The world is full of it. Institutions are driven by it. The church is plagued with it. Poor peasants wallow in it, and presidents yield to its sway. What is it? It is the spirit of pride. The spirit of pride rules this world, but does it rule your personal life? Though you show a beaming smile on your face, does your heart yield to the pride of life? Do you know the difference between the spirit of pride, and righteous indignation? Christian, learn to identify the pride of life today. Learn how this heinous sin precedes that of Sodom and Gomorrah! Identify it, and cast it out, lest you be cast with it into the lowest depths of hell!
by Jerry Gentry
"Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy" (Ezek. 16:49).
Men march the streets of Washington D. C., hand in hand, showing open affection one to another, in utter disgust against Biblical morality and authority. Yet there is a sin that comes before Sodomy, and even supercedes such a heinous crime. Women publicly flirt their deviant, lesbian behavior and abuse their bodies one with another, in utter revulsion and repugnance. Yet there is a sin preceding such baleful aberrance, which is even more fundamentally repugnant than female Sodomy. Adulterers will burn in hell, but there are deeper, hotter zones for those guilty of another sin. Murder is awful, but there is worse. Hell's gates are open wide to all unrepentant sinners. Yet the depths of hell's hottest pit is reserved for the worst of all.
"But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death" (Rev. 21:8). Even with such a lineup, the Bible says there is a sin that precedes all the above, so abhorrent and vile, that all guilty of such a sin begin to fall deeper and deeper into all the other sins. What is that abominable sin?
It is the sin of pride, the third member of that great trinity of reprobation: "All that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life" (1John 2:16).
"Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall" (Prov. 16:18), the Bible says. And it is true. When a heart of pride lifts itself up, a vision for successful life is destroyed. The pride of a haughty spirit, always sets a person up for a great tumble into "the sin which doth so easily beset us" (Hebr. 12:1). From there, it is downward and downward, and unless checked through genuine repentance, it carries such a self deluded arrogant deceived sinner all the way into the pit of the lowest hell. "Before destruction the heart of man is haughty, and before honour is humility" (Prov. 18:12).
Toward such prideful ones, the God of heaven declares: "For a fire is kindled in mine anger, and shall burn unto the lowest hell, and shall consume the earth with her increase, and set on fire the foundations of the mountains" (Deut. 32:22).
It is out of such a place, that pollution of the heart called pride that leads to hell, that the psalmists prayed: "For great is thy mercy toward me: and thou hast delivered my soul from the lowest hell" (Ps. 86:13).
Yes, "pride goeth before destruction," all right, and brings with it a further fall.
"The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts" (Ps. 10:4). Such is the state of the inner soul of the pride of man. Such is the sin of pride which always goes before even that most loathsome of sins called sodomy. "For thy sister Sodom was not mentioned by thy mouth in the day of thy pride" (Ezek. 16:56)
And to such sinners, infected with what the Bible calls the pride of life, God scolds: "And I will break the pride of your power; and I will make your heaven as iron, and your earth as brass" (Lev 26:19).
"And your strength shall be spent in vain: for your land shall not yield her increase, neither shall the trees of the land yield their fruits" (v. 20).
"And if ye walk contrary unto me, and will not hearken unto me; I will bring seven times more plagues upon you according to your sins" (v. 21).
"I will also send wild beasts among you, which shall rob you of your children, and destroy your cattle, and make you few in number; and your high ways shall be desolate" (v. 22).
"He that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body" (1Cor. 6:18). In contrast, the sin of pride is the beginning of all sins against God himself. The sin of pride is foremost among trespasses. The sin of pride has destroyed lowly peasants and mighty kings alike. There is a story in the Bible about a great king who suffered from pride. His name was Nebuchadnezzar.
"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?" (Dan 4:30). Note the utter selfish pride is such a claim. Fact of the matter is, "God is the judge: he putteth down one, and setteth up another" (Ps. 75:7), and "the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will, and setteth up over it the basest of men" (Dan. 4:17). Yet King Nebuchadnezzar knew not the God of heaven, and had no knowledge of His sovereign will working in the earth.
And "While the word was in the king's mouth, there fell a voice from heaven, saying, O king Nebuchadnezzar, to thee it is spoken; The kingdom is departed from thee" (Dan 4:31).
"The same hour was the thing fulfilled upon Nebuchadnezzar: and he was driven from men, and did eat grass as oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, till his hairs were grown like eagles' feathers, and his nails like birds' claws" (v. 33).
"And at the end of the days I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the most High, and I praised and honoured him that liveth for ever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation" (v. 34).
"And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?" (v. 35).
"At the same time my reason returned unto me; and for the glory of my kingdom, mine honour and brightness returned unto me; and my counsellors and my lords sought unto me; and I was established in my kingdom, and excellent majesty was added unto me" (v. 36).
"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" (v. 37).
Thereby a great king learned a great lesson in pride, and its antidote called humility. Can we learn that lesson today? It matters not whether we be president or plebian, prime minister or commonner, judge or magistrate or farm worker or housewife. It matters not our income or social standing. It matters not our bank account or lack of one. What matters is our heart. Are we humble or prideful, lowly or lofty? Because, in the last days there will be many who are "traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God" (2Tim. 3:4).
"A man's pride shall bring him low: but honour shall uphold the humble in spirit" (Prov. 29:23).
