There are six things which the LORD hates;
"Yes, seven which are an abomination
eyes, a lying tongue, and hands
shed innocent blood
How you are fallen from heaven,
O Day Star,
son of the morning!
How you are cut down to the ground, you who laid the nations low!
You said in your heart,
"I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne
The stars of God;
I will sit on the mount of assembly on the heights of Zaphon;
I will ascend to the tops of the clouds, I will make myself
like the Most High"
Your heart was proud; you corrupted your wisdom
the sake of your splendor. I cast you to the ground;
I exposed you before kings, to feast their eyes on you
The fall of the angel who became the Devil seems to be rooted in two basic sins -
pride and selfish ambition.
These sins caused his downfall, as well as the downfall of those angels
who went with him.
It has also been the downfall of many people since that time.
How God View Pride?
"There are only two safe places for a Christian—in the dust and in heaven.
And of the two the dust is safer, for Satan fell from heaven,”
said a wise man.
Pride was the first sin to destroy the calm of eternity. It was pride that cast Lucifer from heaven and it was pride that cost our first parents their place in Paradise. Pride is the first sin to enter a man’s heart and the last to leave. No sin is more offensive to God than the sin of pride. Pride has been referred to as the “complete anti-God state of mind.” It militates against God’s authority, God’s law, and God’s rule. This is why the Bible equates rebellion with witchcraft (1 Sam. 15:23). Pride assaults God’s throne and asserts its independence in an attempt to dislodge God as the Sovereign of the universe.
God and pride are like oil and water— they don’t mix! Pride is dogmatic in its antagonism to God and God is absolute in His opposition to pride. The Creator never has and never will compromise with pride.
Humility is the foundation of all virtue, but pride is the essence of all sin. The world system operates on the basis of pride for all that is in the world is lust and pride (1 John 2:16). Pride and lust are root sins from which all other sins spring. Pride is the mother of evil.
God detests pride. He even hates a proud look (Prov. 6:16-17). God’s loathing of pride is unalterable, for “Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD” (Prov. 16:5). But why does God hate pride so fiercely?
Pride Spawns Prayerlessness
Once Solomon had completed the Temple, the Lord instructed Israel on the proper way to approach Him in times of judgment. If the heavens withheld rain on account of their sins, or disobedience caused God to send pestilence among His people, then they were to pray toward the Lord’s house. But even before they prayed, turned from their wicked ways, or sought the face of God they needed to first humble themselves (2 Chron. 7:14). God required the people who were called by His name to humble themselves before they prayed or repented. So why does humility precede prayer? Why does humility come before turning from wicked ways?
The reason humility precedes prayer is because there can be no real prayer without humility. Proverbs speaks of the man who brazenly turns his ear from the law, “Even his prayer shall be abomination” (28:9). Prayerlessness is the very first sign of pride. It has been said, “God’s power will never fall until we do.” Proud people don’t pray. In fact, the only people who pray are those who need God, know they need God, and can’t go on without God. Humility is the altar on which God wishes us to offer Him sacrifices.
Pride Brings Conflict
Why are there so many splintered relationships, so many broken marriages, and church splits? The Scripture gives us the short answer, “Only by pride cometh contention” (Prov. 13:10). Just as surely as pride erects a barrier between us and God, it also builds a wall between us and others. Whereas love seeks to build a bridge, pride seeks to erect a wall.
Pride can keep you from apologizing when you’ve been wrong. Pride can cause you to defend yourself. Pride can cause you to look down on others. If you allow it, pride can rob you of the most treasured relationships in life. “He that is of a proud heart stirreth up strife” (Prov. 28:25).
Humbling ourselves is the only way to get the roof off toward God and the walls down toward our fellow man. Once offences have been committed, whether intentional or unintentional, they must be dealt with. “I was wrong. I am sorry. Will you forgive me?” are healing words that only a humble soul would use. Whenever you find a man willing to humble himself before God and man, you have found a man who will be exalted, because “humility comes before honor.”
Pride Results in Gossip
Thou shalt hide them … from the pride of man: thou shalt keep them … from the strife of tongues” (Ps. 31:20). Evil speaking, slander, and gossip are the direct result of pride. This comes as no surprise since the word “devil” comes from the word diabalos which means slanderer. One of the Puritans said, “He that receives a slander carries the devil in his ear and he that commits a slander carries the devil in his tongue.” Where Satan doesn’t go personally, he sends a critic.
Once a Sunday School teacher gave a lesson on the parable of the Pharisee and the publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed with himself thanking God he was not like other men: “adulterers, extortioners, and publicans.” The teacher really blasted the Pharisee because of his proud, condemning attitude. He was glorying in the fact that he was better than common sinners—“not as other men.” As the class ended the teacher said, “Students, let’s bow our heads now and thank the Lord we’re not like that Pharisee!”
Before a man can look down on another he must first assume he is better than the person he is speaking against. A proud man is suspicious of everyone else. A humble man is more suspicious of his own heart than anyone else. The proud heart will detect defects in others before himself. A humble soul sees the evil in his own heart before he sees evil in others.
Wesley said, “Gossip is anything you would say about someone that you wouldn’t say if they were standing in front of you.” The only reason for character assassination, or making an unfavorable comparison, is to exalt one’s own self. Before speaking against a fellow human being one must first establish himself as a judge. This maligning of character can only be explained in terms of pride. The connection between pride and slander is clearly seen in Psalm 101, “Whoso privily slandereth his neighbour, him will I cut off: him that hath an high look and a proud heart will not I suffer” (v. 5).
