What is spiritual pride and how can I detect it in my life?


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Spiritual pride is deadly and deceitful because from the outside it appears as a virtue. Jesus illustrated spiritual pride in a parable saying, “Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican” (Luke 18:10). At Jesus’ time, the Pharisees were respected for their piety, while the publicans were regarded as great sinners.

In the parable, the “Pharisee stood and prayed thus … God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess,” while the “publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner” (Luke 18:11–13).

After the prayer, the humble publican went home justified and forgiven (Luke 18:14), while the Pharisee who trusted in his good works, did not. To those who recognize and admit their poor spiritual state and rely only on the grace of Christ for forgiveness and change, they are promised, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3).

That’s why Jesus warned, “Beware of the scribes, which love to go in long clothing, and love salutations in the marketplaces, And the chief seats in the synagogues, and the uppermost rooms at feasts: Which devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense make long prayers” (Mark 12:38 – 40). These men, says Jesus, will receive even greater condemnation because of their unchecked pride.

Pride was the original sin that filled the heart of Lucifer “For you have said in your heart: ‘I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north;  I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High'” (Isaiah 14:13, 14). This sin led to his destruction, “When pride cometh, then cometh shame” (Proverbs 11:2).

The end-time church is characterized by spiritual pride for it says, “I am rich and increased with goods” (Revelation 3:17). But the Lord answers saying that in reality it is, “poor and wretched and blind and naked and don’t know it.”

And the Lord advises the church, “I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see” (Revelation 3:18). Only through total reliance on God can a person be forgiven and changed.

Check out our Bible Answers page for more information on a variety of topics.

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

This answer is also available in: हिन्दी

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