Of all the sins warned against in Scripture, pride is one of the most often spoken against. Pride could be defined as thinking of ourselves more highly than we ought to think, and thereby esteeming God less and loving others less. One central reason why pride is so frequently condemned in Scripture is that it acts like a blindfold. We can often detect pride in others, but when we have a high view of ourselves, that very pride blinds us to our own pride.
How can we be on guard that we are not being blinded by pride? The book of Proverbs gives at least 3 signs of pride festering in our lives.
1. Pride keeps us from fearing the Lord.
Proverbs 8:13—“The fear of the LORD is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate.”
The fear of the Lord and pride are pitted against one another. If we fear the Lord, we will hate evil, particularly pride. But if we are proud, we will not fear the Lord. And this really gets to the root of pride. A proud person is not just someone who has an exalted view of self. A proud person has an exalted view of self because they have a low view of God. They do not view him as great and majestic, but as small and unimpressive, and therefore they do not revere or stand in awe of him. What is underneath all pride is an absence or a minimization of the fear of the Lord.
2. Pride despises wisdom.
Proverbs 12:15—“The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice.”
Fools are wise in their own eyes; therefore, they despise wisdom and instruction from others. Proverbs consistently speaks of wisdom as being of surpassing value, like silver or gold or jewels (3:13-18).
Imagine if someone came to you with big gold bricks and bags full of the purest diamonds and said, “Here, I want to give this to you.” Would you ever reply, “Why would you insult me by giving me something so worthless?” This gets an idea of the attitude a proud person has toward wisdom. It is of incredible worth, and yet he despises it.
A proud person will not value the Word of God, instruction from others, input and admonition, holding fast to truth. He believes he has nothing truly to learn. All this reveals one’s pride.
3. Pride will prevent one from listening to rebuke.
Proverbs 21:24—“Scoffer’ is the name of the arrogant, haughty man who acts with arrogant pride.”
A scoffer is identified in Proverbs as a fool, and of all the different kind of fools, he is the one with the least hope. And here we see that a scoffer is characterized by pride. Notice how this pride is manifest when he receives rebuke or instruction.
Proverbs 13:1—“A wise son hears his father’s instruction, but a scoffer does not listen to rebuke.”
A scoffer demonstrates his pride by refusing to heed rebuke. Any time he is given admonishment, correction, or reproof, he is so wise in his own eyes that he will not listen. Perhaps he may shut down and just sulk. But more often he will become angry and defensive and turns on others. He may yell at them, insult them, accuse them of hating him, but the common denominator is that he will not listen to any correction. This is pride.
How can we fight against pride in our live? Proverbs gives a lot of helpful instruction in that regard as well, and we’ll consider that next week. In the meantime, may God give us grace to examine these warning signs and detect if pride is blinding us in any way.
It is never easy for us to have our pride revealed to us, but it is always an act of God’s kindness. When we’re aware of our pride we can respond in humility. And we know that for the humble, God always gives grace (James 4:6).