JAMES 4:6-10 – But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.”
It is what made the devil the devil. It is what led Eve to eat the fruit followed by Adam doing likewise. It causes severe damage in every human relationship. It will divide and bring strife to a church. It makes a person ugly in character. It prevents any spiritual growth and closeness to the Lord. And if not dealt with by the unbelieving sinner will bring a person into a Christ-less eternity. This “it” is the mother of all sin–pride. The 17 century Puritan pastor George Swinnock said of pride, “Pride is the shirt of the soul, put on first and put off last.” In the Christian life, here is our greatest area of warfare for many reasons but mainly because pride is “an elusive and deceptive” foe. We may liken its many manifestations to Joseph’s coat of many colors. Pride comes at us, is in us, and flows from us in so many ways and we are too easily deceived and ignorant of its manifestations. So, to help us fight this mother of sin, let’s identity two of its manifestations and God’s way to defeat them.
First pride comes in the form of thinking more highly of ourselves than we should (Romans 12:3). Now don’t be quick to blurt out,“ I know I am a hell-deserving sinner.” Yes, that is true. Yet, the subtlety of pride showing itself in our lives in thinking more highly of ourselves than we should is when we compare ourselves with other Christians. Here is how pride works in this area. We see another believer struggling with a specific sin and inwardly we become critical, judgmental, and think “How could they? I would never.” When we make comparisons of our spiritual life and growth toward anyone but the Lord Jesus, we are feeding our sinful pride. We are “wearing the coat of pride”.
Another way sinful pride comes out is an inward boasting of our spirituality leading to outward talk of our spirituality. And often, we cloak this in a “false humility.” We start talking a lot about ourselves, our walks with the Lord, how God is using us, and soon, almost every conversation is filled with the personal pronoun “I”. Don’t we find it interesting and instructive that the Apostle Paul never boasted of himself? Read 2 Corinthians 12:1-10 to see what he boasted in. Do a heart check and see how much fellowship time with other Christians drifts into talk of ourselves. That is another “wearing of the coat of sinful pride.”
Well, there are many, many more ways pride stands up in and from our lives. Ask the Lord to show us. Yet, God doesn’t leave us to fight this sin alone. He shows us how to “take the coat off” and consistently slay the sin of pride. It is in the closing command of today’s scripture–humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you. We will grow in humility replacing pride when we make staying close to the Lord in prayer, Word, and obedience the chief pursuit in life. Pride cannot remain in the person near Christ. His Presence destroys it so guard our walks with the Lord. It is the only way to “put on the coat of humility by taking off the sinful coat of pride.”
PRAYER: “Father, forgive me when I not only feed my pride but remain ignorant of its damaging presence in my life.”
QUOTE: “Pride is the anti-thesis of Christ-likeness in the Christian life. It will cause severe damage in every relationship.”
Because of Him,