From personal experience many preachers know something of the deceptive power of pride. Looking forward to Sunday, the pastor asks God in prayer for a message and for divine enablement in delivery of the message. God, in grace, grants his petition, and after the sermon someone is kind enough to speak complimentary of the message (there is nothing wrong with paying the preacher a compliment, if it comes from the heart, and you realize the preacher is but an instrument of God), due to the deceptive power of pride, the compliment is often taken wrongly and the preacher takes to himself the credit which belongs to God.
No saint has ever risen so high in his cultivation of humility that all of his pride was left behind or even suppressed to the point of absolute dormancy for a single minute. Neither has the skid row bum sunk so low that he cannot look down his nose at someone else and find a basis to be proud of himself.
As soon as a man be born in this world he embarks on an ego trip, “They go astray speaking lies,” (Psalm 58:3) and the most of his lies are spent in bragging about himself. Most of the auto-biographies which I have read amount to nothing more than brag books. The reason is; “Every way of man is right in his own eyes” (Proverbs 21:2).
Did you ever hear a person pray, saying, “Lord keep me humble?” There is an element of pride in such a prayer. The meekest saint needs to pray, “Lord make me humble.” I heard a person say one time, “I am proud that I am humble.” 0’ the deceitfulness of pride.
Jesus used one statement on three different occasions in three different sermons. He was not afraid someone might say, “He repeats himself.” Each time Jesus used the statement it fit perfectly with the lesson He was teaching, and the principle set forth in the statement pervaded all of His teaching. The thrice stated words of the Master, “And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased, and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted,” (Matthew 23:12; Luke 18:14). On every occasion it was used to counter human pride, and it points up the fact that the seats of honor in glory are reserved for those who humble themselves and practice self-effacement.
Pride Brought Lucifer’s Fall
Lucifer’s declaration of independence is recorded in Isaiah 14:12-15. In this Scripture the second will is introduced to the universe, and every “will” that endeavors to act independent of God is in great measure motivated by pride. Lucifer says five times in quick succession, “I will,” and in each instance a desire for self-exaltation is manifested. Lucifer says, “I will exalt my throne above the stars of God.” God says, “Whosoever exalts himself shall be abased” and He says to Lucifer, “Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit” (Isaiah 12:15). By this Scripture we are made aware of Satan’s destruction and doom yet, we need to remember this prophecy is at this date unfulfilled. Satan has lost the honor of being the anointed cherub but he has not lost his earthly princedom. It would help us if we remembered Lucifer had a throne, and that he is still the “Prince of the power of the air” and “the god of this world.”
God says to Pharoah, “How long wilt thou refuse to humble thyself before Me?” (Exodus 10:3). Pharaoh was the proud and haughty king of Egypt, and at the time the most powerful monarch on earth. But what he did not know was that God had attached a woe to every crown of pride (Isaiah 28:1). Egypt throughout Scripture is a type of the God debasing world, and Pharaoh is a clear type of proud man who goes on and on in his rebellion against God. God says, “Man’s pride shall bring him low” (Proverbs 29:23). Man’s pride will either bring him low in penitent humility, or bring him low in the regions of the damned. Pharaoh’s pride made him obstinate, and carried him onward in a course of definite destruction. His pride was as a millstone around his neck, or “as a chain” (Psalm 73:6), leading him onward and downward to a muddy grave at the bottom of the Red Sea.
“… Blessed be the Lord, Who hath delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians, and out of the hand of Pharaoh. The Lord is greater than all gods: for in the thing wherein they dealt proudly He was above them.” (Exodus 18:10-11)
Pharaoh said, “I know not the Lord, neither will I let Israel go.” Pride always over estimates the power available to it. God, in asking Pharaoh, “How long wilt thou refuse to humble thyself before Me?” asks it of every son of Adam. To the person whose eyes peer this page, and as yet have not bowed the knee unto Christ and acknowledged His Lordship, God says to you, “How long wilt thou refuse to humble thyself before Me?”
thou … O Belshazzar, hast not humbled thine heart … ” (Daniel
Belshazzar lifted himself up in pride against the Lord of heaven by profaning the vessels of the Lord’s house (Daniel 5:23). Belshazzar’s pride is all the more abominable when viewed in the light of God’s rebuke of his father Nebuchadnezzar, for his pride. Of Nebuchadnezzar, Daniel says, “His heart was lifted up, and his mind hardened in pride, he was deposed from his kingly throne, and they took his glory from him” (Daniel 5:20). Nebuchadnezzar learned his lesson well, and we hear him say, of God, “those that walk in pride He is able to abase” (Daniel 4:37). And Daniel says to Belshazzar, “And thou his son, O Belshazzar, hast not humbled thine heart, though thou knowest all this” (Daniel 5:22). Belshazzar was weighed in the balances of God’s infallible justice, and was found wanting. He lacked humility and that very night Belshazzar was slain. He lived proudly and died in infamy. “When pride cometh, then cometh shame …” (Proverbs 11:2).
A Right View Of The Cross Humbles The Pride Of Man
“And being found in fashion as a man, He (Christ) humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” (Philippians 2:8) Saul of Tarsus was a proud, haughty, stubborn, stiff-necked and high-minded Pharisee. He boasted and gloried in his Phariseeism. He was the son of a Pharisee, and lived as a Pharisee (Acts 23:6, 26:5). In due season he met the meek and lowly Messiah on the road to Damascus, and there his Phariseeism was burned out by the radiance of Him whose remembrance Saul was endeavoring to erase from the earth. Afterward, we hear the voice of humility say, “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief” (I Timothy 1:15), and, “God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Galatians 6:14). Humility is a wonderful virtue, and should be sought after by all people, but when humility is put on parade, it turns to pride of the worst kind. A preacher of my acquaintance said, “I have a bad fault. God has blessed me with a broad knowledge of the Scriptures, and when I get an opportunity I put this knowledge in a display case for everyone to view.” O’ the deceitfulness of pride.
A public school superintendent said he wanted to get saved, but he did not want to get saved in the Wednesday night prayer meeting. He wanted to get saved on Sunday morning when there would be a crowd of people present. Some people feel the same way about gifts to the church. They make sure everybody knows they contributed.
Man, in his fallen nature, is a proud creature, and spreads himself like “a green bay tree.” By his word and his works he calls attention to himself, and pride is never more hateful than when it detracts from the cross of Christ. Looking at the cross and counting the wounds in the blessed body of Christ, helps the saint to get his eyes off himself, and goes a long way in subduing pride.
An old country Baptist preacher met one of his neighbors on the road who was of a different kind of church. After the usual greetings the neighbor said to the old preacher, “Brother Baptist, you are not very humble are you?” The old brother replied quite seriously, “No, I am not half as humble as I ought to be, but I feel sure you are a humble man.” To which the neighbor replied, “Yes, I am, and I show it by washing the saint’s feet.” O’ the deceitfulness of pride.
The things Paul was proud of before he was saved, he counted as dung after he was saved (Philippians 3:8). Lost friend, how many are the things you are proud of? Take all your assets, every penny; put them all together on one package with your supposed good deeds. The grand sum of which cannot purchase one square inch in heaven’s boundless acres. The supreme accomplishments of the flesh while they give great buoyancy to pride are but the means of driving the soul downward from God.
(Sovereign Grace Advocate - May, 1978)
Return To O.B.Mink Page
Return To PBC Home