What is pride?

Pride is a person’s core belief, whether it is cognitive or not, that they are at the center of their lives, that they are the ultimate authority over their life’s course. While that may seem to be a reasonable belief, and certainly something that is embedded in our culture, it is at odds with a core principle of the Bible—that we are made for this ultimate truth: only God is God.

Most often, pride is revealed in our attitudes and interactions with others. Instead of desiring to be the best we can be, pride causes us to focus solely on being "better" than someone else. A prideful person wants to be the center-of-attention at all times, constantly referring to himself. He may even ask a leading question ("How do I look today") in order to manipulate a desired response from someone else.[1]

When we relinquish all control to God, we essentially stop fighting Him for supremacy. It is the gateway to the freedom and joy we have always sought. Those who have finally understood that they no longer had to carry the burden of being God, have experienced life-changing relief and joy. When we submit our will to God, He steps into control and that is exactly where we want Him.


I’ve always been told to have pride. Is that wrong?

When you have done a job well, to feel good about the accomplishment is a wonderful thing. To feel good about your family or your country or college team, these are all healthy feelings. Dangerous pride is when you assume the top billing in your life.

According to Dr. Dr. Steven Aicinena: “Abstract Pride is considered to be a positive emotion and is observed in human beings throughout the world. It is fostered through positive approval received from others and is associated with success and satisfaction. Feelings of pride serve to enhance an individual’s self-concept. When pride is at stake, individuals are motivated to work longer and harder to achieve success. Pride serves individuals and groups positively, however, experienced pride may lead individuals to feel special and entitled. When they are, they experience hubristic pride. Hubristic pride is sinister and dangerous. In the name of pride, sport participants cheat, engage in violence, and selfishly take advantage of others. Hubristic pride is not to be confused with the satisfaction one receives from successful performance and positive feedback. Hubristic pride is pride that has gone wrong. It allows individuals to engage in harmful acts without feeling remorse.”[2]

Take a look at your behavior. Do you think you are superior to others? Can you accept criticism? Are you defensive? Are you racked with fear or anxiety? If so, somebody is seated at the throne of your life, and it is not God.


Doesn’t one have to have pride in order to achieve some success?

One needs to take pride in their work to do a good job. But when that person feels that it is really their talent, brains and brawn that will make the difference, that is where issues may begin. There are countless people who will share that they feel like they were finally successful when they gave up all control and saw themselves as in submission to a loving God.


Who in the Bible has dealt with Pride?

The better question may be, who in the Bible has not dealt with pride? Pride is at the root of all sin, and the Bible does not shy away from showing us the sinful lives of His people and the awful results of pride. But probably the most famous of all biblical characters who have dealt with pride was David. Once he rose to great heights, he felt his power as having something to do with him, even though God had installed him as King. That’s when he saw a woman who was not his wife and took her for his own. It was a decision that hurt him for the rest of his life. But even so, God’s hand guided and protected David. And God loved David, calling him “a man after God’s own heart.”


The Bible offers hope to all of us.



[1] No Author Listed, “The Problem of Pride,” Things Eternal, In Touch Ministries, (Accessed March 25, 2015).

[2] Dr. Steven Aicinena, “When Pride Goes Wrong,” The Sports Journal, The United States Sports Academy, August 2011, (Accessed March 25, 2015).

Proverbs 11:2 When pride comes, then comes shame; but with the humble is wisdom.


Proverbs 29:23 A man’s pride will bring him low, but the humble in spirit will retain honor.Proverbs 16:18 Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.


Proverbs 27:2 Let another man praise you, and not your own mouth; A stranger, and not your own lips.


James 4:6  But He gives more grace. Therefore He says “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.