Let me ask you a very important question. Do you struggle with breaking the spirit of pride in your personal life and daily “Christian” walk? In all honesty, when we search our hearts we can acknowledge we ALL have pride issues of one form or another.
Now whether we admit our pride openly is another story.
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I almost titled this post “Breaking the Spirit of Pride in Four Easy Steps.” Ha! That would have been a lie. There is absolutely nothing easy about breaking the spirit of pride. But it is an absolute must if we are to have a healthy and complete relationship with God and others.
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What is Pride in the Bible?
- 1 What is Pride in the Bible?
- 2 How God breaks pride
- 3 How to get rid of pride Biblically
- 3.1 John Piper: Breaking Down Pride
- 3.2 Step 1: Breaking the Spirit of Pride-Acknowledge the Problem
- 3.3 Breaking the Spirit of Pride-Deliberately make choices that hurt your pride.
- 3.4 Step 3: Breaking the Spirit of Pride-Guarding your heart against pride.
- 3.5 Step 4: Breaking the Spirit of Pride-Prayer for overcoming pride.
- 4 Breaking the spirit of pride is worth it
Merriam Webster defines pride as “a feeling that you are more important or better than other people.” We may not even realize we’re being prideful, but if we look at the way we deal with other people or the way we deal with God, we might be surprised.
God has very strong things to say about pride, as we can see from the book of Proverbs:
Bible Scriptures about Pride
To fear the LORD is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech. Proverbs 8:13
The LORD detests all the proud of heart. Be sure of this: They will not go unpunished. Proverbs 16:5
When it comes to breaking the spirit of pride there are some pretty severe consequences:
Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. Proverbs 16:18
Haughty eyes and a proud heart-the unplowed field of the wicked-produce sin. Proverbs 21:4
Do you see a person wise in their own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for them. Proverbs 26:12
Examples of Breaking the Spirit of pride in the Bible
- Samson (Judges 13-16) Samson was called by God to deliver the Israelites from the Philistines. He was blessed with great strength but used his strength and status to fraternize with the Philistines; womanize, and just plain do what he wanted with no regard for God’s law, He ended up being more useful to God in his death than in His life.
What this example of pride in the Bible means for us:
Pride tells us that “certain things won’t happen to us”. Samson carried this attitude. He thought he was above God’s law. Pride tells us this same thing: that we are above God’s law. We need to beware when we begin justifying not obeying something God tells us to do.
- Peter (Matthew 26:33-35) Peter is known for having a big mouth and putting his foot in it a lot. He often says things on a whim and out of pride. In this example, he tells Jesus that he would never fall away from Him even if others fall away. But when others abandoned Jesus at his trial, Peter also abandoned Him.
What this example of pride in the Bible means for us: Pride makes us think that we will always do the right thing. There is a big difference between thinking we will always do the right thing and having the wisdom to know that we are always capable of doing the wrong thing and then choosing to do the right thing
- The Pharisees (Matthew 23) In this passage, Jesus condemns the Pharisees for saying one thing and doing another and doing everything they do just for how it looks to other people. The Pharisees loved the attention and the respect they received for their position, but they had no desire to actually, genuinely help other people or love God. If we’re not careful we can be called Modern-Day Pharisees full of pride too.
What this example of pride in the bible means for us:
Acting like we’re above others is a hallmark of pride. When we are obeying God’s commandments for anything other than pleasing God or genuinely loving other people, we are acting out of pride.
How God breaks pride
There are two choices when it comes to ridding ourselves of pride: God can break our pride or we can do it ourselves. Samson remained prideful despite knowing God’s law and knowing that he was set apart for a special purpose: God had to break him in the end.
Peter was one of Jesus’ closest friends, but he did not do anything about his own pride. Jesus had to break it. And it broke Peter’s heart, but Peter used that as a valuable lesson and become the cornerstone of the church.
As far as we know, the Pharisees never broke their pride in their lifetimes, and they had to face the judgment of the living God.
“It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” Hebrews 10:31
“But He gives more grace. Therefore it says, ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.’ Submit yourselves therefore to God…” James 4:6-7
Our pride will be broken one way or another. When we die, we will stand before God in judgment, and if we held onto our pride until the end, we will be judged for that.
