A man’s pride shall bring him low: but honour shall uphold the humble in spirit.
Are you going up or down in life? A simple factor will either lift you up or press you down – your pride. Arrogance will bring you low, but humility will get you honor. It is your choice what you decide today, but you cannot stop the certain punishment for pride.
Are you more a prince or a prisoner? Are you honored or hardly known? Every person wants a successful life, and this simple proverb tells you how. One of the greatest influences in your progress is your attitude about yourself. If you are haughty and proud, you are going down! If you are meek, modest, and reserved, you are going up!
King Solomon warned often against pride, and he had reasons to be conceited. He had the most wisdom, wealth, and power, and he was attractive! He had the most wives by a thousand, and seven hundred of them were princesses! But he blasted pride as an evil that destroys men’s lives. He warned his son and his citizens. His many repetitions in a book of wisdom declare very loudly – this subject is important and tends to be overlooked.
“Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall” (Pr 16:18). “When pride cometh, then cometh shame: but with the lowly is wisdom” (Pr 11:2). “Before destruction the heart of man is haughty, and before honour is humility” (Pr 18:12). “Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit? there is more hope of a fool than of him” (Pr 26:12).
How will pride take you down and humility bring you honor? Men hate arrogance, and they love graciousness (Pr 9:6-9; 11:2; 14:3; 21:24; 22:10-11). If you are conceited and haughty, you will not grow in favor with men; they will do what they can to cut you off from friendships and opportunities. If you are meek, modest, and submissive, men will appreciate and enjoy your spirit and do what they can to include and promote you.
How will pride take you down and humility bring you honor? Conceit and haughtiness lead to bad decisions, because you are too arrogant to hear others, and you are too confident to examine your ideas (Pr 11:2; 12:15; 14:16; 16:25; 22:3; 26:12,16; 29:20). You are doomed! A humble man, who trusts the Lord, doubts his opinions and is eager to hear the view of others (Pr 3:5-7; 6:6; 11:14; 12:15; 15:32; 19:20). He will prosper!
How will pride take you down and humility bring you honor? If the first two results do not bring you down (they will eventually), the final result most surely will. God hates the proud, and it does not matter how much effort they make to protect themselves – He will destroy them (Pr 3:34; 6:16-17; 15:25; 16:2,5; 21:2; Job 40:9-14; Dan 4:37; Acts 12:21-23). But God will bless and exalt the humble in spirit (Pr 3:34; Is 57:15; 66:2; Jas 4:6).
Contrary to Solomon’s inspired wisdom, the world considers pride a virtue and defends conceit. From athletes to actresses to politicians, bloated egos and haughty words are the norm. Children are taught self-esteem and self-love until they are convinced the universe revolves around them. All ages now boldly announce, “I am proud of what I have accomplished,” though anything they have is only a gift (I Cor 4:7). Pride is a terrible sin!
The world loved and honored the boxer Muhammad Ali (1942-2016), who lost five times in 61 fights, and whose greatest claim to fame was the world’s biggest mouth – yapping about himself and mocking others. He spent the last 32 years of his life in physical decline and with less and less verbal ability of any kind from Parkinson’s syndrome.
For Ali’s biopic film, “The Greatest,” Linda Creed wrote the words for the narcissistic and ridiculous main theme song, “The Greatest Love of All,” which exalts and promotes love for yourself! She died at 37 from breast cancer, and Whitney Houston, who made the song famous by her version of it in 1985, drowned in her bathtub at 48.
Children should be taught to love and serve others, for that is the second commandment of only two that summarize the whole Christian religion (Mark 12:28-33). The heresy of loving and esteeming self is a symptom of perilous times (II Tim 3:1-2). Wisdom learns that making others more important than you is a rule for happy contentment (Phil 2:3-5).
Every person has an internal enemy that promotes pride – called the pride of life (I John 2:15-17). The devil seeks to tempt this human default to pride. He told Eve she could be like God for eating the forbidden fruit (Gen 3:4-6). He dared Jesus Christ to prove He was God’s Son, trying to draw forth pride, but He found nothing in Him (Matt 4:5-7).
How can you check if you are proud? How cheerfully do you take correction? Can you quickly admit you are wrong and apologize? How easily do you forgive others? Do you criticize others verbally, for proud words come from a proud heart? Is it easy to serve others, especially those lower than you? Do you question whether you are right or not?
What is in your heart? Sinful thoughts of ambition and pride that condemned the devil (I Tim 3:6)? Or the childlike humility that led to Solomon’s greatness (I Kgs 3:6-9)? The greatest kingdom is Jesus Christ’s, but the greatest in it are the servants (Matt 23:10-12). If you humble yourself under God’s mighty hand, He will exalt you soon (I Pet 5:6-7).
If you want to pursue this subject further, and you should, review sermons any honest minister has preached from the Bible against pride. Scripture has much to say against it, so faithful preachers must preach against it periodically. Remember, your future depends on you learning this lesson. Pride will bring you low, but humility will bring you honor.
The Man and King with the most right to pride was Jesus Christ, but He was known for incredible humility and meekness instead (Matt 11:29; Phil 2:5-8; II Cor 10:1). He never promoted Himself, though He had the most reason to do so (Is 42:1-2; Matt 12:18-20). Of course, He is now honored above all the hosts of heaven, confirming Solomon’s proverb.