What If I Told You that Pride is NOT a sin?

Vol 2., No. 20 September 2010
by Brady Tarr, Director of Attorney Ministries

"He leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble his way."

(Psalm 25:9)

If I said that pride was not a sin, I would be wrong. What is pride?Pride can generally be defined as self-exaltation, and therefore, pride is an idolatrous sin of self-worship.Prideful people think of themselves more highly than they ought (Rom. 12:3), and they seek their own glory, fame, and respect instead of desiring to bring God the glory, fame, and respect that he (and only he) deserves.A person's prideful desire for self-exaltation will have the opposite effect than he/she might intend according to Matthew 23:12 which says, "Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted."

Yes, some people are more prideful than others, but we are all guilty of having prideful thoughts, actions, and motives in the things that we do.This should be no surprise because we are all sinners who have all fallen short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23).We are unable to change our sinful state of rebellion against God unless he intervenes and gives us his gift of faith...for we are saved by grace through faith, which is not our own doing, but it is the gift of God, not as a result of works so that no one can boast (Eph. 2:8-9).When we, as Christians, reflect on the extent of our wickedness and our helpless condition from which we were saved, we should be driven to accomplish the goal of making much of Christ in all that we do and say instead of trying to make much of ourselves.Humility must be desired and sought after by Christians (Phil. 2:3, Col. 3:12), but in light of our sinful flesh humility is unnatural.

Christians must pursue humility, but what is something practical that Christians can do to pursue humility?It is important to understand that genuine prayer is an act of humility because when Christians pray, they are admitting that they need the Lord's help and are not sufficient in and of themselves to meet their own needs.If that is not the mindset that Christians have when they pray or if they do not pray, their self-reliance or trust in themselves is evidence of pride in their life.Owen Carr made a profound statement when he said that "A day without prayer is a boast before God."

We are told in Scripture that we are to pray without ceasing because we are to have a humble spirit that is constantly petitioning God for help, provision, and strength in all the endeavors we set out to accomplish.We are unable to accomplish anything in and of our own strength because life, breath, and everything else comes from God (Acts 17:25).In our prideful minds, is this hard to accept?If so, pray with me for a humble spirit.

Prayer is the expression of the soul's desire. It reveals our deepest fears, aspirations, and concerns. When someone prays there are often a variety of purposes for that prayer, but a person's prayers almost always reveal something about his/her life and what is most important to them.Are your prayers selfish in that you only pray for yourself, or do you also pray for others and the world as a whole?Don't get me wrong, it is good and right to pray for yourself each day, but a person's prayers should also include others (including friends and foes) from all across the world.In conclusion, I want you to answer the following question and reflect what the answer you give says about the health of your prayer life.

"If God answered my prayers would my life be all that changed or would the world be changed?"


Lord, we confess to you that we have hearts that are prone to pride. Please forgive us for our self-exaltation and may we be more mindful of the praise, glory, and exaltation that you and you alone are worthy of. Thank you for your patient grace and the blood of Jesus Christ shed on the cross which accomplished all the work necessary for our salvation. Amen.

Resources: Helpful books related to the topics discussed:

Humility: True Greatness by C.J. Mahaney

A Praying Life: Connecting with God in a Distracting World by Paul Miller


5 Reasons why prayer is important:

1. Jesus prayed, and we are to follow Jesus Christ's example in all things (Matt. 26:36-ff).

2. Jesus prayed and commanded us to do the same (1 Thess. 5:17)

3. Prayer exhibits a humble, submissive attitude of trust in God (Rom. 8:26-27).

4. God answers prayers according to his will (Rom. 8:26-27)

5. Prayer provides us with the opportunity to be involved in the evangelistic
and discipleship ministries of others (Eph. 6:19-20).