The first of several traps the Proverbs warn us about is pride.
Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.
Pride is like cousin Eddie from the film Christmas Vacation. When you see it coming, you should have alarms ringing in your head – disaster is following close behind. The word destruction in the Hebrew describes a rock being shattered to pieces.
Pride can lead to the shattering of our lives for three reasons: it builds on shoddy and artificial foundations which will crumble, it disdains and neglects true sources of strength and security (like the help and advice of others or admitting mistakes and weaknesses) and it invites the intervention of God, who abhors pride.
How do we know if pride has come into our lives? Allen Parr gives us 15 signs that we might have pride:
- Assuming you already know something when someone is teaching
- Seeing yourself as too good to perform certain tasks
- Unwilling to ask for help
- Feeling the need to consistently teach people things
- Talking about yourself a lot
- Thinking you are better than others who are different or less fortunate
- Disregard the advice of others
- Consistently critical of others
- Consistent need for attention and affirmation
- Unable to receive constructive criticism
- Overly obsessed with physical appearance
- Unwilling to submit to authority
- Ignoring people’s attempts to communicate with you
- Justifying sin instead of admitting it
What should we do if we find these signs of pride in our lives? The first thing the Scriptures tell us to do is to drop to our knees in humility.
Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you.
1 Peter 5:7
The central message of our faith is that Jesus humbled himself by making himself nothing and taking the form of a slave. The King of Kings became the friend and servant of sinners. How can we be greater than our master? Because He is great, we don’t have to be. We can reject the artificial life of pride and the destruction it brings for an authentic life of humble servanthood.
Tom Brown is the planting pastor of Vintage Faith Church in Wichita. Tom and his wife, Mandy, have worked together in ministry for 18 years and have four children. More about Pastor Tom Brown