When good things happen to us, or we do a good thing, it feels like we did something right. But we have to give all credit where it’s due. We have to thank and praise God for what He did for us. We have to exalt the right person—God.
The Victory in Virtue Series
Part 12: Fight the Vices Part 1 — Gluttony
Part 13: Fight the Vices Part 2 — Sloth
Part 14: Fight the Vices Part 3 — Envy
Part 15: Fight the Vices Part 4 — Wrath
Part 16: Fight the Vices Part 5 — Lust
Hello Readers, hope all’s well. Today I present another entry in the Victory in Virtue series. Today is the sixth part of Fight the Vices. This is where we look at the vices we need to avoid as Christians. Today’s post is on the vice of pride.
Pride, Lucifer’s original sin that got him ejected from Heaven. Since Lucifer tricked Adam and Eve into falling, we could say the vice of pride is to blame for our fallen world of sin. It’s a deadly vice indeed. The vice of pride causes us to blaspheme God by exalting ourselves instead of Him. If we fall to the vice of pride, we don’t need God anymore. Or so we think. God opposes the proud, as 1 Peter 5:5 and other passages tell us. Being in opposition to God is a dangerous place to be. The vice of pride is fatal.
So let’s see if there’s anything we can do to avoid pride.
What Is the Vice of Pride?
Pride. Noun. 1) A feeling of deep pleasure or satisfaction derived from one’s own achievements, the achievements of those with whom one is closely associated, or from qualities or possessions that are widely admired.
2) Consciousness of one’s own dignity.
Those are the dictionary definitions of the word. How about the Biblical definition for the word? Well, there isn’t one Bible passage that defines the word. But the vice of pride is discussed many times in both Testaments. It’s a frequent topic in the Bible.
From all those passages, I’d say there’s one common idea about pride: It’s exalting ourselves rather than God. It’s the sin of thinking we don’t need God, that we can do better on our own. That’s the same sin Lucifer made.
Having this attitude is willingly committing a Spiritually fatal sin. At best this attitude is a horrible error in thinking, but in most cases it’s a willing sin. The vice of pride is a dangerous vice indeed, because it leads us to commit the same sin Lucifer did to get kicked out of Heaven.
Before the story of the Bible began in Genesis, Lucifer was kicked out of Heaven for being prideful and trying to exalt himself above God. This story is in Isaiah 14. You may remember another End Times post of mine, Part 40: “I Will” Vs. “Thy Will,” where I wrote about this. To exalt our will above God’s is satanic, as this is exactly what Satan tried to do in Heaven. This urge to do what we want instead of what God wants stems from our pride. Look at how many times Satan says “I will” in Isaiah 14.
(12) How you’ve fallen from heaven,Isaiah 14:12-15 (CEB)
morning star, son of dawn!
You are cut down to earth,
helpless on your back!
(13) You said to yourself, I will climb up to heaven;
above God’s stars, I will raise my throne.
I’ll sit on the mount of assembly,
on the heights of Zaphon.
(14) I’ll go up to the cloud tops;
I’ll be like the Most High!
(15) But down to the underworld you are brought,
to the depths of the pit.
Satan said “I will” do this or that five times. He was going to do these things on his own. And not only was he going to do these things without the LORD, he was planning to exalt himself above the LORD! He refused to submit to any superior authority, even God’s authority—another symptom of pride.
We all know the result was that he got kicked out of Heaven for this. His pride caused him to take the worst fall you could ever take! It was another example of Proverbs 16:18 happening.
(18) Pride comes before disaster,Proverbs 16:18 (CEB)
and arrogance before a fall.
The vice of pride will cause us to fall, like Lucifer fell. In pride we’ll fall from grace, fall into the devil’s traps. God Himself will bring us down a few notches if we’re being prideful, because He opposes the proud as 1 Peter 5:5 says.
