Pride goes before destruction. But as humans, we all struggle with pride to some degree. Learn how pride steals your joy & 50 bible verses about pride to help you gain humility.
These thoughts are written by my friend Alison Eskew, who shared them on social media and I was so struck by them I asked if I could re-publish here. May you be blessed by her wisdom, as I am.
How Pride Steals Your Joy
I once heard it said that the source of most stress is pride.
At first I wasn’t sure I agreed. I mean, my frustrations and anxieties were seated in real issues!
But when I Iooked closely at those issues, I saw pride peeking out from underneath.
More often than not, I was frantic because I was worried about maintaining an image – whether in others’ eyes or in my own. Or, I was upset because I thought that I deserved more respect than I was receiving.
I pushed harder to be more perfect, more worthy of praise.
The pervasive influence of pride has been pressing on my heart lately. Our need to seem or to feel uniquely successful, put-together, informed, intelligent, organized, talented, attractive, health conscious, and creative has taken control.
In our pursuit to keep up appearances, we are often actually made bitter, worn, and narcissistic. We put so much energy into working toward our own greatness and fulfillment that we forget to give attention to the things that actually carry weight.
C.S. Lewis said, “Pride leads to every other vice: it is the complete anti-God state of mind.”
If our reason for doing something is how we look or how accomplished we feel, we need to reconsider. Who cares how good I look? Isn’t Christ living in me?
Then let my existence hum with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control rather than with the glories of a standout schedule, home, face, intellect, pantry, wardrobe, or career.
So many thoughts like these have been swirling around my mind the last couple of weeks, and when I opened up my commentary to do Bible study last night, I was immediately faced with this heading: “Pride ruins everything.”
Selfishness is infinitely destructive. It’s time to uproot it, to throw off its burden, so we can truly, abundantly live.
What is pride in the Bible?
When pride is talked about in the Bible, it described as destructive. It is an attitude that inflates self, and puts self-importance above God.
Pride looks like:
- Not seeking God in your struggles and trying to “do it yourself”
- Thinking the blessings in your life are because of your own talents
- Worrying what others think of you all the time
- Wanting praise from others
- Feeling threatened by those who are better than you at something
- Desiring attention from others frequently
- Constantly finding fault with other people
This is demonstrated in Proverbs 11:2, “When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom.”
In contrast, the virtue of humility is constantly valued by God in the Bible. Jesus made sure to demonstrate it’s worth by washing the disciples’ feet and even humbling himself to the point of death on a cross.
50 Bible Verses About Pride
What does God say about pride? There are so many bible verses about pride, I couldn’t include them all here. But, I’ve chosen some of the most profound ones and divided them into categories.
Verses on how God feels about pride
Proverbs 8:13 – The fear of the Lord is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate.
James 4:6 – But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”
Proverbs 16:5 – Everyone who is arrogant in heart is an abomination to the Lord; be assured, he will not go unpunished.
Proverbs 21:4 – Haughty eyes and a proud heart, the lamp of the wicked, are sin.
Psalm 131:1 – O Lord, my heart is not lifted up; my eyes are not raised too high; I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me.
James 4:10 – Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.
Psalm 138:6 – For though the Lord is high, he regards the lowly, but the haughty he knows from afar.
1 Corinthians 13:4 – Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant…
Proverbs 15:25 – The Lord tears down the house of the proud but maintains the widow’s boundaries.
Psalm 31:23 – Love the Lord, all you his saints! The Lord preserves the faithful but abundantly repays the one who acts in pride.
Isaiah 66:2 – All these things my hand has made, and so all these things came to be, declares the Lord. But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word.
Job 41:34 – He sees everything that is high; he is king over all the sons of pride.
1 Corinthians 8:2 – If anyone imagines that he knows something, he does not yet know as he ought to know.
Verses about boasting
1 Corinthians 4:7 – For who sees anything different in you? What do you have that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it?
Luke 14:11 – For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.
1 Corinthians 1:28-29 – God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.
Ephesians 2:8-9 – For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
Jeremiah 9:23 – Thus says the Lord: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches…”
1 Corinthians 4:7 – What do you have that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it?
Luke 18:9-14 – He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ …
2 Corinthians 10:18 – For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends.
Proverbs 25:27 – It is not good to eat much honey, nor is it glorious to seek one’s own glory.
2 Corinthians 10:17-18 – “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.” For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends.
James 1:9-10 – Let the lowly brother boast in his exaltation, and the rich in his humiliation, because like a flower of the grass he will pass away.
Revelation 3:17 – For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.
1 Corinthians 10:12 – Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall.
Verses on the consequences of pride
Proverbs 16:18 – Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.
Revelation 3:16-17 – So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.
Psalm 101:5 – Whoever slanders his neighbor secretly I will destroy. Whoever has a haughty look and an arrogant heart I will not endure.
Proverbs 29:23 – One’s pride will bring him low, but he who is lowly in spirit will obtain honor.
