Preacher's Pulpit by Dr. Joe Tims

Choose to Change #8: Humility over Pride

I Cor 4:7


We come to another choice that we as believers must make in our lives.

That is to choose humility over pride.

Occasionally we all need to have someone burst our balloon of self importance and bring us back to reality.

Such experiences are healthy because they help us maintain a proper perspective about our accomplishments.

"Pride is an attitude that causes us to credit ourselves for our accomplishments and to blame others for our failures."

On the other hand, humility is an attitude that views both our accomplishments and our failures from God's perspective.

How do we react to the successes and failures in our life?

Let's examine the biblical foundation and practical suggestions for choosing humility over pride.

I. Pride vs. Humility

A. A brief examination of Scripture reveals God's attitude toward pride and humility.

B. Just a few Scriptures will show the condemnation of a prideful attitude:

(Prov 16:5) "Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the lord: though hand join in hand, he shall not be unpunished."

(Prov 16:18) "Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall."

(Prov 21:4) "An high look, and a proud heart, and the plowing of the wicked, is sin."

(James 4:6) "But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble."

C. In contrast, notice how the attitude of humility is exalted:

(Prov 11:2) "When pride cometh, then cometh shame: but with the lowly is wisdom."

(Prov 16:19) "Better it is to be of an humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud."

(Isa 66:2) "For all those things hath mine hand made, and all those things have been, saith the lord: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word."

(Mat 23:12) "And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted."

(1 Pet 5:5 6) "Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for god resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. {6} humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of god, that he may exalt you in due time:"

II. The Problem with Pride

A. Remember the definition of pride? "It is the attitude that credits ourselves with our successes and blames others for our failures”

B. Why does God hate pride so much? It is an attitude that is the root cause of the following sins:

1. Ingratitude.

a. Pride prevents us from giving God the glory for the good things in our lives.

b. We live in a culture that worships individualism and self effort.

c. We get too caught up in our own importance.

d. We need to consider the Apostle Paul's sobering question to bring us back to reality:

(1 Cor 4:7) "For who maketh thee to differ from another? And what hast thou that thou didst not receive? Now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?"

2. Taking credit for our abilities

(James 1:17) "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning."

a. Our Talents

b. Our opportunities

c. Our accomplishments

3. Taking credit for our possessions

a. "I've worked hard all of my life. That's why I have what I have."

b. Hard work is an important part of being successful, yet ultimately it is God who controls our financial destiny.

(Deut 8:17 18) "And thou say in thine heart, My power and the might of mine hand hath gotten me this wealth. (18) But thou shalt remember the Lord thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day.”

III. Pride leads to independence.

A. When we begin to think we are responsible for the good things in our lives, we decide we really don't need God.

B. This false conclusion was the basis for Lucifer's fall from heaven.

(Ezek 28:15,17) "Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee...thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee."

C. God said. "Lucifer, you forgot that you are a creature, not the Creator.

D. You failed to credit Me for your beauty and splendor.

E. And because of that, pride has entered your heart."

F. We find a record of Lucifer's "declaration of independence" in the Book of Isaiah:

(Isa 14:13 14) "For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: {14} I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most high."

G. Independence is the belief that we are sufficient apart from God, and is a deadly result of pride.

IV. Pride Causes Self Righteousness

(Mat 23:13) "But woe unto you, scribes and pharisees, hypocrites! For ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in."

A. As we examine the Gospels, we see that Jesus did not deal harshly with adulterers, thieves, or even murderers.

B. Jesus' harshest words were reserved for the self righteous Pharisees.

C. Their self righteousness led to a hatred for other people and the false assumption that they were the only ones going to heaven.

D. Such intolerance of others is a direct result of pride.

E. An inflated view of ourselves leads to a disdain for others.

F. Pride is so subtle that we can become proud of our humility.

V. The Inability to accept God's grace.

A. Perhaps the most tragic result of pride is the inability to accept God's forgiveness.

B. If there is one sin that keeps a person out of heaven, it is pride.

C. Jesus illustrated this truth in His story about the rich young ruler. (Luke 18:18 23)

1. It is not money keeps people out of heaven.

2. It is the self righteous attitude of the young ruler.

3. After being reminded of God's holiness, the ruler quickly replied that he had kept all of God's Law.

(1 John 1:8) "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”


Pride bars us from admitting our need for grace. Has pride kept you from doing what God would have you do?

What are the results of pride in you life? Don't allow pride to get in the way of your relationship with God.