The Devil's Schemes: Pride

Don't be unaware of the Devil's schemes to trap you.

The Devil’s Schemes—Pride

In our last teaching concerning the Devil’s schemes, we exposed a bunch of traps used to stop you dead in your spiritual journey. We were made aware of the deception, distraction, diversion, doubt, discouragement, defeat, devouring, and destruction. We especially focused on the trap of disunity. Briefly, I want you to understand that when you feel any of these traps, you’re right they are a trap, the purpose is to catch you in them. So when you start to feel distraction, doubt, discouragement, and the rest know those situations to be what they really are, to derail your pursuit of God.

Today we are going to look at another scheme of the Devil and this one is Pride. I believe that there is both healthy pride and unhealthy pride. It’s the latter we will consider. Pride is a child of egoism, egoism is the Devil’s inner ally, that hijacks your best intentions. Egoism is simply that tendency we have to do what we want when we want, to whom we want, regardless of the consequences. We have talked about how to overcome egoism in the teaching in October concerning sin. If you want a review visit our website where you will find video, podcast, and manuscript for the messages.

So I looked closely in the mirror, so thankful that the mirror didn’t laugh at me. You know those Snow White images, mirror, mirror on the wall—and the image in the mirror breaks out in hysterical laughter. So I am looking closely in the mirror and asked myself, “Self are you proud?”

Pride is thinking that you’re all that and a bag of chips. Even though I try to think of myself as a couple of tacos shy of a combination plate, pride is a sneaky kind of devil.  Pride is that deep feeling of satisfaction when you are enamored with your own achievements.  Yes, you are practically perfect in almost every way. The proud are always right.

Scripture warns us of pride.

Proverbs 13:10 (NIV)
Pride only breeds quarrels, but wisdom is found in those who take advice.

When you are part of a quarrel within the body of Christ, within your fellowship, it's most likely because of pride. Pride causes arguments, birth strife creates sides, this is very different from a discussion where together we hear one another out and seek the Lord to give guidance and often ask for advice from some sage.

Proverbs 11:2 (NIV)
When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.

Give in to the demands of pride and disgrace will be your reward. You can think of disgrace as having chosen not to walk in grace. Disgrace is a loss of reputation. I have seen pride destroy God's work. I have seen pride crush someone’s heart. I have seen a number of folks I truly respected, that because of their pride I pulled away from them.

Proverbs 16:18 (NIV)
Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.

Haughty is riding that high horse, it’s just looking down on those you consider inferior, it’s arrogance that convinces you that you know what’s right and anyone who disagrees with you is wrong. This leads to the destruction of God’s work in you, in others and what God is trying to accomplish in and through you.

The warnings are quite clear. Pride is not going to help you in your desire to live your life to the full. Pride creates division, disgrace, and destruction.

Proverbs 26:12 (NIV)
Do you see a man wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.

The fool is one who disregards the counsels of God. The fool has egoism as a master. The fool is blind to his or her own folly. But there is more hope that a fool will turn from their folly than the proud dying to self.

So I looked in the mirror and said “Thank you God that I’m not proud. In fact, I am so humble that I am proud of my humility.”  Let’s see what Jesus has to say about this.

Luke 18:9-14 (MSG)
[Jesus] told his next story to some who were complacently pleased with themselves over their moral performance and looked down their noses at the common people: "Two men went up to the Temple to pray, one a Pharisee, the other a tax man. The Pharisee posed and prayed like this: 'Oh, God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, crooks, adulterers, or, heaven forbid, like this tax man. I fast twice a week and tithe on all my income.'

13 "Meanwhile the tax man, slumped in the shadows, his face in his hands, not daring to look up, said, 'God, give mercy. Forgive me, a sinner.' " Jesus commented, "This tax man, not the other, went home made right with God. If you walk around with your nose in the air, you're going to end up flat on your face, but if you're content to be simply yourself, you will become more than yourself."

How subtle to self is the trap of pride? “Thank you, God, that I am so much better than other people. Look at all that I do for you, I fast, I tithe. When you made me, you broke the mold. I am your gift to humanity. You speak to me so that I see all, know all and can do all things because that’s the kind of person you made me be.”  Now we may not be so bold as to actually say or even think this so blatantly but such statements accompany pride.

As I looked in the mirror I had to ask some questions of myself.

Mike me lad—Sometimes the voice of the Spirit sounds like an Irish priest. Mike me lad have you ever caught yourself saying: “You aren’t going to talk like that to me!: (Kyle Idleman, The End of Me p.68).  Ah, well, maybe, ah, ok, yes. “Well lad, just who do you think you are then? That’s your pride talking.”

