Signs of Pride Part-1

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Pride can be called as the father of all sins. It gives birth to many other sins. Satan uses this powerful tool to bring chaos, division and confusion in families, organizations, churches, ministries or groups. That is why Bible says “God resists the proud”. Pride essentially tries to take God’s place. It treats “self” as a god and idolizes self. It violates the very first commandment of God by placing self in the throne of God. Many are deceived by satan in cult teachings that “you are god”. This same deception is seen in subtle forms in undercover even in other places including church. That is why we need to be extremely aware and sensitive about this sin in our lives. Pride manifests in different forms which are indicators to recognize its presence. The following are a list of few indicators or signs of pride.

  1. Enjoys Praise and Flattery

What is our response when someone praises us?

If you feel happy in your heart because you think “I deserve it” it is a sign of pride.

Do you enjoy flattery (when someone tries to please us or try to win favour by praising us)?

Jesus was a great leader and was a hero among His followers. He became extremely popular because of the miracles He performed. One disciple tries to please Him and praises Him. How did Jesus respond?

Mk 10:17 “As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

Mk 10:18 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone.

What a beautiful principle Lord is teaching us here. Was He not good? Did He not deserve to be praised as a good teacher? Then why did He refuse to be called good?

Recognizing self:

Jesus recognized that He was in flesh and nothing good dwells in flesh. Do we recognize that nothing good dwells within us?

Jesus recognized His true position as son of Man, which He has taken voluntarily i.e Although He was God He took the form of the fallen “fleshly” man. He is quick to rebuke when someone gives glory to flesh. He responds promptly knowing that glory belongs to the Only God from whom all goodness proceed.

Rebuke and Redirect:

This is the key principle we must follow. Praise is the biggest and most successful bait of satan for the believers. People tend to idolize leaders and ministers if they are not openly rebuked for praising. We think why we should rebuke for praising because we do not see the hidden danger. This becomes the greatest fall for a servant of God or any leader who does not acknowledge before men his weakness and God’s working in him.

When anyone praises us are we taking credit for ourselves?

We must openly confess before people who praise us that nothing good dwells within us and that the praise belongs to Jesus. Whatever we do (achievements/performances) and whatever we possess (knowledge, wealth, education, gifts, talents) proceeds from God and it is the Spirit of God who dwells within us who speaks or performs through us. Hence the praise should be rightly directed to Him. No matter how many times you are praised, redirect all of them to God, confessing before men “this praise belongs to Jesus”..  Do we give glory to God openly confessing that this praise belongs to God.

Company of flatterers:

Do we crave for more praise? Do we try to be among people who ALWAYS acknowledge us and praise us? This is the most common problem with many leaders and very often the reason for the fall of great ministers of God. They do not want any criticizers with them. They do not want people who point out their mistakes but crave to have flatterers around them. Be extremely careful with flatterers and flattery. It is a subtle yet very powerful weapon of devil.

Beware of Praise and flattery

Rebuke praise and Redirect to Jesus

  1. Hates correction and advice:

If we do not like advice, we harbor pride. Hating instruction or correction (even from subordinates), is a sure sign that pride has entered our heart. Pride says “I am greater/better than other person and so they cannot advise me”.

Pr 13:13 He who scorns instruction will pay for it, but he who respects a command is rewarded.

Pr 10:17 He who heeds discipline shows the way to life, but whoever ignores correction leads others astray.

Pr 12:1 Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates correction is stupid

 Uzziah was a God fearing King and did what was right in the eyes of the Lord. God gave him success as long as he sought God.

2Ch 26:4 He did what was right in the eyes of the LORD,…

2Ch 26:5 He sought God during the days of Zechariah, who instructed him in the fear of God. As long as he sought the LORD, God gave him success.

But after he became powerful, pride entered his heart. He would not listen to anyone. Uzziah was a great king in his own eyes and no one can instruct him. When the temple priests confronted him he became angry probably thinking “I am the king and no one is greater than me. What right do you have to advise me? How dare these priests instruct me?”

2Ch 26:16 But after Uzziah became powerful, his pride led to his downfall. He was unfaithful to the LORD his God, and entered the temple of the LORD to burn incense on the altar of incense.2Ch 26:18 They confronted him and said, “It is not right for you, Uzziah, to burn incense to the LORD. That is for the priests, the descendants of Aaron, who have been consecrated to burn incense. Leave the sanctuary, for you have been unfaithful; and you will not be honored by the LORD God.”

