By nature, man is proud. We all have pride in our hearts to some degree. We can ask ourselves, are we as humble as Christ, infinite God who took a human nature only to be spit upon and crucified? If not, then we indeed have some pride there. 🙂
In fact, a proud person — not just the pride itself — is an abomination to the Lord:
Prov 16:5 – “Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the Lord: though hand join in hand, he shall not be unpunished.“
It seems to me we should ponder that seriously.
Pride is also a shame:
Prov 11:2 – “When pride cometh, then cometh shame: but with the lowly is wisdom.“
And we should hate that pride in ourselves:
Prov 8:13 – “The fear of the Lord is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate.“
Further, here’s a warning:
Prov 29:23 – “A man’s pride shall bring him low: but honour shall uphold the humble in spirit.“
And finally, what traits does Christ say we should learn from Him?
Matt 11:29 – “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.“
Well then, what can be done?
Here is from Puritan Thomas Manton on the slaying of pride, from Sermon 11 in Sermons from Psalm 131, which you can read in full here.
This is part one of several parts.
From Thomas Manton:
The means are these –
First, Frequent examination of ourselves; for self-acquaintance breedeth humility. No man extolleth himself but he that knoweth not himself. Therefore the best way to take down pride is to consider often what we have been, what we are, and what we deserve.
We wanted [lacked] strength to serve him: Rom. viii. 7, ‘The carnal mind is enmity against God, for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.’ We had nothing to incline us to God or commend us to him. Yea, not only an impotency, but an averseness. Partly out of carnal liberty: Rom. viii. 7, ‘Because the carnal mind is enmity to God.’ Partly through sensuality [of the senses], or addictedness to present things grateful to the flesh: John iii. 6, ‘That which is born of the flesh is flesh.’ Partly through legal bondage: Gen. iii. 7, ‘The eyes of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked;’ ver. 10, ‘I heard thy voice in the garden, and I hid myself, because I was naked.’ Through carnal liberty our hearts were averse from him as a lawgiver; through bondage, as a judge: Col. i. 21, ‘You that were sometimes alienated, and enemies in your mind by wicked works.’
2. After grace received, mixed principles, and therefore mixed operations, flesh and spirit, law and gospel, Gal. v. 17. If we consider in what state our soul is, what our actions are, how polluted with a tang of the flesh, how little comfortable sense of the love of God, we should soon see that we still carry about with us the cause of a deep humiliation in our bosoms, and to cry out with the publican, Luke xviii. 13, ‘Lord, be merciful,’ &c.; or with Paul, Rom. vii. 24, ‘wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?’
Besides your wants and defects, consider the loathsome corruption of your souls, which follow you wherever you go. The sins of our best duties are enough to humble us, to have such low conceptions of God, such heartless prayers, &c.
3. Consider what we have deserved. The eternal wrath of God, due to us for sin. It is a wonder that he doth not turn us into hell every moment, and that fire doth not come forth from his jealousy to consume us, who are ever and anon tripping in his service.
You will say, Blessed be God, we are escaped by Christ; we are passed from death to life.
Ans. I do not tell you what God will do, but what you have deserved; and this not to weaken your confidence, but to humble your hearts.
Now it is enough for that, that you had once the sentence passed upon you, and have had the rope, as it were, about your necks; that you have been at the gates of hell, and might have entered in, but for the grace of your Redeemer. Besides, you deserve it still; your daily sins and best actions deserve the wrath of God.
And such a sense of it is still necessary as quickens to thankfulness, and prays for pardon, and promoteth to humility; and you turn grace into wantonness, and abuse it, if it lessen any of these acts.
Well, then, though God forgive us, we must not forget we were once as bad as the worst, and children of wrath, even as others, Eph. ii. 3. We must still condemn ourselves when God justifieth us, and set our sins ever before us though God do cast them behind his back. Now shall such creatures as we be proud, so sinful, so liable to the curse, whose righteousnesses are as filthy rags ? Isa. Ixiv. 6.
Secondly, Frequent communion with God in prayers and praises; for so we more and more come into the knowledge of God, and a sight
and sense of his majesty and glory; and a serious sight of God will humble us: Isa. vi. 5, ‘I am unclean, for I have seen the Lord of hosts;’ Gen. xviii. 27, ‘I am but dust and ashes;’ Job xlii. 5, 6, ‘I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear; but now mine eye seeth thee. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.’
Can they be proud that have so often to do with an holy and glorious God? Surely one glimpse of his majesty will take down thy self-exalting thoughts. The stars differ from one another in brightness and glory, but when the sun appeareth they are all obscured, and those differences unobserved.
So when we compare ourselves with men, we seem great, wise, powerful; but God, rightly apprehended, lesseneth us in our opinion, estimation, and affection. He is all, we are nothing but what he maketh us to be. All the creatures to him are nothing, less than nothing, Isa. xl. 17; nothing in opposition to him; nothing in comparison of him; nothing in exclusion of him.
Now the mind should be often seasoned with these thoughts, as surely they will where men have much to do with God, and are often with him, if they be serious in their addresses to him.
May God grant us a sight of our loathsome selves and His eternal majesty and glory. May He grant us repentance, may His Spirit continuously mortify the pride in each of us, and may we pray and work to those ends.
Go on Part 2.