“As long as you are proud, you cannot know God. A proud man is always looking down on things and people: and, of course, as long as you are looking down, you cannot see something that is above you” (C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity).

If it is our sincere desire to walk with God daily, then we must avoid pride. In Proverbs 6:16–19, “haughty eyes” is listed first among the things God hates. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines haughty as “blatantly and disdainfully proud; having or showing an attitude of superiority or contempt for people or things perceived to be inferior.” Haughty eyes are exactly the kind of eyes that look down on people, and God does not like a proud look. What is it about pride that makes it so loathsome to our Heavenly Father? Why is it often labeled as the most wicked of evil behaviors? How does it interfere with our daily Christian living? Perhaps the answer to each of these questions relates back to the fundamental truth that pride is in direct conflict with the Christ-like characteristic of humility. C.S. Lewis identified pride as the source of all other vices, like greed and selfishness, and called it “the complete anti-God state of mind.

Pride is dangerous because it elevates oneself over others: It compares, competes, and confirms that other people are just not as good. This leads to a spirit of entitlement and an attitude of self-sufficiency. Pride is self-righteous. It screams out, “I don’t need God!” and fails to recognize God’s sovereignty. Pride does not acknowledge that all things come from God and that apart from Him, mankind is nothing. Pride announces, “I’ve got this all figured out!” and “I can do things my way because I know best!” Pride can even make people believe they are equal to God. This is what happened to Eve in the Garden of Eden when she was tempted by Satan. Genesis 3:4–6 describes how Satan lured her to sin through deception and an appeal to her pride: “But the serpent said to the woman, ‘You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it, your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.’ So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.” It is also alluded to in Scripture that it was pride that led to Satan’s own fall because of his desire to make himself like the Most High God (Isaiah 14:12–15). Proverbs 16:5 makes it clear that God is not pleased with a prideful heart:

“Everyone who is arrogant in heart is an abomination to the Lord; be assured, he will not go unpunished.”

As Adam and Eve fell to sin in an effort to rise up in wisdom equal to God, God would require His Holy Son to be brought down to man so that man could ultimately be lifted up. Philippians 2 describes how Jesus emptied Himself, took the form of a servant, and was born in the likeness of man to carry out the divine plan of redemption. He humbled Himself; He obeyed the will of His Father even to the point of death on the cross; and as a result, the penalty for sin was paid, and mankind was graciously given the gift of salvation. The Greek word κενόω, which means “to empty,” provides a powerful image of what Jesus had to do to lower Himself to humanity: He had to pour Himself out. He had to deprive Himself of glory, honor, and all the privileges of equality with God, the Father. He had to come down so that we could come up. It is an attitude of self-lowering that we are to imitate when the Holy Spirit tells us to have the same mind as Christ. We should emulate Him. We should become more and more like Him as we grow spiritually throughout our lives. This is what Christianity is all about. It’s about patterning ourselves after Jesus, and Jesus was the opposite of prideful.

In our daily walk, we need to remember that we are not worthy to share the path with Almighty God. The words of David, in Psalm 8:4, should always be on our lips: “What is man that you are mindful of him and the son of man that you care for him?” To keep our hearts humble and to remain aware of Who is above us, our lives must consist of a perpetual lowering of self. It is an everyday commitment to cross-bearing and a ready-willingness to die to self. Make these things a part of who you are and what you do each day:

  1. Talk to God in prayer.
  2. Confess your sins to Him regularly.
  3. Keep reading and studying His Word.
  4. Put the needs of others before your own.
  5. Forgive people.
  6. Be thankful.

            To be a Christian is to be humble. It is to recognize who we are and who God is. It is to understand that we fully depend on God, that we cannot save ourselves, and that we did not deserve the sacrifice of Jesus. The Bible says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6). It tells us that “Pride comes before destruction and an arrogant spirit before a fall” and that it is “better to be lowly of spirit with the humble than to divide plunder with the proud(Proverbs 16:18-19). It encourages us to know that everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted (Luke 14:11). We should not forget that the portrait of humility in Philippians 2 does not end with the cross; it ends with the exaltation of Christ. We, too, if we humble ourselves in the sight of the Lord, will one day be lifted up (James 4:10). Choose every day to walk with God, but don’t look down because when you’re looking down, you can’t see the majesty of the One who is above you—and He alone is worthy.

Lori Boyd
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Lori Boyd is from Murfreesboro, Tennessee, and attends the East Main church of Christ.  She and her husband, Sam, were married in 1998 and have three children, Evie, Kate, and Briggs. Lori is a Registered Nurse and a high school teacher at Middle Tennessee Christian School, where she teaches Honors Anatomy and Forensics. She is pursuing a Master of Arts in Christian Scripture at Heritage Christian University.

  Lori has been a writer for Think, Tennessee Home and Farm, and Christian Woman magazines. She has written four books: Trailblazers, Walking to the Promised Land, Hope Island, and Praying Through It; all made available through Kaio Publications. She is part of the Ministry League team and a World Bible School board member. She loves public speaking and teaching Bible classes and presents regularly at workshops and ladies’ events.

Lori was born in Germany and grew up in the Air Force. She attended Abilene Christian University in Texas and graduated from the Abilene Intercollegiate School of Nursing in 1996. She moved to Nashville in June of 1997 and has called Middle Tennessee “home” ever since.