Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall. Proverbs 16:18

A familiar verse. Seems cut and dried.

Don’t be proud. Don’t look down on others.

Destruction follows.

Right?🤔

Well, yes, but, there’s a bit more to it than that.

Because there’s different lights to take the word “pride” in.

There’s pride in our work-that which can cause us to excel and bring forth a product of highest integrity.

Pride in our children. This lovely shaping of another human life can spur on such smiles in a parent’s soul as they watch their loved ones blossom and grasp truths.

There’s also pride in our home, our service, our country…

Not all of this is necessarily bad.

I believe the Lord joins us in joy over something gone well. Zephaniah says He sings over His creation, after all.

If the Creator does that over us, might we conclude He extends a piece of such delight to our hearts as we see our endeavors come to fruition?

I tend to think so.

But, where this can go off the rails is in this-

When we go from glorying in what He has done for us and through us to self-congratulatory ego-stroking.

Then, we are in danger of swelling up like puffer fish, button-busting with what we start perceiving as success in our own power, growing so used to that feeling that we scramble for a convincing front to keep it going.

Our views consequently skew floating around in our own inflated sense of being. We forget to regard others as we ought around our expanded girth.

And, in that state, we are bound eventually to topple.

We see it in all walks of life.

From the neighbor prone to braggadocio to the social media darlings of self-promotion.

From our government to our entertainment to our churches.

Not to mention our reflection in the mirror, to bring it back home.

Ouch. 🙁

Something to think about for sure.

For the balance between joy in success and pride in ourselves can be precarious.

This is why everything- victory and struggle alike- must rightly and quickly be laid at the throne of God.

Not to be forgotten, of course.

Rather, to be brought into proper perspective.

To recall the phrase “Look what God has done.” over “Look what I’ve done.”.

Or, in the case of a struggle laid bare, “God’s got this problem.” versus “I’ve got no problems.”😏

For, when we are leaning into and celebrating with the heavens, our hearts are naturally centered, appropriately shaped and lifted in Him, rather than ourselves.

James 4:10 bears witness to this:

Humble yourself before the Lord and He will lift you up. emphasis mine.

May we recognize we can do nothing in our own strength. Rather, may we lay ourselves before Him in complete humility and let our joys in life rise through Him and Him alone.

Blessings and prayers, dear friends!

11 thoughts on “Puffed Up

  1. Interesting view! Proud can be a personal achievement and respect for something. Arrogance is the pride we too often mistake pride for.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. It’s common for people to be proud. To be proud of our accomplishments, degrees, children and wealth. It becomes sinful when our pride is misplaced. Some examples when it’s okay to feel proud and we have not sin against God is, when we’ve worked hard towards our goals, or proud at who we’ve become and how far we’ve come (as long as we recognize that we didn’t get there by ourselves). Pride becomes sinful when we do things like look down on others, measuring our achievements against someone else’s.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Dear Marisa, I love the way you humbly help us look in the mirror with sober souls. “Button-bursting” pride comes before a topple–that’s for sure. I’m slowly working through Proverbs again; it’s always a humbling read. 🙂
    Blessings ~ Wendy Mac

    Liked by 1 person

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