(5) In the same way, I urge you who are younger: accept the authority of the elders. And everyone, clothe yourselves with humility toward each other. God stands against the proud, but he gives favor to the humble.1 Peter 5:5 (CEB)
Being in opposition to the LORD God is a terrible thing. We don’t want to be there, ever.
Here we see the way to avoid the vice of pride is by being Humble. I’ll speak more on this in the “Antidote” section below. But let me talk about the line between pride and Humility. This will show more about the vice of pride.
Is it a sin to be proud of something we did? Is it a sin to be proud of doing a good job on something? No, it isn’t. It’s OK to be proud of the work we do. It’s OK to be proud of doing a good job if we know we did our best. We can be proud of our work and stay Humble. But think back to the first dictionary definition of pride, above. If we think that we are so awesome because of what we do, now we’re getting into the vice of pride.
When we fall to the vice of pride, we have smug satisfaction in our abilities. This makes us think and act like we’re better than others. And we forget all our successes come from God, not us.
We become so satisfied in our success, we pretend like we don’t need God to win in life. We don’t acknowledge that God is the reason for all our success, not us. He is the one who gave us the talents we used to succeed, so we can glorify Him through good works. But we get so full of ourselves we think it’s all us. If we ever feel we don’t need God, then we’ve fallen into the same sin that got Lucifer kicked out of Heaven. The vice of pride is deadly.
And it gets worse. Our prideful satisfaction makes us feel better than others. Superior to others, more successful, and so on. God hates and opposes this sinful attitude too. He wants us to be Humble toward each other, as 1 Peter 5:5 says. We must never feel like someone is beneath us, for any reason. This is the vice of pride. It doesn’t matter what we’ve done versus what they’ve done. We must stay Humble always. We can still be happy with ourselves for having done this or that, but we must understand it doesn’t make any person worse than us in any way. No one is beneath us, no task or chore is beneath us either. Being Humble is key to defeating the vice of pride. Keep the right perspective.
I hope we all have an idea now of what the vice of pride is. To sum up what I’ve said, I say the vice of pride includes these sins:
- Feeling like we can succeed and live life by our own talents and abilities, without God
- Not acknowledging God is responsible for our success or abilities
- Feeling like our successes or abilities make us good people
- Feeling better than other people
- Never wanting to submit to any person or power
And don’t let the vice of pride make us forget that We need God! We can’t live without Him!
Never forget God gives us every good thing in our lives, including our talents. We must always praise Him for what He does for us. And we must never look down on others for any reason.
Now let’s move on to the Spiritual part of this vice, which is major. What’s Spiritual pride?
Once again we turn to Dark Night of the Soul by John of the Cross. He has much to say about the vice of Spiritual pride, actually. Spiritual pride starts out like regular pride—the prideful are satisfied with themselves because of their prosperity (success). But then the definition goes on to something different.
As these beginners feel themselves to be very fervent and diligent in spiritual things and devout exercises, from this prosperity […] there often come to them, through their imperfections, a certain kind of secret pride, whence they come to have some degree of satisfaction with their works and with themselves. And hence there comes to them a certain desire […] to speak of spiritual things in the presence of others, and sometimes even to teach such things rather than to learn them. They condemn others in their heart when they see that they have not the kind of devotion which they themselves desire […]John of the Cross, Dark Night of the Soul, Pages 5-6
The last part shows some new symptoms of pride. The desire to show off, and condemning those who aren’t as devoted (successful) as the prideful one.
The desire to show off is an annoying personality trait. Someone suffering from Spiritual pride will be eager to show how much they know, and always wanting to talk about Spiritual things. But it won’t be a two-way conversation. The prideful will be trying to impress their conversation partner, not listen to them.
Someone suffering from Spiritual pride is always wanting to talk, to teach. Never wanting to listen.
Which is foolish, because if we never listen we’ll never learn anything.
