Pride comes before the fall

September 24, 2016

I have a t-shirt in my room that says on the back “Cougar Pride”. I sometimes wince when I wear it. I worked as a Physical Education teacher for 14 years almost half of them at Wake Forest Rolesville HS in Wake Forest, North Carolina. They had an exceptional football team that would yearly go deep into the regional playoffs and to inspire their players the coaches gave them a shirt that spoke about pride.
Our society looks at being proud in a positive way, BUT the bible has a different twist to the subject. When you’re proud of something, you elevate it above the common attention it deserves. Where has most of your attention gone to this week? What is most important to you? Is God in the occasion to thank and give glory to?
Webster’s 1828 dictionary gives the primary definition of pride as “inordinate self-esteem; an unusual conceit of one’s own superiority in talents, beauty, wealth, accomplishments, rank or elevation of office, which manifests itself in lofty airs, distance, reserve, and often in contempt of others. The further we look into the secondary definitions of pride; we start to see that it becomes something positive rather than negative. But the bile has a lot to say about pride, always in the negative sense.
Pride is dangerous because it gives too much attention to the things in life that aren’t as important as the things of God. I’m a proud Patriots fan…especially after the whipping of the Houston Texans the other night. I’m proud of accomplishments in life that give me a status. I’m proud of my few abilities. I forget sometimes where every good gift comes from (James 1:17).
Sometimes parents worship their kid’s performance in something and when the kids fail, they become upset. We focused more on the performance than the person. That’s what we do with God. Love him when he performs well for us and become angry at him when he doesn’t give us what we want
Fortunately, everything will be judged perfectly upon the return of Jesus. He will separate those who are his from those who are not. Are you ready?
Is there anything in your life that you love more than the God who created you?
Think about this for a moment. When we give too much attention to something or someone, and they don’t give us what we expect from them, and this will happen, we can become bitter toward God and angry at what disappoints us. It’s called inordinate affection.
There was a King in Israel named Uzziah in the 8th century BC. He was elevated to Kingship at the age of 16. He was by Gods grace able to rule Israel for 52 years. He was elevated to the throne at the early age after civil war had ruined the Southern Kingdom. He developed a strong personal relationship with God with the help of a priest named Zechariah. He honored God and God blessed the nation. It says in 2 Chronicles 26:3-5 “ Uzziah was sixteen years old when he began to reign, and he reigned fifty-two years in Jerusalem. …..And he did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, according to all that his father Amaziah had done.
He set himself to seek God in the days of Zechariah, who instructed him in the fear of God, and as long as he sought the LORD, God made him prosper”. That was the good news.
But once he became prosperous and successful (comfortable), the scriptures remind us of what happened. It say’s in verse 16 16 but when he was strong, he grew proud, to his destruction. For he was unfaithful to the LORD his God and entered the temple of the LORD to burn incense on the altar of incense.
Uzziah became proud. He forgot the God who gave him everything and started to function as IF he was God. He started ruling AND making decisions as if he alone was God.
Sometimes prosperity draws us further from God then hardship. In this instance the greatest challenge in Uzziah’s life was not hardship but prosperity.
The bible reminds us over and over about the destructive nature of pride. The scriptures remind us in Proverbs 11:2 that “when pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom”. Later in Proverbs 16:18 it says that “Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall”.
God is not passive when his leaders become proud and arrogant. James 4:6 reminds us that “God opposes or (sets himself up against) the proud but gives grace to the humble”.
We see this theme over and over in the bible. King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon forgot to give God the glory for his prosperity and God turned him into a cannery in Daniel 4. King Hezekiah of Israel in 2 Kings 20 took credit rather than God for all the gold in his temple and his last 15 years were the most miserable of his life. Over and over we see that pride leads to destruction even if it doesn’t happen all in one fell swoop.
Why? I believe that once a person loses his relationship with God the only alternative is pride. The only antidote is repentance and renewal in Christ. How is your heart today? Is it tender toward God and his people? Do you seek reconciliation with those you’ve offended or must you always be right?
The beauty in the biblical story or redemption is that God did not wait for us to get right with him before he made a plan. He sent Jesus to prosper us even while we had nothing to offer him. He took our sin upon himself without asking us to do it. He did it because He is the full manifestation of love. He cares for you and I and he demonstrated it. Will you put your pride down repent and trust in him for salvation?