By John C. Carpenter
The apostle John wrote to fellow believers, Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever (1 John 2:15-17). In verse 16 of our subject verses, the word “pride” is translated from the Greek word “alazoneia,” which means “self confidence, boasting, or pride.” In verse 16, the word “life” is translated from the Greek word “bios,” which means “the state of existence, the means of livelihood, good, life, or living.” Pride of life refers to the confidence and/or boasting that an individual exhibits while alive. The apostle John goes further to explain that the pride of life is “not of the Father [not Godly in nature],” but is “of the world [is worldly in nature].” What are some of the biblical characteristics of pride, what is God the Father's attitude toward pride, and what should mans' reaction to pride be?
What are some of the characteristics of pride? Scriptures describe pride as evil that is found within man, and the expression of that evil brings catastrophe and pain for individuals, cities, and nations. God, through the prophet Ezekiel, listed pride, gluttony, and idleness as the major dynamics resulting in abominable sin in the city of Sodom. God said, Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy (Eze 16:49). Regarding the arrogance of nations, Ezekiel prophesied of Egypt: Thus saith the LORD; They also that uphold Egypt shall fall; and the pride of her power shall come down: from the tower of Syene shall they fall in it by the sword, saith the Lord GOD (Eze 30:6). In the Old Testament, we are instructed that pride, contention, and shameful disgrace are interrelated: When pride cometh, then cometh shame [confusion, disgrace, ignominy, reproach, shame]: but with the lowly is wisdom (Prov 11:2), and Only by pride cometh contention [quarreling, debate, strife]: but with the well advised is wisdom (Prov 13:10). Proverbs also instruct us that Pride goeth before destruction [affliction, breaking, bruise, crashing, hurt, ruin, vexation], and an haughty spirit before a fall [to falter, stumble, faint or fall] (Prov 16:18), and that A man’s pride shall bring him low [bring down, debase, humble, humiliate]: but honour shall uphold the humble in spirit (Prov 29:23). In explaining the meaning of a parable to His disciples, the Lord said, Are ye so without understanding also? Do ye not perceive, that whatsoever thing from without entereth into the man, it cannot defile him; Because it entereth not into his heart, but into the belly, and goeth out into the draught, purging all meats? And he said, That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All these evil [hurtful in effect or influence] things come from within, and defile the man (Mark 7:18-23). In explaining that pride is a reflection and expression of heart desires and covetousness found in the wicked, the psalmist wrote, Why standest thou afar off, O LORD? why hidest thou thyself in times of trouble? The wicked in his pride doth persecute the poor: let them be taken in the devices that they have imagined. For the wicked boasteth of his heart’s desire, and blesseth the covetous, whom the LORD abhorreth. The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts (Psalms 10:1-4). Paul explained to Timothy, his own son in the faith, not only some characteristics for church leadership, but that pride was often the result of immaturity and inexperience in the faith. Paul wrote: This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?) Not a novice [a young convert, a newcomer to the faith], lest being lifted up [to inflate with self conceit, be high-minded] with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil (1 Timothy 3:1-6).
God clearly describes pride as an evil thing which not only comes from deep with man, but also, when expressed, defiles the man, eventually resulting in humiliation. God the Father's attitude toward pride is clear from the Scriptures. One of the Father's reaction to pride is to hide [conceal, clothe, cover] pride from man (Job 33:17). Scriptures also instruct us that God beholdeth all high things: he is a king [will reign and rule] over all the children of pride (Job 41:34), and that The LORD of hosts hath purposed it, to stain [to wound, dissolve, or profane] the pride of all glory, and to bring into contempt all the honourable of the earth (Isa 23:9). God shall spread forth his hands in the midst of them, as he that swimmeth spreadeth forth his hands to swim: and he shall bring down their pride together with the spoils of their hands (Isa 25:11). Regarding their pride, stubbornness, and disobedience, God the Father warned the nation of Israel: But if ye will not hearken unto me, and will not do all these commandments; And if ye shall despise my statutes, or if your soul abhor my judgments, so that ye will not do all my commandments, but that ye break my covenant: I also will do this unto you; I will even appoint over you terror, consumption, and the burning ague, that shall consume the eyes, and cause sorrow of heart: and ye shall sow your seed in vain, for your enemies shall eat it. And I will set my face against you, and ye shall be slain before your enemies: they that hate you shall reign over you; and ye shall flee when none pursueth you. And if ye will not yet for all this hearken unto me, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins. AndI will break the pride [arrogancy, excellency, majesty, pomp, pride, swelling] of your power; and I will make your heaven as iron, and your earth as brass: And your strength shall be spent in vain: for your land shall not yield her increase, neither shall the trees of the land yield their fruits (Lev 26:14-20). God's reaction to pride is clear. He warns that, if we are prideful, He will cause our strength to be exhausted and come to nothing, will cause our efforts to yield no increase, and will cause our lives to yield no fruit. What a dangerous thing pride is.
From the sixth day of creation [the day man was created by God], pride was to be a major temptation, and problem, for mankind. But, apparently, this was part of God's plan. Mankind has always struggled with these three temptations of worldliness, the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life; and will continue to struggle with them until the end of time, as we have known it.
In the book of Genesis, we we find the first mention of pride, and are instructed: and the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil (Gen 2:8-9). God planted a garden eastward in Eden, and put the man, whom he had formed, in the garden. From these verses, we can see that the Father caused four trees to grow in the garden: a tree that is pleasant to the sight [symbolizes the lust of the eyes], a tree good for food [symbolizes the lust of the flesh], the tree of life [symbolizes Christ, who represents the perfect model of humility and submission to God], and the tree of knowledge of good and evil [symbolizes the pride of life, which represents pride and rebellion against God]. The symbolism found in the tree of the knowledge of good and evil is based upon 1 Cor 8:1 which reads ...Knowledge puffeth up [pride], but charity edifieth (1 Cor 8:1). As we know, worldly knowledge often leads to a puffed up state of pride and leaven, a state which most often results in spiritual rebellion against the God of heaven and earth, and His standards.
