For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy . . . treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God.
–2 Timothy 3:2, 4
In order to survive in a hostile world, we need to beware of pride. What is pride? Pride is an attitude that credits ourselves for our successes and blames others for our failures. When you look in Proverbs 6 at the list of things God hates the most, at the top of the list is pride. Why does God detest pride? Because pride leads to ingratitude toward God, and ingratitude toward God leads to independence from God. Whenever we become intoxicated by our own successes, we begin to think we do not need God. C. S. Lewis called pride “the great sin” and observed, “It is pride which has been the chief cause of misery in every nation and every family since the world began.”
What are the characteristics of pride? First of all, the proud are lovers of self. In 2 Timothy 3:2-4, Paul wrote, “For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God.” You may read this and say, “Lovers of self? Didn’t Jesus say we ought to love others as we love ourselves? What is wrong with loving yourself?” There is a difference between self-respect and self-love. We are commanded to treat others as we treat ourselves–with respect, as something of value, because God created us. On the other hand, self-love is treating yourself better than you treat other people. Author Peter Kreeft summed it up well when he said, “Humility is thinking less about yourself, not thinking less of yourself.”
The proud are also consumed with self. Do you remember the story of Narcissus from Greek mythology? One day he looked into a pool of water and saw a reflection of himself, and he was so enamored with that reflection, he fell in love it. All he could do for the rest of his life was look at that reflection of himself. That is what we mean when we call somebody a narcissist. Everything in the world is about their wants, their wishes, their goals, their dreams, their needs. They are consumed with self.
Third, the proud are driven by power. At the root of all pride is a desire for power–the power to control our own destiny as well as the destiny of others. That is completely antithetical to the attitude of Jesus Christ. He did not come to be served by others but to serve others. In Matthew 20:28, He said, “The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” Jesus’s attitude was the opposite of pride.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Survival Tip #7: Beware Of Celebrating The Summit” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2019.
C. S. Lewis, “Mere Christianity” (1952; repr., New York: HarperOne, 2007), 124; Peter Kreeft, “Back To Virtue” (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1992), 100.
Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org.