When pride enters our heart we would not listen to instruction. This is a serious problem since pride masks the warnings of God coming through instruction from anyone.

Is this our response when younger people/subordinates advice or instruct us?

Note that once he was a humble king and had God’s favour. Same person harbored pride when he became powerful. Beware of success in job or life or ministry. “When he became powerful” he fell into pride.

When we climb up in life, pride is waiting there to push us down.

He dared to take the priestly office and ignored the law of God which he knew very well. Pride masks even the obvious sin. His pride would not allow him to accept the truth before men. He was too great in his own eyes to take advice and looked down on others. Pride compares with others and considers self as better.

Gal 6:3 If anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself.

Gal 6:4 Each one should test his own actions. Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else,

Gal 6:5 for each one should carry his own load.

Are we careful to consider corrections, advices, instructions and suggestions even if it is from our subordinates or juniors or children? Or do we consider ourselves great enough to be advised?

Wrong advices need not be followed but the wise will consider every advice carefully and place it before God prayerfully.


Beware of success

Be always open to take advice and correction


  1. Gets Offended easily:

Uzziah got offended by the priests’ advice. Uzziah’s immediate response to the advice was anger, which was an outward expression of the offended self. Instead of taking advice as a serious warning from God, he gets offended for pointing his sin because of pride. How often we get offended when our mistakes are pointed out, instead of being thankful for the correction? How often we get mad at people if they do not approve our ways? How we get easily offended even for little suggestions they offer us?

2Ch 26:19 Uzziah, who had a censer in his hand ready to burn incense, became angry. While he was raging at the priests in their presence before the incense altar in the LORD’S temple, leprosy broke out on his forehead.

We fail to recognize that God can use anybody to show our mistake and reprove us. The right response would be to change our attitude towards people and with the help of Holy Spirit stop doing the mistake consciously. At times we may be accused falsely by people. But we need not be offended if it is not true, since God knows our heart. Why to worry about something that is not true?

Pr 13:10 Pride only breeds quarrels, but wisdom is found in those who take advice.

Pride is the breeding place and rich source of quarrel. If you find quarrel in a place, surely pride is hidden. Uzziah “raged” in anger at the priests. God did not see what he had done before but Uzziah had to face the consequences of present state of his heart.

Ecc 7:8 The end of a matter is better than its beginning, and patience is better than pride.

Ecc 7:9 Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit, for anger resides in the lap of fools.

Although Uzziah had a good beginning his final state was pathetic. A little patience could have saved him. His pride provoked anger in spirit.

Temper is the outward signal of a proud heart. If we are quickly provoked to anger, the pride meter is running high.


Beware of Anger

Be patient

 Envious of others

Jealousy is an offshoot of pride. Pride cannot tolerate when others are exalted above us or given more importance. Saul was the King of Israel chosen by God Himself. But his pride has blinded him so much that he could not see the anointing in David’s life. He missed to see God’s choice and hand upon him. How many times we miss to see God’s anointing upon others’ lives because of our own pride and self-seeking? How often we underestimate God’s chosen ones and do not realize the divine call in their lives? We are quick to acknowledge God’s call and anointing in our lives.

Pride manifests itself as jealousy when others are praised or lifted up.

1Sa 18:7 As they danced, they sang: “Saul has slain his thousands, and David his tens of thousands.”

1Sa 18:8 Saul was very angry; this refrain galled him. “They have credited David with tens of thousands,” he thought, “but me with only thousands. What more can he get but the kingdom? ”

1Sa 18:9 And from that time on Saul kept a jealous eye on David.

He could not accept when people praised David. His pride got hurt. He was deeply offended and his self-pity turned into jealousy. Are we hurt when others are given chance? Do we feel rejected when God uses someone else? Do we feel jealous when anyone is more gifted? Then pride is at work.

He could not understand Samuel’s repeated warnings and the divine calling of David. Instead of working along with him against philistines, Saul works against David. This is what is happening in churches and ministries. Instead of fighting our common enemy we fight with each other. The root cause is pride.

Beware of Envy

Acknowledge God’s hand upon others

Madhu Mathi

Dr. Madhumathi.J, works as a scientific consultant in the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) headquarters, New Delhi. She completed Ph.D in Biotechnology from Anna University and Post doctoral study from Indian Institute of Technology, Chennai. She works as a part time evangelist and is involved in youth ministry