In 1715, Loius XIV of France died. This king had called himself “the Great” and had proudly boasted, “I am the State!” During his time, his court was the most magnificent in Europe. His funeral, too, was designed to be a display of his greatness and it was spectacular. His body lay in a golden coffin. To amplify the deceased king’s grandeur by drawing attention solely to him, the orders had been given to light the cathedral very dimly, and to set one special candle above his coffin. The massive crowd gathered for the funeral waited in silence. Then Massilion, who later became Bishop of Claremont, slowly reaching down, snuffed out the candle and said, “Only God is great!”
We all desperately need to constantly remember this simple truth-God alone is great. He alone is to be exalted and lifted up on high. He is the Creator, we are the creatures. He is the One to be worshipped, we are the worshippers. However, instead of worshipping the true God, we have turned to worship ourselves because of falling victims to sin, especially the sin of pride. If there is one sin that has destroyed the souls of people more than any other sin, that is the sin of pride. We cannot deny that pride is universal in its nature. And the reality is that pride is not a new thing. It has been around since the Garden of Eden.
What is pride? Simply stated, pride is dust worshipping itself! It is self putting itself on the throne—the throne, which rightfully belongs to God! Long ago, God rebuked proud Babylon with these words, “Your wisdom and knowledge mislead you when you say to yourself, ‘I am, and there is none besides me’” [Isaiah 47:10b].
What is the source of pride? Is it the environment? Is it because of a difficult childhood? No. Jesus gives the clear answer in Mark 7:21-23 “21 For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder, 22 adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. 23 All these evils come from inside and defile a person.” The source of pride is one’s own heart. It is not something external, but rather something that is internal—something that is always a part of us—our heart!
How does God view pride? Pride is not a virtue as some call it. It’s not a weakness as others call it. Rather it is sin—because God calls it so! Proverbs 21:5 says, “Haughty eyes and a proud heart, the lamp of the wicked, are sin!” So, what we need to understand is this: Pride is SIN. And because it is sin—a Holy God must and does by nature hate everything that is sin. Proverbs 16:5a says, “The LORD detests all the proud of heart…” The word “detest” has the idea of something that is disgusting, loathing, and abominable—like spoilt food.
In fact, Scriptures indicate to us that of all the sins that God hates, sin seems to be in the top of the list. Pride heads the list of the often-called seven deadly sins. Proverbs 6:16-19, “16 There are six things the LORD hates, seven that are detestable to him: 17 haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, 18 a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, 19 a false witness who pours out lies and a man who stirs up conflict in the community.” Even in this list, pride cannot bear to be No. 2! So, how does God view pride? He hates it!
How does God respond to those who are proud in heart? Because it is sin and so detestable in God’s sight, He takes His stand against those who are proud. After stating that the LORD detests all the proud of heart, Proverbs 16:5 concludes with this statement, “Be sure of this: They will not go unpunished.” James 4:6a reads, “God opposes the proud.” And this means he will bring the proud in heart down. In his words to the proud nation of Edom, this is what the God said: “3 The pride of your heart has deceived you, you who live in the clefts of the rocks and make your home on the heights, you who say to yourself, ‘Who can bring me down to the ground?’ 4 Though you soar like the eagle and make your nest among the stars, from there I will bring you down,” declares the LORD.” [Obadiah 1:3-4]. And that is precisely what God does to those that are proud in heart. He brings them down. And it’s a very painful fall!
There is only one cure—a simple cure—a God-prescribed cure for pride: Humility! God says these words in Isaiah 66:2b ““These are the ones I look on with favor: those who are humble and contrite in spirit, and who tremble at my word. The truly humble person is one who submits to God’s Word in all areas of life—irrespective of the cost! And such a person will receive God’s favor. That’s God’s promise!
Christian author and speaker S. D. Gordon, said, “In every man’s life there is a throne. And when self is on the throne, Christ is on the cross. But when Christ is on the throne, self is on the cross.” What occupies the throne in your life – yourself? Your family? Your position? Your home? Your possessions? Your good looks? Your talents? What are you living for? If you attain your most elevated goal, what would it all amount to? Will it bring glory to God or to self? We all need to ask God to forgive us for having anything or anyone on the throne besides Himself. We need to truly ask Him to give us strength to repent and “rethrone” Him as Lord.
God has a high home and a low home; a heavenly home and an earthly home as revealed in Isaiah 57:15, “For this is what the high and exalted One says—he who lives forever, whose name is holy: “I live in a high and holy place, but also with the one who is contrite and lowly in spirit, revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite.” May we truly seek the Spirit’s help as we repent of our pride and pursue humility. That way, we can be sure the Lord will find an earthly home in our hearts!