Pride – James 4
Pride is known as one of the seven deadly sins of the Bible.
Pride affects our relationships with others and our relationship with the Lord.
Pride causes inner conflict within ourselves.Proverbs 11:2 reads – When pride comes, then comes disgrace; but with humility comes wisdom.
Proverbs 13:10 reads – Pride only breeds quarrels, but wisdom is found in those who take advice.
Proverbs 16:18 reads – Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.
Pride creates conflict with others, sometimes even within our church families. James 4:1 reads – What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you?
Pride creates conflict within ourselves. James 4:2-3
reads – You want something but do not get it. You kill and covet but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. When you do ask, you do not receive because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your own
Even with all of the blessings God has given us, we still possess a spirit of ungratefulness with thoughts such as: MY needs, MY desires are not being met. Such attitudes create and feed within us a spirit of
selfishness and greed. After a while, a war within begins to rage and we turn to various means of worldly pleasures that are unpleasing to our Lord. We choose a path that leads to a false sense of gratification which leads, ultimately, to destruction.
Pride creates conflict with God. James 4:4-5
reads – You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship wit the world is hatred toward God? Or do you think that the scripture says without reason that the spirit He caused to live in us envies intensely?
God longs for a close, intimate relationship with His children. But we would rather have a close, intimate relationship with the world. For this reason, James uses the metaphor of adultery to describe our relationship with God when we allow our pride to cause conflict with Him. We are more worried about making more money, having a bigger house, a nicer car, and so forth. The priorities of the world are more important to us than our relationship with our God.
Matthew 6:24 reads – No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. you cannot serve both God and money.
A good question for us to ask ourselves is this: What consumes my mind, my passions, and my finances?
God desires for us to know Him more personally, more passionately. He gives us grace. James 4:6 reads – But He gives us more grace. That is why the scripture says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”
The Bible stresses the necessity of humility in our lives. The second part of Isaiah 66:2 reads – This is the one I esteem: he who is humble and contrite in spirit, and trembles at my word.
Matthew 5:3 reads – Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven.
Matthew 23:12 reads – For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.
Luke 18:10-14 reads -Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: God, I thank you that I am not like other men – robbers, evildoers, adulterers – or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get. But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to Heaven, but beat his breasts and said, “God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.
Pride rejects repentance. James 4:7 reads – Submit yourselves then to God. Resist the devil and He will flee from you.
What does it mean to submit? Submission is voluntarily placing yourself under the proper authority. Who is the proper authority? God is our Lord, Master, and Sovereign authority. Pride keeps us from a close relationship with Him.
According to James 4:7, the phrase, “The devil made me do it” is rendered a cunning lie. We give Satan too much credit for our actions. The devil, Satan, cannot make us do anything. Under the power of the Holy Spirit, we can say no and Satan will flee from us. WE make ourselves sin, not the devil. We must take personal responsibility for our actions. Satan has no defense against the word of God, which is why it is so important for us to study and know the scriptures of the Bible.
Jeremiah 29:11 is one of my favorite verses. I have adopted it as my “life verse”. It reads – I know the
plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
The problem is that we often take this verse out of context. We stop there and fail to read on to verses 12 and 13 which read – You will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will
seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. The key here: We must seek Him with all our hearts.
Jeremiah 33:3 reads – Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.
We want a one sided relationship with God, but He desires that we know Him, seek Him, and love Him.
We must repent of our sins. James 4: 8-10 reads – Come near to God and He will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn, and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord and He will lift you up. Please do not mistake the above verse. God does not want us to live in misery. He does, however, want us to be miserable over the sin in our lives.
A question for us to ask ourselves is this: When was the last time I wept over my sin?
Pride keeps us from repentance.
Pride slanders the saints. James 4:11-12 reads – Brothers, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against his brother or judges him speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it. There is one Law-giver and judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you, who are you to judge your neighbor?
Pride cause us to criticize one another. When we look down on another, we elevate ourselves to a place where God never intended for us to be. That is called pride. It is important to note here that the
Bible makes it clear that He favors biblical discipline when that action is done in a spirit of love. If we, as brothers and sisters in Christ, need to be lovingly reminded of what the scriptures say about our
actions in an effort to keep us close to our Lord, then we have a responsibility correct one another in love. James was speaking, in verse 11, of a motivation to harm another.
Pride causes us to plan prematurely. James 4:13 reads – Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money. Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast and brag. All such boasting is evil. Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and does not do it, sins.
It is important to note here that God is not saying that we should not plan wisely for our futures. God looks favorably upon wise stewardship, panning, and preparing. Our sin is when we plan without any
thought or interest in the will of God in our lives. Planning without involving God in our lives and the decisions we make is dangerously sinful. When we fail to involve God in our plans, we are saying, I (ME, SELF) will do this, I (ME, SELF) will do that which is evidence of pride.
Many times God leads us in directions that were never part of our plan, but God always knows what is best for us.
Proverbs 14:12 reads – There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end, it leads to death.
Proverbs 16:9 reads – In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.