Spiritual pride sufferers also condemn others (in secret or in words) for not being as devoted and Spiritual as them. This is a variation of feeling superior to others which shows up in regular pride, above. With regular pride, the prideful person might condemn others for not having the same success, or because others fell into traps (like drugs, alcohol) the prideful one avoided. This breeds a sense of superiority. In Spiritual pride, the prideful one will feel superior to anyone not as Spiritual as they are.
Moving on, we learn about another new symptom. Wanting to be praised, and seeking out agreeable “yes-men.”
Sometimes, too, when their spiritual masters, such as confessors and superiors, do not approve of their spirit and behavior (for they are anxious that all they do shall be esteemed and praised), they consider that they do not understand them […] And so they immediately desire and contrive to find some one else who will fit in with their tastes […]John of the Cross, Dark Night of the Soul, Page 6
The Spiritually prideful always want to be praised for their Spiritual progress. So if a Spiritual superior criticizes them, they come up with a reason why the criticism is invalid and find another superior. But this shows how fake their progress is. If they were genuine, they would want honest criticism so they could improve themselves and their devotion. They would want to work on their weak points, Spiritually speaking. But since they have Spiritual pride, these people can’t handle hearing anything negative about their Spirituality.
Last, we learn about one more way the Spiritually prideful like to show off.
Sometimes they are anxious that others shall realize how spiritual and devout they are, to which end they occasionally give outward evidence thereof in movements, sighs, and other ceremonies; and at times they are apt to fall into certain ecstasies, in public rather than in secret, wherein the devil aids them, and they are pleased this should be noticed […]John of the Cross, Dark Night of the Soul, Page 6
Those with Spiritual pride want to show off their Spirituality for others to see. They want the praise, admiration, or curiosity they get from it. And this is again foolish, because it doesn’t create a genuine Faith experience for the prideful. God our Father wants us to have a personal relationship with Him more than anything else. We could do this without ever speaking a word in public, to be honest. And we certainly have no need to go out in public and attract attention to practice our Faith!
Showing off our Spirituality like this goes against what Jesus taught us in Matthew 6:1-6. He gives a warning against showy prayer and religion. Our Faith isn’t for showing off to people. Our Faith is for us to follow God our Father and serve our fellow humans. Never pray or do anything Spiritual to get attention. Do Spiritual things for the right reasons. And we must do them “alone” when we can, for no person to see, knowing that our Father in Heaven sees us.
(1) “Be careful that you don’t practice your religion in front of people to draw their attention. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.Matthew 6:1-6 (CEB)
(2) “Whenever you give to the poor, don’t blow your trumpet as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets so that they may get praise from people. I assure you, that’s the only reward they’ll get. (3) But when you give to the poor, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing (4) so that you may give to the poor in secret. Your Father who sees what you do in secret will reward you.
(5) “When you pray, don’t be like hypocrites. They love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners so that people will see them. I assure you, that’s the only reward they’ll get. (6) But when you pray, go to your room, shut the door, and pray to your Father who is present in that secret place. Your Father who sees what you do in secret will reward you.
Take special note of the line “wherein the devil aids them” from the last Dark Night quote, above. Of course the devil wants us to fall to Spiritual pride!
If the devil can corrupt our Faith with pride, then our Faith isn’t pleasing to God. Through Spiritual pride, Satan can make us think we’re growing closer to God but we’re not making any progress at all!
It pleases Satan, not God, when we fall to the vice of pride in any shape or form. Pride is Satan’s way, not God’s. So we must fight pride at all cost! And now, let’s move on to how we can do that.
What’s the Antidote?
There’s at least one Virtue that can cancel out any vice. There is no vice that can’t be conquered.
The “antidote” Virtues for the vice of pride and Spiritual pride are the Virtues of Piety and Humility.
Remember that when we fall to the vice of pride, we no longer think we need the LORD. We start feeling like we can succeed and do everything we want to do in life without His help. If we ever start feeling this way, the LORD is sure to Humble us soon. But to avoid this mistaken and sinful attitude, we need the Virtue of Piety.
