Sin Of Pride - Sin of Self
Sin Of Pride - The Sin of Sins
The sin of pride is the sin of sins. It was this sin, we're told, which transformed Lucifer, an anointed cherub of God, the very "seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty,"1 into Satan, the devil, the father of lies, the one for whom Hell itself was created.2 We're warned to guard our hearts against pride lest we too "fall into the same condemnation as the devil."3
It was the sin of pride which first led Eve to eat of the forbidden fruit. In Genesis we read, "Then the serpent said to the woman, 'You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.' So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate."4 And who do you think was that serpent of old who first introduced Eve to this sin of pride? It was none other than the devil himself,5 eager to share his condemnation with others.
St. Augustine of Hippo (354-430 A.D.) wrote, "'Pride is the commencement of all sin'6 because it was this which overthrew the devil, from whom arose the origin of sin; and afterwards, when his malice and envy pursued man, who was yet standing in his uprightness, it subverted him in the same way in which he himself fell. For the serpent, in fact, only sought for the door of pride whereby to enter when he said, 'Ye shall be as gods.'"7
Sin Of Pride - Preoccupation With Self
The sin of pride is a preoccupation with self. It is thus very fitting that the middle letter in the word is "i." Pride is all about "me, myself, and I." So even as the word "pride" is centered upon an "i," the sin itself is also centered upon "I." We read of Lucifer's fall, "How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, you who weakened the nations! For you have said in your heart: 'I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.' Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, to the lowest depths of the Pit."8 Satan's enmity against God began with "I". And so it is with us. If you are preoccupied with yourself, you are suffering from the sin of pride.
One way to determine whether or not you are preoccupied with yourself is to evaluate your motives. Take the pursuit knowledge for example. If you study hard because that's what the Lord wants you to do and you're being obedient to Him, that's good. That's obedience to God. Or if you study hard because you want to become a teacher so that you can edify others and help them to grow, that's good too. That's love for others. But if you study hard solely to amass knowledge for yourself, just so you can say that you know more than everyone else, that's bad! Your focus is upon yourself and your own glory. That's preoccupation with self. That's pride. And if this is the case for you, not only are you already suffering from pride, you're setting yourself up to be totally consumed by it! The Apostle Paul wasn't joking when he said, "Knowledge puffs up, but love edifies."9 And anyone who is ever been there will tell you, knowledge for the wrong reasons (i.e. personal glory) will lead to a proud heart and enmity against God.
Sin Of Pride - An Outline
The sin of pride is rightfully distinguished as the foremost among the seven "deadly sins," each of the seven equally as deadly (Proverbs 6:16-19), but none quite as notorious as this "sin of the devil."10 We're going to look at this sin of sins: how it manifests itself in our thoughts and lives, what are its effects and how we are to fight against it taking hold in our hearts. We'll begin by looking at two people in history that committed the sin of pride and how they're portrayed in the Bible. We'll look at how pride manifested itself in their lives and we'll make some practical observations. Then we'll look at how pride can infect our own hearts and minds, and finally, we'll discuss how to combat the sin of pride with humility. To skip right to the practical application of pride and humility, click here. We strongly recommend however that you read this short article in its entirety.
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John 8:44, Matthew 25:41
1 Timothy 3:6
Revelation 12:9; 20:2
Augustine is here quoting from Ecclesiasticus 10:12-13, "The beginning of pride is when one departs from God, and his heart is turned away from his Maker. For pride is the beginning of sin, and he that has it shall pour out abomination…"
Philip Schaff, ed., A Select Library of the Nicene and Post-nicene Fathers of the Christian Church, Volume 5 St. Augustin: Anti-pelagian Writings, chapter 33.
1 Corinthians 8:1b
The other six "deadly sins" are greed, envy, wrath, lust, gluttony and sloth.
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