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Posted 04/16/2024 in Christian Mental Health Tips

Breaking the Chains of Pride: A Path to Humility and Growth

Breaking the Chains of Pride: A Path to Humility and Growth

Pride, viewed by many as the "core of all sin," holds a major place in spiritual and moral debates. It is a complicated aspect of human nature that, when left unchecked, can lead you away from your faith and purpose. For this reason, knowing the difference between healthy self-esteem and sinful pride is crucial.


As we delve deeper into this topic, we'll examine when pride transitions from a valuable acknowledgment of our capabilities into a destructive force that changes the course of our lives. 

Recognizing the signs of pride within ourselves and our communities is the first step toward fighting this deadly sin. By admitting our prideful thoughts and ideas, we can actively work to eliminate them from our lives, aligning ourselves more closely with God's plan for our lives and His call for humility.

In the upcoming sections of this article, we will journey through the stories of pride in the Bible, dissect when and how pride becomes a sin, and identify the telltale signs of pride in people. We will also explore the distinction between sinful pride and a healthy self-image, emphasizing the importance of acknowledging God's role in our accomplishments

So if you’re ready to move away from the sin of pride and into a healthy self-image, keep reading.

What Does the Bible say About Pride?

The significance of pride in the Bible cannot be overstated. The word is intricately tied to the concept of the seven deadly sins. Therefore, to understand its true nature, we need to turn to the wisdom of the Bible, where scripture offers deep insights into the implications of pride. 

One of the most famous passages on pride comes from Proverbs 16:18, which states, "Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall." This verse serves as a warning about the harmful nature of pride and its role in leading people to downfall. It emphasizes the idea that when people become prideful and too self-assured, they are often on the path to their own destruction.

Another significant Bible verse about pride can be found in James 4:6, which declares, "But he gives more grace. Therefore, it says, 'God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.'" This verse stresses God’s perspective on pride, explaining that God opposes those who exalt themselves with pride but generously grants grace to those who embrace humility. It serves as a reminder that pride can create a rift and hinder the flow of divine grace into your life.

Proverbs 11:2 is another great scripture that offers insight into the consequences of pride, stating, "When pride comes, then comes shame, but with the humble is wisdom." Here, the Bible connects pride with eventual shame, emphasizing that those who exalt themselves with pride may ultimately face humiliation. On the contrary, wisdom is associated with humility, implying that embracing humility can lead to a deeper understanding of life's truths and God's ways. 

These verses collectively provide biblical guidance on the sin of pride, cautioning against its destructive nature and promoting the virtues of humility.

5 Stories of Pride in the Bible

The Bible is filled with wisdom and guidance on various aspects of life, and one of the recurring themes it addresses is the sin of pride. Pride is often considered one of the deadliest sins, as it can lead to arrogance, rebellion against God, and various other sinful behaviors. Here are 5 of the many instances in the Bible where the sin of pride led to major consequences:

The Fall of Lucifer: One of the biggest examples of the sin of pride can be found in the story of Lucifer, a stunning and powerful angel who became proud of his beauty and position. He desired to be equal to God and, as a result of his rebellion, was cast out of heaven, becoming Satan, the adversary of God and all His people. See Ezekiel 28 and Isaiah 14.

Adam and Eve's Disobedience: In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve's prideful desire for knowledge led them to eat the forbidden fruit. They believed that by doing so, they could become like God, which resulted in their removal from paradise and the introduction of sin into the world. See Genesis 3.

King Nebuchadnezzar's Arrogance: In the book of Daniel, King Nebuchadnezzar became prideful about his achievements and power. He proclaimed, "Is not this great Babylon, which I have built by my mighty power as a royal residence and for the glory of my majesty?" God responded by humbling him, causing him to live like a wild animal until he acknowledged God's sovereignty. See Daniel 4:28.

The Pharisee and the Tax Collector: In one of Jesus' parables (Luke 18:9-14), He contrasted the prideful mindset of a Pharisee with the humility of a tax collector. The Pharisee boasted about his righteous deeds, while the tax collector humbly asked for God's mercy. Jesus commended the tax collector's humility and rebuked the Pharisee's pride.