The Virtue of Piety is all about loving, obeying, respecting, honoring, following, and contemplating the LORD. If we have a strong Virtue of Piety, the LORD is on our mind all the time. And this is what we want if we hope to defeat the sinful attitude that we don’t need the LORD. With the Virtue of Piety, we keep things in their proper perspective. We give all the glory to God for everything good in our lives—not to ourselves.
The Virtue of Humility is one I haven’t covered yet in my Victory in Virtue series. I will cover it one day. In some ways it’s like what I said for the Virtue of Piety. If we’re Humble, we give God credit for our possessions, talents, and successes rather than ourselves. We keep the truth of James 1:17 in our hearts and minds.
(17) Every good gift, every perfect gift, comes from above. These gifts come down from the Father, […]James 1:17 (Partial) (CEB)
And if we have the Virtue of Humility we don’t let these good things make us feel better than anyone else! If we’re truly Humble, we’ll never feel like we’re better than anyone for any reason! If we’re Humble, we’ll see all people as equal. This Humility is key to fighting the vice of pride.
When we’ve fallen to the vice of pride, we must pray to the LORD for Him to Humble us! Which He will do, because He opposes the proud as 1 Peter 5:5 says. It may hurt in the short-term, but it’s better to be Humbled by the LORD than to continue on in pride. Any progress we think we’re making while we’re stuck in pride is not real or genuine. We must be Humbled then, and start again from scratch. But this is for the best. Once the LORD Humbles us, then we can turn to Him and start making real Spiritual progress that pleases Him.
Proverbs 8 tells us to hate the vice of pride. God is the true power behind anyone’s success! We must honor, love, and respect Him for it! And we must never let our good fortunes puff us up with pride!
(13) To fear the LORD is to hate evil.Proverbs 8:13 (CEB)
I hate pride and arrogance,
the path of evil and corrupt speech.
So these are the Virtues that counteract and conquer the vice of pride. But our most potent weapon against pride is prayer. So let’s now move on to some prayers we can use to guard against the vice of pride, and fight it in our own lives.
Prayers against the Vice of Pride
There are many prayers we could pray to combat the vice of pride. The best ones of course will be the ones we create ourselves—the ones that come straight from the heart. Remember: When we pray we aren’t trying to say the right combination of words to unlock something in Heaven. No, that would be magic, which is an abomination to the LORD. Prayer is much simpler. Simply tell the LORD what you want, what you need, what’s on your mind, what’s bothering you, and so on.
Praying for help in fighting a vice is the best way to fight it. So here are a few short, simple prayers to combat the vice of pride that you can try adding to your prayer routine.
All Good Things Come from You
If we give ourselves credit for our success, possessions, or abilities instead of God then we’re walking in pride. If this continues, soon enough we’ll say we don’t need God anymore, or we’ll start thinking so. We’ll grow overconfident, convinced that we can make it through life and succeed all on our own, with no help from God.
WARNING! Anyone who walks in pride like this WILL be Humbled by the LORD! And that Humbling won’t be fun—it never is.
To avoid that, we must give credit where it’s due. Give thanks to the LORD for every good thing we have (including talents, etc.). This is a quick prayer of thanksgiving that can help keep our perspectives correct.
LORD, I thank You for every day of life and all the good things I have. I thank and praise You for the successes I enjoy. I thank and praise You for the talents and abilities You blessed me with. I thank and praise You for the possessions I enjoy; though I don’t love a single one of them, reserving all my love for You, and people. I proclaim that all good things come from You, Father (James 1:17), and I give You thanks. Please keep me from falling into the vice of pride, and exalting myself in any way. And please give me Wisdom so I can use everything You’ve blessed me with for Your purposes. Amen.
Convict Me in the Spirit
Spiritual pride is Spiritually fatal, because it’s a corruption of our holy Faith. It twists and warps our Faith, so we begin practicing our Faith for the wrong reasons. This corrupted Faith we follow for the wrong reasons is not pleasing to God. To Him, our corrupted Faith is as bad as having no Faith at all.
