Jonathan Edwards said, “Pride is the worst viper that is in the heart and the greatest disturber of the soul’s peace and sweet communion with Christ…the most hidden, secret, and deceitful of all lusts.” The sin of pride hides deep within the recesses of the human heart and inevitably leads to many grievous offenses. The scary thing about pride is that we often do not see it in ourselves, but clearly see it in others. We are blinded to our own arrogance and self-sufficiency and become complacent and lulled into a deadly sleep when it comes to dealing with pride in our lives.
What does God feel about the sin of pride? Proverbs 8:13 says this, “The fear of the LORD is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate.” In fact, the sin of pride is an outright abomination to the Lord as evidenced in Proverbs 16:5: “Everyone who is arrogant in heart is an abomination to the LORD; be assured, he will not go unpunished.” Listen to this stark warning from Proverbs 16:18-19: “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. It is better to be of a lowly spirit with the poor than to divide the spoil with the proud.” The apostle James also admonishes us to be aware of the dangers of pride in James 4:6 when he writes, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”
Clearly we can see from the Scriptures that the living God hates pride. He opposes it, abominates it, and will not tolerate it. And yet how many times do we get wrapped up in pride and arrogance and think to ourselves that it is really no big deal. We make excuses for our pride and try to justify our attitudes and we do not truly see how God actually feels about this inexcusable sin.
So how do we humble ourselves before the Lord and kill the sin of pride? 1 Peter 5:5-6 says, “Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you.” Pride is a ruthless enemy like a cobra who strikes when we least expect it and causes tremendous damage in by its venom.
The sin of pride can only be combated with a healthy dose of the glory of the gospel of Jesus Christ and His cross. John Stott encourages us with these words: “Nothing in history or in the universe cuts us down to size like the cross. All of us have inflated views of ourselves, especially in self-righteousness, until we have visited a place called Calvary. It is there, at the foot of the cross that we shrink to our true size.”
It is only when we look at Christ on the cross and realize that we as depraved sinners should have died ourselves that we shrink to our true size. We are humbled by the grace and mercy of a loving God toward ill-deserving sinners. We are brought to our knees in desperation and thankfulness that Christ would dare love such sinners as us and forgive our sin and shame when He Himself was the perfect Lamb of God.
So how do you fight pride in your heart? You do what the great Puritan John Owen prescribes. He said, “Fill your affections with the cross of Christ that there may be no room for sin.” Fill your heart and mind with the glories of Calvary. Fix your eyes on Christ alone. Constantly look toward the all-sufficient Savior who rescued you out of bondage to sin and frees you to make much of Him, instead of making much of yourself.