Are you struggling with a form of pride? We have outlined a five-step process to help you change and heal in this area of your life. Take all the time you need with each of the steps included below.
Step 1: Adopt a Correct View of God
When you have a distorted view of who God is, you will not give Him the reverence and respect that is due to Him. As a result, your arrogance will be free to develop until you suffer the consequences of your pride.
Consider some truths about God that will help you with your pride problem:
God is infinitely superior to us. He is absolutely perfect and we are not.
How can a mortal be innocent before God? Can anyone born of a woman be pure? God is more glorious than the moon; He shines brighter than the stars. In comparison, people are maggots; we mortals are mere worms. (Job 25:4–6)
God has supreme authority over us. He determines our eternal future.
How foolish can you be? He is the Potter, and He is certainly greater than you, the clay! Should the created thing say of the one who made it, “He didn’t make me?” Does a jar ever say, “The potter who made me is stupid?” (Isaiah 29:16)
If you tend to think too highly of yourself, focus more on the greatness of God. Undertake a Bible study on the nature of God, especially His majesty and power. Ask God to reveal Himself more clearly to you.
Step 2: Revise Your False Beliefs
God wants His people to be living examples of His love to others. Yet pride is the single greatest obstacle to loving people. Reflect on your attitudes with the help of the questions that follow.
Do you think you are better than others?
What gives you the right to make such a judgment? What do you have that God hasn’t given you? And if everything you have is from God, why boast as though it were not a gift? (1 Corinthians 4:7)
Do you think that you are indispensable?
By the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. (Romans 12:3 NIV)
Do you think that your accomplishments and position entitle you to special favor?
It’s not good to eat too much honey, and it’s not good to seek honors for yourself. (Proverbs 25:27)
Such beliefs are all self-centered, self-appreciating, and degrading to others. Yet your identity in Christ is not to be one of selfish ambition and pride but rather one of self-denial and grace-filled humility. Allow Scripture to inform your views of yourself, other people, and life in general so that you will not be proud in a sinful way.
Step 3: Repent of Your Sin
The hardest thing for a proud person to do is to admit that he or she is wrong. Are you prepared to do that? If so, give your type of pride a specific name (conceit, vanity, or whatever).
Then pray the following prayer (or a similar one of your own making) in faith that God will forgive your sin and empower your obedience. Insert the name of your particular type of pride in the blanks.
God, I know I have sinned by __________. I am sorry for the pain I have given to You and to the people around me. Please forgive me for my sin. Wash away all of the __________ from me. And by Your Spirit, give me the strength to sin no more in this area but instead to live in humility. In Christ’s name, amen.
If you have harmed others with your sin, apologize to them. Seek reconciliation and offer restitution where appropriate.
Step 4: Defend against Spiritual Attacks
Pride is easy to slip back into after you have repented. You can even become proud of your humility! Be certain that the world, the flesh, and the Devil will do all they can to pull you back into your sin of pride.
- The values of the world system are topsy-turvy, including promoting pride as a positive thing. The world system gives us messages like “You should think highly of yourself” and “Try to keep yourself in the spotlight.” Overcome the world by inviting God to transform your thinking so that you come to agree with Him about the importance He places on humility.
- Your flesh (sinful nature) craves the good feeling it gets when you inflate your ego and selfishly seek attention from others. So remind yourself that your sinful nature is actually already dead. Cooperate with the Holy Spirit, who seeks to magnify God, not God’s creatures.
- Satan will lay opportunities in your path that will make it easy for you to exercise your pride. Resist his schemes by putting on the whole armor of God. Especially use the “belt of truth” (Ephesians 6:14) by reminding yourself that God is the one who deserves honor, not you.
Spiritual attacks will never cease. So remain alert. The power of God is more than enough to defend you against spiritual attacks so that you may continue to live in a way that is consistent with your repentance.
Step 5: Flee Temptation
You will never fully be able to escape temptations to be proud. But you can significantly reduce these temptations—and thus improve your chances of remaining free of pride—if you will take specific steps to avoid temptation.
Focus on your relationship with God.
Strengthen your devotional life. In particular, focus on giving God glory and humbling yourself before Him.
Latch on to God’s promises.
Search the Scriptures for truths about pride and humility, then memorize the verses that you think can best help you to resist pride. Recall these verses whenever temptation arises. The following are a couple of verses you might want to memorize.
Anyone who becomes as humble as this little child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven. (Matthew 18:4)
Humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time He will lift you up in honor. (1 Peter 5:6)
Make changes in your lifestyle that will reduce your temptation to be prideful. Be bold here! Be creative! These are a few possibilities to get your thinking going:
- If you tend to look down on people of a lower social class than your own, volunteer to serve some of society’s down-and-outers.
- If you are proud of your looks, get rid of the clothes or makeup that you think flatter your looks the most.
- If you like to show off by driving up in a flashy car, trade it in for a vehicle that is more modest and practical.
- Ask a trusted Christian friend to hold you accountable in your commitment to not be prideful.
Do not focus on your failures of the past but rather on God’s ability to give you lasting victory over pride. Believe that He will implant a more humble attitude in your heart—for good. And give Him the praise in advance!
[This article by Dr. Bill Bright and Dr. Henry Brandt is from Soul Prescription, chapter 9]