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Pride, Self-righteousness and Humility

1. What does God think about pride?

A. He hates it:

Pro.6:16,17 - These...doth the Lord hate: a proud look
Pro.16:5 - Every one that is proud...is an abomination to Lord

B. We should hate it too:

Pro.8:13 - The fear of the Lord is to hate...pride and arrogancy

C. Pride is a sin, not a virtue:

Pro.21:4a - An high look, and a proud heart...is sin
Hab.2:4 - Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright
1Jn.2:16 - Pride...is not of the Father, but is of the world

2. Why is it wrong for us to be proud?

A. Because only the Lord is great; we are not:

Psa.66:5-7 - Come and see the works of God...He ruleth...let not the rebellious exalt themselves
Psa.97:9 - Thou, Lord, art high... exalted far above all
Ezk.28:2 - Thine heart is lifted up...yet thou art a man, and not God, though thou set thine heart as...God
Phi.2:9,10 - God hath highly exalted Him (Jesus), and given Him a name above every name...every knee should bow
(See also Psa.21:13; 57:5,11; 108:5; Isa.2:11,17.)

B. God alone should get the glory:

Acts 12:20-23 - Angel...smote him, because he gave not God the glory
1Cor.10:31 - Whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God
(See also Jer.9:23,24; 1Cor.1:28,29.)

C. Pride makes us ignore and forget God:

Deut.8:14 - (When) thine heart be lifted up...thou forget the Lord
Psa.10:4 - The wicked, through...pride...will not seek after God
Hos.13:6b - Heart was exalted; therefore have they forgotten Me

D. God will distance Himself from and resist the proud:

Psa.138:6 - The proud He (the Lord) knoweth afar off
Jam.4:6 - God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto humble

E. Pride makes us rebel against the Word:

Neh.9:16,17,29 - They dealt proudly...and hearkened not to Thy (Word)

F. It gives us an exaggerated sense of greatness:

Oba.3 - The pride of thine heart hath deceived thee, that saith, Who shall bring me down?
Rom.12:3 - (Thinking) of himself more highly than he ought to
Gal.6:3 - If a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself

G. It creates self-exaltation and a desire to be honoured:

Pro.25:27 - For men to search their own glory is not glory
Mat.23:5-7 - (Proud Pharisees) love...greetings (in public), and to be called of men, (Master, Master)
Mk.12:38,39 - Scribes...love...chief seats...and uppermost rooms
Jude 16 - Their mouth speaketh great swelling words, having men's persons in admiration

H. When we seek to please men, we often displease the Lord:

1Sam.15:30 - I have sinned: [but] honour me...before the [people]
Jn.5:44 - Ye...receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only
Jn.12:43 - They loved praise of men more than the praise of God
Gal.1:10 - If I pleased men...not be the servant of Christ

I. Pride makes us think we are "wise":

Pro.3:7 - Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the Lord
1Cor.3:18 - Let no man deceive himself. If any... seemeth wise
1Cor.8:2 - If any think that he knoweth any thing, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know

J. Pride gives us a "know-it-all" attitude:

Psa.131:1 - [The haughty exercise themselves in great matters, in things too high for them]
Pro.26:12 - Seest thou a man "wise" in his own conceit? There is more hope of a fool than of him
(See also 1Tim.1:7)

K. Pride causes arguments:

Pro.13:10 - Only by pride cometh contention
Pro.28:25 - He that is of a proud heart stirreth up strife
(See also Pro.14:3; 21:24.)

L. Pride corrupts us:

Mk.7:22,23 - Pride...(comes) from within, and defiles the man

M. Pride will bring about our downfall:

Pro.11:2a - When pride cometh, then cometh shame
Pro.16:18 - Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall
Pro.18:12a - Before destruction the heart of man is haughty
Pro.29:23a - A man's pride shall bring him low
Ezk.28:12-17 - [The fall of Satan happened because he exalted himself in pride] (See also Isa.14:12-15)
Dan.5:18,20, 21 - God gave Nebuchadnezzar...majesty...and honour: But when his heart was lifted up...he was deposed
1Cor.10:12 - Him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall

3. Some causes of pride:

A. Beauty:

Ezk.28:17 - Thine heart is lifted up because of thy beauty

B. Material abundance:

Deut.8:12-14, 17 - Lest when thou...art full...and all that thou hast is multiplied; then thine heart be lifted up
Ezk.28:5 - Thine heart is lifted up because of thy riches
Hos.13:6 - They were filled, and their heart was exalted

