Macedonian Ruins

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Pride is Self-centredness

Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before stumbling. (Proverbs 16:18 NASB unless noted)

We are all introduced to the fact that "pride" is a bad character quality especially if you are a follower of Jesus.

This verse quoted above and many others attest to the negative implications of having pride evident in our lives.

Simple definitions of pride:

  • a feeling that you respect yourself and deserve to be respected by other people   
  • a feeling that you are more important or better than other people
  • a feeling of happiness that you get when you or someone you know does something good, difficult, etc.

"Pride." Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 15 Apr. 2016.

It seems evident that the middle definition, "a feeling that you [and your needs]are more important or better than other people" is the attribute that the Bible warns us of.

In the New Testament the word "pride" is found only three times and each of these comes as a different Greek word. The word "proud" appears more often and is usually the Greek word huperephanos, which means "showing oneself above others."

Pride then is, centeredness, selfishness, self-focus, self-worship, and the "feeling that you are more important or better than other people."

When I've observed animals, even those who mate for life, they work to ensure they have their needs met ahead of their mate. They fight others off the kill, the seeds, or the dish of food until they have fed or gorged themselves only then will they allow others to feed.

God created us in His image and likeness. God has, throughout the Bible, presented Himself as giving, and caring for others more than Himself even to death:

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son (John 3:16)

God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)

"A feeling that you are more important or better than other people."

What character quality did Jesus exhibit, and admonish us to do, so as well? Was it not love as represented by the Greek word agapao or agapeas?

Agape is not a feeling; it's a motivation for action that we are free to choose or reject. 

Agape is a sacrificial love that voluntarily suffers inconvenience, discomfort, and even death for the benefit of another without expecting anything in return.

Agape is defined using terms like "self-sacrificing" with the principle of esteeming others ahead of yourself.

Agape is not a feeling, it is a decision, a determination to consider the needs of others ahead of our own.

Agape is doing what God requires of us rather than doing what our 'flesh' (mind and body) demands we do.

"Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. (John 12:24)

Jesus here is speaking of dying to self. A fruitful life is one not ruled by self-centredness but, by dying to self issues, ruled by a desire to serve others.

whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant (Matthew 20:26)

Those among us who aspire to be great will evidence themselves as those who joy in serving others.

©2013, Dr Steven Bydeley, a man.

All publishing rights reserved. Permission is herewith granted to reprint this article for personal use and to link or refer to it; however, no commercial re-publishing of the material in this article is permitted without prior written consent.

Steven is the author of Fathered by God and with his wife Dianne, co-author of Dream Dreams and Dreams the Heal and Counsel. He has been a guest on the Miracle Channel, Trinity Television, and Crossroads Communication, and has taught internationally on various topics.

Without Prejudice. © 2023, Steven., house of bij de Leij., of man.