Pride is Deceptive
A young man responded at the invitation and told his pastor that he had come to rededicate his life to the Lord. The pastor replied, “Wonderful! Just kneel there at the pew and confess your sins to God.” To which the man replied, “Pastor, I can’t think of any sins to confess.” The pastor then said, “Son, just guess at it.” And you know what? The young man got it right on the first try! Pride is not just thinking we are better than others, it is thinking we are better than we are.
Pride is the disposition to exalt self, get above others, and conceal defects. Ever since the Fall man has had the tendency to confess someone else’s sins instead of his own. This is hardly surprising since the heart of man is “deceitful above all things” (Jer. 17:9). And the reason man’s heart is so deceitful is because of inborn haughtiness. “Thy terribleness hath deceived thee, and the pride of thine heart” (Jer. 49:16). Contrary to popular thinking, we are not good people who happen to do bad things—we are sinners through and through. And it is the deceptive nature of pride which brings such reluctance to admit our sins.
Pride Makes a False Boast
Samson killed a lion with his bare hands and didn’t even tell his parents. Spurgeon commented if a modern Christian so much as killed a mouse he would publish it in the gospel gazette! Man may be reluctant to acknowledge his wrongs, but most are quick to publicize their accomplishments. “Most men will proclaim every one his own goodness” (Prov. 20:6).
The Bible warns us about thinking more highly of ourselves than we ought. No man has a right to an inflated view of himself. Under the influence of pride a man takes on the air of a master. He is more likely to instruct others than inquire for himself. A humble Christian wants help from everybody, but the spiritually proud thinks everybody wants his help.
The proud man believes he has accomplished what God and others have accomplished in him. He seeks credit for things which he cannot rightly take credit. Talent, intellect, abilities, health, and life itself are gifts from God.
The Bible says it is of God’s mercy that we are not consumed. It is of God’s love that we have been drawn to Him. It is because of His everlasting arms being under us that we are kept. It is by His faith that we are saved. It is by His blood that we are cleansed. It is by His righteousness that we are clothed. It is by His power that we are kept. It is by His grace that we are sustained. It is by His intercession that we are delivered. It is by His goodness that we are led to repentance. It is by His indwelling Spirit that we are filled. All that God has for His people is from the Father, all is through the Son, and all is by the Holy Spirit. Of what can we boast?
Once Spurgeon had preached a powerful sermon. As soon as he had finished his message the devil whispered to him, “That was a fine sermon. You preached magnificently!” For a moment he agreed with the devil. Leaving the pulpit, a deacon met him and said, “Pastor that was a masterpiece.” Spurgeon interrupted and said, “You’re too late. The devil told me that a few moments ago.”
Pride Brings Shame
Culture is the externalization of religion. So when a culture calls good evil and evil good it indicates corrupt religion[s] dominate[s] that society. Never doubt that all men worship something; if not the true God, then they will worship something else, or themselves. The President proclaimed June as Gay Pride Month. Biblically, it should have been dubbed Gay Shame Month. Our society glories in things of which it should be ashamed.
Three factors contributed to the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah. “This was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness” (Eze. 16:49). Note carefully that pride was the foundation from which homosexuality sprang. “When pride cometh, then cometh shame” (Prov. 11:2).
After his journey through the valley of humiliation Nebuchadnezzar realized, “Those that walk in pride he is able to abase” (Dan. 4:37). He surely learned the proverb, “A man’s pride shall bring him low” (Prov. 29:23).
Pride Precedes a Fall
Those who built the Titanic pronounced the great ship unsinkable.
With boldness and confidence they boasted of the great safety this vessel afforded.
But on its maiden voyage the unsinkable ship sank.
The Titanic mentality of invincibility
sets the stage for collapse.
“Before destruction the heart of man is haughty”
Repeatedly, the scripture
pride precipitating a fall
“Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall” (Prov. 16:18). “The lofty looks of man shall be humbled, and the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down, and the LORD alone shall be exalted” (Isa. 2:11). Uzziah was greatly blessed and marvelously helped, “till he was strong. But when he was strong, his heart was lifted up to his destruction” (2 Chron. 26:15-16).
He transgressed by entering the temple to offer incense on the altar.
When confronted by the priests, Uzziah became furious.
While he was holding the censer in his hand God smote him and leprosy rose up in his forehead.
He lost the throne and was a leper the rest of his life.
God not only dwells in the high and holy place. He also dwells with him “that is of a contrite and humble spirit” (Isa. 57:15).
The man who sits nearest the dust sits nearest heaven.
It is the valley of humiliation that leads to the mount of transfiguration.
“Welcome everything that helps you on toward humility.”
Listing the sins of pride could go on and on.
Its pervasiveness cannot be overstated.
Haughtiness, arrogance, conceit, inordinate self-esteem, and vainglory
are as common as the air we breathe. Pride is a sin to be hated, a sin to be confessed,
a sin to mourn over, a sin to flee, and a sin to fight against.
'Pride must die, or nothing of heaven can live in you.”
God resists the proud,
but He gives grace to the humble
Humility is the royal insignia that marks God’s
even though it is the saint’s hardest conflict.
The first step toward becoming humble is realizing we are proud.
Then we must take the witness stand against ourselves and
plead “guilty as charged.”
Continually, we must
to the foot of the cross to be
washed away by the blood of Jesus.