This is why the devil loves to trap us in Spiritual pride if he can. If he does, he can pervert the one thing that will Save us, using it against us instead. We must always be on guard against Spiritual pride, and stay Humble in our Spiritual life too. So here’s a quick prayer asking for the LORD’s help with this.
LORD, thank You for the gift of Faith, your Word, and the means to seek You and draw closer to You. Please save me, LORD, from the vice of Spiritual pride. Convict me in the Spirit if I ever desire to teach when I should be learning, if I ever look down on others for their Spiritual progress, if I ever perform showy prayers, ceremonies, or fasting in public to gain the attention of others, or any other Spiritually prideful activity. I pray You will stop my fall into Spiritual pride and Humble me quickly LORD, so my Faith can remain true and pleasing to You. Amen.
Show Me how to Take the Lowest Place
The satisfaction that pride gives can make us feel superior to others. It can make us feel superior for successes or possessions we have that others don’t. But this goes against the teachings of the Gospel for brotherly love and Humility. Our Savior taught us to sit in the least important place when we’re invited somewhere. All who exalt themselves will be Humbled, and all who Humble themselves will be exalted.
(10) Instead, when you receive an invitation, go and sit in the least important place. When your host approaches you, he will say, ‘Friend, move up here to a better seat.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all your fellow guests. (11) All who lift themselves up will be brought low, and those who make themselves low will be lifted up.”Luke 14:10-11 (CEB)
We also know from 1 Peter 5:5 that God opposes the proud. So with that in mind, we can’t afford to ever feel like we’re better than any other person. To help with that, try this prayer that asks the LORD to show us how to sit in the last place and share our blessings with others.
LORD, thank You for all You’ve blessed me with. Please protect me from the vice of pride and any feelings of superiority over others. Convict me in the Spirit, LORD, if I ever feel ‘better’ than anyone else, for any reason. I know we are all sinners and all fall short of your Glory. So please show me how to take the least important place, where I deserve to be, in all situations in life. And please show me how to share with others the blessings You’ve given me, in every way I can. Amen.
Again, there are so many ways to pray against any vice. I could go on and on and on. Everyone is always welcome to leave a comment with prayers of their own.
But once we’re done praying, it’s time to act (in the physical world). Let’s move on to that now.
Fighting the Vice
To fight a vice, we must change our behavior and be consistent about that. We can’t do something new a few times and stop there. We must stick with our new ways, turning our back on our old sins. This consistency is how we build up a habit. It’s also how we cultivate and strengthen a Virtue, which are the “antidotes” to vice.
So how can we do that to fight pride? Let’s look at a few practical ideas. And remember: These are only a start! The possibilities are endless. I welcome any comments with good ideas about this.
Here are just a few ideas of how we can fight the vice of pride in our own lives:
- Read Scriptures on Humility and think them over
- Think before speaking; be slow to speak and quick to listen
- Share the blessings God has given us with others
- Find a mentor figure; acknowledge those who are more advanced in something than we are
- And other ideas you can think of!
Now before I start, remember that healthy confidence is not sinful. God wants us to be confident. It’s not a sin to do a good job and be proud of it. It’s not a sin to be blessed with a talent and be happy about it. The vice of pride takes these positive feelings and twists them to an excessive extent. Then we start exalting ourselves. The vice of pride is the sin, not confidence. Unholy pride is what we’re fighting against.
The first step to killing unholy pride is to get into God’s Word. Read the Bible, especially the New Testament, because it has much to say about being Humble. Jesus was meek and Humble, and He taught us to Humble ourselves rather than exalt ourselves. Take note of all mentions of Humility and contemplate those Scriptures. Think them over again and again.