Disciple of Jesus, when you are taken aback by anyone you would offer you a word of correction, responding as if you were insulted, that’s pride. You’re just hiding your real self from yourself. (ibid. p.68).

Ever hear yourself saying: “I’m not going to be the one to apologize.” That’s pride talking. Words such as “I was wrong, Please forgive me” seldom if ever are uttered from the mouth of the proud. If a “I’m so sorry” is produced it is often followed by a BUT. Everything before but is to be taken, suspect.

Here’s one of my favorite indicators of pride: “It’s not fair!”  When what you want to happen doesn’t happen it's not fair because certainly, you are deserving of what you want. If you think you are deserving it will be very difficult to be thankful. It will also be hard to celebrate another person’s victory, promotion, or success. (ibid. p70) Pride convinces you that you are owed because you are so wonderful.

Here’s one of pride’s traps that we talked about last week that causes disunity in your fellowship with other believers. Have you ever leaned over and whispered in someone’s ear: “Did you hear about…” Yes, that’s gossip.

Proverbs 16:28 (NLT)

A troublemaker plants seeds of strife; gossip separates the best of friends.

Pride is a trouble maker. The purpose of gossip is to put other people down so that you will look better. Besides, it diverts me from my own mess and I get the satisfaction of seeing how miserable you are. If you want to be an agent of the devil gossip, it will destroy a church real quick.

Another problem with pride that I am well familiar with is, ever catch yourself saying: “I don’t need any body’s help.” (ibid. p. 71). Pride blinds us to our desperate need for others, and especially God. “I am a rock!” I am an Island!” I am self-sufficient. This kind of pride cuts you off from others, you isolate yourself, you do not engage, because you don’t need anybody. There is also a soul wound that is that root of this behavior, people hurt you and you never want to be vulnerable again.

Lastly, pride convinces you that the problem can’t be with you, it must be with them. Pride makes you a good flaw detector in others. You can root out anybody’s imperfection and of course, let them know that they have a problem. No blame on me, it’s all blame on you.

It’s pride when you catch yourself celebrating someone else’s sin and failure. It’s pride when you are utterly convinced that your won opinion is the only right one. It’s pride that makes you put on a show and wear that mask so that others can’t see the real you. (ibid.  p 73) Yes with pride dictating you do your best to be impressive.

Did you catch a glimpse of yourself in that mirror?

If the Holy Spirit has revealed to you that you have a little pride getting in the way of being an effective disciple of Jesus, then do what the tax collector did.

Luke 18:13 (MSG)
…the tax man, slumped in the shadows, his face in his hands, not daring to look up, said, 'God, give mercy. Forgive me, a sinner.'

The tax collector humbled himself before God.

James 4:10 (NLT)
Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor.
You overcome pride by humbling yourself before the Lord. Hear this clearly, “humbling yourself is not beating yourself up or believing that you should be treated poorly.” (ibid p. 86) Instead, recognize where pride thrives in you. Confess the behavior as sin. Repent of the behavior. Ask God to fill your soul wound with His truth. Start doing the exact opposite of what pride urges you to do.

You need to own your pride. Know your disease, you will know your cure.
Refusing correction; Never being wrong; When you don’t ‘get what you want its unfair; you gossip; you routinely refuse help; you’re never to blame; there is a glee inside you when others fail; you obsess over what others think and say about you; you think you are the only one who's got it right; these are all related to unhealthy pride.

Find them and confess them to God.

1 John 1:9 (MSG)
“… if we admit our sins—make a clean breast of them—he won't let us down; he'll be true to himself. He'll forgive our sins and purge us of all wrongdoing…”

Confession is agreeing with God that your behavior is inconsistent with discipleship. Repenting is a willful decision to not indulge a sinful desire again. Repenting is aligning yourself with God’s desires for you. There is a reason, deep down inside you, most likely you’re not even aware, but there is a soul wound that you have chosen to use pride to hide. You have to spend time finding out the nature of that soul wound and where it came from so that you can replace its toxicity with God’s truth. Exchange the lie for the scripture that reveals the truth. Then ask for the Holy Spirit to fill you with His power to start doing the exact opposite of what pride urges you to do.

Accept correction, not as a judgment against you, but as a tool to help you. Realize that you have made mistakes and ask for forgiveness of those you offended. When you don’t get what you want, receive it as God’s opportunity to do something that will mature you in your faith instead. Speak only that which will build another person up. Open up your life by asking people to help you. If you mess something up, take responsibility for it, don’t play the blame game. Disregard what people say about you and obsess over what God says about you. Be teachable and not a tyrant listen to the ideas and opinions of others.

In doing these things you humble yourself.

Jesus said:

Luke 14:11 (NIV)
For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted."

I want you to live an exalted life. I urge you to choose to do so.


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