At the heart of every kind of sin is a root that provides constant demonic growth in every human heart.
Pride is sin that is the root of all other sin. It was the pride of Adam and Eve that the serpent tugged in the Garden.
Pride is the essence of all idolatry, dishonesty, immorality, dishonor, covetousness, and discontent. Pride in the heart says, “I know best. I am best. I know what is best for me.”
Pride always expresses itself in sin and knows not how to hide. The office, the classroom, the church sanctuary, the kitchen, the dugout, and the nursery are all camouflaged outposts of the kingdom of pride. Because of the fall and our union with Adam from birth, pride is the natural expression of our hearts.
As a result, rebellion is the natural action that flows from the broken cistern of pride. In our pride we desire self-exaltation and glory apart from God and even above God.
The greatest hope for our pride-poisoned hearts is the antidote of the absolute sovereignty of God. God’s sovereignty cripples our pride and destroys the mountain of glory we have built in our hearts.
Self-exaltation crumbles at the foot of the mountain of God’s sovereignty. Self-righteousness is laughable in the face of a sovereign and righteous God. But there is also grace immeasurable and love unknown in the God who sovereignly does all that he pleases (Ps. 115:3).
While we stand as our own “sovereigns” doing all that we please, we learn that autonomy as an end leaves us powerless and empty. Only when we walk in the shadow of the wings of the all-satisfying Sovereign who reigns in the heavens in majesty and rightful glory will our rebellious hearts be cut down and filled with the joy we all so crave.
The question we all want to ask Jesus is, “Who is the greatest?” What we mean is, “Who among us is the greatest?” According to Jesus, greatness is found and expressed in humility—realizing we are not great. Our answer to the question, “Who is the greatest?” should always be, “not me.”
“Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name give glory” (Ps. 115:1). It is through this humble disposition that is so contrary to our sinful inclinations that we will find joy in communion with God. While pride is the root of all sin, John Chrysostom once remarked, “Humility is the root, mother, nurse, foundation, and bond of all virtue.”
God’s universal rule and reign over all crumbles our pride. The glory of God is an eternally satisfying well we taste in Christ. Our self-exaltation and self-proclaimed glory is a joy-killing falsity. Glory and honor are not found in pride and self-exaltation. Trusting self is not the path to glory. True and lasting glory is ultimately found in the humility of Christ on the cross.
Pride is dethroned as the one who possesses universal power bows his head in humiliating, crucifying defeat. Through his death and resurrection, Christ delivers a powerful death-blow to all phony sovereigns and satisfiers. True greatness and true joy are found only in the cross-empowered, self-renouncing humility that God in the flesh embodied on the tree.
May the song of our hearts each morning be “Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name give glory” (Ps. 115:1). The sovereign God who is abundant in steadfast love and faithfulness is worthy of our complete, uninhibited trust. Fight pride today by humbly trusting the God who reigns in power, freedom, love, and grace over all.
Mathew Gilbert is Associate Pastor for Children and Preschool at The Church at Trace Crossing in Tupelo, MS. He is a student at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and the author of Come to the Well: 50 Meditations to Fuel Your Joy in God. Mathew and his wife, Erica, live in Tupelo with their two boys, Jude and Jack.