Being prideful is not just an attitude. It’s also an emotion God hates. It’s the emotion that He wants us to ditch, and He tells us exactly how to do that in His Word.
Pride is the foundational emotion on which all other emotions, which lead to sin, are built. Pride says, “I’m number one, the best. I’m the best. No one can measure up to the great me.” It is this worship of self that God doesn’t like. It can lead to greater sins and is a huge emotion we must deal with on our journeys.
To acquiesce to another, whether God or another person, means we must humble ourselves and accept their point of view or suggestion. Many have a hard time doing this. Saying, “You’re right” and “I’m wrong” just doesn’t seem to be in our vocabularies.
Dealing With Pride
The truth is, we better learn what to do with pride when we deal with people because much more is on the line when God is the one we are being prideful towards. We know we will never be better or know better than God, but we often ignore what He says.
Pride has been called a self-conscious emotion or an emotion affected by how we see ourselves or think others perceive us. Self-conscious emotions, like pride, jealousy, empathy, shame, guilt and embarrassment can help us fit in with others, but they can also morph into a detriment to our health. For every difficult emotion, God has spiritual truth to help us.
Pride can be good in the sense that we can be proud of an accomplishment, but when pride brings us to the point that we think we have all the answers, it has ceased to be a helpful emotion and become arrogance.
The biblical definition of arrogance according to the KJV Dictionary is “the act or quality of taking much upon one’s self; that species of pride which consists in exorbitant claims of rank, dignity, estimation or power, or which exalts the worth or importance of the person to an undue degree; proud contempt of others; conceitedness; presumption.”.
In Isaiah 30:10-11 (NIV), the children of Israel were extremely prideful when they said to the prophets, “Give us no more visions of what is right! Tell us pleasant things, prophesy illusions. Leave this way, get off this path, and stop confronting us with the Holy One of Israel!”
God’s answer to them was “in repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it” (Isa. 30:15, NIV).
Saying No to God Won’t End Well
In their pride, they ran away from God, which only ended in disaster for them. They didn’t want to be calm and quiet or trust God. They didn’t want peace. They wanted what they wanted, which right then was to win a battle in their own strength. Their pride had taken over control of them and they didn’t even recognize it.
God warned them if they persisted, they would not win. Our God of justice, grace and compassion still gave them another chance. Isaiah said, “People of Zion, who live in Jerusalem, you will weep no more. How gracious He will be when you cry for help! As soon as He hears, He will answer you. Although the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them. Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it’” (Isaiah 30:19-21 NIV).
They still wanted nothing to do with anything God said. Their prideful desire was to lift themselves up with their own victory, pat themselves on the back and not listen to God.
The Way Out
The awesome thing about our God is that He always gives us a way out. That way out involves changing our emotions from what they shouldn’t be to what they should be. If the Children of Israel had decided to follow God it would show they were no longer prideful but were humble before Him. That would mean instead of thinking they knew better than God, they would be reliant on Him.
They had to admit they were wrong, listen to God and seek His help, which He promised would be there if they would follow Him. The same is true for us if any level of pride is in our lives.
James explained that God, “continues to pour out more and more grace upon us. For it says, ‘God resists you when you are proud but continually pours out grace when you are humble.’ So then, surrender to God. Stand up to the devil and resist him and he will flee in agony’” (James 4:6-7, TPT).
God Opposes Pride
God opposes those who are prideful and He is against us if we are prideful. For many years I was prideful because I thought I knew better than God about how to lose weight. One could just look at me and tell I was wrong. The 250 extra pounds on my body screamed that to everyone I came in contact with.
Pride told me I could just be fat and happy, but I was far from happy. Every inch of my body hurt, but I still kept eating foods made with sugar and flour which were the things God had told me not to eat. When I finally came to understand that I was thumbing my nose in God’s face and telling Him by my actions that I knew better than Him, I finally followed the advice James’ gives us.
I surrendered to God and I am still surrendering to Him every single day by following what He tells me to eat and to do. It is the most humbling thing, but the most fulfilling thing I have ever done, especially with the extra weight gone forever.
Teresa Shields Parker is the author of six books and two study guides, including her No. 1 bestseller, Sweet Grace: How I Lost 250 Pounds. Her sixth book, Sweet Surrender: Breaking Strongholds, is live on Amazon. She blogs at teresashieldsparker.com. She is also a Christian weight loss coach (check out her coaching group at Overcomers Academy) and speaker. Don’t miss her podcast,Sweet Grace for Your Journey, available on CPN. This article first appeared on teresashieldsparker.com.