Summary: God has given us the ability to feel the emotion of pride so that we can benefit from good pride and avoid the destructive nature of bad pride. It is important to know the difference between the two kinds of pride.

A. Once there was a guy named Zeke who had so much pride he could never admit he was wrong.

1. One day Zeke wandered into the blacksmith shop with sawdust all over the floor.

2. A few minutes before Zeke arrived, the blacksmith had been working on an uncooperative horseshoe, and had beat on it until it went from red-hot to black.

3. The blacksmith decided to give up on it and tossed it over into the sawdust on the floor.

4. Just then Zeke walked in, looked down and saw the horseshoe, but not knowing it was still hot, picked it up – and as you would expect, Zeke dropped it immediately.

5. The old blacksmith looked over his glasses and said, “Kinda hot, ain’t it, Zeke?”

6. Unwilling to admit his mistake, Zeke said, “Nope, just doesn’t take me long to look at a horseshoe.” (Charles Swindoll, The Tale of the Tardy Oxcart, pg. 466).

B. Once there was a freshly promoted lieutenant who wanted to impress the first private to enter his new office, so he pretended to be on the phone with the general so that the private would know he was somebody important.

1. “Yes, sir, General, you can count on me!” said the lieutenant and then he hung up the phone.

2. Then the lieutenant asked the private what he could do for him.

3. The private said, “I don’t need anything from you, Sir, I am just here to connect your phone.”

C. What in the world is it that causes us to act like the two men in those stories?

1. The answer is pride.

2. Pride is a complicated emotion that can be very helpful, or extremely harmful.

3. God has created us with the capacity to feel the emotion of pride so that we can benefit from good pride and avoid the destructive nature of bad pride.

4. In his classic book, Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis devotes a chapter to pride called “The Greatest Sin in the World.”

a. With his characteristic insight and clarity, Lewis demonstrates that pride is that “greatest sin.”

b. Lewis describes the right kind of pride as “I’m proud of my son” and the wrong kind of pride as “I have to be the best. I have to be number one.”

c. After discussing all the subtle nuances and the ins and outs of pride, Lewis ends the chapter saying: “If you have read this and you’re convinced that this does not apply to you, then it certainly does apply to you.”

D. So if we find ourselves thinking that we don’t have a problem with the emotion of pride, then we better watch out, because pride can be a great deceiver.

1. I remember many years ago, a very unkempt man attended our worship service – his clothing was tattered and dirty, and his hair and beard were long and scraggly.

2. After worship, I went up to him to introduce myself to him.

3. What I didn’t know is that in addition to his look of poverty and homelessness, he was a severe stutterer.

4. I extended my hand to him and said, “Hello, I’m David, what’s your name.”

5. With great difficulty, he replied, “My name is John and you are prideful.”

6. The whole experience was surreal, and after an initial thought of: “how dare you…” my spirit within acknowledged: “perhaps this is God’s message for me, from a very unusual source.”

E. Before we focus on the dangers of pride, let’s spend a minute on the good side of pride.

1. Good pride is a feeling of a reasonable or a justifiable self-respect.

2. Good pride is a desire to do our best, to work hard and to take pride in our work.

3. Good pride is the feeling we get when we see our children doing well, we are proud and thankful for them.

4. Good pride says, “God made me, God has gifted me, I’m valuable and useful. I can and should feel good about myself, in light of all this.”

F. Here are a few biblical examples where good pride is discussed in a positive light.

1. Good pride allows us to feel pride in something we’ve done well.

a. This kind of pride isn’t boastful or self-centered, but is a feeling of satisfaction over what we’ve accomplished.

b. The writer of Ecclesiastes in the Old Testament declared, “Nothing is better than that a man should rejoice in his own works” (Ecclesiastes 3:22, NKJV).

2. The apostle Paul expresses a positive kind of pride when speaking of the feelings of pride that Christians can have about themselves or others.

a. In 2 Cor. 5:12, Paul wrote: We are not commending ourselves to you again, but giving you an opportunity to be proud of us, so that you may have a reply for those who take pride in outward appearance rather than in the heart.

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