What do you have that you did not receive?
–1 Corinthians 4:7
God hates pride more than any other sin. Why is that? Because of the effects of pride in our lives. Let’s look at the sins that are progressive and are the direct result of pride.
First, the sin of ingratitude stems directly from pride. When our oldest daughter, Julia, was two, she would label her Christmas and birthday gifts according to who gave them to her. One year, Julia was going through her Christmas gifts, and she held up a gift and she said, “Grandma.” The only problem was Grandma had not given her that particular gift. She had given her a lot of gifts, but not that one. I was the one who had given her the gift. I have to admit, it kind of ticked me off. I wanted Julia to know I was the one who gave her that gift. Why did I want her to know that? Because I wanted her to perceive the gift as a demonstration of my love for her.
It’s the same way with God. The reason God hates pride so much is it blinds us to the great gifts He has given us. In our individualistic culture, we want to think we are responsible for the good things in our lives. But we should remember this penetrating question the apostle Paul asked in 1 Corinthians 4:7: “What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?” Paul was saying, “Do an inventory of all the good things in your life, and ask yourself, ‘Where did these things come from?’” Every good thing in life is the result of either what God or other people have done for us. Pride leads to ingratitude.
Ingratitude leads to a second sin, and that is independence. You may be asking, “Is God so petty that He has to be thanked by us?” Not at all. God doesn’t need anything from us, but we need everything from God. God knows that we need Him. That is why He makes every effort to have a relationship with us, so that He can meet our greatest need of all. Think about this: If you were a parent trying to get the attention of a wayward child, how would you communicate that you love your child? One way you would do it is by showering good gifts to show your love for your child. That’s what Jesus said in Matthew 7:11: “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in Heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!” But when we don’t recognize that these good gifts are from God, we are prone to live apart from God and go our own way. That’s what happened to Lucifer. His ingratitude for the good things God had done led to an independent spirit and rebellion. Satan forgot he was a creature instead of the Creator. And that pride in his heart led to independence and to a rebellion. That rebellion is described in Isaiah 14:13-14. Lucifer said, “I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God, and I will sit on the mount of assembly in the recesses of the north. I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.” That is what happens when we fail to show appreciation to God. Ingratitude leads to an independence from God.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Choosing Purpose over Aimlessness” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2019.
Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.