Surveying the wondrous cross surely makes it easier to pour contempt on all our pride. Even though pride is hateful to God, the powerful blood of Jesus can cleanse it away.
If pride is the evil of evils, then humility is the virtue of virtues. Like the pearl of great price, it is worth selling all to obtain. Humility is our responsibility.
Humility is a choice, and
so is pride.
How do you plead?
What the Bible says about Self Exaltation?
The self-exalted person is he "who thinks he stands" on his own merits. Self-exaltation is an excessively intensified sense of well-being, power, or importance. At its worst, it is self-tribute, self-praise, self-honoring, self-glorifying, and self-worshipping. It overtly breaks the first three commandments by placing oneself as more important than God, setting oneself up as an idol, and making the name of one's god, "I" or "me."
Self-exaltation naturally follows self-deception. We deceive ourselves into thinking we are greater than we really are. The father of pride, Satan, encourages this self-deception that produces pride, and once pride is introduced, human nature takes over. Ironically, in our quest for self-exaltation, in the end we receive the opposite of our intended goal of personal glory; our quest ultimately results in shame.
In the original sin of Adam and Eve, Satan held out to them the promise of attainments beyond what they had experienced to that point in the Garden of Eden. Tempting them, he said, "You will be like God, knowing good and evil" (Genesis 3:5). This helped motivate them to become greater than what God, their Creator, had assigned to them.
In Genesis 1:31, when God saw everything He had made, He declared it to be "very good." Pride is not "very good." It was not in them as God created them, but it entered into their thinking in Satan's presence. The very first exercise of that pride earned them death and ejection from God's presence and the Garden.
At some time following his creation by God, pride arose in Satan, and he uttered this desire, as written in Isaiah 14:13-14:
For you have said in your heart: "I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High."
His devious offer to Adam and Eve in the Garden is an echo of his challenge against God. This exercise of his pride separated him from God.
Pride, Satan's lofty feelings of superiority regarding his beauty, corrupted him. It deceived him into wanting even greater power to complement his splendor. After all, he deserved it, did he not? Notice how great he was in his own eyes!
The American Heritage College Dictionary defines deference as "submission or courteous yielding to the opinion or wishes of another; courteous respect." Americans historically have prided themselves on their informality, having been brought up in a nation that operates under the belief that each person is just as good as anybody else. However, great misunderstandings exist regarding what the term "good" means because no one has set a national standard for it. Thus, each person feels free to set his own standard. Interestingly, the same dictionary defines informalas "not in accord with prescribed regulations or forms."
Forms of "defer" appear seven times in the King James Bible, and only one of them is in the New Testament. However, the concept is described in different terms frequently in both testaments. It should be because deference is an important virtue for a Christian to have as part of his character. Why? It reveals one's humility—that he is thoughtfully aware of others' well-being and seeking to serve them even in seemingly unimportant and insignificant ways.
Jesus points out its importance: "And do not be called teachers; for One is your Teacher, the Christ. But he who is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted" (Matthew 23:10-12). Truly, human nature loves to be praised, and then it takes advantage of those who heap the praise. It loves to receive distinction that elevates it above others. It covets being the one directing and controlling others and their opinions.
Yet, Jesus makes it clear that His disciples are not to follow that path. Instead, they are to lower themselves in order to serve. In the end, it is God who gives true exaltation, and that will be decided based on the humble service the Christian has given. Thus, a truism arises: The humble heart defers without regret to those it willingly serves.
Hebrews 13:17 provides an example of commanded deference. "Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you." Other portions of the Bible clarify that the author is not commanding obsequious, fawning, or slavish obedience. The Greek word translated as "be submissive" simply means "to yield." Yielding is synonymous with deferring. The author is simply asking for willing cooperation to help the congregational leaders carry out their teaching and organizational functions.
James 2:1-4 provides an example of a wrong kind of deference:
My brethren, do not hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with partiality. For if there should come into your assembly a man with gold rings, fine apparel, and there should also come in a poor man in filthy clothes, and you pay attention to the one wearing fine clothes and say to him, "You sit here in a good place," and say to the poor man, "You stand there," or, "Sit here at my footstool," have you not shown partiality among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts?
James is obviously saying that the deference given to the rich man at the poor man's expense is prejudiced and wrong in God's eyes. Nor should solicitous attention be given to the poor man at the expense of the rich. Instead, both should be given equal attention.
The Bible gives many examples of faithful people deferring, usually at some sacrifice to themselves, in service to others. This pattern of exemplary teaching is established for all to learn from. Abraham is a clear example:
And there was strife between the herdsmen of Abram's livestock and the herdsmen of Lot's livestock. . . . So Abram said to Lot, "Please let there be no strife between you and me, and between my herdsmen and your herdsmen; for we are brethren. Is not the whole land before you? Please separate from me. If you take the left, then I will go to the right; or if you go to the right, then I will go to the left." (Genesis 13:7-9)
Isaac learned this lesson well from his father, applying the same approach over long periods in many disputes, frequently over water rights (Genesis 26:18-22). Another fine example appears in Ruth 1:16-18, in which the elderly lady, Naomi, defers to the earnest request of the much-younger Ruth:
But Ruth said, "Entreat me not to leave you, or to turn back from following after you: for wherever you go, I will go; and where you lodge, I will lodge: your people shall be my people, and your God, my God. Where you die, I will die, and there will I be buried. The LORD do so to me, and more also if anything but death parts you and me." When [Naomi] saw that she was determined to go with her, she stopped speaking to her [stopped trying to dissuade her].
