PRIDE OR SELF–ESTEEM. WHICH?
- Read Luke 14:7–11; Deuteronomy 8:11–20.
- The Bible says there is danger and shows where it is.
- Not possessions as such, but attitude toward them and how they are used.
- Deceiving ourselves into believing they will supply our total needs (Luke 12:15, 19).
- Believing that obtaining the things of the world is the doing of the person himself (Isaiah 48:7).
- Danger: Forgetting God, the source of it all. God is the One who supplies all our needs (Acts 17:24–25).
- “Most men will proclaim each his own goodness” (Proverbs 20:6).
- Some things I have learned from the Bible about this subject. The man who boasts of his:
- Goodness is usually a hypocrite.
- Achievements is usually unsuccessful.
- Bravery is a coward.
- Humility is arrogant.
- Knowledge is ignorant.
- Greatness is diminutive.
- “There is a generation that is pure in its own eyes” (Proverbs 30:12).
- Great men do not speak of their greatness.
- Wise men do not talk about their knowledge.
- Humble men do not speak of their humility.
- Brave men do not have to tell you of their feats.
- Pride defined in the Bible.
- “The pride of your heart has deceived you ... Though you exalt yourself as high as the eagle, and though you set your nest among the stars” (Obadiah 3–4).
- We often think we are better than we are (I John 1:8–10).
- Exalting ourselves (II Corinthians 12:7). Paul faced this danger (I Corinthians 9:27).
- Peter warned the elders of the danger (I Peter 5:3).
- Paul issued the same warning to elders (I Timothy 3:6).
- This is very different from self–esteem.
- Every Christian should have a good image of himself.
- It is impossible to cope with life's problems without it.
- Encouragement of your child in school and life.
- The adult, discouraged and despondent, will fail.
- Paul possessed a high esteem of himself.
- Read Philippians 3:5; II Corinthians 11:22–23.
- Without this self–esteem, he could not have gone where he went or have done what he did.
- Possess assurance: “I know.”
- So, self–worth, self–esteem are necessities.
- The problem is over self–confidence, self–sufficiency, self–love.
- One of the greatest challenges to the Christian is learning to walk this line with proper humility.
- Of what are we proud?
- Social standing.
- Intellectual attainments.
- Their personal possessions.
- Their poverty.
- Their spirituality.
- Their sins.
- Results of pride:
- Failure (Proverbs 16:18).
- Herod Agrippa I (Acts 12:20-23).
- Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 4:30-32).
- Haman (Esther 7:10).
- Other results:
- Prevents gratitude and contentment.
- Breaks friendships.
- Hates superiors, scorns inferiors, creates strife, and allows no equals.
- We cannot, of ourselves, conquer the sin:
- “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5).
- “In Him you also trusted” (Ephesians 1:13).
PRIDE OR SELF–ESTEEM. WHICH?
“So He told a parable to those who were invited, when He noted how they chose the best places, saying to them: ‘When you are invited by anyone to a wedding feast, do not sit down in the best place, lest one more honorable than you be invited by him; and he who invited you and him come and say to you, “Give place to this man,” and then you begin with shame to take the lowest place. But when you are invited, go and sit down at the lowest place, so that when he who invited you comes he may say to you, “Friend, go up higher.” Then you will have glory in the presence of those who sit at the table with you. For whoever exalts himself shall be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.’ ” (Luke 14:7–11).
“Beware ... lest—when you have eaten and are full and have built beautiful houses and dwell in them; and when your herds and your flocks multiply, and your silver and your gold are multiplied, and all that you have is multiplied; when your heart is lifted up, and you forget the Lord your God ...” (Deuteronomy 8:11–14)
The Sin of Pride
Jack London, as the most highly paid writer in the world, never outgrew his ego. He liked to be called Mr. God by his Korean valet.
Our age is saturated by philosophies which encourage and stimulate vanity. Humanism cherishes and worships man. Shakespeare, in his play, Hamlet, ironically pointed out how man adores and idolizes himself. He placed the words of this humanistic philosophy upon the lips of a character, “What a piece of work is man ... how noble in reason! how infinite in faculty! in form and moving how express and admirable! In action how like an angel! in apprehension how like a God! the beauty of the world! the paragon of animals!"”
