What Can We Do About Our Pride?

This Bible Study seeks to answer the question - What Can We Do About Our Pride?  This Bible study is suitable for individual study or weekly group reviews.  It offers you a great opportunity for personal growth.

Small Groups provide you an opportunity to share what you learned, but you can gain powerful insights from others.  After all, The Holy Spirit works in all believers and you can learn a lot from other believers (and vice versa).

Discussing and sharing your insights with others is a rewarding and fun way to study the Bible.  This study also provides a great format to learn biblical truths we can apply in our daily lives.  The idea is to share insights, explore what the Bible says together, and benefit from group discussion of biblical principles.

This website doesn't have all the answers and nobody expects you to have them either.  However, we can learn from each other and learn more about pride and what God says about it together.

Our purpose is to learn from God's answer book - The Bible.  Our rewards are eternal and our lessons can be applied our everyday lives.

Why not start today?

So What Can We Do About Our Pride?

Well first let's review the previous lesson.  Last week we learned that pride brings a man low and precedes his destruction.  We studied several stories of leaders and others in the Bible to learn the following truths about pride:

  • Pride in wealth of possessions leads to poverty (II Kings 20)
  • Pride in achievement leads to scorn and abasement (Daniel 4)
  • Extreme pride where one would compare himself to God leads to death, scorn, ridicule, and destruction (Isaiah 14:12-20, Daniel 5, Genesis 3)

Ask yourself - What causes pride in my life?

Could it be satisfaction or dissatisfaction with:

  • who I am
  • what I am
  • what I have
  • who I know
  • the missionary activities I have undertaken
  • the position I hold in my company
  • the fine clothes I wear
  • my strength
  • my physical attractiveness
  • my health
  • my medals
  • the titles I hold

  • how much money I have
  • how pretty or handsome I am
  • the skills I have
  • what I have done
  • where I go on vacation
  • the jewelry I wear
  • the car I drive
  • the house I own
  • my children
  • my grandchildren
  • my parents
  • my family name

  • the amount of money I give the church
  • my perfect attendance at Sunday School
  • how many Bible verses I’ve memorized
  • how many times and how often I give to the poor
  • my stature in the community
  • my position in the church body
  • my life's achievements

What can we do about pride in our lives if it's caused by our satisfaction or dissatisfaction with the things of this life?

To counter pride in our lives - whatever the cause may be - we can do what God’s word commands us to do in Philippians Chapter 2.

Let’s read the first eleven verses.

1 If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion,

2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose.

3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.

4 Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.

5 Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:

6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,

7 but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.

8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death- even death on a cross!

9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name,

10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,

11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

What does God tell us to do in this scripture passage in the following verses?

  • Verse 2  --  then make my joy complete by being _______, having the same love, being ________.
  • Verse 3  --  Do nothing ________or ________.  But in ________ consider others better than yourselves.
  • Verse 4  --  Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also __________  _________. 

Verse 5 tells us that our attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus - Now check out Verse 6!

  • Verse 6  --  Who, being in very nature God, did not consider ___________ God something to be _____________,
  • Verse 7  --  but made himself __________, taking the very nature of a ________, being made in human likeness.
  • Verse 8  --  And being found in appearance as a man, he __________ and became __________ to death- even death on a cross!

What should our attitude be from the lessons of verses 6, verse 7, and verse 8?

Verse 6: ________________________________________________

Verse 7: ________________________________________________

Verse 8: ________________________________________________

Now listen to God's reward for Jesus Christ for his attitude:

  • Verse 9: Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name,
  • Verse 10: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

A Timeless Message for Our Common Struggle

Charles Haddon Spurgeon was England's best-known preacher for most of the second half of the nineteenth century. In 1854, just four years after his conversion, Spurgeon, then only 20, became pastor of London's famed New Park Street Church (formerly pastored by the famous Baptist theologian John Gill). Spurgeon frequently preached to audiences numbering more than 10,000—all in the days before electronic amplification. In 1861 the congregation moved permanently to the newly constructed Metropolitan Tabernacle.


Charles H. Spurgeon

It was at that Metropolitan Tabernacle on Sunday evening, September 6th, 1885 that Spurgeon preached a sermon on humility.  He called the sermon Servus Servorum – which means “The servant of the Servants of God.” 