C. Being overly secure:

Psa.73:5,6a - They are not in trouble as other men...therefore pride compasseth them about as a chain

D. Being overly affected by exaltation:

2Chr.26:15,16 - He was marvellously helped, till he was strong. But when he was strong, his heart was lifted up
Dan.11:11,12 - [Victory over enemies causes heart to be lifted up]
1Tim.3:6 - Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall

E. Carnal mindedness (intellectual pride):

Gen.2:16-17; 3:16 - [Eve, desiring to be wise, disobeyed God and ate of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil]
1Tim.6:3,4 - If any man teach otherwise (than sound doctrine)...he is proud, knowing nothing
(See also Jer.9:23,24a; Rom.8:6,7; Jam.3:14-16.)

4. Warnings against pride:

A. We should avoid proud boasting:

1Sam.2:3a - Talk no more so exceeding proudly; let not arrogancy come out of your mouth
Pro.27:2 - Let another man praise thee, and not thine own mouth
2Cor.10:18 - Not he that commendeth himself is approved, but whom the Lord commendeth

B. We shouldn't exalt ourselves:

Pro.25:6,7 - Put not forth thyself in the presence of the king, and stand not in the place of great men
Lk.14:10 - When thou art bidden...sit down in the lowest room

C. If we're proud, we're in a dangerous position:

Psa.18:27 - Thou (God) wilt bring down high looks
Pro.15:25a - The Lord will destroy the house of the proud
Eccl.7:16 - Be not righteous over much (overly righteous)...why shouldst thou destroy thyself?
Jer.48:25,26, 29 - [Exceeding proud, lofty, arrogant, haughty Moabites magnified selves against the Lord and were cut off]

5. Self-righteousness: Why is it wrong to think that we in ourselves are good and righteous?

A. Because we are not:

Job 15:14 - What is man, that he should be clean?...righteous?
Job 15:15,16 - The heavens are not clean in His sight. How much more abominable and filthy is man
Psa.130:3 - If Thou shouldest mark iniquities, who shall stand?
Pro.20:9 - Who can say, I have made my heart clean, I am pure?
Eccl.7:20 - There is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good and sinneth not
Isa.64:6a - We are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags
Rom.3:10,23 - There is none righteous, no, not one...all have sinned
Rom.7:18a - In me, that is, in my flesh, dwelleth no good thing

B. Only God is good:

Mat.19:17a - There is none good but one, that is, God
Job 9:2b - But how should man be just with God?
Psa.71:16b - I will make mention of Thy righteousness, Thine only

C. Doing so causes us to be lifted up in pride:

Pro.30:12,13 - (They) are pure in their own eyes...O how lofty are their eyes! And their eyelids are lifted up
Lk.18:11 - God, I thank Thee, that I am not as other men...unjust

D. It separates us from God:

Rom.10:3 - They...going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted unto the righteousness of God
Job 13:16b - An hypocrite shall not come before Him

E. It makes us unable to see our sins:

Job 32:1 - Job...was righteous in his own eyes (See also Pro.16:2; 21:2.)
Pro.30:12 - A generation that are pure in their own eyes, and yet is not washed from their filthiness
Lk.6:41,42 - Why perceivest not the beam that is in thine own eye?
Jn.9:41 - Ye say, "We see"; therefore your sin remaineth

F. True righteousness means trusting God:

Gal.3:6 - Abraham believed God, it was accounted righteous ness
Phi.3:9 - Not having mine own righteousness...but...of God
Tit.3:5 - Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to (because of) His mercy He saved us

6. Self-righteousness: Why is it wrong to think we in ourselves are better than others?

A. Because we're not:

Jn.8:7 - He that is without sin...let him first cast a stone
Rom.3:23 - All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God

B. We shouldn't think we are better than others:

Rom.14:2,3 - Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not
1Cor.13:4 - Charity (love) vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up
Phi.2:3b - [Not] vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves

C. A proud attitude displeases and angers God:

Isa.65:5 - (They) say, "I am holier than thou." These are a smoke in My (God's) nose
Lk.16:15 - Ye are they which justify yourselves...but...that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination (to) God

D. It makes us despise and be unmerciful to others:

Mat.23:29 - Ye have omitted the weightier matters...mercy
Lk.18:9 - (They) trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others
Lk.18:11 - God, I thank Thee, that I am not as other men are... unjust...or even as this publican (tax collector)
(See also Mat.9:13)