Liberalism, in many denominations in Christendom today preaches, and I may say transmits, a philosophy which influences and induces pride in its converts. They neither view man as a rebellious creature nor admit that he is alienated from God. They do not understand nor appreciate the gospel as a remedial
system of man's woes, and they would never concede that the message of Jesus is one of salvation, for, in their judgment, man does not need to be saved. Their meetings are more like a civic club, or a community center, where they congregate to praise humanity and not God. Pride forbids that they kneel before God or acknowledge that they are sinners.
The Dutch poet, Koos Schur, describes the conceit that characterizes our time, and contemporary liberal religion, or theology: “... this world, this universe and me—and me, me, me, and me, me, me. ...” It is all me, not God!
Where the Danger Lies
Many passages, including the ones at the beginning of the lesson, tell us what the danger is and where it lies. It is not so much in the abundance of possessions, but man's attitude toward, and treatment of, those possessions. Jesus once told some people, “One's life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses” (Luke 12:15). Believing that things will supply our total needs and provide us independence is pride. The proud man is the self–sufficient man who feels no need of help, or counsel, or guidance. The rich fool “thought within himself” (Luke 12:17, emphasis mine). “Nevertheless even among the rulers many believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue: for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God” (John 12:42–43, emphasis mine).
It was the rich farmer who said to himself, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry” (Luke 12:19). This pride consisted in a false view of himself—that the obtaining of these things was his own doing. He considered that he was smart enough, knowledgeable enough, and able of himself to secure these material possessions. Like the person described by the prophet, some say, “Of course I knew them” (Isaiah 48:7), and trust in their own works and treasures. Such people forget God, the Source of all that we have or accumulated. “For in him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28). “... He gives to all life, breath, and all things” (verse 25). “Most men will proclaim each his own goodness” (Proverbs 20:6).
From the Bible I have learned that the man who boasts of his goodness is a hypocrite, who must tell of his achievements is a failure, who advertises his bravery is coward, and he who exults in his humility and who gloats over his greatness is diminutive, indeed! “There is a generation that is pure in its own eyes” (Proverbs 30:12).
Men who truly possess these qualities we have mentioned never speak vauntingly of any of them. Harry Truman, former president of the United States, made a statement in this vein worth repeating. “Never forget who you are or where you came from.” And a greater than Harry Truman said long ago, “Let another man praise you, and not your own mouth” (Proverbs 27:2).
The wise man in Proverbs stated another great truth: “Pride goes before destruction” (Proverbs 16:18). This is the case many times among God's children. They fall into sin and never repent because of pride. It is a sad commentary on the judgment of a child of God when, in order to save face, he is willing to lose his soul!
Passages That Define Pride
There are those who feel they are better than others. Why do they develop such feelings? The answer is manifold, and it is not always clear and simple. A place of honor and power occupied by one in a community, or a nation, may elevate these feelings in his breast. Economic influence often exalts a man in his own eyes above his fellows.
I have known secular education to escalate a man's estimate of his worth to the world, and worldly accomplishments often heighten one's calculation of his own measurement. He belongs in the roll of the noble and magnanimous!
“A messenger has been sent among the nations, saying, ... ‘The pride of your heart has deceived you, you who dwell in the clefts of the rock, whose habitation is high; you who say in your heart, “Who will bring me down to the ground?” Though you ascend as high as the eagle, And though you set your nest
among the stars, From there I will bring you down,’ says the Lord” (Obadiah 1–4). Men feel safe, secure, and untouchable. “I will bring you down says the Lord.”
He Thinks He is Better Than He is
It is not only possible, but it is common for some to think they are better than they actually are. John dealt with that problem in his day. “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. ... If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us” (I John 1:8, 10). This spirit is the very essence of pride.
This was a prevalent problem in Jesus' time. He told the story of the Pharisee going into the temple and he “stood and prayed thus with himself [the Greek text says “to himself”], ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men—extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess’ ” (Luke 18:11–12). This Pharisee not only thought that he was better than he actually was, but he thought he was much better that the man standing in the temple with him. He felt exalted; but the Lord put him at the bottom of the list!
Paul issued this warning to the Galatian Christians: “For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself” (Galatians 6:3). Have you observed that when one has grandiose delusions about himself, that's exactly what it is! He is the only one who is deluded and misled. He deceives himself! He has elaborate and impressive thoughts about his own goodness. He has a great many beautiful words in his vocabulary which exalt him about the common herd. He is splendid, magnificent, and noble. He has lied to himself and believes it! Others know that he is a phony and counterfeit.