I Samuel 25 provides a parallel illustration, when David was about to wreak vengeance against Nabal for his stubborn refusal to give him and his warband some food after they had successfully defended Nabal's property and crops. However, upon Abigail's appeal, David deferred. Many more examples appear in Scripture, but in each case, some measure of wisdom was required to make the right choice. However, if the attitude of humble and respectful submission to God and to each other had not also been present, no deference would ever have been made. This is our choice.
To paraphrase, they said, "Look! Who are you, Moses? You've taken this authority to yourself, but it should be shared among all the people, because we have all been called out. We are all holy before God. Why then do you exalt yourself above the congregation of the LORD?"
Notice what they say. It is quite ironic. They say, "You are taking too much authority to yourself. Everybody should have this authority." And then they accuse Moses of exalting himself: "You put yourself in this position." But were they not attempting to do the very same thing? These words would come back to haunt them very shortly.
The first-mentioned source of curses is not public or institutionalized idolatry, as practiced by the world's religions, but hidden idolatry, that clandestine—maybe subliminal—elevation of anything before the true God. The reference is to the breaking of the first and second commandments (Exodus 20:2-6). In a modern context, such covert idolatry would include placing career, family, pleasure, or even, more subtly, social status in the church, above the worship of the true God.
Job 29 presents a revealing picture of what Job thought he was projecting to others. It is basically true: His conduct was above reproach. However, it includes a great deal of self-exaltation. Job uses the personal pronouns "I," "me," and "my" in excess of forty times in this brief chapter.
The psalmist, Asaph, mentions pride directly, as well as boasting among men and speaking loftily, arrogantly against the very God of heaven, as evidence of the driving force of the wicked person's life. Pride and wickedness fit together like hand and glove—so much so that he describes pride as the wicked person's ornament, as if it were displayed as a necklace.
In short, pride identifies the wicked; evil people are always proud. They scoff at God's Word, speak against Him, and gossip against fellow man. What we see on the outside is evil attitude and conduct, but what is motivating from the inside is pride. The proud person offends against God by self-exaltation, and he offends others by haughty preoccupation with himself, leading him to rudeness, impatience, and gossip. And all the while, he ignores the instruction from God that would correct him.
All of this is based on a vain delusion of grandeur that, if allowed, can lead to what God prophesies in Obadiah 2-4, 18:
"Behold, I will make you small among the nations; you shall be greatly despised. The pride of your heart has deceived you, you who dwell in the clefts of the rock, whose habitation is high; you who say in your heart, 'Who will bring me down to the ground?' Though you ascend as high as the eagle, and though you set your nest among the stars, from there I will bring you down," says the LORD. . . . "The house of Jacob shall be a fire, and the house of Joseph a flame; but the house of Esau shall be stubble; they shall kindle them and devour them, and no survivor shall remain of the house of Esau. For the LORD has spoken."
He pronounces this against the nation of Edom, but it could be pronounced in principle against anyone who comes to believe and act as though he is invulnerable by ignoring the reality of God and the consequences of sin.
The righteous do not exalt themselves. God will promote them; He will exalt them when it is the proper time. In the meantime, it is best for all of us to be content with where He has put us. We do not need to go to the lengths of Korah or Diotrephes to be presumptuous—we can be presumptuous anytime we take something upon ourselves that has not been given to us to do, thinking that we know better. Such a thing is just plain pride.
The cure for presumptuous behavior is realizing what God has given us, where He has placed us, and what is best for us at the time. If we work within the parameters He has set for us, we will grow, and we will perform the task He has asked us to do.
Isaiah 2:5-20 mentions a number of idolatries that are just as present in our society today as they were Isaiah's time. Enslaved by the superstition of astrology, they were more concerned about what the omens read than the judgment of God (verse 6). They craved the power of money and the recognition and influence it drew, and took enormous pride in their military, political, and economic sway in the world (verse 7). They worshipped "the work of their own hands" (verse 8).
The underlying motivation for these idolatries is exposed in verses 11: "The lofty looks of man shall be humbled, the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down" (see verses 12, 17). Pride brings forth idolatry, and its destruction is idolatry's cure. Pride elevates its owner to find God and His ways as unnecessary, too restrictive, boring, or beneath his intelligence, station, or needs. It leads him to choose his own way, be his own man, and do his own thing according to his judgment. In short, even if a person of pride knows of God's way, he will not submit to worship God in the way He wants.
The same principle appears everywhere in the Bible: Pride has its roots in a feeling of wealth or accomplishment. "Wealth" does not necessarily mean money, although that is included. Remember Helel and his intelligence, beauty, and power. But there are other things like position, skill, natural ability, social status, knowledge, strength - even hair, clothing, a house, or an automobile. The list of things that can motivate this elevated feeling is virtually endless.
In the New Testament, pride is in the Greek, huperephanos, which means "to show oneself above." It does not imply one that others look up to, but one who stands on his own self-created pedestal. Psychologists tell us that pride is actually a mark of inner inferiority and uncertainty, and such people compensate by over-emphasizing and flaunting the qualities they think they possess that will cause others to think well of them.
This feeling of wealth or strength in a given area is highly relative because each person can set his own standard of comparison, regardless of his real accomplishments. Like the sluggard who in his conceit is wiser than seven men to render a reason (Proverbs 26:16), we are able to promote ourselves in areas that we think we are good in.
