How Pride Hinders The Christian Life

by Jack Wellman · Print Print · Email Email

Pride comes just before the fall, but how does pride hinder the Christian’s life and why is it such a big sin?


Pride comes just before the fall, but how does pride hinder the Christian’s life and why is it such a big sin? Pride is a huge problem for the unsaved, but even Christians can stumble into pride, and they do. Right after pride, there comes a fall (perhaps a great fall) after someone begins being too full of themselves. In the Old Testament we hear a lot about pride and it’s not good. The Hebrew word for pride is “zadown” means “insolence” and “arrogance.” In the New Testament, the Greek word for pride is “alazoneia” and this means “empty, bragging,” and “insolent.” Can you see why God hates pride? To sum up the biblical definition of pride; it means someone who is insolent, having an arrogant attitude, and is bragging about themselves. It’s too bad Galileo can’t call them and tell them that they’re not the center of the universe.

Bible Verses About Pride

The Proud

Pride is an overestimation of oneself. Solomon wrote that “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall” (Prov 16:18), so if someone becomes too lifted up, they are headed for a fall, or worse, destruction. Pride is the opposite of humility and pride cannot only hinder a Christian’s life, it can leave you with few friends. Who wants to hear someone talk about their “greatness” or their value to the world? It’s hard to be around someone who is so full of themselves that they can’t be taught anything, believing they’re always right (at least in their minds). I would go so far to say that they believe they are legendary…but it’s really their being a legend in their own mind.

God Resists the Proud

The Apostle Peter wrote about pride, saying that “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” (1 Pet 5:5). That’s why Peter said, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you” (1 Pet 5:6), and right now, it’s not the proper time. God is most pleased when we show true humility and to the humble, God “gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6). The Greek word for “opposes” means to “range at war or battle,” so God is basically at war with the proud, and we know who wins that one don’t we?. Jesus said that whoever exalts themselves will be humbled (even humiliated), but whoever humbles themselves, God will exalt (Matt 23:12). I believe Solomon would agree with Jesus’ statement, as he wrote, “One’s pride will bring him low, but he who is lowly in spirit will obtain honor” (Prov 29:23). These biblical truths show us that pride can become a stumbling block, it can block God’s favor or blessing, and it can make a person very hard to be around. We can either humble ourselves, or God will do it for us, and you can imagine which is more painful.

Pride and Pain

If someone insists on being proud of themselves, then something bad is coming. Scripture says, “When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom” (Prov 11:2), so with humility comes wisdom, but pride blocks any kind of godly wisdom. How? Because the prideful heart feels they are good enough and know enough already. They are resistant to learning anything, believing they may know more than anyone else does already.  The grace of God is like rain…it seeks the lowest points, and grace, like rain, doesn’t go uphill or to the mountaintops. By the way, the day is coming when “the haughtiness of man shall be humbled, and the lofty pride of men shall be brought low, and the Lord alone will be exalted in that day” (Isaiah 2:17). Why shouldn’t we be humble? The Apostle Paul asked, “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” (1 Cor 4:7)?  One key point is Jesus’ telling us that we can do nothing without Him (John 15:5), and the last time I checked, nothing is not a little “something.” It is nothing! Only through Christ can we do anything of significance for God (Phil 4:13).

The Sin of Pride

Jesus spoke about pride and grouped it together with some very wicked attributes. Jesus says that the depraved human heart consists of “coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness” (Mark 7:22). Notice that pride is on equal footing with covetousness, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander and foolishness, and these are sins that send people (the unsaved) to hell if not repented of. Just like pride, it’s a fruit of the flesh (Gal 5:19-21), which is why Paul said, “I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not be in the Kingdom. The Greek puts it like, those “make a practice of doing” these things, and that’s bad because “that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God” (Gal 5:21b).


Pride can almost make us the “Great I AM” if we’re not careful, and what’s smack dab in the middle of pride? “I” am, or the letter “i”. The Apostle John wrote about pride in 1 John 2:16, saying “For all that is in the world-the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life-is not from the Father but is from the world.” It was pride that caused Lucifer’s fall and later became Satan or the Devil (Isaiah 14:12-15). Pride can be the cause of our downfall too if we don’t repent of it. When God sees pride, we know what will happen soon. It says that “he has brought down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those of humble estate” (Luke 1:52). Why shouldn’t we be humble? God loved us while we were still yet wicked, ungodly sinners (Rom 5:6-10). If we can boast about anything, it’s that we are good at sinning. I don’t know about you, but I can’t find to brag about after reading Romans 5:6-10. If I am going to be proud, I’ll be proud of my Master, the Lord Jesus Christ, and what He’s done for me (and you). Amen?

Here is some related reading for you: How to Avoid the Sin of Pride

Resource – Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), Crossway Bibles. (2007). ESV: Study Bible: English standard version. Wheaton, Ill: Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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