The Pharisees were humbugs. Their religion was a sham. Listen to what Jesus had to say about them: “Then Jesus spoke to the multitudes and to His disciples, saying: ‘The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat. Therefore whatever they tell you to observe, that observe and do, but do not do according to their works; for they say, and do not do.’ ” (Matthew 23:1-3). Yet they had a corner on piety, they thought. They sounded a trumpet before them to call attention to their benevolence. On the
street corners and in the market places, they prayed long and loud that they might be heard of men. Some of them disfigured themselves to they might appear to others to be dedicated and committed children of God. Such pride will damn the soul and rob it of the crown of heaven.
Some Think They Know More Than They Do
“If anyone teaches otherwise and does not consent to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which accords godliness, he is proud, knowing nothing, ...” (I Timothy 6:3-4). Paul further says, in strong language, that they are “men of corrupt minds and destitute of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain” (I Timothy 6:5). One is filled with devilish pride who does not teach and stand for the sound words of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The problem exists today as it did two thousand years ago. You meet men in the leadership of the church who think they know more than they do. Their advice on how to conduct your affairs approaches the standard of inspiration! Their recommendations and instructions are unquestionable. The warnings they issue are divine! Truly, they are puffed up with deceit.
And the most tragic and astonishing feature about it is that they, like the Pharisee in the temple, never call into question their own ability or goodness. Such men are convinced that their conduct is impeccable, their counsel flawless, and their integrity immaculate. They are classic, irreproachable examples to the flock—so they have caused themselves to believe this myth about themselves.
Paul had some comment about this situation in the first century church: “Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves” (Acts 20:30). This sin of pride is exhibited in examining one's self or in believing that he is better than he is and that he knows more than he does. Paul spoke of the dangers of elders “being puffed up with pride” (I Timothy 3:6) and Peter gave this mandate to elders: “nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock” (I Peter 5:3).
Please Consider This
Many times I have thought: “How can these men be sincere in such perversion? How can they believe they are right in upholding and supporting false doctrine?” Paul alerted Timothy to false teaching and cautioned him to watch for it so that it may not enter the ranks of Christians. Listen to his message. Some people will teach things that are false. These people will not agree with the true teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ. And they will not accept the teaching that agrees with the true way to serve God. That person who teach falsely is full of pride and understands nothing (I Timothy 6:3–4).
Why would such preachers and leaders have these magnificent concepts of their station in life? Is is possible for them to be honest, possessing as they do, a spirit of lordship and bossism? That led me to think of the prominent religious leaders of our day whose false teachings fill the airways via television and radio. Religious groups from various denominations stuff my mailbox with their literature. And I ask, “How can these preachers be honest?” Multiplied millions of dollars are spent to propagate these teachings and advance the causes they represent. Millions of honest people over the world contribute to these efforts to support and promote furtherance of them.
Then I must conclude what I have always believed the Bible teaches—that honesty and sincerity are no guarantees that one is right. Paul thought he was right in his beliefs, teachings, and practices while he was a Pharisee. He lived in all good conscience before God and man while, at the same time, doing his best to expunge God's people from the earth. He spoke of those who believe a lie and are damned (II Thessalonians 2:12). The young prophet from Judah believed the lie the old prophet in Samaria told him, and he lost his life. Isaac believed he was blessing Esau when in fact he was blessing Jacob.
So, what one honestly believes or feels about himself neither affirms the authenticity of it nor secures him in the sight of God. False doctrine is being promulgated and upheld today, in some places, in the church of the Lord and you may be sure that it is just as false as if it issued from the lips of a Buddhist priest. Sincerity of conviction and genuineness of belief have little to do with whether it is accurate or spurious.
It is the diabolical sin of pride that prevents a preacher or an elder or any other Christian from resigning his own will and resolving to be guided alone by the will of God.
Lovers of Self
Paul cautioned Christians in the early church about the selection and appointment of men to be elders. It was a kind of forewarning to them because he saw the danger of these men being “puffed up with pride” (I Timothy 3:6). He knew that men who are overbearing, rude, domineering, and superior in their attitudes could wreak havoc on the Lord's church and do irreparable harm to its mission in the world. Pride inflicts untold damage to God's church in any age. It makes a man presumptuous, self–appointed and insolent. He is superior to others, lordly, and imperious. He exaggerates every event because his self–importance and self–admiration dictate this course to elevate him to the rank of the high and mighty! He belongs to a different class, and his station is far above the rabble.
