And in the case of a particular sin that he keeps harping on; guess who has a big problem with that particular sin.
Therefore, for the last 40 years I’ve watched self-righteous preachers pounding their pulpits condemning young people concerning sex, drugs, and rock ‘n roll; displaying their own temptations concerning women, intoxication, and partying; exhibiting their own jealousy and envy concerning these sins of the flesh.
Self-righteousness is a worse sin than these others in that these other sins are apparent, undeniable in that they are external behaviors; yet self-righteousness is cloaked in the heart and displays itself in what appears to be piety and holiness, yet will condemn a man to hell – he who stands before God claiming his own form of righteousness, rather than Christ righteousness (I am by no means legitimizing any sin, but did you ever notice that those that enjoyed hanging around Jesus always seem to be those that were guilty of these three types of outward sin, and that the righteous Pharisees were uncomfortable around Jesus; and that Jesus was always confrontational to these self-righteous religious types); this is pride.
Anyone who is SELF-righteous is controlled by pride.
Anyone that spent any amount of time on this blog site sees how much I speak about the subject of pride.
I very openly admit to everyone, not just now but during my teaching sessions as well as my interaction with others that this is an area that many times I lose the battle; this is an area that I deal with on a daily basis.
One thing I’ve learned is that we will never win the battle against pride completely – in fact the very act of proclaiming that you have conquered pride is an act of pride itself (This reminds me of a Russell Kelfer joke – there once was a humble deacon that was awarded a badge by the Board members of the church that stated: “World’s humblest man,” wherein once he wore the badge, the board members immediately took it away from him as not being deserving of the honor).
Pride Hides Itself
It is the deceitfulness of pride that makes it so difficult to address.
Golda Maier tells of the story which expresses this.
She said that years ago when she was a member of the Knesset she was seated next to a gentleman that being a lofty speech wherein when he was done and started to sit down the other members of the Knesset clapped and started to stand.
The Knesset member would start to sit down and rise again as a clapping continued, doing this a few times he finally weighed down the audience to sit down themselves, yet he stood one more time bowing his head.
Golda said she could no longer stand it and leaned over and whispered in his ear, “stop acting so humble, you’re not that great.”
This is why the heading of this article reads as it does because so many people think of pride in only one limited dimension which allows it to freely grow in other dimensions of their lives.
Pride = SELF-CENTEREDNESS
Pride is simply self-centeredness, or as the old Texas teacher Russell Kelfer puts it “pride is preoccupation with self, whether it seen in grandiosity or self-loathing; the point is self has to be in focus – self is the true master in control – pride it is simply self-centeredness.”
With this in mind I once again present, hopefully in a somewhat different arrangement and presentation, insights concerning the most hideous of sins “PRIDE.”
Pride ~ Thy Heart was Lifted Up
The first sin in all of creation was committed by Lucifer and led to his fall (Eze. 28:12-19 ~ which uses a word play regarding Lucifer and the King of Tyrus ~ see: Isa. 14:12-20; Rev. 12:1-17).
This sin – the first sin – was the sin of pride – wherein “thy heart was lifted up because of thy beauty“ (Eze. 28:17), which is an observational description of what pride is, that of being lifted up in one’s heart – heart, not meaning the emotions only, but the total inner being of a person (see article entitled: “The Heart and the Mind ~ What the Biblical word “Heart’ Means“)
Lucifer was lifted up above the place of God in his heart, he put himself first, above all else – this is what pride does it focuses on self as the object of its own affection, more important and greater than any other; even God.
Pride ~ It’s Corruption
It was this pride that “corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness,” brightness being another word for “splendor” or figuratively of “beauty.“
Pride corrupts wisdom by distorting reality, thus mandating that discretion cannot be wise, but is warped.
This is why individuals filled with pride can do things that are apparent to everyone but themselves, things which are insane or stupid, yet to them seems so logical and correct – this is the warping of wisdom.
Pharaoh is a great example.
