samuel) ‘I have sinned; yet honor me now, please, before the elders of my people and before Israel, and return with me, that I may worship the LORD your God.” Saul is preoccupied with what this looks like to other people. For the great prophet, Samuel, to walk away from the king would clearly send a negative message to the elders and to all Israel. So Saul wants most of all to keep up appearances: “Samuel, honor me before the elders and the people, walk with me and go to worship with me so that everything looks ok.” This was just one of many manifestations of pride in King Saul that caused him to lose the kingdom. Saul was more interested in looking right, than being right.