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DEVOTONAL: What Does The Bible Say About Pride?

Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.

–Proverbs 16:18 (ESV)

This famed verse famous has been shortened into the ageless expression, “Pride goes before a fall.”

The Bible teaches there is a kind of “healthy pride,” a deep satisfaction in a job well-done with excellence.  “Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else” (Gal. 6:4 NLT).

However, there is another kind of pride, also known as arrogance, conceit, egotism, smugness, vanity and pretention, that is a sin.

It’s a sin for several reasons. For one, according to the Bible, the only way to approach God is with humility, which is the opposite of conceit. “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up” (James 4:10 NIV). In other words, we are to wait for God to lift us up, not exalt ourselves or “toot our own horn.”

Second, pride is a kind of self-righteous. Believers in Christ receive their righteousness by the blood of Christ covering their sin, not by trying to appear good, or better than others, or seeking to win or “earn” God’s approval or favor.

This is the whole idea behind the Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector. The religious leader stood in a crowd, rattled off a list of his accomplishments, and tried to pull himself up by putting down the tax collector who belonged to a despised group in that day.

In contrast, the tax collector “would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.'”

In what was the ultimate surprise ending to His audience, Jesus claimed, “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

Take the Next Step: Humble yourself before God and others, and remember that peace with God comes from accepting Jesus’ finished work on the Cross, not from trying to win or earn God’s favor.

Go Deeper:

What does the Bible say about pride?


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