Ezekiel calls Helel/Satan "the anointed cherub who covers," which means he was one of the chief angels whose wings covered God's throne in heaven. He is specifically shown to be a created being, possibly the most beautiful, wise, and perfect of God's creations.
But this mighty angel grew proud
and vain in his beauty. He began to become envious of God's authority over the universe, and over maybe millions of years, he schemed to induce other angels to support him in an attempt to overthrow God. When he finally led one third of the angels (Revelation 12:4) to war against God in heaven, God cast him and his angelic troops back to the earth (Luke 10:18).
Satan is the archetype of the self-exalted being, beginning with his attempt to usurp God's throne. Nebuchadnezzar follows his example by his self-praise: "Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for a royal dwelling by my mighty power and for the honor of my majesty?" (Daniel 4:28-37). The man of sin, the Antichrist, will be the most self-exalted human being on earth, and this same spirit of pride will drive him (II Thessalonians 2:3-4).
Probably all of us have thought that we know better than those in charge. Watch out! Thinking like this is not wrong in itself, but it is something that lodged itself in the mind of Helel (the name of the "covering cherub" before he became Satan): "I know better than the one in charge," and in this case, it was God.
We can begin to see how his pride was beginning to exalt itself against God. It was moving to break the relationship between them. It was coming between Helel and God so that their relationship could not continue. Helel could not continue to serve God.
Most have felt that we have been overlooked, neglected, or abused. Most of us have felt rejected a time or two. Of and by themselves, these feelings are not wrong. But, again, we must beware, because these feelings can begin to generate pride. Such a thing fed Helel's feelings about himself. They simmered in him and made him angry, and he desired to assert his will to control the governance of all that was happening. "I will ascend to heaven," he said, and he tried to. We see the pattern here; we can see the process involved from beginning to end.
It ends in warfare against God, which is why a person of pride cannot have a good relationship with Him. A proud person cannot have faith in God, at least not very much. A small amount of faith can be there, but pride will definitely be a hindrance. This is why the Parable of the Pharisee and the Publican in Luke 18:9-14 follows immediately after of the Parable of the Importunate Widow (Luke 18:1-8), which Jesus ends with, "When the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on earth?"—because humility is essential to faith.
We can see in Satan how pride will show itself in us. Pride brings us into contention with God. It will exalt us into breaking one or more of His commandments, perhaps as a way of life. It will exalt us to deny what a scripture clearly says to defend a privately held belief (i.e., women speaking in church, hair length).
It will cause us to reject the leadership of the ministry, given to the church as a gift of God (cf.Jeremiah 43:1-2). It will exalt us into striving for positions of leadership in the church (study all of Numbers 16).
Pride will exalt us against brothers in the church fellowship so we do not really love them (i.e., gossiping about them, accusing, cutting them down [even in jest], never fellowshipping with them). It will make us contend with our brothers over scriptures that have little or nothing to do with salvation, but "winning" an argument will become very important to us so we will not lose face.
It is no wonder Proverbs 28:25 says, "He who is of a proud heart stirs up strife, but he who trusts in the LORD will be prospered." God resists the proud, but gives grace (gifts that prosper one spiritually) to the humble.
The father and king of pride is an adversary. Whenever we witness contention that disrupts unity, where confusion and frustration are being produced, we can be sure that his dominant attitude is infecting the group. We need to examine ourselves to see where we may need to repent.
Biblically, God's throne is in the north—way in the north of heaven. What Helel had decided to do (he was already in the attitude of Satan) was to exalt himself and his throne by attacking God and supplanting Him.
A person breaks the second commandment when he exalts himself against God by trusting in his own or another's reasoning and lives that way rather than the way God ordained and commanded. Too often, the heart is easily led to satisfy its own desires rather than follow revealed knowledge. But God faithfully searches and tests our hearts to rid us of all idolatries so we will follow His way as closely as possible.
This translation is rather unwieldy. It means, "The princes used their power to shed blood in you [Jerusalem]." In other words, the leaders did not hold their positions in high regard, using their power to advance their own honor and glory, by whatever means.
God eventually removes all the physical accomplishments of the self-exalted person. Anyone who glories in himself will receive his true reward in the form of condemnation, debasement, degradation, and humiliation. Glory is praise, honor, or distinction extended by common consent. If we glory in ourselves, it is because no one else is glorifying us for our perceived accomplishments—probably because we have done no real, glorious deeds in the first place.
Satan's power is over all the nations of the earth. That could be very frightening when we realize he can influence men in such a way that they are not even aware that they are being influenced toward evil. His power is so extensive that he is over all the nations of the earth. Jesus calls him the ruler of this world (John 14:30). He affects people's attitudes by moving our reasoning processes toward satisfaction of the self. He gives disinformation and stirs up our spirit.
Here is what is so perverse about this: It is not evil for one to take care of himself. What is evil is to make the satisfaction of the self more important than God or others. We are to serve God before all else (the great commandment), and the second is like it—we are on an equal par with others physically. Nowhere are we given the right or privilege by God to make ourselves greater than or more important than God or other human beings.
We can imagine the direction Satan is going to move us toward—to the point that satisfaction of the self becomes more important than conforming to what God says is the limit of our authority. In other words, he will push us toward making ourselves greater or more important than righteousness or truth.
Our nature seeks to exalt itself above others, to esteem itself "holier than thou" (Isaiah 65:5). We see this in those who esteem themselves as Philadelphian, while deeming all those around and not part of their group as "beneath" them and Laodicean. God will abase those who seek to exalt themselves (Daniel 4:37), for He does not pay attention to the spiritually proud but to the contrite and humble (Isaiah 66:2).
