Three Beliefs of a Proud Heart

Pride is not something you do, it's worse than that. Pride is a kind of spiritual heart disease; a sickness of the soul that destroys faith and piety leading to disgrace and destruction. This disease spreads by means of lies our proud hearts are eager to believe. There are three beliefs common to a proud heart which must be refuted by the truth.

"I Am Better"

A proud heart plays the game of comparison with a stacked deck guaranteeing that all others lose. It assures a man that he is good, very good in fact, in comparison to others---others he deems to be failures. A proud man ignores the strong and mocks the weak in order to establish himself as superior. In every form of its existence "I am better" is built upon self-righteousness. It is the belief held by the pharisee who stood near the tax collector in the temple who, even as he prayed, was playing the game. He was so fixated on the unrighteousness of another man he lost sight of the holiness of God making it easy to imagine himself to be holy. He found comfort in his perceived exaltation over another sinner when he should have been humbled and broken before the face of God, just as the tax collector was. For the proud heart to exist, it must believe "I am better."

"I Deserve Better"

The proud heart believes "I deserve better." It finds itself worthy not only of what it currently possesses, but also of whatever it desires. This is never a longing for justice, or even enough. It is a deadly mixture of discontent and greed. It is this belief that leaves us unsatisfied with the gifts God has given us, and incapable of rejoicing with those who have more. It is this belief that leaves us angry at every inconvenience and affliction because after all, I deserve all things to go my way. Where there is pride this belief is alive and well.

"I Am Sufficient"

The proud man is over-confident in his own abilities, and only looks to himself to accomplish whatever needs to be done. He would rather refuse assistance than be indebted or admit weakness. The proud heart believes, "I am sufficient," which leaves a man on his own to attempt to meet the demands of life and the justice of God. This belief eventually leads to death.

The Truth

The enemy of pride is not humility, but faith. Humility is wrapped up in faith, emanating from our dependence on Christ for "wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption." (1 Corinthians 1:30) It is saving faith that sees things rightly. It sees God as he has revealed himself, and one's self as he truly is. Faith does not believe "I am better," but "I am ruined." It recognizes that all of us have broken God's law, and is grieved most severely for one's own transgressions. Faith knows a man does not "deserve better," but confesses that whatever he has is grace undeserved, and finds that all the Christian has in Jesus is supremely satisfying. Faith cannot believe "I am sufficient," for faith itself is a kind of dependence. Faith confesses, "I am poor, blind, naked, and miserable" and can only look to God for what one lacks.

Pride (and the lies it believes) is only overcome by faith. If you want to kill pride and grow in humility you must give yourself to the knowledge of God.

Recommended Reading: Humility, C.J. Mahaney