This article is part of Sister Michelle Watson’s deep dive into the concept of “deny yourself” (Mt. 16:24, Mk. 8:34, Lu. 9:23, 3 Ne. 12:30). Today’s sub-theme is pride.
We all know that pride, in general, is bad. But after digging a little deeper in my quest, I’m convinced that pride is the sworn enemy of self-denial. When I’m puffy-proud, I’m not in any frame of mind to put myself second.
I realized that pride is a Pandora’s box, so to speak. After studying up on this, I was shocked to learn how many other evils pride leads to. Here’s just a sampling of what I found:
- Self-deception – Gal. 6:3, Obadiah 3
- Hard heart – Dan 5:20
- Malicious spirit – Ps. 119:85, Alma 4:8-9
- Contempt for others – Ps. 123:4, Jacob 2:13-16
- Quarrelling – Prov. 13:10, Alma 4:8-9
- Violence – Ps. 73:6
- Injustice and inequality – Ps. 119:78, 3 Ne. 6:10-14
- Oppression and persecution – Ps. 10:2, 2 Ne. 28:13
- Materialism – Alma 31:28
- Corruption and failure of the church – 2 Ne. 28:12, Alma 4:10
The worst one in my opinion?
Contempt for God.
Ps. 10:4 says, “The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not at all in his thoughts.” After sifting through scads of scriptures, this is by far the scariest prospect that I came across — and the most relevant, I think, to the world we live in.
I don’t want to be Chicken Little, here, but — sheesh — this is serious! Contempt for God.
What does that mean? It means believing that God isn’t good and all-powerful. It’s believing that I am a much better ruler and judge than He. I was floored to discover so many scriptures speaking so pointedly to this effect.
- Isaiah 14:13-14 – “For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God … I will be like the most High.”
- Isaiah 47:10 – “thou hast said in thine heart, I am, and none else beside me.”
- Ezekiel 28:2-10 – “Because thine heart is lifted up, and thou hast said, I am a God, I sit in the seat of God.”
- 2 Tim. 3:1-2 – “In the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud.”
Bottom line? I want to be my own God. I want to be the ultimate authority. I want to decide what’s good and bad. I don’t want anyone else telling me what to do because I know best.
Pride leads me to despise God, my Creator, my Father.
How very sad. Yet, this is society in a nutshell. Want a snapshot?
- No-fault divorce – I get to decide which promises are worth keeping or breaking.
- Abortion – I get to decide whether or not an unborn baby has worth.
- Homosexuality – I get to decide what marriage is and whether I’m male or female.
- Terrorism, rioting, etc. – I get to take justice into my own hands.
- Politics – I must separate legislation from scriptural morality.
I love the way Psalm 49:6-7 puts the “I am God” notion into perspective. It basically says, if you’re so rich and awesome, then why can’t you redeem your brother’s soul? With all your great wealth, surely you can afford to ransom his soul from God’s justice, right? (wink, wink)
Of course, only Christ is that rich, that powerful. Only He can pay an eternal price. Only He can be God. Not me.
The heart of humility is recognizing that God is God. One aspect of self-denial is giving up my inner throne to the One who truly deserves to sit there.
I’d like to close with some beautiful words of sanity.
Alma 38:14, “Acknowledge your unworthiness before God at all times.”
John 3:30, “He must increase, but I must decrease.”
Jeremiah 9:23-24, “But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the Lord.”
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.
AMEN!! “The Poverty of Pride” it bankrupts our souls, beautiful insight from God! Thank you, Sis. Michelle, for laying it all out for us!
Wonderful article, Sister Michelle! We all need this reminder so that we don’t fall into the habit of pride in our lives. Really gave me pause, and I realize that pride is the root of all evil, along with its partner, the love of money.