5 Biblical Steps to Root out Hidden Pride

Updated on March 10, 2020
RonElFran profile image

Ron is the founding pastor of a church in Harrisburg, PA. He is a graduate of Denver Seminary in Colorado.

Source

One summer, years ago now, I went backpacking across Europe with a friend. We visited most of the countries on the continent and met a lot of people. And of course, many of them would sooner or later ask us what kind of work we did.

We were free to travel that summer because we were both students. She was in law school, and I had taken an educational leave of absence from IBM to start seminary studies for the ministry in the fall. But when people asked about what I did, I didn’t say I was a student. Instead, I would tell them that I was an electrical engineer working for IBM.

After seeing me respond this way several times, my friend told me something that pretty much floored me. She said that whenever I told people I worked for IBM, I did so with a subtle air of pridefulness.

That was really hard for me to believe! In fact, I was so far from believing it that I began to wonder about her motives for saying it. If you had asked me if I was a prideful person, I would have instantly, strenuously, and quite sincerely denied it. In fact, although I would never have said it out loud, I considered myself to be one of the most humble people I knew!

But I couldn’t get what she said out of my mind. As I thought about it more, I realized my friend was seeing something in me that I was entirely blind to. At that time IBM was widely considered to be the most elite company in the high-tech world. Apparently what my friend was sensing in my attitude was an unconscious conviction that working for such a company made me elite as well! Yet, I was entirely unaware of having that kind of pride, and certainly had no idea that I was communicating it to other people.

I considered myself to be one of the most humble people I knew!

Pride Can Be Really Sneaky!

As I look back on that episode, I see it as an example of how subtle our pride can be. To C. S. Lewis it is the vice we most easily overlook in ourselves. In Mere Christianity, his classic summary of the basics of the Christian faith, Lewis put it this way:

There is one vice of which no man in the world is free; which every one in the world loathes when he sees it in someone else; and of which hardly any people, except Christians, ever imagine that they are guilty themselves… There is no fault which makes a man more unpopular, and no fault which we are more unconscious of in ourselves. And the more we have it ourselves, the more we dislike it in others.

The vice I am talking of is Pride or Self-Conceit.

Actually, if I’d thought back to how I had struggled with ego earlier in my life, I wouldn’t have been so surprised at the revelation of my hidden self-conceit. I recall being with a group of friends in college when the conversation turned to a particular academic accomplishment they thought was so great that it was beyond the reach of regular students like us. But I had done it! And I still remember my anguish as I sat there trying to figure out a way to get that fact into the conversation without seeming boastful.

Pridefulness Is About Being Better Than Other People

There’s nothing wrong with having genuine satisfaction in having accomplished something worthwhile. And it’s not wrong to want people to think well of us. The Bible says that a good name is something we should desire (Proverbs 22:1).

The problem arises when we have an attitude that because of our achievements, or even things we inherited through no effort of our own, we are superior in some way to other people. Again, C. S. Lewis in his Mere Christianity essay provides great insight about what pridefulness is all about:

Pride is essentially competitive – is competitive by its very nature – while the other vices are competitive only, so to speak, by accident. Pride gets no pleasure out of having something, only out of having more of it than the next man.

To my mind, it is that desire to have others see me as higher or better than someone else that is the essence of pride.

Do you consider yourself a prideful person?

See results

What Can I Do About My Pridefulness?

The Bible warns over and over that pride can be deadly.

A man's pride brings him low, but a man of lowly spirit gains honor. Proverbs 29:23 (NIV)

So for my own sake, I need to mount a ruthless search and destroy mission against my self-conceit. Here are some of the steps I have found helpful in my ongoing battle to root out the hidden pride that still seeps to the surface far too often in my life:

1. Ask God to show me my hidden pride

As C. S. Lewis said, in the ordinary course of life I am unlikely to even be aware of my own pridefulness. So if I’m to deal with the hidden pride in my life, the first step is to prayerfully ask God to reveal it to me.

Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. Psalms 139:23-24 (NIV)

Then I need to examine my own thoughts and motives. When I find myself taking pleasure from seeing myself as being ahead of or above other people, it may be an indication that my pridefulness is once again rearing its ugly head.

Here are some signs to look out for:

  • I habitually try to draw attention to myself
  • I find myself seeking praise as being better than someone else
  • I’m often angry when people don’t give me the credit I think I deserve
  • I’m quick to point out other people’s flaws

2. Adopt God’s perspective about my greatness

For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not? 1 Corinthians 4:7 (NIV)

What is there that’s good in me that I didn’t receive as an unearned gift from God? Absolutely nothing! So, what do I have to boast about? Absolutely nothing!

3. Deliberately consider others better than myself

The Scripture tells us that if we want God to lift us up, we must first humble ourselves in His sight (James 4:10). But we can’t humble ourselves in God’s sight without humbling ourselves in the sight of other people. In fact, we are to actually consider them better than ourselves.

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Philippians 2:3-4 (NIV)

4. Consider myself a servant

I need to see myself as a servant to others.

For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake. 2 Corinthians 4:5 (NIV)

People who have a servant spirit rarely have to struggle with pridefulness.

5. Take practical steps to serve others

Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another's feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. John 13:14-15 (NIV)

Servants serve! As Jesus Himself demonstrated, to be a servant means finding ways to serve others, and then actually doing it.

Overcoming Pride Isn't Easy, but It's Worth It!

The Bible is clear that if we fail to rein in the pridefulness that comes so naturally to us as human beings, it can have a devastating effect on our lives. Replacing our natural pride with godly humility won’t be easy. In fact, it will be a lifelong process that we can accomplish only with God’s help. But look at the reward for doing so:

But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. James 4:6 (NIV)

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. James 4:10 (NIV)

God promises that if we humble ourselves to Him rather than continuing to walk in our pride, He will lift us up and pour out His grace to meet every need we have in life.

I think that’s a pretty good deal!

VIDEO: Bible verses about pride

© 2020 Ronald E Franklin

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • RonElFran profile imageAUTHOR

      Ronald E Franklin 

      6 months ago from Mechanicsburg, PA

      Thanks, Dora. I have to admit it's a lot easier for me to see the pride in others than it is in myself. I'm still a work in progress in this area.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      6 months ago from The Caribbean

      Thanks for this step by step to overcoming pride. Sometimes it surfaces when one least expects it.

    • profile image

      James aka justthemessenger on hubpages 

      6 months ago

      Yes, pride can be sneaky. It's not always as blatant as the Pharisee's prayer, the example Jesus gave in Luke 18:11-12. This man was outright bragging to God. And, as always C.S. Lewis is on point.

    • RonElFran profile imageAUTHOR

      Ronald E Franklin 

      6 months ago from Mechanicsburg, PA

      Very true, Mark. I really admire not only what he wrote, but his writing style as well.

    • Mark O Richardson profile image

      Mark Richardson 

      6 months ago from Utah

      CS Lewis was awesome. He was great at teaching Christianity

    • RonElFran profile imageAUTHOR

      Ronald E Franklin 

      6 months ago from Mechanicsburg, PA

      Thanks, Raymond. I think most of us don't really understand how sneaky our pride can be until someone like C. S. Lewis points it out to us.

    • raymondphilippe profile image

      Raymond Philippe 

      6 months ago from The Netherlands

      This was an eye-opener. I never thought about pride like that. The tips you give are certainly useful. Thank you.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, letterpile.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://maven.io/company/pages/privacy

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)