Next, the desire to have others listen to what we say quickly leads to pride. We should think before we speak, and choose not to speak when we don’t need to. Resist the temptation of wanting people to listen to us, the temptation of wanting an audience. Having an audience often makes people prideful; it’s not something we should want. What we should want is for the Holy Spirit to bless our speech so we can lead others to Christ. Beyond that, why do we want people listening to us? We should spend more time listening and much less time speaking. Practicing this builds Humility, which destroys pride.
Next, if we have blessings that tempt us to pride, we can share them with others to honor God and fight pride. Blessings can be talents, possessions, skills, you name it. The LORD has blessed each of us with talents, and with the chance to learn skills. So let’s honor the LORD and pay Him back by sharing our talents and skills with others. If we find people to mentor and teach, we can pass on our knowledge to others. This pleases the LORD.
If the LORD has blessed us with nice possessions, let’s share them for others to enjoy! Why have a nice house if we don’t have people over to enjoy it with us? If we allow others to enjoy the nice things we have, we spread our blessings around and fight any pride we may feel for having them—because we’re not the only ones enjoying them.
Last, a major part of pride is refusing to acknowledge anyone is higher than us; refusing to submit to anyone. In any realm in which we feel pride—professional, Spiritual, etc.—we should find people who are more advanced than us in that field and acknowledge them. Maybe we can have them mentor us, and learn knowledge of that field from them. The important thing here is that we acknowledge and admit (to ourselves and others) that there are others more advanced in our field than we are. This includes Spirituality and progress in that field. Recognizing we aren’t the best, and submitting to the guidance of people further along than us, will go a long way toward killing pride.
Exalt the Right One
If anyone wants proof that the vice of pride is deadly, look to Isaiah 14. Pride is the sin that got Lucifer kicked out of Heaven. Pride is Spiritually fatal, and will lead to our damnation.
Why is the vice of pride so easy to fall into? It might appeal to something inside us that wants to be exalted. The same thing that made Lucifer want to exalt himself. That desire must be a part of us, somehow. And God wants us to have healthy confidence in ourselves and what we do, so there’s a delicate balancing act going on between confidence and pride.
When good things happen to us, or we do a good thing, it feels like we did something right. But we have to give all credit where it’s due. We have to thank and praise God for what He did for us. We have to exalt the right person—God.
This is where the devil sinned so badly. We can never allow ourselves to lose our perspective. The LORD is above us all, the LORD is Sovereign, the LORD is in control of everything in our lives. Any good thing, talent, opportunity, or relationship we have in life comes straight from Him (James 1:17). We must thank, praise, honor, and exalt Him for our blessings—not ourselves!
If we feel prideful over our blessings, as if we’re responsible for them, we insult the LORD. And we insult Him even more when our pride makes us exalt ourselves over others, rather than staying Humble. We were taught to serve our fellow human, not to exalt ourselves over them or try to outdo them!!
Most of all, we can never allow the devil to trap us in Spiritual pride. If he does, then all our worship of the LORD is for nothing. Our Faith is corrupted then, and not pleasing to the LORD. We think we’re doing the right thing, making progress on our Spiritual path, but we’re actually not getting anywhere. Spiritual pride kills. Be Humble on the Spiritual path, don’t show off Spirituality, and never feel Spiritually superior to others, Christian or non-Christian.
The vice of pride is sneaky, it gets into our life without us realizing it. But the good news is there’s a way to fight this sneaky, Spiritually fatal vice! We only need to stay Humble and keep our perspective correct. And how do we do that? We stay focused on God, and only God!
Every good thing in our life comes from God, and no one else. He deserves all the credit, thanks, and praise. And the blessings He gives don’t make us any better than any other person in this world. So keep the right perspective, give all credit where it’s due, and stay Humble. If we can do that, we will kill pride quick.
The vice for next time is greed. Stay tuned for that and Subscribe to my FREE weekly newsletter with the link below so you’ll never miss a post!!
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Until next time, be strong and do good!
Your new best friend in Christ,
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