Pride is such an insidious sin that those who suffer from it usually don’t know it. And that sucks because everyone has some problem with pride, aligning himself with the devil in his sin. For me, every day feels like a heated battle against a soundless, invisible enemy.
Pride is one of the chief sins which God condemns in the book of Zephaniah. It’s mentioned explicitly a couple of times (2:10, 3:11), and it seems to be the common thread underlying the sins of Israel and her neighbors. So I thought I’d go through the book and pick out symptoms of pride — all the better to diagnose it. In addition, I’ll look at symptoms of humility as well. (It would probably be a good idea to ask why these reflect pride and humility, but I don’t want to spend all day writing this.)
Signs of pride:
- Dividing your loyalties between God and other things which act as idols (1:4-6).
- Failing to seek the Lord (1:6) through His Word, prayer, and the counsel of other believers.
- Trying to “fit in” with the unbelieving world (1:8).
- Complacency (1:12).
- Believing God will not act and trusting in our own plans (1:12, James 4:13-17).
- Trusting in our money (1:18).
- Taunting and boasting against other Christians (2:8, 10) — taking delight in their failures and criticizing them to make ourselves look better.
- Living securely with a false sense of superiority (2:15).
- Rebelling against authority (3:1).
- Oppressing others (3:1) by misusing our power or abilities to hurt or damage them.
- Refusing to accept correction (3:2).
- Failing to trust in the Lord (3:2).
- Failing to draw near to God (3:2) by holding Him at arms’ length.
- Being fickle and treacherous (3:4) by failing to live up to what we promise or going back on our word.
- Profaning what is holy (3:4) by treating the things of God casually — the way the world treats them.
- Being eager to do corrupt deeds (3:7) — to engage in sins of the flesh.
Signs of humility:
- Seeking the Lord (2:3) — turning to the Bible, calling on God in prayer, seeking the wisdom of other believers.
- Doing what is just and seeking righteousness (2:3).
- Naturally, seeking humility (2:3).
- Fearing the Lord and thus submitting to His discipline (3:7).
- Calling on the name of the Lord for help and refuge (3:9, 12).
- Serving the Lord in one accord with other believers (3:9).
- Bringing offerings of our resources and also ourselves to the Lord (3:10).
- Telling the truth at all times (3:13).
- Being unafraid of what other people will do to us because we trust that God will save us (3:13, 15-17).
- Loudly rejoicing in the Lord’s salvation (3:14-15).
- Doing good works with strength (3:16, Galatians 6:9).
A common theme I’m seeing is that pride is a result of failing to fear the Lord, while those who are humble fear the Lord and no one else.