A spirit of pride can definitely trip you up in many ways. Many times we don’t even realize we are being prideful or causing people to feel hurt or worse, to feel unwelcome. So let’s learn about the subject of pride in the Bible and see what it says about having a haughty spirit.
The Spirit of Pride – How High Are Your Gates?
As part of my daily Bible reading, I enjoy the Book of Proverbs.
It always gives me some little nugget of wisdom I need at just the right time and I repeat the book each month. On one particular day I came to chapter 17. It never jumped out at me before but, this day, a verse in that chapter caught my attention and brought my focus to the importance of first impressions and pride.
It is Proverbs 17:19
It was the second part of the verse that stood out to me. The person who “builds a high gate” or builds a high threshold or door in some other translations, seeks destruction (or invites injury).
The Hebrew word for ‘raises’ here is “gābah” which, according to Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance means:
To be proud, arrogant. The attitude of pride or arrogance. Something that is “too high” and cannot be understood.
The Hebrew word for “door” (or “gate” or “threshold” depending on the translation) is “petach” and means:
Are You Showing a Haughty Spirit? – The Importance of First Impressions
Basically, this is saying we are not to make our “entrance” too proud or arrogant or lofty.
What is our “entrance” or our “gate” when we meet someone? Our mouth!
Let’s look at Micah 7:5, which speaks of the lack of uprightness among mankind and is often referenced when looking at our verse:
The same Hebrew word for “gates” here in Micah is used; petach! Guard the GATES of your mouth!
Let’s go back to the first part of Proverbs 17:19 which says:
He who loves sin loves strife
Someone who takes pleasure in arguments and strife is also the kind of person who sees themselves as loftier, more knowledgable and is more prideful than others. These people have a spirit of pride or a haughty spirit.
We have all met people who feel they are more educated in politics than we are, especially nowadays, haven’t we?
They have a way of making others seem less intelligent and more ignorant than they are. They can be condescending and judgmental because we don’t agree with their opinions, don’t know as much as they do (at least in their minds).
They love to get into debates, whether it be political or religious in nature and seem to just love to hear themselves speak.
This is the spirit of pride at its finest.
So essentially this means that we should not make or give an impression of being proud or arrogant or it could cause injury. In other words, speaking in a way that is condescending or patronizing or argumentative.
What does it mean by ‘injury’?
What is Pride in the Bible (and in the Pews)?
So let’s go back to our “gate” or “threshold” imagery. What happens when we have an entrance to our home that is too high?
This can cause someone to trip or fall, to stumble.
It means, when we meet someone or have an interaction with someone or when people see us in our daily walk, our pride or arrogance as a believer in Jesus could cause them to stumble and ultimately fall.
The importance of first impressions (or any impression for that matter) for a believer cannot be understated!
It could cause injury in the sense that we may be the only picture of Yeshua (the Hebrew name of Jesus) they ever see and if we behave in a way that shows a spirit of pride and arrogance or a self-righteous attitude and haughty spirit we could turn that person away, maybe permanently.
This is especially true if people come into contact with believers like this in church (or in shul if you are a Messianic Jew) for the first time.
If we try to look like we are all super-spiritual and act like “Sister Super Christian” (as Joyce Meyer likes to say) we could put a stumbling block in front of a new believer or a non-believer who feels like they can’t measure up.
I have sadly often heard people say that they think believers in Jesus are self-righteous, holier than thou, judgmental, etc. People have walked out of churches never to return for this very reason.
People looked down their noses at them because of how they dressed, because they had tattoos, because they weren’t part of the “right” social circles.
They judge people for what Bible translation they use or what worship songs they listen to. They look down their noses at people who don’t speak or act as they do. They think if someone listens to this teacher or reads this person’s books that they are not as spiritually mature.
Here is a newsflash…maybe they are not! Maybe this is an opportunity for you to get to know them and potentially mentor them. Maybe they are new to the faith and are hungry for the Word so they read everything they can get their hands on!
These instances are often caused by people erecting high gates or raising their doors to the point where people come away with impressions most of us wish they hadn’t.
These poor souls felt that church was more like a social club than a fellowship and a family.
How sad that these people came away from their interactions with people in the family of Yeshua carrying that impression, that injury to their very soul.
We just cannot overlook the importance of first impressions!When we meet someone or have an interaction with someone, our pride or arrogance as a Christian could cause them to stumble and ultimately fall. Click To Tweet
Pride in the Bible – Bible Verses About the Spirit of Pride
Let’s see what the Word says in these verses about pride and a haughty spirit!
James 4:6 TLV
But He gives greater grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble."
Jeremiah 9:23 CJB
...instead, let the boaster boast about this:that he understands and knows me —that I am Adonai, practicing grace, justice and righteousness in the land; for in these things I take pleasure,” says Adonai.
Proverbs 8:13 CJB
The fear of Adonai is hatred of evil.I hate pride and arrogance, evil ways and duplicitous speech.
Proverbs 16:5 CJB
Adonai detests all those with proud hearts; be assured that they will not go unpunished.
Proverbs 16:18 NASB
Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before stumbling.
Proverbs 26:12 NASB
Do you see a man wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.
Psalm 10:4 NASB
The wicked, in the haughtiness of his countenance, does not seek Him.All his thoughts are, “There is no God.”
Galatians 6:4 NASB
But each one must examine his own work, and then he will have reason for boasting in regard to himself alone, and not in regard to another.
Isaiah 2:12 CJB
Yes, Adonai-Tzva’ot has a day in store for all who are proud and lofty, for all who are lifted high to be humiliated;
Romans 12:3 CJB
For I am telling every single one of you, through the grace that has been given to me, not to have exaggerated ideas about your own importance. Instead, develop a sober estimate of yourself based on the standard which God has given to each of you, namely, trust.
1 Corinthians 13:4 NASB
Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant...
2 Corinthians 10:17-18 TLV
But “let him who boasts boast in the Lord.” For it Is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends.
1 John 2:16 TLV
For everything in the world—the desire of the flesh, the desire of the eyes, and the boasting of life—is not from the Father but from the world.
1 Timothy 6:17 TLV
Direct those who are rich in this present age not to be proud or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but rather on God—who richly provides us with everything to enjoy.
1 Corinthians 1:27-29 NASB
...but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, so that no man may boast before God.
Your Spirit of Pride May Cause Another to Fall
If you are a believer in Jesus, you may be the only Bible someone ever reads. You show the world what Yeshua is all about! If your gates are too high you are going to cause someone to trip and stumble and potentially fall. This does not just apply to those who aren’t yet saved, you can cause a new believer to fall.
1 Timothy 4:11-16 says:
Are we setting an example or arguing doctrine? Are we showing love or disputing which translation someone uses? Are we showing the love of Jesus?
Let’s all lower our gates a little!
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CJB – Taken from the Complete Jewish Bible by David H. Stern. Copyright © 1998. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Messianic Jewish Publishers, 6120 Day Long Lane, Clarksville, MD 21029. www.messianicjewish.net.
Tree of Life (TLV) – Scripture taken from the Holy Scriptures, Tree of Life Version*. Copyright © 2014,2016 by the Tree of Life Bible Society. Used by permission of the Tree of Life Bible Society.
NASB – “Scripture quotations taken from the NASB. Copyright by The Lockman Foundation“