In analyzing the Parable of the Great Supper (Luke 14:15-24), we must consider the two parablesthat precede it: the Parables of the Ambitious Guest (verses 7-11) and the Feast (verses 12-14). Although all three are spoken at the same time in the same house, Jesus describes three different occasions: a wedding, a feast, and a great supper. It is evident that His entire conversation contains a single, main theme.
First, Jesus tells the Parable of the Ambitious Guest, which isabout a wedding and the right and wrong ways of inviting people. He adds to what He had said about the Pharisees loving the best seats in the synagogue (Luke 11:43), making it clear that humility comes before true exaltation. Those not seeking promotion are to have the important places in social life. Those who exalt themselves will be abased, and the humble will be exalted (James 4:10; I Peter 5:6).
Then, Jesus tells the Parable of the Feast, giving his host a lesson on whom to invite to a meal. The key to the parable is, "Lest they also invite you back, and you be repaid." If the host invited only his rich friends, of course, he would expect them to offer him like hospitality, but when people act on this basis, they derail true hospitality. Godly hospitality occurs when one serves others while expecting nothing in return (I Peter 4:9).
The Parable of the Great Supper is Jesus' response to a fellow dinner guest exclaiming, "Blessed is he who shall eat bread in the kingdom of God!" All three parables deal with the general theme of hospitality, but the last adds humility and self-examination.
Jesus pictures God's choice in the kind of guests He desires at His table. The parable shows a progression of urgency as time grows short. The first invitation is conveyed to the Israelites simply as "come." The second, "bring in," is directed at the spiritually poor, injured, crippled, and blind, symbolizing the Gentiles without previous access to the truth. The third, "compel," affects an even lower class of people representing the spiritual fringes of this world.
None of the three invitees has any desire to fellowship, expressing the same willing captivation by the cares of this world. Many fail to realize that the invitation is from God the Father to His children, and failure to respond constitutes willful disobedience. None who so decidedly reject the offer of the Kingdom will be saved (Hebrews 6:4-6; 10:26-31). It is dangerous to reject the truth of God. The invitation is full and free, but when people turn willfully away from it, God leaves them to their chosen way of destruction. How important it is to cherish God's offer of the blessings of His way of life and eternal life in His Kingdom and to examine our own dedication.
Notice Jesus' teaching in verse 9: "Also He spoke this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others." This specific problem is religious egotism; the Pharisee despised others. Despised means "to count as nothing" or "to be contemptuous of." Can one have a good relationship with someone he despises? Pride finds fertile ground in our process of evaluation and begins to produce corrupt fruit.
This parable reveals the Pharisee to possess a misguided confidence that caused him to magnify himself by comparing himself against someone he felt to be inferior. It fed his own opinion of himself, causing separation from his fellow man. While that was happening, it also brought him into war with God! The Pharisee became separated from God because, as the parable says, he was not justified.
We need to take warning because, if we begin to feel contaminated in the presence of a brother—if we begin to withdraw from him or are constantly finding fault with him and being offended by almost everything he does—we may well be in very great trouble! The sin of pride may be producing its evil fruit, and the division is strong evidence of it.
This parable features a self-applauding lawkeeper and an abased publican. One is not simply good and the other evil; both are equally sinners but in different areas. Both had sinned, but the outward form of their sins differed. Paul taught Timothy that some men's sins precede them and others follow later (I Timothy 5:24). The publican's sins were obvious, the Pharisee's generally better hidden.
The Pharisee's pride deluded him into thinking he had a righteousness he did not really possess. His prayer is full of self-congratulation, and like a circle, it keeps him firmly at its center (notice all the I's in Luke 18:11-12). He makes no lowly expression of obligation to God; he voices no thanksgiving for what God had given him; he gives no praise to God's glory. He asks for nothing, confesses nothing, and receives nothing! But very pronouncedly, he compares himself with others. He is filled with conceit and is totally unaware of it because his pride has deceived him into concentrating his judgment on the publicans—sinners who were contaminating his world!
The humble publican did not delude himself into thinking he was righteous. What made the difference? It was a true evaluation and recognition of the self in relation to God, not other men. The basis of their evaluations—pride or humility—made a startling difference in their conclusions, revealing each man's attitudes about himself and his motivations.
The one finds himself only good, the other only lacking. One flatters himself, full of self-commendation. The other seeks mercy, full of self-condemnation. Their approach and attitude toward God and self are poles apart! One stands apart because he is not the kind of man to mingle with inferiors. The other stands apart because he considers himself unworthy to associate himself with others. One haughtily lifts his eyes to heaven; the other will not even look up! How different their spirits! Anyone who, like the Pharisee, thinks he can supply anything of great worth to the salvation process is deluding himself!
Against whom do we evaluate ourselves? Pride usually chooses to evaluate the self against those considered inferior. It must do this so as not to lose its sense of worth. To preserve itself, it will search until it finds a flaw.
If it chooses to evaluate the self against a superior, its own quality diminishes because the result of the evaluation changes markedly. In such a case, pride will often drive the person to compete against—and attempt to defeat—the superior one to preserve his status (Proverbs 13:10). Pride's power is in deceit, and the ground it plows to produce evil is in faulty evaluation.
