Pride is a sin. In some parts of Christendom it is referred to as one of the “seven deadly sins.” In fact some see pride as the root of all sin.
But ask the ancient king Nebuchadnezzar, and he will tell you about the true character of pride.
“Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honour the King of heaven, all whose works are truth, and his ways judgment: and those that walk in pride he is able to abase.” — Daniel 4:37.
1: First of all look at: What Pride Is
In Nebuchadnezzar’s life, pride is seen as:-
- An Action
Nebuchadnezzar erects the golden image.
In Chapter 2, Nebuchadnezzar has a dream that no one can interpret except Daniel. In the interpretation, Nebuchadnezzar’s kingdom is described as one of gold. A golden era! In the next chapter the king responds by erecting a golden image, and commanding everyone to worship it!
That was an ACTION of pride!
Our pride can be seen in our actions.
Some examples of actions of pride are:-
“The wicked in his pride doth persecute the poor: let them be taken in the devices that they have imagined.” — Psalms 10:2
“Only by pride cometh contention: but with the well advised is wisdom.” — Proverbs 13:10
- It is also, An Attitude…
“Then Nebuchadnezzar in his rage and fury commanded to bring Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Then they brought these men before the king. Nebuchadnezzar spake and said unto them, Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, do not ye serve my gods, nor worship the golden image which I have set up?” — Daniel 3:14
Notice that word: “Rage!” Boy! Was he mad! Why? Simply because they refused to worship the image that HE HAD SET UP!!
That was an ATTITUDE of pride!
Amogst other things, the attitude of pride brings:-
“The pride of thine heart hath deceived thee, thou that dwellest in the clefts of the rock, whose habitation is high; that saith in his heart, Who shall bring me down to the ground?” — Obadiah 1:3
- Satanic Accusation:
“(Don’t choose) a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil.” — 1 Timothy 3:6
- Pride is also A Thought…
Following the episode of the fiery furnace, and the miraculous escape of the young men who refuse to bow to the image, Nebuchadnezzar realizes his error.
He makes a proclamation that the Most High is to be worshipped.
Then, walking through the palace, a thought comes to his mind:
“The king spake, and said, Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power, and for the honour of my majesty?” — Daniel 4:30
That was a THOUGHT of pride!
“The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts.” — Psalms 10:4
Criticize God’s People:
“Whoso privily slandereth his neighbour, him will I cut off: him that hath an high look and a proud heart will not I suffer.” — Psalms 101:5
“The proud have had me greatly in derision: yet have I not declined from thy law.” — Psalms 119:51
2: Now see: What Pride Will Do to You
First we see, Pride Will Affect Your Relationships!
It will lose you friends. Nothing turns people off like pride.
People like to engage in conversation, but the proud and haughty only want to talk about themselves.
It will, more importantly, it will alienate us from God.
“ God resists the proud, but gives grace unto the humble.” — James 4:6
It is in God’s nature to isolate the proud. And it is in His nature to draw near to the humble.
“Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD: though hand join in hand, he shall not be unpunished.” — Proverbs 16:5
“These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief,” — Proverbs 6:16-18 (KJV)
Pride will make you lonely!
Then, Pride will destroy us.
“A man’s pride shall bring him low: but honour shall uphold the humble in spirit.” — Proverbs 29:23
We despise the Word of God when we feel it does not apply to us, when we feel we do not need it!
“Hear ye, and give ear; be not proud: for the LORD hath spoken.” — Jeremiah 13:15
Pride was found in Satan’s heart. He longed to be worshipped. That is exactly what pride will do to us. It lifts us up. We enjoy the praise of men. But when we are elevated, we will not worship.
Most times contention in the churches is caused by hurt pride. And then we get mad, and desert the work of the Lord. We leave like big babies.
That’s why the Bible says that we should consider ourselves dead! Dead people have no rights, and dead people have no feelings.
We hear a lot about hardening of the arteries caused by cholesterol. What cholesterol is to your veins, pride is to your mind!
“But when his heart was lifted up, and his mind hardened in pride, he was deposed from his kingly throne, and they took his glory from him:” — Daniel 5:20 (KJV)
Pride tells us that We know best!
We will not listen to any other point of view.
Finally we are nothing but bigots. In the guise of defending the Word, we are merely promoting our own views!