Since pride is an evil in man that God will break, what should man's reaction to pride be? Humbling oneself is what should be done: In those days Hezekiah was sick to the death, and prayed unto the LORD: and he spake unto him, and he gave him a sign. But Hezekiah rendered not again according to the benefit done unto him; for his heart was lifted up: therefore there was wrath upon him, and upon Judah and Jerusalem. Notwithstanding Hezekiah humbled himself for the pride of his heart, both he and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the wrath of the LORD came not upon them in the days of Hezekiah (2 Chr 32:24-26). Secondly, man should fear the Lord by hating evil, which includes pride. We read in the Proverbs, The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate (Prov 8:13). The prophet Jeremiah instructs us, Thus saith the LORD, After this manner will I mar [cause to decay and ruin] the pride of Judah, and the great pride of Jerusalem. This evil people, which refuse to hear my words, which walk in the imagination of their heart, and walk after other gods, to serve them, and to worship them, shall even be as this girdle, which is good for nothing. For as the girdle cleaveth to the loins of a man, so have I caused to cleave unto me the whole house of Israel and the whole house of Judah, saith the LORD; that they might be unto me for a people, and for a name, and for a praise, and for a glory: but they would not hear (Jer 13:9-11). Jeremiah makes it clear that believers should not only seek and follow the words and understanding of the Lord, but completely reject idolatry. Regarding glorifying God, Jeremiah added, Hear ye, and give ear; be not proud: for the LORD hath spoken. Give glory to the LORD your God, before he cause darkness, and before your feet stumble upon the dark mountains, and, while ye look for light, he turn it into the shadow of death, and make it gross darkness. But if ye will not hear it, my soul shall weep in secret places for your pride; and mine eye shall weep sore, and run down with tears, because the LORD’S flock is carried away captive. Say unto the king and to the queen, Humble yourselves, sit down: for your principalities shall come down, even the crown of your glory (Jer 13:15-18). The apostle John clearly instructs us that the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world [is worldly], and that If any man love the world [loves worldly things], the love of the Father is not in him.However, Jesus Christ explained how mankind should respond to the worldly temptation of pride, and to our subject of pride in particular. Scriptures tell us: and he [Christ] said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself [of what he sees and lusts after; i.e., the lust of the eyes], and take up his cross [of what he lusts after in the flesh; i.e., crucify the lust of the flesh]daily, and follow me [live the way I lived; i.e., with humility rather that with the pride of life] (Luke 9:23). To follow Christ means to live the way Jesus Christ lived on earth: with complete humility, resulting in total submission and obedience to His and our Heavenly Father. Is this easy? Clearly, the answer is no. But, Scriptures do warn us how difficult the journey will be: what, know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own [you cannot do what you want]? For ye are bought with a price [your required obedience has already been paid for]: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God(1 Cor 6:19-20). The author of the letter to the Hebrews added, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? (Heb 9:14). In the second book of Chronicles, we find one of the most familiar, and often quoted, verses about humility in all of the Scriptures. During the night, the Lord appeared to Solomon, who had just finished building the temple, and said to him,..I have heard thy prayer, and have chosen this place to myself for an house of sacrifice. If I shut up heaven that there be no rain, or if I command the locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among my people; If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. Now mine eyes shall be open, and mine ears attend unto the prayer that is made in this place. For now have I chosen and sanctified this house, that my name may be there for ever: and mine eyes and mine heart shall be there perpetually (2 Chron 7:12-16). When we humbly and prayerfully submit to God, and turn from our sin, He promises to hear from heaven, forgive our sins, and bring healing to our lives. The Old Testament book of Proverbs also teach us that God rewards humility with riches, honor, and life: Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall. Better it is to be of an humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud (Pro 16:18-19), and, The rich and poor meet together: the LORD is the maker of them all. A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished. By humility and the fear of the LORD are riches, and honour, and life (Prov 22:2-4). In the new testament, Jesus Christ instructs us in the fact that humility is essential to Christian faith. The disciples came unto Jesus, asking Him, who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? Scriptures tell us what happened next: And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble [to depress, humiliate in condition of heart, abase, bring low] himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven (Mat 18:2-4). Jesus later told His disciples and the multitudes, And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted (Mat 23:12). Regarding the dangers of worldliness, Paul instructed Titus, his own son after the common faith,For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world (Titus 2:11-12). Connecting pride with adultery, worldly friendship, lust, and being the enemy of God, James wrote the twelve Jewish tribes scattered abroad, Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy? But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith,God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up (Jam 4:4-10). In summarizing our thoughts about pride and humility, the apostle Peter gave us some appropriate words of wisdom. Peter wrote to the strangers scattered throught Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,...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.Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you (1 Pet 5:5-7).  AMEN.

TCH Mini-
                    A Judeo-Christian Bible Study
Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight! Woe unto them that are mighty to drink wine, and men of strength to mingle strong drink: Which justify the wicked for reward, and take away the righteousness of the righteous from him! Therefore as the fire devoureth the stubble, and the flame consumeth the chaff, so their root shall be as rottenness, and their blossom shall go up as dust: because they have cast away the law of the LORD of hosts, and despised the word of the Holy One of Israel
(Isaiah 5:20-24).
For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died
for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die:
yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.
But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were
yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now
justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through
him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by
the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled,we shall be
saved by his life
(Romans 5:6-10).
"For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together. Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels witha great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other"
(Matthew 24:27-31).