You would think after the ninth miracles – plagues, he could come to the commonsense conclusion that Moses was representing God and he better stop messing around – this is where the Scripture talks about him “hardening his heart” – wherein eventually, God solidifies and hardens Pharaoh’s own pride even further.
This is the insanity of pride in that it corrupts wisdom.
Pride ~ Foundational
Lucifer’s first sin was pride which led to his corrupted wisdom wherein he thought he could be greater than God and made the 5 “I will” statements (Isa. 14:13-14) within his heart to usurp the authority of God – but what we must notice that the foundational sin that all other sin proceeded from – was and will always be, pride.
As the first foundational sin, pride laid the foundation wherein all the other sins would be rooted within a universe inhabited by sin.
Pride ~ It’s About Focus
As previously defined by Russell Kelfer, pride is “preoccupation with self,” rather in grandiosity, or self loathing; the point is pride wants to keep the focus on self.
Pride has to do with focus.
Lucifer could not be content with the peripheral (“to the edge,” as opposed to the center) – meaning, he had to be the focus – the primary.
Yet, we know that the primary – the preeminence always is to be on God and Christ.
This is why one of Lucifer’s premier strategies is not to fight the best with the worst, but to have second best usurp the best, taking the focus from the best and placing it upon itself.
Therefore, it is when second best preempts the best, that Lucifer subtly, and without obvious attention and notice of those that maintain a superficial grasp of spiritual reality, give way to his control.
Pride ~Confuse the Issue
Lucifer will attempt to cloud the issues which are important with those secondary things which are not.
A good example of this is seen in Lucifer’s first interaction with humans wherein he tricks the woman by distorting God’s word when he stated Genesis 1:3, “
Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?”
Lucifer first questions what God has said, however notice he starts it in the affirmative by saying “yes,” or in the Hebrew vernacular, “yea.”
What a subtle beginning by starting with a positive – Yes.
Then he questions what God has stated as recorded in Genesis 2:16-17.
However God starts off the commandment by saying:
“of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: BUT of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it, for in the day that thou eat is there of thou shalt surely die.”
Pride ~ Its Subtlety
Though Lucifer starts with the affirmative, with “yes,” he then goes on to question what God is said, restating only part of God’s commandment; he does this same thing in the temptation of Jesus.
It is one of Lucifer’s oldest tricks to confuse the primary with the secondary, to interject confusion about the question at hand, to use Scripture out of context – incomplete.
His subtlety begins with our willingness to entertain a conversation with him wherein he clouds the issues, causing us to focus on the progress for all at the expense of the preeminent.
He’s not afraid to have men act religiously, as long as they don’t act Christlike.
He is always attempts undermine our focus from Jesus Christ to himself through subtlety and confusion; yet always laying accusation concerning God’s Word.
Pride ~ The Biblical Allegory
On 2 occasions, found in 4 passages, Jesus ( Matt. 16:11-12, Mark 8:15 & Luke 12:1, Luke 13:21), warned about the “leaven of the Pharisees,” which He later refers to as “the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees” – we know that the word doctrine simply means “teachings.”
So Jesus was warning his audience to not practice the teachings of the Pharisees and Sadducees – so what were these teachings.
Pride ~ The Doctrine of the Pharisees
Jesus tells us what the doctrine of the Pharisees is in Matthew 23:1-12, which states:
“Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples, Saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat:All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe,that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments,And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues,And greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi.But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master,even Christ; and all ye are brethren.And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven.Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master,even Christ.But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.“
Verse 5 states: “but all their works they do to be seen of men,” which is states that the Pharisees demanded the focus on themselves – the teaching or doctrine of the Pharisees, as seen in their behavior according to Jesus Christ was their necessity to be the focus of attention – there leaven was pride.
This is what they practiced, this is what they did.
