Today I want to talk about pride, but not pride in the abstract or general. When we talk about pride in the abstract we are getting nowhere. So where does your pride show up in your life? Where is it that you think you are better than someone else or superior? Pride emerges in regard to one’s heritage, one’s money, one’s knowledge. If you have any skill in an area, pride will crop its nasty head right there. Pride runs amok with good looks, musical or athletic abilities. Stuff we own makes us feel proud and pride is often why we bought it anyway. Pride shows up in feelings. Do you feel envy? Pride is soil of that rotten fruit. How about self-pity? That happens when others don’t think of us as much as we want them to. We are oblivious to much of our pride. We see it others, disapprovingly, “He’s so arrogant.” But we don’t see our own subtle pride.
I suppose that I should say the obvious; we are thinking here about sinful pride, which is thinking much about ourselves and thinking much of ourselves. There is a kind of pride that we tend to judge as good. For instance, a father may rightly be proud of the accomplishment of his daughters. No were not talking about that.
The pride is view here is what God hates. God flat out apposes pride in our all of its manifestations. God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. If a husband abuses his wife, God apposes him. If I seek vainglory at work God will apposes me. If from pride I strive to outdo a friend in something, God apposes me. If a Reformed church pride-fully thinks it’s superior to a non-Reformed church—well, take a guess.
Now let gets behind this truth that God apposes us in our pride. Is this saying that God has become our enemy, hostile and antagonistic? No, for as his children he has embraced us with his eternal love because on our savior Christ Jesus. He has loved with the fullness of his love, and that will never cease. He aims to bless us in the life of heaven but also here on earth.
So he may oppose the believer or a congregation or a denomination by withholding blessing in this life or by bringing serious unpleasantness. Take a church, for example. The pride of the Laodicean church may have led to their demise (Rev. 3:14-22). By the way, they were full of themselves, but according to Christ they were lukewarm. Talk about spiritual blindness.
He will withhold blessings on the individual level as well. Peter tells us that if a husband does not treat his wife in a godly manner, his prayers will be hindered (1 Pet. 3:7). God will not listen to his prayers. Thus he will not have the positive answers to them. That is just one example. To be sure God humbles us for our good and the good of his church. But he will graciously appose his children if we walk in conceit, arrogance and pride.
What renders our pride so repulsive to God is that it put us in competition with God for the rule of lives. Ether is he Lord or we are. Someone has said that others sins drive us away from God, but pride would have us to be above God. But of course only the Lord is exalted.
So let us strive to be humble in those specific ways that we have strove to be proud. It is right there at the point, in that pattern, in those habits, that we must humble ourselves. And what a wonderful incentive to humility, but that God gives grace to the humble.