Pride Is The Fall, Revisited

proudasapeacock-1-1379173-mRecently one of the bloggers I follow, InsanityBytes, has opened my eyes to a group of professing Christians I didn’t realize were doing and saying the kinds of reprehensible, ungodly things that they’re circulating on the Internet.

It dawned on me in one of the recent posts that the attitude these “Christian gamers” are displaying is self-righteous pride. They were quick to fault others—in this particular instance, women who espouse feminism—but don’t see their own hearts.

So I thought perhaps I’d revisit the subject of pride by reposting an article I wrote in 2010. Because it’s based on Scripture, it’s as relevant today as it was then. As it happens, it also addresses Adam’s sin which I’ve also been discussing with Wally, another blogger I follow.

Without further intro . . .

For years money received a bad rap in America. A particular verse in the Bible (I Timothy 6:10a) was misquoted to say “Money is the root of all evil.”

In fact the verse actually says in the New American Version, “For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” (Emphasis mine.)

Perhaps money taking the blame for all evil, explains why pride seems to have skated off our radar screen. I won’t say it’s received a free pass. After all, the adage Pride goes before a fall has become a cliche in America.

That line also stems from Scripture—Proverbs 16:18: “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall” (KJV). Apparently somewhere along the line, the verse morphed into that shortened version.

The heart of the statement remains true to the original, though I wonder that we haven’t taken the point to it’s logical conclusion: If pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall, then didn’t pride and a haughty spirit go before The Fall?

Or more accurately, was pride The Fall itself?

Before Man sinned, Satan rebelled against God, and Scripture clearly shows that the pride of his heart was the real issue:

“How you have fallen from heaven, O star of the morning, son of the dawn! You have been cut down to the earth, You who have weakened the nations! But you said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God, and I will sit on the mount of assembly in the recesses of the north. I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.‘ ”
– Isa 14:12-14 (Emphasis mine).

Is it any wonder, then, that when Satan approached Eve, one of the things he said to her was

“You surely will not die! For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
– Gen 3:4b-5 (Emphasis mine).

Eve took Satan’s words into consideration. She saw that the fruit was tasty, attractive, and desirable to make her wise. Whole-heartedly, it would seem, she bought into Satan’s shtick. His desire became hers.

Adam fared no better. He openly chose to side with Eve against God, basically saying he knew what he needed more than God did.

Eve, he understood, would die, just as God said. Then what would happen to Adam? He’d return to that pre-helpmate state, and he didn’t want to do that. He must not have believed that God could, or would, fix things. So Adam had to take on that role. He had to stave off separation from Eve.

In short, he played God.

Isn’t that the definition of pride? From a heart that wants to be God, we act as if we are God. We put ourselves—our wants, our wishes, our well-being—above all else.

We rarely hear the old Pride goes before a fall adage any more. We apparently no longer believe that pride is such a bad thing. In fact, the real problem we face, society says, is not loving ourselves enough, not believing in ourselves enough, not taking enough “me time,” not pampering ourselves, not drawing from the power within.

I think we’re missing it. Pride doesn’t just come before a fall; it is The Fall itself. The hunger in our hearts to be God, forever separates us from Him who actually is God.

But thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ. In other words, God has the answer even for pride.

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Published in: on March 3, 2015 at 6:52 pm  Comments (4)  
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4 Comments

  1. Good points. I enjoyed what you said about money and the correct scriptural quote. We tend to do that, blame the things themselves, like money, rather then ourselves and our own attitudes. So money becomes the root of all evil rather then our own selves.

    I tend to believe that too, pride was The Fall and it keeps being the fall right now in modern times.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Great point about blaming the things themselves rather than looking inward. But isn’t it ironic that we do the revers also—love the things instead of loving the Giver.

      Great point that pride was The Fall and continues to be the fall.

      Becky

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I have mixed feelings about this post. Rebecca. For one thing, I agree with you that pride can be a dangerous thing. But there is another kind of pride that isn’t.

    I’m proud of my children’s efforts to succeed. I’m proud of them, period. Maybe not all the time over everything that they do (as a mother I know where they fail, but love them anyway), but when they succeed, I am unashamed to say that I’m proud of them.

    I’m proud of my God, too. What a wonderful God He is! I am unashamed to boast about what He has done, and how wonderful He is!

    I’m proud of my friends and their accomplishments.

    And I’ve been round (in my younger years) with a relative who was DETERMINED to crush my spirit and destroy me, and couldn’t find enough ways to make me feel ashamed of who I was. I was daily reminded how I was NOT good enough. I was not permitted or encouraged to take pride in anything I accomplished. I came out of this situation badly damaged and hurting, especially since there was an element of spiritual abuse involved.

    That abuse has tempered and played into how I feel about pride. I am determined to be a person worth knowing and respecting, but I really don’t care whether anyone else thinks me proud. I know I’m not, except where I should be, in the things that matter.

    Pride can be a bad thing, yes, but–there’s another definition, and that definition is not bad.

    Liked by 1 person

    • But there is another kind of pride that isn’t.

      This is an astute observation, I think, Krysti. As do other languages, English often has one word that we use that really means two different things (at least). You know, like we say “love” but the Greek has three separate words to mean the different things our one word covers.

      So yes, there is a pride that isn’t of the self-assertive, self-righteous kind. It’s more the idea of feeling pleased and happy to the point of wanting to shine light on the object of our pride.

      The whole issue of a crushed spirit is another thing, I think. I don’t think we can counter that with pride–either kind. Rather, I think we need to learn to call spiritual and/or emotional abuse what it is—lies from the pit of hell. God did not create us as worthless. He made us in His image, after His likeness. so of course we have innate skills and abilities. We are creative and communicative for starters. Because of God’s fingerprints on our lives, we have infinite value. He has plans for us, as a potter does the clay he molds; whether those plans are for glory or for everyday usefulness, that God has made us so makes us valuable. What’s more, as Christians we are part of God’s family, with Him as our head. We are being built up as a temple, we house His Spirit, we offer up spiritual sacrifices. God has tasked us with the job of representing Him to the nations, of making disciples, of loving Him and loving our neighbors, of being a light and salt to the world. I could go on, but the point is, we have worth because God gives us worth. That’s not us finding worth within ourselves. It’s much greater. Omniscient God, who knows all our stuff, calls us friend, listens to our prayers, and above all, died for us. His act of love makes us infinitely lovely.

      So anyone contradicting these things that are true about us is simply lying. And the way to escape their influence and impact is to recognize the lie and call it what it is and refuse to believe it, choosing instead to believe what God says about us: that we are redeemed, part of the beloved, heirs of promise, children of light.

      Knowing who we are as God made us is different from being proud about who we are, I think. But I think it’s perfectly fine to tell God that we like how He’s made us. 😉

      Becky

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