Proverbs 26:12 – Do you see a man who is wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.
Isaiah 2:11 – The haughty looks of man shall be brought low, and the lofty pride of men shall be humbled, and the Lord alone will be exalted in that day.
Isaiah 23:9 – The Lord of hosts has purposed it, to defile the pompous pride of all glory, to dishonor all the honored of the earth.
Isaiah 2:12 – For the Lord of hosts has a day against all that is proud and lofty, against all that is lifted up—and it shall be brought low;
Isaiah 13:11 – I will punish the world for its evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; I will put an end to the pomp of the arrogant, and lay low the pompous pride of the ruthless.
Verses on pride in possessions
1 John 2:15-17 – Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.
Psalm 10:3-4 – For the wicked boasts of the desires of his soul, and the one greedy for gain curses and renounces the Lord. In the pride of his face the wicked does not seek him; all his thoughts are, “There is no God.”
Proverbs 16:19 – It is better to be of a lowly spirit with the poor than to divide the spoil with the proud.
1 Timothy 6:17 – As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy.
Verses on thinking you are better than others
Romans 12:3 – For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned…
Romans 12:16 – Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight.
Galatians 6:3 – For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself.
Proverbs 11:12 – Whoever belittles his neighbor lacks sense, but a man of understanding remains silent.
Philippians 2:3 – Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.
Proverbs 27:2 – Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; a stranger, and not your own lips.
Psalm 101:5 – Whoever slanders his neighbor secretly I will destroy. Whoever has a haughty look and an arrogant heart I will not endure.
Galatians 1:10 – For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.
1 Peter 5:5 – Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”
Hope you enjoyed these bible verses about pride! Now, let’s break down the concept of pride even further and do a deeper bible study on pride.
What causes pride?
Basically, the cause of pride is a failure to realize God’s sovereignty. Instead of seeing that God is in control and giving Him the glory for all things, pride seeks to place self above God.
Pride fails to give credit to God, from whom all blessings flow.
When we spend too much time thinking about ourselves, talking about ourselves, or maintaining a certain image, it leads to pride. Seeing yourself in an overly-important way does not bring joy or peace.
How do I get rid of pride?
There are a few steps you can take if you want to conquer pride in your life. I often find myself face-to-face with this sin and need to battle against it constantly.
1. Humble yourself.
First, you must humble yourself according to James 4:10: “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.”
Realize how much bigger God is than you – there are no way you can ever comprehend His greatness. His will is supreme and is power is infinite. Everything you have is because of Him.
Pray to God, praising His power and giving thanks for all He has blessed you with, realizing that all good things come from Him.
2. Ask for help.
To battle the sin of pride, we need supernatural help. Ask for God to help you as you try to eradicate pride and embrace humility. Ask that He will help you see the lies you are believing and focus on the truth.
The next time you are tempted to think too highly of yourself, worry about what others think of you, or act in selfishness, remember your sole purpose. It is to bring glory to God, not yourself.
Remember 1 Corinthians 10:31, “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”
3. Set your mind on things above.
If you mind is constantly focused on people-pleasing, what others think, or how you can be more perfect to make yourself look better, you life will be miserable indeed.
In contrast, true joy is found in glorifying God and pointing to Him in all you do. Start by keeping the example of Christ in your mind often, meditating on the Scriptures and thinking about the cross. There is no greater display of humility than Jesus himself.
“Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. (Phil 2:5-8).”
4. Realize Whose Approval Really Matters
At the end of the day, other people having a high opinion of you doesn’t matter one bit. Why?
Because as God’s child, you are already approved. GOD HIMSELF is proud of you. What else matters?
“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” – 1 Peter 2:9
“Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows.” Luke 12:7
Examples & Stories of pride in the Bible
There are many examples throughout the Bible of people who struggled with pride. Here are a few that stand out.
Ananias and Sapphira – They were so desirous for others within the church to think highly of their generosity, that they lied about how much they gave to the Lord. As retribution, they were struck dead for their lie and sin of pride.
David & Bathsheba – David’s pride in not revealing his sin with Bathsheba drove him to have Uriah, her husband, killed. This led to many consequences and ultimately the death of their child.
Eve – The very first sin in the Bible had its roots in pride. Satan told Eve if she ate of the forbidden fruit, she would be like God: “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” (Gen 3:5). Her puffed up vision of herself and unwillingness to submit to God’s authority was the cause of sin’s destruction.
Tower of Babel – In one of earth’s first civilizations, the people tried to come together and build a tower reaching the heavens “so that we may make a name for ourselves.” God thwarted their plans, confused their languages, and let them know Who was really in control.
Paul – Even the beloved apostle Paul was tempted with pride. Although we don’t know the details, he says in 2 Corinthians 12:7, “So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited.”
Do you struggle with pride? What bible verses about pride help you keep an attitude of humility, instead of an attitude of pride?