King Herod's Blasphemy: King Herod Agrippa I's pride led him to accept divine worship from the people, even though he was only a mortal man. In Acts 12:21-23, Herod's prideful acceptance of their praises led to his downfall. An angel of the Lord struck him down, and he was eaten by worms.

When Does Pride Become a Sin?

Pride, in itself, isn't innately sinful. It's a natural human emotion that can be seen as a healthy sense of self-worth and accomplishment. However, pride becomes a sin when it takes on a different nature – when it changes from a sense of accomplishment and self-worth into an excessive desire for recognition, a pretentious spirit, and an attitude of self-sufficiency that excludes God.

In the Bible, the first sin committed by human beings, often referred to as the original sin, was rooted in pride. Adam and Eve's disobedience in the Garden of Eden came from their desire to be like God, to have the knowledge of good and evil, and to assert their independence from Him. This act of prideful rebellion against God's command brought sin into the world and resulted in dire consequences for humanity.

Furthermore, pride is considered a mortal sin when it leads to an unrepentant heart that refuses to acknowledge the need for God's forgiveness and salvation through Jesus Christ. When pride blinds people to their own sinfulness and prevents them from pursuing God's grace, it becomes a substantial barrier to a profound relationship with God and the forgiveness of sins.

Signs of Pride in a Person

Signs of pride in a person can be displayed in different ways, often revealing an inflated sense of self-importance and a resistance to humility. Here are some common signs to look for:

Refusal to Admit Mistakes: Proud people find it difficult to accept their errors or wrongdoing. They may deflect blame onto others or make excuses rather than taking responsibility for their actions.

Seeking Praise for Gifts or Talents: Someone struggling with pride may constantly seek recognition for their natural abilities or talents, as if they are the sole source of these gifts, rather than recognizing God's role in their abilities.

Resistance to Counsel: Proud people often resist taking advice or correction from others. They believe their own opinions and decisions are superior and are reluctant to learn from others.


Comparing Themselves to Others: People struggling with pride frequently engage in comparisons with others, seeking to prove their superiority or gain a sense of self-worth from being better than someone else.

Boasting and Self-Promotion: Excessive self-promotion, bragging, and boasting are clear signs of pride. Proud people often want to be the center of attention and highlight their achievements at every opportunity.

Lack of Gratitude: Pride can lead to an ungrateful attitude, as people may attribute their successes solely to their efforts rather than recognizing God's role in their blessings.

Resisting Dependency on God: Perhaps the most significant sign of pride is resisting dependency on God. Proud people do not see the need for God in their lives.

Recognizing these signs in yourself or others is essential for addressing and eliminating pride.

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Sinful Pride Is Not the Same as a Good Self-Image

It is extremely necessary to differentiate between sinful pride and having a healthy self-image. While pride is one of the seven deadly sins rooted in arrogance, self-centeredness, and a desire for self-glorification, having a good self-image is about recognizing your worth and value as God's creation without letting it lead to sinful attitudes.

A healthy self-image is grounded in the understanding that you are fearfully and wonderfully made by God (Psalm 139:14). It recognizes that God created you with unique abilities, gifts, and characteristics and that you should embrace and celebrate these aspects of yourself. This perspective will foster self-confidence, and allow you to fulfill the purpose God has for your life.

On the other hand, sinful pride distorts this self-image by getting you to elevate yourself above others and even above God. It involves an exaggerated sense of self-importance and a lack of humility. Sinful pride seeks to take credit for one's achievements without acknowledging God's role, leading to a self-centered and self-glorifying attitude. 

In essence, a good self-image encourages us to use our God-given gifts for His glory and the benefit of others, while sinful pride tempts us to use those gifts for our self-glorification and personal gain. Understanding this distinction is crucial for maintaining a humble and Christ-centered outlook on life.

Scripture to Help Us Keep Our Pride in Check

1 Peter 5:5-7: "And all of you clothe yourselves with humility toward one another because, 'God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble.' Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, so that He may lift you up at the proper time, casting all your care on Him, because He cares about you." 