This is why Jesus in verse 3, states that whatsoever they bid you observe; and referring to when they taught out of the Torah God’s Word, but he went on to say:
“but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.“
Jesus is simply stating that when they teach the Word of God, it should not be penalized though their actions are antithetical to their teaching.
It was the same actions that Jesus referred to in the famous mount of olives teaching in Matthew chapter 6, where Jesus talks about all their behaviors being done “…to be seen of them.”
Pride ~ Paul’s Teachings
Paul referred to leaven as sin on 2 occasions (1 Cor. 5:6-8; Gal. 5:9).
If you remember the situation in Corinth concerning the member that was committing open fortification.
Paul addresses in this first verse that “a little leaven leavenrth the whole lump,” indicating that a little bit of leaven / sin left unaddressed within the church corrupted the whole church.
And Paul uses this same statement to the Church of Galatia concerning their legalism regarding circumcision.
According to these 6 passages which refer to 4 different events, both Jesus and Paul exhibit the symbolism of leaven as sin.
Also, among the Feasts of Israel, leaven was not allowed except for the middle Feast of Israel, and was always held in a negative light, and even concerning the Feast of Pentecost, there is something out-of-place concerning its mention.
A Rabbinical priest will point out that leaven in the Old Testament was typological of sin, and is carried on in the New Testament with the same consideration, but why?
Pride ~ Leaven Symbolizes
Leaven corrodes(brings decay and death – the same as pride) from the inside of whatever it possesses (it works from the inside, out; hidden – not readily observed working on the inside – the same as pride), completely changing it (having once made its change, it can never be undone – it is impossible to take leaven out of the loaf – the same as pride), and filling it with air (in the Bible, the word “vanity” was synonymous with “air” – simply meaning void of substance. It also heats up in the process, hence we get our expression “filled with hot air,”), making it void, or vain the same as pride.
Leaven / sin distorts the appearance of whatever it impregnates, by causing it to fill up with air making it appear much bigger than it is; wherein reality – it is an illusion – a false illusion.
Leaven / sin takes very little to affect a substance that is much larger.
And leaven / sin cannot be taken out once it has infected its host.
In the process leaven / sin is solely foundational upon the concept of corruption and death in order to produce what appears to be bigger than life, but in reality is much less significant – the same as pride.
For these reasons leaven was understood by the Hebrews to be symbolic of sin and you will notice that it symbolizes pride better than any other idiom.
To the Hebrew, pride was synonymous with sin.
Pride is at the heart of every sin because self is what is being magnified and served.
Pride ~ In the Church
The reason why leaven is utilized in the middle Feast of Israel, the Feast of Pentecost, the day that church was created, is that according to the other 6 parables of Matthew 13 wherein Jesus was describing the “Kingdom of Heaven, understood to be the pending church or the millennial kingdom of Christ (as there are two major theological interpretations of the idiom the “Kingdom of Heaven,” which is used only in the book of Matthew 33 times, and is quite diverse from the idiom the “Kingdom of God,” which is God’s realm and encompasses all of existence as God is sovereign over everything. Wherein the “Kingdom of Heaven,” or the “Kingdom from Heaven” – the grammar and linguistics is the same for “of,’ and “from,” which is a limited entity which cannot be the same as the “Kingdom of God” which has no limitation and has no location as it inhabits everything [Psa. 139:8] wherein the two terms have been confused for too many centuries, with many scholars mistakenly stating that the two terms refer to the same thing), wherein leaven is recognized as being within His church or His Millennial Kingdom; therefore describing how sin would be present in one of these two entities, as symbolically represented within the day of Pentecost.
Sin is in the church because man is in the church (and the same is true within the Millennial Kingdom of Christ wherein Jesus will fulfill all the prophecies concerning ruling from the throne of David ~ Luke 1:30-32); yet, even in spite of this the Holy Spirit will still achieve God’s will within a church that is riddled with sin.
Pride ~ Leaven in the Old Testament
Israel, while being given the law was never allowed to consider leaven – sin – pride, as acceptable.
It was for sin that death came according to the law.