The Pharisee's prayer manifests his mindset (II Peter 2:3). People like him trust in their own works to gain salvation and eternal life, not trusting in Jesus Christ for them. They do not really think they need His sacrifice or help because they think they are good enough in themselves. So, they toot their own horns, making sure God knows how righteous they are. While kneeling before Him, they tell Him all the good things they are always doing, and believe that He is impressed. They act as if God owes them salvation because of their good works.
This attitude shows how little they understand of the true holiness of God and the lowliness of our spiritual state. While on earth, Jesus worked more easily with tax collectors and sinners than with the Pharisees, though the latter were more dedicated to adhering strictly to the letter of the law. The Pharisees, knowing they were more righteous, made sure others knew it. In their self-delusion and self-righteousness, they could learn little from Christ.
The Pharisee, considering others as nothing, treats them accordingly. It is typical of human nature to elevate itself while putting down others, and some believe that this is the only way to elevate themselves above their peers. Isaiah writes about such people: ". . . who say, 'Keep to yourself, do not come near me, for I am holier than you!' These are smoke in [God's] nostrils, a fire that burns all the day" (Isaiah 65:5).
The Pharisee compares his own flaws, not with God's infinite perfections, but with the imagined greater flaws of others. His pride has made him bankrupt of genuine compassion and concern (James 2:13). He presumptuously errs in his prayer in that it is neither his duty nor his right as a sinner to point out another's sins. In trusting in Christ for righteousness, our inadequacies and guilt are revealed, and we become willing to admit that others may be much better than we are.
These two church members apparently did not take Satan into consideration. They listened to a lie and were divided, first, from God's church and then from life itself. What did Satan do? He moved them toward self-satisfaction to the point (the actual sin) that they lied to take credit for a greater sacrifice than they actually made.
The sad part of this is that no one asked them to donate the entire sale price of the piece of land. What happened was they committed themselves to it and then undoubtedly began to feel put on. "Hey, Sapphira, that's too much money." Maybe they began to think, "We didn't expect we'd get so much money from the sale of this, and it is too much to donate." They began to think, undoubtedly, of other uses that they could put the money to. "We could buy new clothes. We could improve the house. We could buy another piece of land as an investment and make even more from it."
They had apparently already told those who were in charge of the collection that they would contribute the entire amount of the sale, and when the time came to give the contribution, they gave only a part of it but let on as if it was the entire sale price. They kept the difference for themselves.
Who led them to dare to lie? Satan has a modus operandi. He will always move us in the direction of self-satisfaction at the expense of obedience to God, service to God, or service to others, so that we elevate ourselves over the others.
Is that not what Satan did originally? In his own mind, his vanity elevated him higher than the position God had given to him, and it then began to work on his mind so that he had to do something about it. This process repeats itself over and over again.
These verses show that pride motivates us to do things that make no sense in the light of God's truth. It motivates us to exalt ourselves above others, to compete against others, and to reject truth to continue the exaltation and promotion of the self. We will take this to such an extent that we will gamble—even with our own and other's lives—to bring that result about.
1 Corinthians 1:26-29
Nobody will ever come before God and say, "I did it by the strength of my own hands." Though this person may have faith and a strong will, he is certainly not perfect. Many times, when the Israelites' faith broke down, God had to intervene in some way to save them. Whether it is Israel at the Red Sea or Israel out in the wilderness, time and again He had to intervene and spare them, even in times when they showed a measure of faith.
Since man's creation, humans have been exalting themselves against God by choosing to do things their own way. However, there is only one way that works eternally, and every human being will be led to see his weaknesses and know that it is by grace that we are saved. This realization does wonders to a person's feelings about himself, making humility possible. This, in turn, makes it possible for him to yield to God, which makes it possible for him to deal with other human beings, not with a high hand or as a master to a slave, but as a friend—as an understanding brother or sister who has gone through similar experiences and seen their own failures, and who can commiserate, sympathize, show compassion and mercy, encourage, and inspire the one who has failed.
God will work in each person and will do it in such a way that he will come to realize that merely knowing the truth—and even believing the truth and acting on it—are not enough. God must save them by grace.
This is not to say that works are unimportant. They are vital to maintaining and developing a relationship with God. They are important in building character, and in this sense, without works we will have a difficult time being saved. If nothing else, doing good works shows that a relationship exists between a person and God. So works are important to earning rewards, to building character, to providing a witness for God, but they still will not save us of and by themselves because, since we are imperfect, they are also terribly flawed.
1 Corinthians 12:18
The members of the church of God are Christ's body, and God has placed each of us just where He wants us in the body. It is not that He has just placed us in the body, but that He has placed us in a particular place in the body. He wants us to do the job He has assigned us and not try to do something that He did not give us the position or the authority to do. We need to be content with the wisdom of His placement of us in the church, letting Him exalt us in due time.
God commends the humble, not those who consort with the rich and famous, and He promises to exalt the humble at the appointed time (Proverbs 16:18-19). Jesus Christ's example of humility helps us to realize the meek stature of true Christians. In Him we see the zenith of virtue from which the apostles drew illustrations and admonitions for us. He gave up inexpressible glory to take upon Himself the humble form of humanity and perform the lowliest of services to us. He consented to be without distinction or honor and was willing to be despised and disregarded. When He laid aside his former rank and dignity, He became as nothing, yet now He is exalted above everything and everyone. He set this example for us that we might overcome self-exaltation and develop the true and ultimately exalting trait of humility.