John tells us that one of the things that comprises the love of the world is the pride of life (I John 2:16). Pride is not far removed from arrogance nor self–esteem from vanity.
Pride and Self–Respect
We must be careful to distinguish between pride and self–respect. There is a difference between arrogance and assurance, and there is a vast distance which separates self–interest and self–regard and even self–value. One is permissible and desirable; the other is devilish and destructive. Every Christian should have a very good image of himself. Coping with life's day–to–day problems would be impossible if one did not have a good feeling about himself.
What we call the Golden Rule would be meaningless if we did not first make some estimate of our own personal worth and needs. That principle which Jesus enunciated in His Sermon on the Mount (“Whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them” (Matthew 7:12)), emphasizes a careful look at one's self. How can a child succeed in school and later in life if you do not help him feel good about himself? Paul encouraged and advised young Timothy: “Let no one despise your youth”
(I Timothy 4:12). He wanted him to have a healthy self–respect and personal dignity. To adore, idolize, and deify one's self is strongly condemned. Hero–worship and homage are traits a thousand miles from Christian attitude and deportment. There is a self–approval which is good and right provided it is kept in harmony with the standard of God's measurement of the Christian character.
It was self–respect that kept Joseph from committing adultery with Potiphar's wife. Daniel valued his personal character of integrity and devotion to God so highly he resolved that he would not defile himself with the King's dainties. Self–respect propels us to seek satisfaction in work that is well done. It keeps the dishes washed, the floors swept, the beds made, and something to eat for supper besides a can and a can–opener. But there is a word of caution. Let us be careful lest we label our behavior as self–respect, when in actuality it is self–importance, self–admiration, and snobbery.
Paul was modest and meek, but he showed a high self–esteem on many occasions. Go through his writings in the New Testament and observe how many times he said: “I.” “I know whom I have believed.” “I can do all things through Christ.” He said, “I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin” (Romans 11:1). “Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they the seed of Abraham? So am I ...” (II Corinthians 11:22–23).
It is good and right for us to love life, but not more than God. We should love self, and one of the reasons for this is that we are to love our neighbors as we do ourselves. A husband is to love his wife as he loves himself (Ephesians 5:33). Jesus instructed us to “lay up treasures for yourselves in heaven” (Matthew 6:20). The danger is that we can love ourselves so much we lose sight of God and others. Christianity primarily concerns itself with the other person. Our love for God should transcend love for all other things.
Of What Are We Proud?
Some are proud of their social standing. This is often characterized by a vainglorious attitude, a tilted chin, and a turned up nose. This self–importance and self–admiration may cause one to look
down on others and consider them inferior on account of education, worldly possessions, or social standing. The caste system is extant in the Western world as well as in the Eastern and is practiced by Americans and Englishmen as well as Indians.
Social pride embraces racial relations. Racism and caste arrogance are fruits of social conceit. We speak pretty loud about white supremacy. When a Christian, or anyone else as to that matter, treats with contempt and scorn one of another color, that is fiendish pride. In Jesus's instructions to the people of His day, He taught against it. “Do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father’ ” (Luke 3:8). There is not a human on earth who is not inherently as valuable as I am. One is neither superior nor inferior because of an accident of genetics.
A legend grew up in Germany during Hitler's purge of the Jews. It is said that Jesus was told to leave and go to His own church. A groaning was heard as Jesus came down from the crucifix and walked out! To feel superior is a mark of ignorance and crudeness. Until the most unpopular race and the most despised minority are treated with dignity, our own rights are undeserved and insecure.
There is no discrimination among true Christians. With us “there is neither Jew nor Greek, neither bond nor free” (Galatians 3:28). Here, “there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all” (Colossians 3:11). The most rude and uncultured are extended the Lord's invitation. “Come to me all you who ...” (Matthew 11:28). “And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely” (Revelation 22:17). Someone has well said: “In the great hours of the church, she did not seek the tag of respectability, but consorted with sinners and extended the helpful, brotherly hand to the rejected.”
Proud of Worldly Wisdom
Some are proud of their intellectual attainments. They have reached the heights of knowledge and wisdom! It results in pretentiousness and ostentatiousness. Paul said, “Knowledge
puffs up” (I Corinthians 8:1). It is easy to discern these marks of pride. They are unmistakable. The intellectual snob is easily detectable.
