Pride Brings Failure, Humility Lifts You Up
By: Amanda Idleman
“Pride goes before destruction, and haughtiness before a fall.” - Proverbs 16:18
Essentially, this simple verse summarizes the sin-cycle that we all battle. Pride blinds us to our need for God and then failure, disconnection, and destruction becomes the product of our lives. For us to know God and enjoy his blessings, we need a humble heart. James 4:10 describes the posture we should take as believers. It says, “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.” Humble is defined as “not proud or haughty” which is exactly the opposite of what Proverbs 16:18 warns will bring us bad results.
Pride is not a new problem. Even before the story of our Humanity’s sinful nature and consequent Fall from the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3), the Bible records the account of prideful fallen angels. These angels felt they were better, more powerful than God, and rebelled from His ranks. Jude 1:6 says, “And the angels who did not stay within their own position of authority, but left their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day.” Life apart from God for celestial and human beings is a gloomy one.
Bible Hub’s Matthew Poole’s commentary summarizes the situation this way, “Pride goeth before destruction; it is commonly a forerunner and cause of men’s ruin because it highly provokes both God and men.” There is a tension between the will of man and the will of God. For things to go well for us we must be willing to surrender our lives over to God. Trusting God with our hearts and believing God when He promises that He will take care of us (Proverbs 3:5-6).
This ancient and simple verse still is extraordinarily applicable to our lives today! We are living in a culture that does not accept God and His role in our lives. Our abilities to “make our own way” or “work hard enough to find success” are just a few obvious ways that our world has bought into the lie that we have the ability to control our destiny apart from a reliance on God.
More subtly, our pride is what causes fights in our marriage, gets in the way of us loving our neighbor well, and creates divides in our communities. When we live with the idea that “our way is best,” then there is no room for God or the people around us to influence our lives. Philippians 2:3 captures the posture we should take in our relationships. Philippians 2:3 says “Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves.” Yet, how hard is this to actually live by?
It is a daily challenge to not let our desire to “make it happen” blind us from the path God has for our lives. It takes faith over fear. It takes pausing to pray before acting. It takes the power of the Holy Spirit at work in our lives, reminding us time and time again that God is in control.
The great news is that even when we experience those dreaded failures, God does not abandon us! Proverbs 28:13 says, “Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.” When we recognize that our pride has brought us to a dead end, all we have to do is ask for God’s forgiveness and He mercifully promises to be with us and guide us to more solid ground.
Amanda Idleman is a writer whose passion is to encourage others to live joyfully. She writes devotions for the Daily Bible Devotions App, she has work published with Her View from Home, also for the MOPS Blog, and is a contributing writer for Crosswalk.com. You can find out more about Amanda on her blog or follow her on Instagram.
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