2 Timothy 3:1-2
Self-love is the very hallmark of this age, and all the others that follow are results of it. It is this selfishness, broadcast at us incessantly, that causes men to be proud and blasphemers, traitors and boasters, unthankful, and unholy, because everything is inward. "Me first, and if I have time, maybe I'll think about seeing to your needs" is the credo of most.
But Christians are supposed to have a different hallmark (John 13:34-35; 15:12-13). A Christian's attitude, his outlook, the way he approaches life, is 180-degrees away from the way society has been set up to function by Satan the Devil. We are not to be lovers of ourselves, but we are to love one another as Christ has loved us - totally opposite to the way we would naturally want to go.
Self-Seeking - A speaker once said, "Young people feel like they have to 'find themselves,' so they search this and that, here and there, all in an effort to 'find themselves.' So, what if you spend all this time and energy to find yourself, and in the end you discover nobody's home?"
Humorous but so true! The loneliest people on the planet are those focused on themselves. If I am brutally honest in recalling the lonelier times of my life, I was lonely mostly because I was focused too much on myself. We learn to recognize self-focused people by their constant talking about themselves, their achievements, their experiences, their things, their opinions. They drone on endlessly.
One author writes, "People sometimes talk about themselves because there is nothing else rattling around in their heads." Such people usually have a better way of doing almost everything, yet one often wonders why they are not more successful in life. They ache to express an opinion and believe in their abilities so wholeheartedly that they must be restrained from taking charge. One learns that, when around them, a person's value is significant only in regard to their personal plans, and they will seldom alter their course to fit another in.
Test: How much of our needs and desires fills our agenda each day? Conversely, how much room do we make for others? I used to say with pride, "I usually don't do anything I don't want to do." I meant that I was master of my choices and in control of my life, but I was actually saying, "My plans, ideas, and schedule are far more important than anyone else's."
3 John 1:9-11
Who is this Diotrephes? Perhaps a better question is, "Who does this Diotrephes think he is?" Was he an apostle? Was he an evangelist? Was he a pastor? Was he a leading man in the congregation? Was he an "ordinary" member? John does not say, but it is interesting that John mentions that Diotrephes just loved to have the preeminence among them. It almost sounds as if he was only a member of the church or perhaps an elder. We do not know.
One of his most marked characteristics is he liked to be "Number One." He had to be the important guy, the one everybody came to for answers to their questions, the one to make the big decisions. He even went so far as to say malicious things against John - one of the original twelve apostles. He prated against him with malicious words. He spoke down on him.
John was the disciple that Jesus loved, and here some little man, probably in the church at Ephesus, was talking against the apostle who had put his life on the line for the church many times, who had spent years in exile on the Isle of Patmos, who (tradition says) was put in a vat of boiling oil and was not harmed a bit, a man whom God was obviously with - and this Diotrephes thought he was so important that he could point out John's flaws to the rest of the congregation.
Then he started disfellowshipping people because they did not agree with him. He kicked people out of the church who wanted to fellowship with their brethren whom he had put out. John promised, "When I get there, I'm going to take care of this. I will call to mind all these things and make what this man is apparent."
Given the way he treated the congregation, Diotrephes was a "Satan in the flesh." What he did was evil, which is what John writes in verse 11: "Beloved, do not imitate what is evil." He is warning, "Do not imitate the actions of this man, Diotrephes. He is doing exactly what Satan did."
Pergamos was no more wicked than other cities of the day—consider Corinth and Ephesus, for example. Some commentators say the governor of Pergamos, like Satan, heavily persecuted the church, and likely oversaw the martyrdom of Antipas. Satan, king of all the children of pride (Job 41:34), deceives the whole world and is the accuser or persecutor of the brethren (Revelation 12:9-10). The lesson for us may be that where criticism, put-down, and persecution of others are common, Satan spends a great deal of time, taking bizarre, twisted pleasure in accusation and negativity. Satan dwells where pride and self-exaltation are present, attitudes we need to avoid diligently.
First, she glorifies herself. This implies pride, even to the point of arrogance. Jeremiah 51:41 is used in relation to ancient Babylon, but it applies to modern Babylon as God uses it here in Revelation 18. Jeremiah writes:
How is Sheshach [a biblical code name for Babylon] taken! And how is the praise of the whole earth surprised! How is Babylon become an astonishment among the nations!
This refers to the fall of Babylon. When Jeremiah wrote this, they were so powerful as a nation that nobody wanted to deal with Babylon as an enemy. He calls her "the praise of the nations." This means, essentially, "the greatest of the nations." Everybody praises Babylon as the greatest of the nations on earth. God applies this to Babylon in Revelation 18. It is something implied, not directly stated. However, even Babylon "has glorified herself."
Second, "she has lived deliciously" or "she has lived luxuriously, extravagantly, lustfully, unrestrainedly." The woman is the very apex of luxury on earth. This phrase indicates satiety, that is, over-indulgence, super-abundance, the state of having too much.
Third, she says, to magnify these, "I sit as a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow." "Nobody's going to bother with me. I'll never know any sorrow." Taken together, there is in her an avoidance of suffering, an unwillingness to sacrifice, and it indicates a rather "in your face," cocky superiority. Interestingly, an avoidance of suffering, the unwillingness to sacrifice, inevitably produces compromise with law and conscience.
In this one verse, a nation is portrayed as proud to the point of arrogance, self-confident in its security, thinking that it has produced its power by its own means, and living extravagantly relative to the rest of the world, as it seeks immediate gratification while failing to discipline itself to conform to a set standard.