EDITORIAL: Pride Goes Before Destruction

by David Dann

Synopsis: This month, we asked David Dann to select and assign the theme topics and to compose a related editorial. He focuses upon the perils of pride—a subtle tool of the devil that can easily destroy the Christian’s relationship with God.


Pride is a problem. The inspired wise man writes, “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall” (Prov. 16:18, NKJV). God’s word consistently connects pride with man’s moral and spiritual downfall.

What Is Pride?

1. It is a sinful attitude. The English word “pride” is defined as: “a high or inordinate opinion of one’s own dignity, importance, merit, or superiority, whether as cherished in the mind or as displayed in bearing, conduct, etc. Pride, conceit, self-esteem, egotism, vanity, vainglory imply an unduly favorable idea of one’s own appearance, advantages, achievements, etc. and often apply to offensive characteristics. Pride is a lofty and often arrogant assumption of superiority in some respect” (Dictionary.com). While we should have a measure of self-respect because we are made in God’s image, and Christ sacrificed Himself for us (cf. John 3:16), and while we should also have enough self-respect to do our best in any endeavor (cf. Col. 3:23), the negative connotation of pride is that it has to do with an overinflated view of oneself. The Bible instructs, “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up” (Jas. 4:10). Pride is the opposite of humility and represents a sinful attempt to lift oneself up.

2. It begins in the heart. Proverbs says, “A haughty look, a proud heart, and the plowing of the wicked are sin” (Prov. 21:4). As is true of any sinful attitude, pride begins in an individual’s heart as he starts to develop an improper view of himself. Jesus classes “pride” among the “evil things” that “come from within and defile a man” (Mark 7:21-23). Lofty and arrogant assumptions of one’s superiority lead to actions and attitudes that are offensive to the Lord.

3. It is an appeal of Satan. The apostle John warned his fellow believers, saying, “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world” (1 John 2:15-16). The “pride of life” is not from God; instead, it is a tool of the devil by which he appeals to us and tempts us to exalt ourselves instead of humbly submitting to the Lord. The serpent tempted Eve to eat the forbidden fruit using these very means (cf. Gen. 3:5). The devil has us where he wants us when we are looking to elevate ourselves rather than yield to God’s instruction.

What Does Pride Do?

1. It exalts self. Paul instructed the saints in Rome, saying, “For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith” (Rom. 12:3). When pride takes hold, we attempt to remove God from His throne as we arrogantly pretend that we possess the power to control our future and direct our steps. It is in the grip of pride that we forget that we are merely the creatures, and God is the Creator. Pride leads us to try to elevate ourselves to a position that doesn’t belong to us.

2. It devalues others. In His parable of the proud Pharisee and the humble tax collector, Jesus said, “The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men—extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector’” (Luke 18:11). When we exalt ourselves, we begin to think less of those around us. Pride produces feelings of superiority to the extent that others just don’t measure up to our level of greatness. The prideful devaluing of others inevitably results in conflict. The Bible says, “By pride comes nothing but strife, but with the well-advised is wisdom” (Prov. 13:10). When pride takes hold, we no longer feel any need to love our neighbor as ourselves because we put our neighbor beneath us.

3. It prevents one from pleasing God. The proverb writer lists “a proud look” among seven things that are an abomination to God (Prov. 6:17). To be a citizen of the Lord’s kingdom, one must be humble. Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 5:3). The Bible never says, “Blessed are those who are able to convince others of their greatness,” or, “Blessed are those who flaunt their wealth and intelligence,” or, “Blessed are those who think they’re better than their neighbors.” Conversion to Christ, confession of sin to God and to those against whom we have sinned, and true service to God and others all become impossible when pride takes hold.

Where Does Pride Lead?

1. Shame. The inspired wise man says, “When pride comes, then comes shame; but with the humble is wisdom” (Prov. 11:2). Dishonor and disgrace are sure to follow when we put ourselves up on a pedestal. Our mistakes and our sins will eventually reveal our shortcomings and will prove that our pride was misplaced. Eventually, we’ll slip up, or those around us will tire of the superiority act we’ve been putting on. Pride leads to suffering disgrace in the eyes of others, and most importantly, in the eyes of God.

2. Failure. The Bible warns us, “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall” (Prov. 16:18). The world may look up to those who exalt themselves and boast of their wealth and accomplishments. Yet, in the end, the prideful path leads only to failure and destruction. No one sets himself up for a harder fall than the one who has convinced himself and others that he is something special. Instead of leading to permanent exaltation and glory, pride leads only to a miserable downfall.

3. Rejection. The apostle Peter instructs Christians: “Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for ‘God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble’” (1 Pet. 5:5). While we may exalt ourselves and convince others of our superiority and greatness, we will never convince the Lord. The Bible makes it clear that “The Lord will destroy the house of the proud” (Prov. 15:25a). The one who chooses pride also chooses to be rejected by the Lord.


We need to focus on the greatness of God and on the blessing of having a relationship with Him instead of focusing on some false picture of our greatness (cf. Jer. 9:23-24). The apostle Paul puts it this way: “But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world” (Gal. 6:14). Instead of boasting about ourselves and promoting ourselves, we need to be busy boasting about the greatness of our Savior and promoting Him as the only way of salvation. Don’t allow yourself to be destroyed by pride!


“Pride.” Dictionary.com. https://www.dictionary.com/browse/pride.

Author Bio

David has been working with the Hebron Lane church of Christ in Shepherdsville, KY since 2016. He and his wife, Cynthia, have been blessed with six children. The church website is hebronlane.com. He can be reached at ddann1@hotmail.com.