“You should take pride in your work,” “You should be proud of your accomplishments, your children’s achievements, your position in the community.” These are words we have all heard at one time in our lives or another, and in their basest sense, they seem quite harmless. Why would we not feel good about the things in our lives that have led us to the place where we are now, after all, was it not our tenacity and fortitude, our hard work and performance that has brought us to the point in our lives that we feel as if we have made an achievement worthy of recognition.
That is what pride is my friends, the need for recognition, whether from within or from outside of ourselves, the desire to be placed in a position of identification above our fellow man is one that few who search for it realize means to be placed in a posture of error. Pride is a terrible sin, perhaps the worst sin that we as humans can attain to, for it is just that, to accept praise from our fellow man, and let it ferment into pride, is the beginning of the steep slope of this path of rebellion against God. But those that are on this slope do not see it as such, it is a mountain that must be climbed to them, only to see that ahead of them is a lifetime of these pride filled peaks to be conquered, and at the end, they do not realize, or will not accept the fact that others are ready and prepared to take their place at the top of this precipice. Pride is a terrible sin that must be fed daily.
To try to ‘take pride’ or ‘receive glory’ for our own accomplishments, whether from ourselves or from others, is to deny the one who only is worthy of all our accomplishments. Even our Lord said, “I seek not mine own glory,” (John 8:50) and here is the only human who ever lived that could rightfully seek glory for Himself, if He would have so desired. Was it not Satan that knew this also and tried to tempt Jesus into the deceit and foolishness of seeking only what the world has to offer. If everything that we do is meant from our heart to please God, then everything that we do is praise to God.
To try to set ourselves above God is the epitome of selfishness and sin, it is a direct announcement to God that He is not necessary, that we are just fine without Him, in fact, no thought whatsoever is usually attributed to Christ when the pride of sin is a constant in a man’s life. There was one exception, of course, and the one who first experienced and embraced the sin of pride was standing right in the presence of God Almighty when he did so. (Isa. 14:14) Do you presuppose to have the same courage, or ineptitude if you will, to stand in the very presence of our Lord and say to His face, “I will be like the Most High.” Of course , I speak here only to those who are children of God, who have by faith trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal Savior, for I place no burden upon the unsaved to respect the divine authority of God, that He will show unto them Himself in His good time.
No man who seeks praise for himself, in any way, shape or form can properly praise our Lord, it is not possible, “For of Him, and through Him, and to Him, are all things: to whom be glory forever.” (Rom. 11:36) We cannot take our next breath unless He provides the air for it, we might as well take pride in our ability to not fly off this rotating earth, or that the sky is blue. Pride says I will not praise you because I do not need you, how foolish could anything in Gods creation be to even think such a thought, much less express it openly in thought or words. It is by Gods will that all things are, and for His glory and His alone, we can do nothing without Him.
From Satan’s descent, to Adams fall, to the thoughts that you and I both had yesterday of an accomplishment that we did not give God the glory for, we all have experienced the sin of pride, and the sin of pride can be described as this, the sin of not praising. The verses are numerous in the Scriptures that remind us that we are but dust, that our lives are like the dew in the morning, here then gone, and many more that speak to us of the eternal God, the one who is from everlasting to everlasting, and who is jealous of His name. To stand in pride is to attempt to stand in opposition of God, and that my friends is the path of foolishness. Mans one purpose is to glorify God, to lift up His name, not ours, above the heavens, there is only one place in His infinite wisdom that He has determined to be in our own self-interest, and that is in the free will that He has allowed every person ever born to have. It is in this free will that we are to determine for ourselves who our god is to be, those that seek their own serve the god of pride, of self, and they will find this god to be ever hungry, ever needy, never satisfied, and in the end he will ultimately fail them.
To those who have given their very existence to the Lord Jesus Christ, praise is their goal, praise to the only one who is worthy of all honor, praise and glory.
There is no difference in taking pride in our accomplishments, no matter how small or great, and the sin of pride, they are the same. “The lofty looks of man shall be humbled, and the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down, and the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day.” (Isa.2:11) Praise says, “Thank you,” pride says, “I don’t need you,” it is as simple as that. It was the first sin my friends, and it was first done by one who was perfect in his ways from the day that he was created, (Ezek. 28:15) do you really suppose that our Lord sees anything that you do of your own free will without Him as something worthy of praise, do you envision Him asking you for advice because of your deeds and accomplishments.
Praise, not pride, is a path that a man who seeks to honor the Lord takes, and that of his own free will, it is never forced, but is always offered willingly and with joy in the heart. Our free will, my brothers and sisters in Christ, would not even be ours unless He had given it to us, a sobering thought indeed. Let us use it to the best possible advantage, in praise continually to the Glory of God, and for the Lamb.