by | Jun 2, 2017 | Christian Living in the Trenches | 2 comments

Repeatedly in His Word, God warns about the encroachment of pride. That’s because, as John Wesley put it, “All pride is idolatry.”

When we’re proud, how does it show?

More obvious answers include boasting about accomplishments (even when we’re subtle about it during conversations); an unwillingness to accept unsolicited counsel or reproof; or an air of superiority that results in having to win every argument or promoting our own ideas without consideration of others’ input.

But here are less obvious attitudes and behaviors that stem from pride.  To my chagrin, I’ve exhibited each of these five symptoms.

1.   Impatience

Whether I’m muttering under my breath in a traffic jam, agitated over a delay in a doctor’s office, or I’m eager for the other person to stop talking so I can say what’s on my mind, a pattern of impatience reveals that my time and words are ultimately more important.

To what extent does impatience describe you?

2.   Anxiety

In Humility:  True Greatness, C. J. Mahaney explains that pride births worry: “When I’m experiencing anxiety, I’m trying to be self-sufficient.  I’m acting independently of God.”

He’s on to something.  Peter also linked anxiety with pride: “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.  Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, that He might exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him…” (1 Pet. 5:5-7).

What does worry say about the state of your heart?  About your view of God?

3.   Ingratitude

Ingratitude is a first cousin of complaining.  Habitual complaining indicates I’m focusing on inconveniences and what I don’t have, rather than demonstrating a grateful spirit for what God has done for me and what’s He has given me.

It’s tantamount to saying that I’m the center of the universe and all the planets should revolve around me. 

Mahaney insists, “An ungrateful person is a proud person.”  Michael Ramsey adds, “Thankfulness is a soil in which pride does not easily grow.”

What sticky notes is God placing in your life as daily reminders of His presence and provision?

One tip:  travel to the poor areas of countries such as India, Africa or the Philippines and you’ll return home with a lot more gratitude.

4.   Critical Spirit

Griping about others’ blemishes is a way to inflate our own egos and make ourselves look better by comparison.  A pattern of criticizing others is merely a form of self-exaltation.

The next time you’re tempted to say something derogatory about someone, instead, ask yourself:  What evidences of grace do I see in this person?

5.   Unwillingness to be Transparent

A transparent person isn’t pretentious. He discloses setbacks as well as victories.  When he teaches, he tells stories showing how a truth has challenged or encouraged him.  With discretion, he shares struggles revealing his need to rely on the Lord’s sustaining grace. He reveals his own need for daily application of gospel truth.

He doesn’t mind if others see him as weak, so long as they see the Savior on whom he leans as strong.

But a proud person hesitates to mention the Spirit’s conviction of a wrong attitude, or the need of an adult child who’s a prodigal, or a bout with depression.  He wants others to perceive him as strong, and he’s embarrassed to admit otherwise.

Pride causes us to keep a lid on our own needs for prayer and for others in the body of Christ.

How can more transparency on your part minister to others, and magnify the sufficiency of Christ to sustain?

 You knew these traits were undesirable, but perhaps you never considered their link to a proud spirit.

Is God’s Spirit nudging you to confess one of these expressions of pride?

What is another attitude or behavior that we don’t typically link to pride?

Please note: comments are closed after two weeks. You are welcome to contact me directly after that time if you would like to share your thoughts.


  1. Thanks, Terry.
    In Him,

  2. Thanks, Kerry. It helped me to realize that these attitudes stemmed from pride.

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