I have never known just why, but the worldly wise think it is not intellectual to live your life by faith. As in Paul's time, the word of the cross is foolishness. Paul was truly an intellectual and a scholar. He must have known well the languages of Greek, Hebrew, Latin, and Aramaic. He had sat at the fee of the best doctors of the law. His education had been intense, but when he visited Corinth, he laid aside lofty words (I Corinthians 2:1–2).
There is another side to this coin. There are those who take great pride in their lack of education, and are proud of their poverty of intellectual achievement. They are often as pretentious and boastful as the worldly wise. It has been my observation that often the least informed is an intolerant and conceited fool.
Proud of Wealth
Wealth, worldly possessions, is the dispenser of pride. Nothing in this world seems to produce more egotism and immodesty that the accretion of wealth, the having of things. I recall what a preacher friend from Haiti said to me some years ago: “There is not anything in this country that you cannot buy with money.”
Moses gave the warning long ago, “Beware that you do not forget the Lord your God by not keeping His commandments, His judgments, and His statues which I command you today, lest—when you have eaten and are full, and have built beautiful houses and dwell in them; and when your herds and your flocks multiply, and your silver and your gold are multiplied, and all that you have is multiplied; when your heart is lifted up, and you forget the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage; ... then you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gained me this
wealth.’ And you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth” (Deuteronomy 8:11–18).
About as much is said in the New Testament on this subject as any other. Warnings are issued and exhortations are made because vanity follows in the wake of possessions. Pity and pray for the one who is intoxicated by money. It is the root of every kind of evil. More literally, it reads, “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil” (I Timothy 6:10).
Reading further from The–Easy–To–Read New Testament, Paul further discusses this subject: “It is true that serving God makes a person very rich, if that person is satisfied with what he has. When we came into the world, we brought nothing. And when we die, we can take nothing out. So, if we have food and clothes, we will be satisfied with that.
“People who want to become rich bring temptations to themselves. They are caught in a trap. They begin to want many foolish things that will hurt them. Those things ruin and destroy people ... Give this command to people who are rich with things this world has. Tell them not to be proud. Tell those rich people to hope in God, not their money. Money cannot be trusted. But God takes care of us richly. He gives us everything to enjoy.
“Tell the rich people to do good. Tell them to be rich in doing good things. And tell them to be happy to give and ready to share. by doing this they will be saving a treasure for themselves in heaven” (I Timothy 6:6–19). During our prosperity, let us remember that “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father” (James 1:17).
Proud of Poverty
One may be proud of a closet full of the latest fashions in clothing, but he may also be equally proud of his rags. He or she may cherish the gold bangles worn on the arm, or the gold chain about the neck; but, on the other hand, one may conspicuously boast of the straits of his poverty. Diogenes, who lived in 412 B.C., was a Greek philosopher who believed in a severely impoverished way of life. He was the spokesman for the Ascetics and the leader of the Cynics. His cloak was but a rag
and filled with holes. Socrates reportedly said to him, “Diogenes, I see your vanity through the holes in your cloak.” “How apt,” it was said, “the poor are to be proud.”
The poor are often more intolerant toward the rich than the rich are toward the poor. Someone has said: “Pride has no special abode; it homes in rags as well as silk, among the social outcast as well as the social register.”
Pride and Spirituality
Spiritual pride is the most offensive and objectionable of all pride. It has been said that there is a sense in which it is a greater sin than murder, adultery, and thievery. It is Satan's sin. We have discussed in other lessons as well as this one, the theatrical pomp of the proud Pharisee and how his ostentatious display of his religion aroused resentment in the Lord and called forth a caustic denunciation of them (Luke 18:9–14).
A failure or a refusal to recognize our own spiritual arrogance and grandeur must be disgustingly abhorrent to the Lord.
The apostle John points out the fact that Diotrephes loved the limelight (III John 9). One translation renders it, “He always wants to be their leader.” He is not the last man in the church who likes the spotlight and public advertisement. Some like publicity stories and “write-ups” so much, it makes little difference that the reports they produce are unfavorable toward them. “Just herald my name abroad and bring me some attention!”
Preeminence is the name of the game. It was this spirit that led to the apostasy of the church in the first centuries of the Christian era.
It is lamentable that in some places today this same story is being retold and those original scenes are being reenacted.