E. We only are what we are by God's grace:

1Cor.4:7 - Who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive?
1Cor.15:10 - By the grace of God I am what I am
2Cor.3:5 - Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves

7. The humbling of the proud:

A. God can and does humble the proud:

Dan.4:37b - Those that walk in pride He is able to abase
Gen.11:1-8 - [Men were building the tower of Babel in pride, so God confused and scattered them]
1Sam.13:8-14 - [Saul presumed to offer the sacrifice without waiting for Samuel, and lost the kingdom as a result]
2Chr.32:24,25 - Heart was lifted up: therefore...wrath (was) upon him
Job 33:15-17 - [God works on our hearts at night to remove pride]
Psa.101:5b - Him that hath an high look and a proud heart will not I suffer (allow to continue)
Isa.2:11 - The lofty looks of man shall be humbled, and the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down
Isa.2:12 - Every one that is proud and lofty...shall be brought low
Isa.13:11b - I will cause the arrogancy of the proud to cease
Dan.4:30-35 - [King Nebuchadnezzar, lifted up in pride, was deposed by God, abased as a beast, and learned humility]
Dan.5:20,21 - When his...mind (was) hardened in pride...was deposed
2Cor.12:7 - Lest I (Paul) should be exalted above measure...there was given to me a thorn in the flesh
(See also Jer.50:31,32; Oba.4.)

B. It is a law of God: If we're proud, we will be humbled:

Mat.23:12a - Whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased
Lk.14:11a - Whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased
Lk.18:14b - Every one that exalteth himself shall be abased

C. Being humbled teaches us that God is in charge:

Job 42:1-6 - [After being humbled, Job said:] I know that Thou canst do every thing...I...repent
Dan.4:32-35 - Eat grass...until thou know that the most High ruleth

8. Why we should want to be humble:

A. Because God loves and delights in the humble:

Psa.51:17 - The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise
Psa.138:6a - The Lord be high, yet hath He respect unto the lowly
1Pet.3:4 - A meek and quiet spirit...is in the sight of God of great price
1Pet.5:5b - God...giveth grace to the humble

B. He is close to the humble:

Psa.34:18a - The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart
Isa.57:15a - The high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity (dwells) with him that is of a contrite and humble spirit

C. He requires us to be humble:

Mic.6:8 - What doth the Lord require...walk humbly with thy God
Col.3:12 - Put on, as the elect of God...humbleness of mind

D. Humility brings honour and blessing:

Pro.22:4 - By humility...are riches, and honour, and life
Pro.29:23b - Honour shall uphold the humble in spirit

E. If we are humble, God will exalt us:

Mat.23:12b - He that shall humble himself shall be exalted
Lk.1:52 - He put down the mighty...and exalted them of low degree

F. God helps the humble:

Psa.9:12 - He forgetteth not the cry of the humble
Psa.25:9 - The meek will He guide...and meek will He teach His way
Psa.34:18 - The Lord...saveth such as be of a contrite spirit
Psa.147:6 - The Lord lifteth up the meek: He casteth wicked down
Isa.57:15b - (I) revive spirit of the humble, and heart of contrite ones
Lk.1:48a - He hath regarded the low estate of His handmaiden
1Pet.5:5b - God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble

G. Humility can spare us from trouble:

1Ki.21:17,25-29 - [Wicked king Ahab humbled himself before God, so God didn't bring judgment during his lifetime]
2Chr.32:26 - Hezekiah humbled himself for the pride of his heart...so that the wrath of the Lord came not

H. God gives the humble true wisdom:

Pro.11:2 - [Pride causes shame] but with the lowly is wisdom
1Cor.3:18 - Let him become a fool, that he may be wise
(See also Lk.10:21)

I. Humility is true greatness in God's eyes:

Eccl.7:8b - The patient in spirit is better than proud in spirit
Mat.18:4 - Whosoever shall humble himself is greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven
Mat.19:30b - The last shall be first
Mk.10:43 - Whosoever will be great...shall be your minister
Lk.22:26 - He that is greatest...let him be as the younger

J. God uses and exalts the humble:

1Sam.15:17 - When thou wast little in thine own sight...the Lord anointed thee king over Israel
Pro.15:33b - Before honour is humility
Jam.4:10 - Humble yourselves...and He shall lift you up
1Pet.5:6 - Humble yourselves... that He may exalt you in due time