He preached from Luke 22:27. That verse may sound familiar to you because it's in the record of the Last Supper as recorded by Luke.  The verse reads:

For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves. (NIV)

Spurgeon’s sermon at one point went to talk about pride. Let’s read an excerpt here: 

“The particular evil at which our Lord aimed when he uttered the words of our text was the evil which is so common in the church, even down to the present day, that is, each man seeking to be somebody.

We are all born great the first time, it is only when we are born the second time, born from above, that we come to be little.

When we were born the first time, we were so great that we were really nothing; but when we are born a second time, we are so little that we are everything in Christ.

At first, self seeks to gain the mastery; it has a head that must wear the crown, and feet that must be shod with silver slippers.  Self will wear no sackcloth, it must be clad in silk at the very least.

Self ever exalts itself above all its fellows; it even pines after the throne of God, for self has the ambition of Lucifer, and will never be satisfied, however high it mounts.

Now, our Saviour wants, in his disciples, that selfhood should be crushed, that all desire to be great should be quenched, and that, instead of all of us wanting to be masters, we should see which of us can be servants. If we are as Christ was, we shall catch the spirit which made him say, "I am among you as he that serveth" Luke 22:27.

To that point I bend all my strength just now; and, first, I want to speak a little upon OUR LORD'S POSITION AMONGST HIS OWN FOLLOWERS: "I am among you as he that serveth"

The twelve apostles came together to the last supper. There was usually a servant or slave in the room to wash the feet of the guests, but there does not appear to have been such a person on that occasion.

Peter did not offer, even John did not think of it, Thomas was probably considering who ought to do it, and Philip, the arithmetician of the apostles, was calculating how much water it might take; but nobody offered to do it. Everybody's business, you know, is nobody's business; so nobody offered to wash anybody's feet.

They had already taken their positions, reclining about the table; then, without any suggestion from anybody else, the Master himself rose from their midst, laid aside his garments, took a towel and girded himself with it, and then poured water into a basin, and went from one to another, and washed their feet.

After he had done that, and was again reclining with them, he said to them in effect, "I am among you as the slave, the domestic who does the most menial work; you see that I am."  They could not contradict it, for he had actually and literally taken that position among them.

But, dear friends, this act of our Lord's was no novelty; what he did literally that evening, he had been doing ever since they had formed a community.  He was always the servant of them all.  He was constantly looking out for their interests, and laying himself out to do them good.

They did not come to him to bring him anything, they came to receive from him.  They did not come to teach him, or even to comfort him with their company.  

They all came for what they could get from him,-to learn the truth from his lips, some of them hoping to be led by him to a kingdom which they did but dimly understand; but they were all, as it were, sitting at a table all the time they were with him, being fed with heavenly and spiritual food; and he was all the while their servant, washing their feet, bearing with their ill manners, sweetly correcting their mistakes, and ever patient notwithstanding their slowness of learning.

He could truly say, not only of that supper night, but of his whole life, "I am among you as he that serveth’”

from Spurgeon's Sermons

What's the Point?

Our challenge today, just as it was at the Lord Supper, just as it was in England at the Metropolitan Tabernacle in England in 1885, is to have the mind of Christ – to be a servant.

Pride offers us the same challenge it's offered all of mankind since the beginning of time.

Man hasn’t changed his sin nature which breeds pride – he can only suppress it to the degree he'll be obedient to God.

Jesus Christ was without sin and therefore the most humble man that ever lived – he obeyed God, he was exalted for it and we can be rewarded for our obedience because of his great example.

Think about this great timeless truth pointed out in 1897 in the Easton Bible Dictionary –

It's a great paradox in Christianity

that it makes humility the avenue to glory.

So What Can We Do to Humble Ourselves?

