The Power of Pride 9

This sin of pride which turned myriads of angels of light into legions of black devils, and that for this they were hurled down from heaven to the bottomless pit of hell. (Anne Dutton, Letters on Spiritual Subjects)

Habakkuk 2:4 Behold, as for the proud one, His soul is not right within him; But the righteous will live by his faith.

Eph 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.

James 4:6 But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, “GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE.”

It is one thing to accept the fact that there is a monstrous power of pride and it can and does make monsters of people, but it is quite another to come to the felt realization or experimental reality of what it means for me (each person) to have that pride in my own heart. It is one thing to know about it, but it is quite another thing to know it as quite real in my own heart. It is one thing to think of a movie star or famous athlete as proud, but it is another thing to recognize that pride is part of my own nature and it has power over me. While that movie star or famous athlete may in fact be arrogant, the fact that I have pride in my heart tells me that I might be worse than they are if God had put me in their place.

The weight of sin and the power of sin are hidden to the natural man, whether the man is religious or not. Becoming very religious does not give a person spiritual eyes, only regeneration and the work of the Spirit can open our eyes to our own sin in the spiritual realm. It is possible for unregenerate people to recognize that physical adultery is sinful and that even lusting in the heart is sinful, but they are blinded to the adultery of the heart in spiritual matters toward God. Even knowing that can trigger pride in the heart if we are not careful, though the eyes to see the rising in pride is a great mercy thought it is quite painful.

Pride is always pleased by the exaltation of self, the seeking of self to be exalted, and the thoughts of self being exalted. This is true in the religious realm as well as all other realms as well. The unregenerate person can understand something of pride when he is proud of his prayers and actually seek to please men in his prayers as did the Pharisees, but the regenerate person will see pride in the heart during prayer and after prayer and loathe self for that pride. It is also true that the unregenerate can see pride in his or her prayer and feel bad because of it, but that is because it is a failure of self or self-control (they think). The regenerate will loathe self because it understands that pride is part of him and that this pride is a horrible sin against God. The regenerate soul will understand with a degree of self-loathing that it takes the blood of Christ to take away such a vile and horrible sin as pride in prayer.

The unregenerate person may think of pride as a power, but it thinks of it as something it can overcome in some way by the efforts of self. It may recognize that the proud person’s soul is not right within him or her, but this person thinks that faith is in his or her power and so seeks to use faith to overcome the pride. However, the faith of a proud person is really in the power of self which is the power of pride though hidden to the unregenerate. This person is in the bondage of the power of pride and does not realize it. This person can actually think it has overcome the power of pride and is quite proud that it has done so. Pride is so sneaky and powerful (in the effects it has) that it will hide itself even in acts of pride and deceive the proud person into thinking it is humble.

The person that has been overcome by the power of pride will think that s/he is humble and as such will receive grace from God, but in fact God still opposes that person and is turning him or her over to a hardened heart of pride. This is why we see so many religious people full of self and pride. Though they are very religious and perhaps avid students of the Bible, they are full of pride and self. The truly humbled person (emptied of self and pride to some degree, though not made perfect) sees that s/he has no power over this awful pride and will seek the Lord to deliver him or her from it. When this person comes to see that indeed s/he has no power over pride, that person understands with horror what it means to be in bondage to sin. It is only free-grace that God delivers sinners from the bondage to pride and it is only by His free-grace that He will work to deliver humbled sinners from more and more pride. The soul that He has opened the eyes to see the awful power and darkness of pride will loathe self to some degree and knows it has no hope of every defeating pride with the power of self (pride). It knows that it must have grace (free-grace) in this battle and the whole battle resides in the power of free-grace. This is a soul that will pray to that end.

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