K. Other blessings upon the meek:

Psa.37:11 - The meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight
Psa.149:4 - The Lord...will beautify the meek with salvation
Mat.5:5 - Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth

9. Keeping a humble attitude:

A. Remind yourself that anything good is only Jesus, not you:

Gen.41:15,16 - Joseph answered Pharaoh, saying, It is not in me: God shall give Pharaoh an answer
Dan.2:26-30a - God...revealeth secrets. But as for me, this secret is not revealed to me for any wisdom that I have
1Cor.4:7 - What hast thou that thou didst not receive [from God]? Why dost thou glory?
1Cor.15:9,10 - I am not meet (worthy) to be called an apostle...but by the grace of God I am what I am
2Cor.10:17 - He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord (See also Jer.9:23,24)
Gal.6:14 - God forbid I should glory, save in the cross of Jesus
(See also Rom.2:11; Gal.6:3.)

B. Read and obey the Word:

Deut.17:19,20 - [Read and obey the Word] that heart be not lifted up

C. Realistically admit your limitations:

Rom.12:3 - (Don't) think of (yourself) more highly than (you) ought to think; but think soberly
Rom.12:16b - Be not wise in your own conceits

10. Humility with one another:

A. Follow Jesus' example of humility:

Mat.21:5 - Thy King (Jesus) cometh unto thee, meek...upon an ass
Jn.13:5,12-15 - He began to wash the disciples' feet, and wipe them...I have given you an example, that ye should do as I
Lk.22:27 - He that sitteth at meat (is greater)...but I am among you as he that serveth
Phi.2:5-8 - Let this mind be in you...Jesus made Himself of no reputation...(became) a servant...humbled Himself

B. Other examples of true humility:

1Sam.25:40, 41 - [Abigail, when asked to marry David, said:] Let (me) be a servant to wash the feet of (his) servants
Mk.7:25-30 - [Syrophoenician woman said:] Yet the dogs under the table eat of the children's crumbs
Lk.7:2-7 - [Pharisees said] he was worthy for whom He should do this. The centurion (said), I am not worthy
Jn.1:27 - (Jesus), Whose shoe's latchet I am not worthy to unloose

C. Submit humbly to one another:

Lk.22:25,26 - Kings...exercise lordship. But ye shall not be so. He that is greatest...let him be as the younger
Eph.5:21 - Submitting yourselves one to another in fear of God
1Pet.5:5 - All of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud

D. Love and honour others:

Rom.12:10 - With brotherly love; in honour preferring one another
Rom.12:16 - Mind not high things, condescend to men of low estate Phi.2:3a Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory

E. Be humble when pointing out other's errors:

Lk.6:42b - Cast out first the beam out of thine own eye
Gal.6:1 - Restore such an one in the spirit of meekness
2Tim.2:25 - In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves

11. The solution:

A. Confess your faults and inabilities and humble yourself before God:

Jam.4:10a - Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord
1Pet.5:6a - Humble yourselves...under the mighty hand of God

B. Ask others to pray for you to overcome pride:

Jam.5:16 - Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another
Mat.18:19,20 - If two of you shall agree [in prayer] it shall be done

C. Examples of humbling oneself before the Lord:

2Sam.24:2-4, 8-10 - [In pride, David took a census of his kingdom to see how great he was, then repented and sought mercy]
Job 40:1-5; 42:1-6 - [Self-righteous Job see 32:1; 35:2 - humbled himself, confessed he was vile and repented]
Psa.51:1-4 - I acknowledge my...sin...that Thou mightest be justified when Thou speakest
Dan.4:33-35,37 - [King Nebuchadnezzar humbled himself and confessed that only God was great]
(See also 1Sam.9:21 - about Saul; 2Sam.7:18 - about David; 1Ki.3:7 - about Solomon; Mat.3:14 - about John the Baptist.)

Special passages:

1Ki.12:1-16 - [Rehoboam "answered the people roughly"]
2Chr.26:14-23 - [King Uzziah, "lifted up", presumed to offer incense]
Dan.4:all - [Nebuchadnezzar's pride, humiliation and restoration]
Lk.18:9-14 - [The parable of the proud Pharisee and humble sinner]

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Copyright (c) 1998 by The Family International

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James Arendt
James Arendt

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