God resists the proud, and yet people (and Americans in particular) are proud beings. Sayings like, “Show some pride in your work” are familiar to all of us. We are Proud To Be An American, and proud of our ethnicity and heritage. We are proud of our status in society or in our wealth. We are proud of our accomplishments and achievements, and yes, even proud to be Christians. While these feelings are not necessarily wrong, they can become more than just feelings – they can foster an attitude of sinful pride.
Inclined To Be Proud
The tendency toward pride was built into us by our ancestor, Adam. What was Adam’s sin in the Garden of Eden? It must have been great enough to cause God to banish him and Eve from that perfect environment. His sin was being proud, played out through wanting to do things independently of God and His direction. That same sin is resident in every one of us. God resists the proud and so Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden. He resists the proud, and so He resists us when we give in to pride.
The answer for sin was provided by Jesus Christ, the Son of God. By His death, burial, and resurrection, He offers new life for the separation from God that sin brings. That being understood, we still have free will to either follow Him or to try and manage things on our own. That temptation is – and always will be – present with us until the day we die. By giving in to pride, we allow all kinds of evil situations to develop in our lives. Wrongful desires, arrogance, envy, bitterness and hatred are the results of being proud, but even after we give in to them, God provides a way to overcome those consequences!
God Provides the Answer!
How does He do that? He gives us grace.
But He gives more grace. Therefore He says:
“God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” (NKJV)
Grace is not forgiveness. Grace is not mercy. Grace is the power of God which is the power of God, brought into our lives to overcome sin. It is activated, and continues to operate, through faith in what Jesus has already done!
Are you having trouble in your walk with the Lord? Are things seemingly out of control in your life? Are you faced with difficult situations, circumstances, or people (even Christians)? The first thing we need to do is to check our hearts for the presence of pride. When we face these situations we are celled to go to God, seeking Him for His direction is how we should act, think, and respond.
Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up. (NKJV)
Submitting to the Lord is the only effective way to overcoming pride. We let go of all that we have and all that we are and place Christ firmly in control of our lives. As we submit to God, He gives us the grace we need to keep things in perspective. What we do will no longer revolve around who we are, or what we think is best, or the things we possess, but our lives revolve around Him. We relinquish control of our lives and seek to find our purpose and fulfillment in Christ alone. We are set free from the effects of being proud because we realize that everything good comes from our Father and don’t place any confidence in ourselves (Philippians 3:2-11).
And that’s just how it should be.