Proverbs 6:16-17: "These six things the LORD hates, yes, seven are an abomination to Him: a proud look..."  

Proverbs 28:25: "He who is of a proud heart stirs up strife." 

12 Ways to Eliminate Pride from Your Life

Here are 12 effective ways to eliminate pride from your life and cultivate humility:

Regular Self-Examination

Take time for introspection and self-examination. Reflect on your thoughts, actions, and perspectives to identify signs of pride. Acknowledging your prideful tendencies is the first step toward eliminating them.

Pray for Humility

Pray regularly for humility. Ask God to reveal areas of pride in your life and help you develop a humble heart. Seek His guidance and strength in becoming more humble.

Practice Gratitude

Cultivate gratitude for all the blessings you've received from God. Recognize that everything you have is a result of His grace, not your achievements. Maintain a thankful attitude in your daily life.

Embrace a Servant's Heart

Follow the example of Jesus, who came to serve rather than be served. Look for opportunities to serve others selflessly, without seeking recognition or praise. Serving humbly can counteract pride.

Receive Constructive Feedback

Be open to receiving feedback and constructive criticism from others. Listen attentively to their views and be willing to make changes when necessary. Pride often resists correction, so embracing feedback can help you grow in humility.

Stay Grounded in God's Word

Regularly study the Bible and meditate on passages that emphasize humility and the dangers of pride. God's Word can serve as a constant reminder of the importance of humility in your life.

Seek Accountability

Share your journey toward humility with a trusted friend. Allow them to hold you accountable for your actions and attitudes. Having someone to encourage and challenge you is a valuable asset.

Practice Acts of Kindness

Engage in acts of kindness and generosity toward others, expecting nothing in return. Acts of love and compassion can soften a proud heart and remind you of the importance of humility.

Learn from Humble Role Models

Study the lives of humble people, both in and out of the Bible. Their examples can inspire and guide you in your pursuit of humility.

Cultivate a Spirit of Forgiveness

Release grudges and practice forgiveness toward those who have wronged you. Forgiveness requires humility, as it involves letting go of the desire for vengeance or retribution.

Stay Focused on God's Glory

Redirect your focus from self-glory to the glory of God. Make it your aim to honor and magnify God in all you do, recognizing that He alone deserves praise and adoration.

Count Your Blessings

Regularly make a list of the blessings in your life, both big and small. This practice helps shift your perspective from entitlement to gratitude.

By implementing these strategies, you can actively work toward eliminating pride from your life and developing a spirit of humility that aligns with God's will.

Final Thoughts On Understanding the Sin of Pride

Remember, pride is a sin that can creep into your life, often without you realizing it. The Bible warns us about the dangers of pride and its destructive nature. As humans, we are susceptible to this deadly sin, which can lead to other sins and distance us from God.

To keep our pride in check, we must turn to Scripture, which provides guidance and wisdom. We must also continue to seek humility through prayer, gratitude, and self-examination, by doing this we can wage war with the sin of pride and embrace a servant's heart. 

Ultimately, the journey to eliminate pride is ongoing and requires intentional effort. By following the strategies outlined in this post and relying on God's grace, you can and will move closer to a humble and Christ-centered life, aligning yourself with His will and purpose. 

May you and us all continually strive to cast aside pride and embrace the virtue of humility, growing in our faith and relationship with our Heavenly Father.

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About the Author:Christian Counselor in Maryland, New York and New Jersey Corine Williams, Ph.D.

Corine Williams, Ph.D. is Clinical Psychologist that is currently seeing clients in the States of Maryland, New Jersey, and New York. You can find out more about her practice by visiting www.therapyforchristians.com/corinewilliams. In addition to providing individual therapy, Dr. Williams is also passionate about writing books and designing merchandise that educate, uplift, and normalize mental health subject in the Christian community. You can find out more about her at  www.booksbycorine.com or by visiting her amazon profile here:  https://www.amazon.com/Corine-Hyman/e/B00AWZ5FL2

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