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The Problem with Pride

Updated: Aug 21, 2021

Ephesians 2:8-9 "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast."

James 4:6 "God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble."

Titus 2:11 "For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age."

This is why there is so much animosity between Christ followers and the world.

Luke 5:32 "I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance."

Romans 3:22-26 MSG "The God-setting-things-right that we read about has become Jesus-setting-things-right for us. And not only for us, but for everyone who believes in him. For there is no difference between us and them in this. Since we've compiled this long and sorry record as sinners (both us and them) and proved that we are utterly incapable of living the glorious lives God wills for us, God did it for us. Out of sheer generosity he put us in right standing with himself. A pure gift. He got us out of the mess we're in and restored us to where he always wanted us to be. And he did it by means of Jesus Christ. God sacrificed Jesus on the altar of the world to clear that world of sin. Having faith in him sets us in the clear. God decided on this course of action in full view of the public - to set the world in the clear with himself through the sacrifice of Jesus, finally taking care of the sins he had so patiently endured. This is not only clear, but it's now - this is current history! God sets things right. He also makes it possible for us to live in his rightness."

It's been a tough week. I've personally lost three friends and family members this summer. Because of these losses, I've been able to spend some quality time with a few proud gay and lesbian people. These are people that I truly love and have been close with for many years. I love the person. But this is why Christ followers struggle so much against the gay agenda. The bottom line issue is really a "sin preference". Some people wear their sin with pride. Gay pride is exactly that. Others hide their sin in the darkness. Most of us Christians will tuck our sin neatly away into hiding places to confess to just our accountability partners and to God later, without anyone on the outside being the wiser. This is not to say that I want to sin, and this is also not to say that all Christians are hypocrites, so please lets not start down that path, but we all sin and have fallen short of God's glory. Saints and sinners alike, we all sin. It's why we all need grace. I've written before about why we need salvation, so I'm not going to go into the definition or details of that right now.

How does someone receive salvation?

Ephesians 2:8-9 "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast."

So to be saved, you have to recieve God's grace through faith. It is God's gift and not something we can earn. Good news! That means that I can still be a sinner and be saved! All I need to do is recieve God's grace.

So what is God's grace exactly and how do you recieve grace?

I've heard it described as mercy, not merit. I've also heard "Grace is getting what you don’t deserve, and not getting what you do deserve."

Okay, so now we know that grace is not getting what you deserve and getting instead what you do not deserve and it is recieved through humility.

James 4:6 "God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble."

I must humble myself in order to come to the place of being able to look to God and accept the grace He's offering, which is give me his free gift of salvation.

This is why there is so much animosity between Christ followers and the gay community. It's offense, which follows pride. The intention of the Christian is not to offend, but convict and not necessarily of even the gay lifestyle or who you love, so much as the fact that pride is standing in the way of humility, which in turn is blocking the ability to recieve grace, which is necessary for salvation.

Humility leads to recieving grace, leads to salvation.

Pride leads to offense, leads to inability to feel conviction, humble yourself, or reconcile relationships. Pride is a prison and one of the enemies most sinister ways of keeping people from Christ.

Josh Squires talks about this in his article Pride is your Greatest Problem, where he says:

"Pride is a prison that perpetuates anger, hurt, and foolishness while keeping at bay the restorative effects of conviction, humility, and reconciliation."

Proverbs 11:12 "When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom."

Proverbs 29:23 "One’s pride will bring him low, but he who is lowly in spirit will obtain honor."

Galatians 6:3 "For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself."

James 4:6 "But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

Revelation 3:17–20 " You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.

Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me."

Squires goes on to say "Later, in Proverbs 16:18, God tells us, 'Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.' Not only would pride be your jailer, but it would also be your executioner."

It really can be broken down into: Salvation is recieved by Grace; Grace through Humility; Humility by casting off Pride.

Salvation in Christ is recieved by God's grace. This grace is a free gift to all any any who choose it. Grace can only be recieved though through humility. For example, if I had a large bill that I have to pay and I do not have the money to pay it and a person who loves me knows this, they could choose to pay the bill on my behalf. I could accept the gift, but in doing so, I would have to humble myself and realize that I am not able to do this on my own. I need the help. This means laying down my pride and humbling myself in order to recieve the gift. Grace is that gift. It is freely available to anyone who would take it, but in order to take it, you cannot be proud. You have to be humble. It's not something we can earn on our own. It's a gift and we will never be able to repay it. Humility therefore is a necessary prerequisite to recieving God's gift of grace. Pride is the opposite of humility. Therefore pride in any lifestyle is going to be a closed door to grace. It's not just the gay lifestyle. It's all sin. Any sin.

I could have pride in my kids. They could be the center of my universe and I am so bursting with pride for them, that I can't look at anything else. I'm making sure they get the best grades. I'm fighting with teachers when they tell me there are any issues, because not my perfect kids. I'm always pushing them to the front of the line. So then my children rebel against me suddenly and I can't seem to grasp their hand and pull them back into the place that I know they should be. Suddenly I'm left humbled, and I don't even know how to handle that. What happens if someone offers some counseling to help me and my kids find a healthy balance in our relationship. My pride might just stand in the way of that.

I could have pride in my job. I've built my kingdom. I could be loaded to the roof and taking all sorts of vacations and buying a summer home and a yacht and enjoying my living it up lifestyle, when suddenly the market crashes and my business with it. Now I'm in a place of needing help, but will my pride step aside and allow me to ask for it?

I could have pride in my marriage. I could have the worlds greatest relationship. He's fit and he works out and he's an excellent dad too. He takes the kids to school for me. He does all the chores around the house and he's talented. All is bliss until one day, when he comes home and says he's suffering from a little depression and thinks he needs to see a counselor. Now what? Is my pride going to step aside and allow my husband to get the help he needs?

There's a million examples we could go into. The bottom line is that pride stands in the way of humility. Humility is necessary in order to recieve God's free gift of grace. Grace is the means to salvation. A gay person certainly can be a Christian. How does this happen? First, give up your pride and humble yourself before the Lord. When that happens, you can recieve his free gift of grace. Then you will be saved. But there is another catalyst in all of this. I've never seen a person saved that didn't have their desires soon afterwards shaped by Christ and eventually turn from their sin and follow Christ.

I'd like to conclude this by saying that Jesus loves you. The bottom line of the gospel message is that. Jesus loves you. He loves you so much that he gave up his life willingly so that you could be saved. He loves you whether you are gay or straight, black, white or brown, old or young, a drinker or sober, a smoker or an addict or a saint. He loves you. Don't let the sinners saved by grace be the only picture of Jesus you ever encounter, because you will be disappointed. We are all sinners. We mess up. Me and you both. We both sin and that's why we both need Jesus. I am no better then you and you are no better then me. We both need Him.

"My sin was great; Your love was greater"

"And Jesus said to all, ‘If any man would come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.'" -Luke 9:23

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