In his book The Imitation of Christ, Thomas Kempis first wrote some 600 years ago the following advice on pride, which is still good advice today and may have even been read by those listening to the preaching of Charles Spurgeon over 100 years ago:

“If you wish to learn and appreciate something worth while, then love to be unknown and considered as nothing. Truly to know and despise self is the best and most perfect counsel. To think of oneself as nothing, and always to think well and highly of others is the best and most perfect wisdom. Wherefore, if you see another sin openly or commit a serious crime, do not consider yourself better, for you do not know how long you can remain in good estate. All men are frail, but you must admit that none is more frail than yourself.”

from Imitation of Christ

Let’s Look at What God Says About Being Humble:

  • The psalmist sang that the Lord saves the humble but brings low those whose eyes are haughty. (Psalm 18:27)
  • Perhaps this is why David sang in Psalm 131 that his heart was not proud, that his eyes were not haughty and that he did not concern himself with matters too wonderful for him. (Psalm 131)
  • The prophet Zephaniah called for the humble among the Israelites to seek the LORD and to seek humility and perhaps they would be sheltered on the day of the LORD's anger. (Zephaniah 2:2-3)
  • In Romans we are told not to be high-minded beyond what is proper, but to set our mind’s for the purpose of being of a sound mind. (Rom 12:3) from The Wycliffe Bible Commentary
  • In I Corinthians God reveals to us that we should become all things to all people so that we can win them to the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul said he made himself a slave to everyone to win them to Christ and to share in the Gospel’s blessings. (1 Cor 9:19-23)
  • In II Corinthians God says our letters of recommendation are not written with ink, but are written with the Spirit of the Living God on the human heart, and that we as Christians are the letters of recommendation read to other Christians and to all men. We don’t need man’s evaluation of our lives – we need God’s. (II Cor 3:1-6)
  • In the book of Ephesians God calls us to live a life worthy of the calling we have received and to be completely humble and gentle. (Eph 4:1-6)
  • In Philippians God tells us to be content whatever the circumstances and that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. We need to be happy with what we have not dissatisfied. (Phil 4:10-13)
  • God encourages us to do our good deeds with humility and not to harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in our hearts which is of the devil and breeds disorder and every evil practice. (James 3:13-16)
  • James tells us that if we are in humble circumstances we ought to take pride in our high position; but that if we are not and are rich, we should take pride in his low position. (James 1:9-11)
  • Peter and James encourage us to clothe ourselves in humility toward one another because God opposes the proud and gives grace to the humble; and to humble ourselves because God will lift us up in due time. (1 Peter 5:1-9; 1 Peter 3:8; James 4:10)

Kempis Gives Us Some More Great Advice on Pride:

“Do not be ashamed to serve others for the love of Jesus Christ and to seem poor in this world. Do not be self-sufficient but place your trust in God. Do what lies in your power and God will aid your good will. Put no trust in your own learning nor in the cunning of any man, but rather in the grace of God Who helps the humble and humbles the proud.

If you have wealth, do not glory in it, nor in friends because they are powerful, but in God Who gives all things and Who desires above all to give Himself. Do not boast of personal stature or of physical beauty, qualities which are marred and destroyed by a little sickness. Do not take pride in your talent or ability, lest you displease God to Whom belongs all the natural gifts that you have.

Do not think yourself better than others lest, perhaps, you be accounted worse before God Who knows what is in man. Do not take pride in your good deeds, for God's judgments differ from those of men and what pleases them often displeases Him. If there is good in you, see more good in others, so that you may remain humble. It does no harm to esteem yourself less than anyone else, but it is very harmful to think yourself better than even one. The humble live in continuous peace, while in the hearts of the proud are envy and frequent anger.”

from Imitation of Christ

What Advice Did Jesus Offer Us On Pride?

Finally, as I am sure you would agree, Jesus Christ is our best teacher for the topic of pride. Look what he said as recorded in the Gospel of Matthew when he was teaching in the towns of Galilee.

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." Matt 11:28-30

First, he told the people listening to him to take his yoke, meaning to work with him in partnership to accomplish a common goal. Secondly, he told the listeners to learn from him. (please note that pride often hinders our learning or "teachability").

And what was the first thing the greatest teacher that ever has and ever will live said? He said I am gentle and humble in heart.

So if we are to find rest in our souls and learn to be like Christ we must be humble in heart.

If we humble ourselves God will exalt us and we will find honor just as our teacher Jesus Christ was before us. Why value pride when it leads to destruction? Choose humility instead and God Almighty will exalt you!