What do you think of people who are prideful and arrogant? Most people are either intimidated by them because they appear to be someone who is so confident in themselves that their mere presence makes you feel like you’re standing next to pure perfection or you’re down right annoyed because you see them as being overly obsessed with what they think they do right without giving mention to where they fall short. However, as irritating or intimidating a prideful person can seem, we’ve all been guilty of it in some way or another and we just don’t realize it until we receive the truth from someone or until we find ourselves in a humbling situation that forces us to see our prideful ways.
I’ve always heard it said that pride is one of the first things others recognize in you but the very last thing we see in ourselves. Although true, why is it so? I believe it’s because pride attempts to push God off the thrown of our heart and replace Him with self and as a result, makes us blinded. As ugly as this may sound, pride secretly wants God’s glory and although we would never let that come out of our mouths, a prideful man’s heart will testify through its boastful and arrogant actions.
Pride gives us an inflated self-esteem and says in our hearts, “Look at what I’ve done!”, and “You can thank me!”, “Yes, I did that!”, “I know what’s best for me so I don’t need to listen to anyone but myself!” without wanting to give God acknowledgement of the vital part he plays in their success.
In Ezekiel 28 1-19, the Lord sent a violent message to the king of Tyre that addressed the judgement that would be placed on him (and in some verses Satan who the people were really following) due to the heavy spirit of pride that had taken over the entire region. In the beginning of the message to Tyre, the Lord made it very clear what offense lead to his judgement. Ezekiel wrote,
“Because your heart is lifted up,
And you say, ‘I am a god,
I sit in the seat of gods,…
Yet you are a man, and not a god,
Though you set your heart as the heart of a god…
By your great wisdom in trade you have increased your riches,
And your heart is lifted up because of your riches,”
‘Therefore thus says the Lord God:
“Because you have set your heart as the heart of a god,
Behold, therefore, I will bring strangers against you,
The most terrible of the nations;
And they shall draw their swords against the beauty of your wisdom,
And defile your splendor.
And you shall die the death of the slain
In the midst of the seas… Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty;
You corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor;” (NKJV)
You see, the “king” may not have openly announced his own self-proclaimed lordship but God knew that is what he believed and desired in his heart. Just like Satan, this king believed he was due the same honor as God Almighty because of his success, beauty and wisdom which made him very rich. However, God had to remind this king that he was not a god at all but a mere man whose wisdom and success comes from the One and only God! Unfortunately, the destruction of Tyre was the only thing that brought humility.
Many people struggle with pride and we do it for many reasons. As we study this story, we must be careful not to think to ourselves ‘this could never be me, I would never be this prideful’ because prideful people are usually the last to see that they have an issue with pride. So, instead ask God to search your heart.
Not everyone is prideful because they believe they are the source of their own success and righteousness, others may operate in pride simply as a cover-up for issues they may not be ready to deal with. The latter was me. There was a time where pride snuck up on me in one of the most vulnerable seasons of my life where I felt abandoned by God. Therefore, I was using pride to cover up a lot of pain and abandonment issues I was dealing with. Instead of dealing with my issues and allowing myself to be vulnerable before the Lord, my heart grew hard and I decided to focus on what all I was doing right and how much I had accomplished “all by myself”. Because I started to feel like I was doing everything on my own, when I experienced a successful moment, my heart told me I was the only one who deserved the credit. As I think back on that season, I realize how annoying I must have been to others or how inferior I probably made some people feel. No matter what conversation I was in, I found a way to make it about me, what all I knew, what I accomplished and what ventures I was set out to accomplish next and it puffed me up even more whenever someone else recognized me and told me things like “Wow, you can do it all!” Yes, your girl had issues! However, I am willing to take the tough lessons I had to learn about pride and share them with you so that you don’t allow “the king of pride” to de-thrown God off of your heart in efforts to make you think you are your own God.