God can only draw near to us if we have a humble heart, so pride can keep us from God. And if we’re Christians, God will break our pride by disciplining us as children. Because He loves us.
This is heavy stuff. But y’all: this is a very serious subject. Our pride can break us or we can break it.
How to get rid of pride Biblically
John Piper: Breaking Down Pride
It’s a hard journey to get rid of our pride Biblically, but it’s worth it, and we will find an intimacy with God that we have never experienced before. I guarantee you that you will experience God as you never have before the more you break the spirit of pride.
Step 1: Breaking the Spirit of Pride-Acknowledge the Problem
Any counselor will tell you that the first step in overcoming a problem is acknowledging that there is a problem. If you are human, it is more than likely you struggle with pride. Take an honest look at yourself and your attitude. Ask God to show you where pride is causing problems. Psalm 139:23-24
Pride can look like what we typically think of when it comes to pride: arrogance, bragging, selfishness, one-upping others, not listening to others or God, etc.
But it can also come across in ways we wouldn’t expect: sarcasm, not being able to move on from mistakes, dwelling on the past, putting others down, complaining, low self-esteem, wanting to be in control of everything, etc.
Breaking the Spirit of Pride-Deliberately make choices that hurt your pride.
After we acknowledge that we have a problem with pride, it’s time to make choices that hurt our pride. As we grow in our relationship with God and the more we choose against pride, the more sensitive to it we will become.
The next time you are faced with a choice of what to say or do, examine your motives: are you choosing to say or do the thing that will protect yourself? Or are you doing or saying the thing that will help the other person and glorify God?
If you find yourself making the choice that will protect yourself, instead make a conscious effort and choice to do the opposite–deliberately choose what will help that person and glorify God. The more you choose to help other people and glorify God and not be selfish, the easier those choices will become.
For example, say I’m mad at my husband. When I see him, I can choose to act mad and be mean back to protect my pride, or I can choose to do what God tells me to do and approach him in love.
I can choose to talk to him lovingly and work things out or I can satisfy my emotions and march around the house in silence like I’m a mime or something (but a mean one). The best choice would be to choose the path of humility and talk things out with my husband.
Step 3: Breaking the Spirit of Pride-Guarding your heart against pride.
Once we begin making choices that hurt our pride, we need to continually practice this and make choices that will continue hurting our pride. Putting this into continual practice will guard our hearts against pride and draw us near to God James 4:8
Just like taking care of our bodies, taking care of our spiritual side requires consistency in walking with God. We MUST stay in the Word every day and keep our minds on God and His heart through prayer, Christian fellowship, and sharing Christ with others.
Step 4: Breaking the Spirit of Pride-Prayer for overcoming pride.
One of the ways we learn about God’s heart is through prayer. There is no magic formula for saying a prayer. God hears and honest plea. Just be open with God and talk to Him about anything and everything. Be honest with Him.
Here is an example prayer for overcoming pride to get you started:
I praise you because you are the God of the universe. You created everything we see and everything we don’t. I praise you because you are God and I am not. You have all wisdom and knowledge.
There is no one that can teach you or counsel you or knows better than you. Thank you for being close to me. Thank you for being patient with me and kind to me. Thank you for Jesus dying on the cross for my sins.
God, I confess to you that I have had a prideful attitude. I ask for your forgiveness. Please give me the strength I need to turn away from my pride and grow closer to you. You are my God and the King of my heart.
Please give me the strength I need to turn away from making prideful and selfish decisions. Please also search me and know me and make known to me any sin in my heart that I’m not aware of.
Thank you, God, for teaching me and growing me as you see fit. You are so wise. Thank you for loving me and knowing me better than I know myself. In Jesus’ Name, I pray, Amen.”
Breaking the spirit of pride is worth it
This bears repeating: breaking the spirit of pride is not easy, but it is so worth it. It is incredibly hard because our pride does not want to be broken, and we don’t want it broken. But breaking pride is the thing that will bring us closer to God. We cannot come near Him if we can’t learn from Him or listen to Him. He will come near to us as we draw near to Him (James 4:8)