Thoughts on Pride

Andrew Fuller said that there is nothing in personal holiness that makes us more like Jesus than humility, and there is nothing in sin that makes us more like Satan than pride. The bible says pride always precedes disgrace and destruction. God hates pride. The sin of pride is believed by many theologians to be the fountain of all other sins, and even the greatest sin there is. We recognize it when we see it, but what exactly is pride? In his book, Humility, C.J. Mahaney explains that, "Pride is when sinful human beings aspire to the status and position of God and refuse to acknowledge their dependence on him." This is a fantastic and devastating definition. Fantastic in its precision, and devastating in its implications. Though we may not think of our own sinful pride in terms of usurping God's authority, in practice this is exactly what we do. Pride is an unrealistic view of ourselves that makes too much of our own righteousness while ignoring our own sinfulness, neediness before God, and commonality with all men. Our pride makes little of God and our neighbors while making so much of ourselves that we live life, make our decisions, and see our world in light of our own interests and desires.

In his sermon on The Prevention and Cure of Spiritual Pride Richard Mayo explains that the "pregnancy" of pride is a great danger. He says, "It is a big-bellied sin; most of the sins that are in the world are the offspring and issue of pride." He gives a number of example. Here is a summary of most of them.

Pride gives birth to:

  1. Covetousness - because you believe you deserve something more than others.
  2. Ungodly ambition - because you believe that you are most qualified, and the idea of someone else being preferred over you is an insult to your perceived worth.
  3. Boasting - because everyone should know who you are and what you have accomplished.
  4. Contention - because in picking fights you feel a sense of superiority over those who may (or may not) be in error.
  5. Unthankfulness - because you deserve everything you get!
  6. Selfishness - because others do not!
  7. Self-deceit - because it's easier to believe you are something, when in fact you are nothing.
  8. A judgmental attitude - because you believe the errors of others are much more serious than your own.
  9. Gossip - because you look so much better when telling others how awful someone else is. Mayo said that the proud "endeavor to build their own praise upon the ruins of others' reputation."
  10. Complaining - because God should have consulted you before orchestrating the events of your day/life.
  11. Hypocrisy - because you must hide the truth, your own failures, in order to avoid shame and accumulate praise.

There are many others, but this is enough to show, I think, that pride is not only dangerous, but present in us all in one way or another. Thoughts on fighting against the sin of pride coming later this week.

Update: I am getting emails about this post, so let me make a couple things clear. 1) The points are Mayo's, the explanations are mine. 2) I am only aware of one place where you can find this sermon, and that is in the 6 volume collection of Puritan Sermons published by Roberts.