THEME: What Is the Allure of Pride?

by Steven J. Wallace

Synopsis: Let us consider five fallacious ways that Satan entices men to manifest a spirit of arrogance and sinful pride.


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, NKJV).

Our question is not so much concerned with how pride becomes the gateway to various kinds of sins; rather, we ask, what is the fascination, temptation, or draw to becoming proud in the first place? Pride is sinful (Prov. 21:4). What leads men and women to become proud?

Words can have different meanings based on how they are used and where they are found within the context. Taking “pride” in a job well done, in a person’s achievement, or in having a sense of dignity is not necessarily what we are speaking about when we discuss the sinful aspect of pride.

Condemned pride is having an exaggerated view or high opinion of one’s self-worth or self-image. “For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself” (Gal. 6:3; cf. Prov. 3:7). Pride is found in conjunction with a spirit of haughtiness (Prov. 16:18; 21:4; Zeph. 3:11). The inspired prophet said, “Behold the proud, His soul is not upright in him; but the just shall live by his faith” (Hab. 2:4). We should readily see that pride is an enemy of saving faith. How is it then that the soul of a proud man is not upright? The answer is the same: The allurement of pride is reflected in the world’s appetite, self-love, self-praise, self-will, and independence from God

The World’s Appetite

What is in the world is not of the Father (1 John 2:16). John lists three things that are found in the world: the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. When someone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him (1 John 2:15). He is motived by sight, not faith; he is drawn and ruled by physical appetites, not spiritual realities. The reason Abraham could leave his father’s house, depart for a land to which he had never been to sojourn as a stranger, and even offer Isaac upon an altar was that he was moved by spiritual truths and not worldly pleasures (Heb. 11:8-10, 17-19). The proud person has little concern for God’s will and little room for trust.


The picture of pride is seen fully in Haman in the book of Esther. Haman was obsessed with himself. When invited to enter the king’s room, he was immediately asked, “What shall be done for the man whom the king delights to honor?” Haman’s self-talk was full of self-love: “Whom would the king delight to honor more than me?” (Esth. 6:6). Thinking that he was the one to be honored (and not realizing the king was planning to honor Mordecai), Haman suggested several sensational tokens: giving him the king’s robe and having him ride the king’s horse with a royal crest on its head. Furthermore, he suggested such a one should be paraded on horseback through the city square (see Esth. 6:7-9). No wonder the psalmist describes such saying, “Therefore pride serves as their necklace” (Ps. 73:6). When one loves himself, he thinks he is superior to everyone else and naturally despises others.


Haman despised Mordecai and wanted him to be put to death for not standing or trembling before him (Esth. 5:9; 6:4). Haman went home and called his friends and wife together (Esth. 5:10). For what purpose?

Then Haman told them of his great riches, the multitude of his children, everything in which the king had promoted him, and how he had advanced him above the officials and servants of the king. Moreover, Haman said, “Besides, Queen Esther invited no one but me to come in with the king to the banquet that she prepared; and tomorrow I am again invited by her, along with the king” (Esth. 5:11-12).

The purpose of this gathering was to hear how well Haman prospered over everyone else! The proud love to boast about themselves (Ps. 75:4). Sadly, Haman’s wife never thought of restraining such madness. Remember how Nebuchadnezzar boasted of his might and power, but within an hour was driven to eat grass like an ox (Dan. 4:30-33)? Recall how Herod received the praise that glorified him as a god rather than a man and how he was stricken, being eaten with worms (Acts 12:20-23)? Haman arrogantly boasted, but pride goes before destruction; he would eventually hang on the very gallows he had built for Mordecai (Esth. 7:9-10).


The root cause of Pharaoh’s refusal to let the people of God go was a stubborn pride (Exod. 5:1-2). Balking at God would eventually bring disaster upon his nation. With each passing plague, his heart grew harder and harder (Exod. 7:22; 8:15, 19, 32; etc.). What was the allure of pride? It was self-will. Pharaoh did not want to lose his slave labor, but in the end, he lost his firstborn son and his nation’s strength.

King Uzziah wanted to impose his will upon God, and it cost him dearly. “But when he was strong his heart was lifted up, to his destruction, for he transgressed against the Lord his God by entering the temple of the Lord to burn incense on the altar of incense” (2 Chron. 26:16).

Another man in high authority became enraged at the commandment of the Lord to dip in the Jordan seven times. The inspired historian penned in 2 Kings 5:11, “Naaman became furious, and went away and said, ‘Indeed, I said to myself, “He will surely come out to me, and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, and wave his hand over the place, and heal the leprosy.”’’ Why was he furious? He was self-willed. Why was he self-willed? Because he was proud. Thankfully, Naaman was moved by the voice of reason from his servants, obeying the commandment of God and finding the remission of leprosy (2 Kings 5:13-14). Clearly, after heeding the voice of the prophet, he became a changed man, not merely in the flesh but in manifesting a generous heart of humility (see “please,” 2 Kings 5:15-19).

Independence from God

The ultimate allurement to develop a proud heart is to become independent from God. This is why pride is an enemy of faith. By faith, we rely on God and His promises to save us. The proud individual doesn’t want to rely on anything or anyone. Satan allured Eve through the intellectual idea of becoming like God (Gen. 3:5). If one can be “like God,” there is no need for one to be dependent upon God. The 10th Psalm portrays a person given over to the allurement of pride, and in doing so, he renounces God and then displaces God from his thoughts (vv. 3-4). These two acts bring into view the full malignancy of pride—godlessness. Pride permits one to redefine the true God as less than God and to replace the true God with a false trust (Pss. 52:7; 146:3; Prov. 28:26). Through pride, a person settles into a state of deluded self-deception, in which he comfortably awaits an eternity in which he will be forever doomed and separated from the God of mercy.

Author Bio

Steven has worked with the Indiana Avenue church of Christ in Lubbock, TX for eight years. He and his wife, Kelly, have three children. His website is through which he can be contacted.