Yet, within the church / Millennial Kingdom, based upon the atoning work of Jesus Christ, was understood to have sin, for which Christ had died, unlike the law which could never allow it – the law could never save, it could only judge sin.
According to Romans, no man is ever justified by the law because of its total exclusion of any sin, yet the church / Millennial Kingdom despite the fact that believers are indwelt by the Holy Spirit, yet sin while not tolerated, is understood to be present (I don’t wish to abuse the point referring at the prophecy concerning leaven within the Feast of Pentecost could refer to either the church or the millennial kingdom – but both interpretation are based upon sound exegesis and it is not my desire to enter into the debate at this time. It is an issue that we will be dealing with in the future).
As long as man is in his pre-resurrected, fallen body, he could not be separated from sin, yet Christ could pay for his sin, wherein a resurrected body would be awaiting him.
Hence the acknowledgment that leaven would be in the church / Millennial Kingdom, yet never allowed in Israel, who had been given the law as witnessed by the complete obsession of validating that the rest of the Feast of Israel which are also prophetically symbolic – wherein leaven as the symbol of sin is never allowed except in this one feast; the Feast of Pentecost, which is halfway between the first three feast together, and the last three feast grouped together.
Israel and Sin
The reason why leaven, as a symbol of sin was not allowed within Israel is Israel was chosen as God’s representative, and God is not to be associated with sin. There given the law, there given the prophets, there given the protection and provision of God as his representative; and as his representative even though they were sinful, sinfulness was never to be accepted within their ranks as God’s representative.
The Church and Sin
The reason why leaven was prophetic within this middle feast of Pentecost, which was represented of the church, because the church is always understood to have sin within it – it was not representative of God and His sinlessness.
The church is the body of Christ, yet it is made up of individuals that are sinful who are cleansed by the blood of Christ.
Wherein sin is identified with the church because of what Christ does to alleviate the sin, He dies for it – this is part of the message of the gospel.
Christ died for the believer, which would mandate that sin is referenced concerning the atonement that Christ provided for that sin.
We must understand that Christ came to die for our sin, so sin needs to be addressed.
This is not indicate this sin is acceptable – the point is to focus not on the sin, but on the sin taker – Jesus Christ.
The first three feast are symbolic of Christ’s First Coming in regards to His death burial and resurrection. Wherein the last three feast will be symbolic of his Rapture, judgment and Second Coming, And the middle feast is representative of the church which occurs at his first coming until the point that it is Raptured.
Both those in Israel and those in the church are saved by one means, that of faith as proven in Hebrews chapter 11.
So What Do We Do About Pride
What we need to do as followers of Jesus Christ while in this flesh is take ownership for this most devastating of sins – pride – this is how we fight pride by admitting that it masters is far too often, then exercising humility is a choice of our will.
It has been my experience that most the time when people argue claiming their defending the gospel of Christ; in reality they’re simply defending their own belief system – they are defending themselves wherein the gospel of Christ is simply an extension of themselves.
The reason I say that pride is so devastating is because it is the foundation that every other sin is built upon.
You cannot sin without pride being present.
So admit that pride is a part of who you are as a human – which is to humble yourself, this is the only way to fight pride – by humbling yourself before the Lord, and come to the cross of Jesus Christ daily in humility understanding that you will die a sinner as you were born one.
“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.” (James 4:7-10)
“Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time” (1 Peter 5:5-6)
“A man’s pride shall bring him low: but honour shall uphold the humble in spirit.” (Pro. 29:23)
Please see part 2 of this series is coming out March 7th ~ LINK
Also see: Pro. 13:10; Pro. 16:18; Psa. 101:5; Pro. 6:17; Pro. 21:4; Pro. 29:23; Isa. 2:11; 1 Tim. 3:6
And remember Paul emphasized that human pride is wrong partly because all natural attributes & spiritual gifts are from God (Rom. 3:27; Rom. 11:18, Rom. 11:20)