It’s all over the place in the Bible–condemnation of pride and arrogance and commendation of humility. It usually reads like this:
God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.
Whether it’s in James 4:6 (which is quoting Psalm 138:6), or among Jesus’ teachings like an example in Matthew 23:12, or in any number of proverbs like this one from Proverbs 29:23, it’s everywhere:
A man’s pride brings him low, but a man’s lowly spirit gains honor.
God’s word uses some very strong language where this topic is concerned. The Lord detests the proud, Proverbs 16 declares. Older versions render that ‘everyone that is proud in their heart is an abomination to the Lord’. He elsewhere promises, pride goes before destruction. And in still another section of Proverbs, God says this: I hate pride and arrogance. Abomination? Hate? Destruction?
Why is this such an important issue with God?
Pride and arrogance are an afront to God in His very nature–as God. They demonstrate a shift from God to self in the area of our confidence. Here’s a but about it from Romans:
For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.
This is part of the reason the gospel is spoken of as a stumbling block. Coming to the place of admitting need–I cannot accomplish my own salvation–is a humbling step. The wonder of the gospel is not “look what I’ve done”, but rather “look what God has done for me.”
But gives grace…
Jesus came in humility. Jesus demonstrated humility. Jesus taught humility. Jesus calls us to humility.