Yes, the world is full of proud people, who are making their beds in the lowest hell, day by day, hour by hour. "Therefore pride compasseth them about as a chain; violence covereth them as a garment" (Ps. 73:6), "For the sin of their mouth and the words of their lips let them even be taken in their pride: and for cursing and lying which they speak" (Ps. 59:12).
Pride is precursor to every wickedness known to man. The sin of pride is at the forefront of every other sin. Because it is the sin of pride, the lifting up of the heart against all authority, whereby transgression was first born, and the first murderer, thief and liar was made.
"Thy pomp is brought down to the grave, and the noise of thy viols: the worm is spread under thee, and the worms cover thee" (Isa 14:11).
"How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!" (v. 12).
"For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north" (v. 13).
"I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High" (v. 14).
"Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit" (v. 15).
"They that see thee shall narrowly look upon thee, and consider thee, saying, Is this the man that made the earth to tremble, that did shake kingdoms" (v. 16).
It was from a prideful heart lifted up against God that Lucifer fell and became Satan the adversary against all that is right and true. It was from a spirit of pride that Lucifer rebelled and sin was born into the universe. It was from a heart puffed up in self will that destruction entered God's great creation. Do you think your pride is small? Are you proud of this or that or something else? Christian, look into your heart today. Where the spirit of pride exists, the Spirit of God is not present. "In the mouth of the foolish is a rod of pride: but the lips of the wise shall preserve them" (Prov. 14:3). Where there is pride there is every evil and wicked thing. "When pride cometh, then cometh shame: but with the lowly is wisdom" (Prov. 11:2).
"And the pride of Israel doth testify to his face: therefore shall Israel and Ephraim fall in their iniquity; Judah also shall fall with them" (Hosea 5:5).
Pride is everywhere in scripture equated with wickedness. "Let not the foot of pride come against me, and let not the hand of the wicked remove me" (Ps. 36:11). Jesus listed pride among other woeful transgressions: "For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders" (Mar 7:21).
"Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness" (v. 22).
"All these evil things come from within, and defile the man." (v. 23).
Neither are women exempt from the sin of pride: "Moreover the LORD saith, Because the daughters of Zion are haughty, and walk with stretched forth necks and wanton eyes, walking and mincing as they go, and making a tinkling with their feet" (Isa. 3:16).
"In that day the Lord will take away the bravery of their tinkling ornaments about their feet, and their cauls, and their round tires like the moon" (v. 18).
"Thy men shall fall by the sword, and thy mighty in the war" (v. 25).
"And her gates shall lament and mourn; and she being desolate shall sit upon the ground" (v. 26).
"And in that day seven women shall take hold of one man, saying, We will eat our own bread, and wear our own apparel: only let us be called by thy name, to take away our reproach" (Isa 4:1).
The sin of pride defiles so deceptively, that the sinner often feels deprived of his or her rights. The prideful sinner expects what he receives freely today is owed him tomorrow. But God warns, "Yea, the light of the wicked shall be put out, and the spark of his fire shall not shine" (Job 18:5).
In spiritual warfare against the spirit of pride, makes a good confession of where he stands: "I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me" (Ps. 101:3).
Prideful men sometimes repent and turn from their wickedness. Yet it is so rare, that when it happens, God sends special mercy. Such was the case for the Israelite King Hezekiah:
"In those days Hezekiah was sick to the death, and prayed unto the LORD: and he spake unto him, and he gave him a sign" (2Ch 32:24).
"But Hezekiah rendered not again according to the benefit done unto him; for his heart was lifted up: therefore there was wrath upon him, and upon Judah and Jerusalem" (v. 25).
"Notwithstanding Hezekiah humbled himself for the pride of his heart, both he and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the wrath of the LORD came not upon them in the days of Hezekiah." (v. 26).
And exactly how was it that Hezekiah "humbled himself for the pride of his heart?"
"In those days was Hezekiah sick unto death. And the prophet Isaiah the son of Amoz came to him, and said unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Set thine house in order; for thou shalt die, and not live" (2Ki 20:1)
"Then he turned his face to the wall, and prayed unto the LORD, saying" (v. 2).
"I beseech thee, O LORD, remember now how I have walked before thee in truth and with a perfect heart, and have done that which is good in thy sight. And Hezekiah wept sore" (v. 3).
"And it came to pass, afore Isaiah was gone out into the middle court, that the word of the LORD came to him, saying" (v. 4).
"Turn again, and tell Hezekiah the captain of my people, Thus saith the LORD, the God of David thy father, I have heard thy prayer, I have seen thy tears: behold, I will heal thee: on the third day thou shalt go up unto the house of the LORD" (v. 5).
Personal humility is always an antidote to pride. "They that sow in tears shall reap in joy" (Ps. 126:5).
Where tears of sorrow flow, pride melts away. "Mine eyes do fail with tears, my bowels are troubled, my liver is poured upon the earth, for the destruction of the daughter of my people; because the children and the sucklings swoon in the streets of the city" (Lam. 2:11).
Do you have a heart filled with pride today? Are you lifted up in your heart against your authorities? Do you think you know better than they? Then humble yourself through prayer and confession, with many tears. Perhaps God will hear you and reward you as he rewarded Hezekiah. Perhaps it is not too late to remove your bed from hell. Peradventure, the God of heaven will look down in his mercy and let his face shine upon you, and melt from your heart the pride of life.