Spiritual pride may have the earmarks of egotism, but disguise itself in abasing, syrupy humiliation. Pride is gaudy and garish, but often masquerades in the attire of lowliness. Feigning meekness, such a person in fact is saying, “I am better at everything else than I am at bragging.” His stateliness is camouflage. His garb of humility is just that—a mask and a false front.
Proud of Their Sins
There are those who boast of their seductions and debauchery. The homosexuals and lesbians who appear on our public communications mediums dignify their conduct as simply a different life style. God calls it sin. Many never go to the trouble to even try to justify or extenuate their dastardly deeds. They boast about them and they flaunt them. They are proud of their sins and in delight call attention to their weaknesses.
The public ought not to be exposed to some of the cancers in our society. Why open up to public view, particularly to our children, the festering sores of wicked people? We cover our garbage. Why parade our sins? Jeremiah emphasized this theme several times in his condemnation of the sins of Israel, “Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? No! They were not at all ashamed, or did they know how to blush. Therefore they shall fall among those who fall; In the time of their punishment They shall be cast down” (Jeremiah 8:12) We still have in our midst people who are not remorseful.
Self–Esteem a Necessity
The problem is with over self–confidence, self–sufficiency, and self–love. One of life's greatest challenges to the Christian is learning to walk this line of self–esteem with proper humility. One misses the mark when he says, “I am not qualified to teach a class, talk with a friend about his soul, or perform some task the Lord wants done.” Is this a lack of self–esteem, or even qualification, or is it an evasion of duty? Let us make sure!
The kind of self–esteem that Paul discussed, and encouraged every Christian to have was comprised of three important facts in our faith:
1. Each Christian is significant. “We should be called the children of God! ... Beloved, now we are children of God” (I John 3:1–2). “But you have come to Mount Zion ... to the general assembly and church of the firstborn” (Hebrews 12:22–23). The first son born in a Jewish family was given the most important place in the family. All of God's children are like that. A more literal translation of this phrase is, “the church of the
high–born ones.” God's children are high born; they are sons and daughters of the King and that makes them princes and princesses. They live high above the world, and yet they are deeply concerned about the affairs of this world and the people who are involved in those affairs. Their purpose is to serve these people to the betterment of society and the hope of heaven. Yet we must be careful not to confuse this with pride.
2. Each Christian has (or ought to have)security. “I know whom [the One, Jesus] I have believed and am persuaded that he is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day” (II Timothy 1:12). “... there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness” (II Timothy 4:6–8).
3. Each Christian is competent. “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name” (John 1:12). “Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (II Timothy 1:6–7).
Some Results of Pride
The final result of this sin is failure. “Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18).
Herod Agrippa made “an oration” before an audience made up of the people of Tyre and Sidon, in Caesarea, “and the people kept shouting, ‘The voice of a god and not of a man!’ Then immediately an angel of the Lord struck him, because he did not give glory to God. And he was eaten by worms and died” (Acts 12:22–23).
Look at Nebuchadnezzar and his sin of pride: “Is not this great Babylon that I have built for a royal dwelling by my mighty power and for the honor of my majesty ...” (Daniel 4:30)? I do not have to tell you what happened to him.
Haman's pride was deflated when a peasant refused to bow down when he passed by. The only medication which would give him relief was Mordecai's neck. Haman's lofty conceit and immeasurable arrogance received confirmation when he looked
up and saw a gallows seventy-five feet high waiting for him. “They hanged Haman on the gallows” (Esther 7:10). His pride was his undoing.
There are many dangerous and evil consequences of this sin of pride we have discussed. It brings misery inexpressible; it prevents gratitude and contentment; it dissolves friendships, hates superiors, scorns inferiors, and allows no equals. It breeds strife. “Evil men do not understand justice” (Proverbs 28:5).
Cannot Succeed Alone
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5). In speaking of the One upon whom we should rely completely, Paul said to the Ephesian Christians, “In whom you also trusted” (Ephesians 1:13). It is faith in the Lord we need to maintain the proper balance. This is what Peter lacked as he endeavored to walk on the water (Matthew 4:29–31).
Add to this our own experience of years as Christians and our reliance on fellow Christians and this can be of incalculable assistance in maintaining the proper balance between pride and self–esteem. There is certainly a vast difference between the two. God wants us to have self–esteem in such virtues as purity, truth, integrity of character, and commitment to the greatest cause this earth has ever known. This is far removed from pride—the pride that devastates the soul and holds the promise of eternal condemnation.