Killing Sin: Pride

“These six things the Lord hates, Yes, seven are an abomination to Him: A proud look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that are swift in running to evil, a false witness who speaks lies, and one who sows discord among brethren.” – Proverbs 6:16-19

As we’ve been examining Jesus’ exposition of the Law in His Sermon on the Mount in our Lord’s Day morning worship preaching series of Matthew 5, we’ve recently considered the great need to mortify our flesh, to kill sin within us, as we seek to be obedient to Christ’s commands for us to walk in holiness and purity before Him and with one another. One of the sins that we need to be serious about putting to death is the sin of pride. It’s one of the seven sins Solomon lists in the passage in Prov. 6 above, specifically in v. 17. We know well that God hates sin. Solomon teaches us that pride is an abomination to our Lord. With the prevalent, pervasive, and multi-layered presence that pride often has within us, it’s all too true that killing it in our own hearts is very difficult. Why is this true? Largely because pride blinds us to its presence. We often don’t recognize it is there until the gnarly fruit of its presence blossoms in display in a variety of ways.

Christ teaches us in Matthew 5:22 that murder begins in the heart. Sinful anger, pride, and ungodly hatred are sins that fuel murderous desires within us. In fact, pride is really the spring of all other sins. It is in the sin of pride that we, in effect, exalt our will above God’s will. We desire and demand our will be done, not His. Beloved, we must be serious about killing this sin! We must be motivated to do so because we know God hates it. We also must do so because we know He will surely punish the proud (Prov. 15:25), as well as knowing God in the day of the Lord will be against the proud as He alone will be exalted in that day (Isa. 2:11-12).

So, how do we kill pride in ourselves? Here are five things to consider:

  • Refreshed Look to Christ – We need a repetitive look to Christ and the cross. Jesus willingly endured great suffering and died to pay for the sin of pride in us, along with all other sin. A regular view of, meditation on, and sincere thankfulness for Christ and Him crucified is good medicine to kill pride.
  • Targeted Bible Study – It’s good and right for us to engage in ongoing study of the Scriptures to better know and be reminded of what pride is, what it looks it, and become well familiar with it’s barbs, tentacles, and fruit. We also need to be freshly reminded of the dreadful consequences of feeding and walking in it.
    • Prov. 16:18-19: “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. Better to be of a humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud.”
    • Prov. 29:23: “A man’s pride will bring him low, but the humble in spirit will retain honor.”
  • Prayer for Humility – Prayerlessness keeps the fire of pride alive. In our battle against pride, we need to be in regular prayer, which needs to include daily petition to the Holy Spirit for the pride quenching work of humility in our hearts that would flow forth in thought, word, and deed. As the true death of pride is Spirit wrought, so is the presence and activity of humility. Therefore, pray for both – the effective killing of pride as well as the gift and growth of humility.
  • Daily Submission to God – Humility is the grace filled cure for pride that fuels our desire and action to be in full submission to the Lord. Therefore, be prayerfully committed to submit. “But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: ‘God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.’ Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you (James:4: 6-7).”
  • Sharpening from Others – As pride blinds us to its presence, we need the help of brothers and sisters to point it out in us. We need their loving corrections and rebukes. Further, it’s important that we have ears to hear and receive their corrections when they come. For pride will harden our ears and hearts, encouraging us to reject rather than receive what love calls our attention to. Prayer for grace in this is greatly needed as well! Keep in mind, pride will tempt you to isolate when challenged, but you need to keep yourself in the fellowship of believers for this very reason.

How can we help kill pride in others? A couple of thoughts:

  • Seasoned Words, Humble Approach – As sharpeners in others lives, seeing what we see, we shouldn’t rush in like bulls in a china shop, ready to slice and dice pride in our friends at any cost. Knowing the pride in our own hearts, we must approach others with love, patience, and compassion as we seek help them both see and get it out of theirs. At the same time, knowing the severity of the sin and God’s hatred of it, our biblical counsel must be seasoned and wise so that they will, by God’s grace, pass through defenses, land effectively in the heart, and bring forth good fruit. 
  • Help with Guardrails and Red Flags for Future Defense – It’s true that we need to recognize red flags for pride and set biblical guardrails in place in our own lives to help us see and deal with pride on its approach before it arrives and becomes entrenched. However, it is often truly helpful to have another’s wisdom to better identify the red flags and know what guardrails to put in place. Follow up over time is also helpful as we touch base with our friend to ask how their progress and walk is going.

I pray that God grants you much grace in your battle with pride. Please pray for me and my battle as well. May we all seek to effectively kill pride in our own hearts and lives this week, as well as be committed and attentive to help our families and other brothers an sisters when they struggle and have need.