has been made about the pronouncement of June being “Gay Pride” month. Many celebrate the freedom given by our government and society for the general acceptance of alternative lifestyles. Believers and many on the “religious” side of the debate have replied with memes noting their “Straight Pride.” The moment “Gay Pride” month was established, the battle lines were drawn between the left and the right. Doctrinally sound churches rightly consider homosexuality a sin, but many believers miss the “pride” forest for the “gay” tree. Pride is a sin abhorred by the Lord and much scripture is devoted to warning Christians from self-boastings and arrogance. We get too concerned with the “gay” facet and not the “pride” aspect because that pride is a sin that hits closer to our own home.
Pride of any sort creates deep divisions in society. The devil is celebrating the overriding tensions in the country resulting from pride over our sexuality, pride over our gender, and pride over our race. Proverbs 11:2 teaches “only by pride cometh contention: but with the well-advised is wisdom.” Oxford defines “pride” as being “a feeling of deep pleasure or satisfaction derived from one’s own achievements, the achievements of those with whom is closely associated, or from qualities or possessions that are widely admired.” We can’t pride ourselves in anything that we are unable to glorify the Lord and give Him all of the credit. Anything that we have attained in this life whether it be financial or physically is nothing of our own. It is through His provision and by His power we enjoy our health, strength, prosperity, and salvation. Paul wrote in Galatians 6:14 “but God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.”
Pride Is a Root of Evil
In his commentary of the Bible, John Calvin rightly attributed the opinion of Augustine who was of the belief, “that pride was the beginning of all evils, and that by pride the human race was ruined.” He explained that the disobedience and neglect of the Word of God are from the “falsehoods of Satan.” Consequently, the contempt of the Word prevents man from allowing God to manifest Himself. Accordingly, Adam in his guilt of sin attempted to hide from God. Pridefully, he felt that both his own ability and intellect to clothe his sin and disappear would shield him from God.
Further, Calvin noted that “neither is his majesty maintained, nor does his worship remain secure among us any longer than while we obey his word.” Faith and obedience connect us with God, but unbelief and disobedience are “the root of defection.” Thus, the disobedient man does not appreciate the power and sovereignty of God when he acts in defiant disregard for the Word. As a result, man attributes any gain to the promotion of himself in his own strength and reasoning. Spurgeon concluded that ambition and pride is an exultation of man above God. The boasting of self and the pride allowed to adorn our abilities are each an attempt to equalize man with God. It is a practical atheistic proclamation of “you may have made me, but I can take it from here” as the power, presence, and ability of God are being denied.
Pride Puts Self Over Neighbor
Pride can also be boasting about an attained position to those who are not able to identify with the same status. As such, David wrote in Psalms 10:2, “the wicked in his pride doth persecute the poor.” Those who boast of wealth are placing themselves above those who have not and probably will never attain membership in the same financial class. Remember how you felt when a neighbor or coworker brags about how much he or she spent on a new automobile or house? Man instinctively contemplates whether he himself could afford such a purchase. Sometimes we will even go out and make an equal or even more expensive purchase just for the sake of proving we have the means and ability.
Calvin wrote, “let every one, therefore, who desires to live justly and unblameably with his brethren, beware of indulging or taking pleasure in treating others disdainfully; and let him endeavor, above all things, to have his mind freed from the disease of pride.” Great heed must be given to avoid the appearance of pride. We all are guilty of taking the assumption of “tomorrow” by promising to “see you tomorrow” or “I will do it tomorrow”. Such promises are prideful by assuming that we will have a “tomorrow” and will remain to have the ability to do what we promise “tomorrow.” James 4:14,15 cautions us that “whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor, that appears for a little time, and then vanishes away. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.” Pride allows us to boldly proclaim a promise of tomorrow despite the knowledge of who actually holds tomorrow.
Pride Is in Evil Company
Unassumingly, we often consider pride in a positive light, i.e. pride in our country, pride in our family. Care must be given to attribute any blessing of citizenship or genealogy to that of our Lord. We did nothing for a birthright or the blessings therefrom. In Mark 7:21-23, Jesus put pride in the same category as evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, wickedness, and foolishness. He said, “all these evil things come from within and defile the man.” David understood as he wrote in Psalms 5:9, “For there is no faithfulness in their mouth; their inward part is very wickedness; their throat is an open sepulcher, they flatter with their tongue.”
Pride Is of the World
The “pride of life”, just as the “lust of the flesh” and the “lust of the eyes”, “is not of the Father, but is of the world.” Certainly, all the things we are prideful over except for our Lord and Savior are boasting of the flesh and the culmination of worldliness. Job 14:4 declared that not one “can bring a clean thing out of an unclean.” If one boasts of a homosexual orientation, he or she is prideful of an ability to choose the desire of physical attraction despite such corresponding act being contrary to the Word of God. Similarly, if I boast of my health and the kindness of my children by only attributing the result to healthy eating and hard-working parents, we are being prideful by not giving the credit to our Lord for His faithfulness and provision. There are plenty of healthy people who die at an early age and great families who have disobedient children. The flesh has the natural instinct of exuding self-sufficient arrogance. Everything that has not been cleansed and declared righteous from the cleansing power of Jesus Christ stems from the heart and the bowels of man. Thus, it is unclean and is to be judged as sinful.
The Prideful Soothe Themselves with False Opinions
Paul in Romans 2:28-29 rebuked those who were prideful of being a Jew. He wrote, “for he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly: neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: but he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.” Thus, we cannot boast in something for which is solely manifested by outward proclamation. Consider the answers we receive when we ask the question, “Are you saved?” Many, if not most, will mention church membership, a title held within the church, or a relationship to a pastor because of faithful attendance. While each is admirable, none answers the question of salvation. Thus, the person is soothing his or her soul by a prideful declaration as to what constitutes her or her salvation.
Verse 29 explained, “but he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.” The answers to “worldly” salvation can be easily but wrongfully objectified and verified by a piece of paper or by testimony of fellow man. Jesus Christ is always the answer. He is the source of our blessings and the sole means to our salvation and righteousness.