And it tells us that we need not accept change!
Pastor, did you know that CHANGE is the thing your congregation fears most? That is because the human heart is proud, and will not accept that there may be a better way to do things than the way we are already doing them!
We even excuse ourselves by saying: Well, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks!
I say, if that’s the case, let’s get a new dog!
And we call the elderly: “set in their ways!” That’s only a polite way of saying: The old goat is as proud as a peacock!
Paul told the Philippians: “Let this mind be in you…” – That’s the mind of Christ. The mind of condescension, the mind that submits.
Sadly pride is hereditary.
“Behold the day, behold, it is come: the morning is gone forth; the rod hath blossomed, pride hath budded.” — Ezekiel 7:10
Did you see that? “Pride has budded!” It’s alive – it is passed on from generation to generation.
Since Eden we have lived with a root of pride: “Ye shall be as gods!” – and we must constantly pay careful attention to the problem.
3: Finally, what we can do about pride.
Reading: Daniel 4:23-37. We need to read these verses carefully in order to see how pride in the life of Nebuchadnezzar was dealt a death blow.
First of all, He Was Humbled By God!
We have a couple of choices here: We can submit to the body, or we can wait for God to humble us.
“Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:” — 1 Peter 5:5-6
God gives us opportunity to deal with pride in the heart. Submission to authority is the best thing I know to bring a fatal blow to pride!
God knows how to abase those that walk in pride! God had a special plan for the humbling of Nebuchadnezzar. He would live outdoors like a mad man for seven years, eating grass and wet with dew.
“…They shall drive thee from men, and thy dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field, and they shall make thee to eat grass as oxen, and they shall wet thee with the dew of heaven, and seven times shall pass over thee, till thou know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will.” — Daniel 4:25
I do not know what it will take for you to be made low – but what I do know is God loves us so much he will make the move if we do not. That’s a similar principle to the one Paul refers to in Communion:
“For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. But when we are judged (by the Lord), we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.” — 1 Corinthians 11:31-32
And then this king Was Counselled By Daniel!
In this verse we see wise Daniel’s counsel:-
“Wherefore, O king, let my counsel be acceptable unto thee, and break off thy sins by righteousness, and thine iniquities by showing mercy to the poor; if it may be a lengthening of thy tranquillity.” — Daniel 4:27
Here we see two mighty warriors – two champions – two knights in shining armour, that attack this demon Pride. They are:-
“Break off thy sins by righteousness.”
Please be aware, this warrior is not Self-righteousness! Self-righteousness is a weak imposter if ever there was one!
The only Righteousness that can hurl a mortal dart against pride is the “Righteousness of God:”-
“But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” — Romans 3:21-23
If you would see this Hero fight for you, then you must have faith in Christ – and hide yourself behind His Cross.
And as He goes forth to conquer Satan’s strongholds on your behalf you must cry:- “It is no longer I who lives, but Christ lives in me!”
“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” — Galatians 2:20
“Break off thy sins by righteousness, and thine iniquities by showing mercy to the poor.”
Mercy rides with Righteousness.
Showing mercy to the poor is an effective deterrent to evil Pride!
Pride is most often seen in our relationship with those of lower social standing.
James would have none of it:
“My brethren, do not hold your faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ with an attitude of personal favoritism. For if a man comes into your assembly with a gold ring and dressed in fine clothes, and there also comes in a poor man in dirty clothes, and you pay special attention to the one who is wearing the fine clothes, and say, “You sit here in a good place,” and you say to the poor man, “You stand over there, or sit down by my footstool,” have you not made distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil motives?” — James 2:1-4 (NASB)
We all know the narrative about Sodom. But before they reached the depths of degradation, there were other issues.
“Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom: 1. pride, 2. fullness of bread, and 3. abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, 4. neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy.” — Ezekiel 16:49 (KJV)
Make friends with the poor! Stoop in love to a lower social standing! Pride will be so nauseated by your action that it will not want to come with you!
Remember we can meet together around this Bible because Christ stooped down and put His arms around US!
Pride is part of the birth package. In that little bouncing bundle, with tiny fingers and toes, there also comes a haughty spirit. The Bible calls it the “pride of life!”
Let’s do something about that pride that comes within us – if we do not, God will! For: “Those that walk in pride he is able to abase.”