Of course the list of things God hates starts here. Just in case I thought I was going to go into this series of posts feeling pretty proud of my ability to hate the wicked things God hates, I have to start with the one I have the most trouble with.
The first item on the list in Proverbs 6 of seven things God detests is “haughty eyes” – proud eyes, in other words. The question, then, is this: Are there areas of pride in your life?
Below are some questions that might help us focus on this area. (And it was helpful to me to really try to answer these as I wrote them. I didn’t always like the honest answer, but as we’ll talk about in the next post, God also hates dishonesty. So trying to cover up my pride with dishonesty is probably not a good choice. 🙂 )
1. Do I feel superior to others with regard to intelligence? Or education? Or accomplishments? Or finances? Or appearance? Or patience? Or wisdom? Or holiness? Or ……..? (And am I too proud to see the irony in almost all of this?)
2. Do I look down on others because of these perceived differences? Do I ever treat others differently because of this? Am I less likely to associate with people I see as less intelligent, attractive, etc.? Do I avoid people who look or dress a certain way? Etc.
3. Do I take pride in my gifts and accomplishments (or the gifts and accomplishments of my husband or children) without remembering to give God the honor and credit and thanks?
4. Do I feel that I “deserve” certain things? A certain size of house? Certain clothes? A certain amount of respect because of my job or wisdom or other gifts and accomplishments?
5. Do I act like I want to help people, but secretly enjoy thinking I’m better than them?
Most of us can answer “yes” to at least one part of one of these 5 questions. So, if that’s the case, how do we start fixing our haughty eyes?
First, I think it’s important to remember whom we are apart from God: No one. We are condemned, helpless souls. With God, though? We are children of the King. We are recipients of His blessings. That’s where we get all of our intelligence, wisdom, holiness, wealth, beauty, patience, and so on. From God. Each of these is a blessing that He’s chosen to give us. And this is true of “the righteous and the unrighteous” (Matthew 5:45). All blessings come from God – “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows” (James 1:17) – whether or not we decide to acknowledge it. So, no reason for pride there. God tells us this in Jeremiah 9:23-24:
This is what the LORD says:
“Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom
or the strong man boast of his strength
or the rich man boast of his riches,
24 but let him who boasts boast about this:
that he understands and knows me,
that I am the LORD, who exercises kindness,
justice and righteousness on earth,
for in these I delight,”
declares the LORD.
What do we have to boast about? Knowing God! And the more we know God, the more we know we don’t have anything else to boast about. Think you have something else to boast about? Use that as a motivation to get to know God better!
Paul knew where his pride should be too, when he said in 2 Corinthians 12:9:
But he [God] said to me [Paul], “‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”
So there’s another thing we can boast about: God’s strength in our weaknesses.
And Paul wrote in Galatians 6:14:
May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.
So there’s another thing: the cross.
Finally, in 1 John 2:16, John reminds us where our desire to boast about ourselves comes from:
For everything in the world—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does—comes not from the Father but from the world.
So, to summarize: God hates selfish pride and boasting. Our desire to boast about ourselves (or our families, etc.) comes from the world, not from God. The only things we really have to boast about are knowing God, God’s strength in our weakness, and the cross.
So what does this mean for us in our daily lives? A couple of things:
1. We have to get rid of our selfish boasting. This doesn’t mean we can never tell our friends that our son scored a goal or our daughter got an “A” or our husband got promoted. What it does mean is we have to do those things prayerfully.
Before the words come out of your mouth, ask yourself (and God) these two things:
a. Can I honestly say that I am sharing this information in a way that encourages someone else or brings glory to God?
b. Does God want me to share this information right now?
Asking these two questions has kept me quiet on numerous occasions. And it’s HARD. Boasting is a really natural thing to do. We want to feel good about ourselves and our families, and we want others to as well. But whose glory are we seeking in this case? We should be seeking God’s glory and helping point others to Him. Does what you’re about to say meet either of those goals?
2. We have to get rid of pride. Boasting is the outward manifestation of a prideful heart. Getting rid of boasting is important, but it doesn’t solve our heart issue. The pride in our hearts (maybe even pride about the fact that we aren’t boastful!) is the real problem. Remember, “The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7).
A couple places to start with this:
a. Focus on building others up. When you’re talking with a friend, for instance, resolve to only ask questions about what she’s talking about, instead of steering the conversation toward yourself.
b. Memorize some of the verses above to defend yourself against the devil when he tempts you to be prideful — and he will. Don’t let the devil turn a gift or accomplishment God has blessed you with into an occasion for sin!
What have you found that helps you guard your heart against pride?
Read Part 3a of the series: (becoming) closer to God through Proverbs 6, part 3a — a lying tongue
Missed Part One of this series? Click here: (becoming) closer to God through Proverbs 6, part 1
Want to read more?
Start of the wisdom series: (becoming) wise, part one
Start of the role model series: (becoming) a role model, part one
Start of the stewardship series: (becoming) a good steward
Start of the wife series: (becoming) a godly wife
Start the fully submitted series: (becoming) fully submitted