Respectable Sin #5: Pride

April 22, 2008

(Fifth in a series of my thoughts on the book Respectable Sins: Confronting the Sins We Tolerate by Jerry Bridges)


I didn’t want to read this chapter. I really didn’t. Of all the stupid, sinful things I am guilty of, this is probably the biggest and worst. And most of the time, I don’t even realize that I’m committing this sin because, as the author states, “One of the problems with pride is that we can see it in others but not in ourselves.”

He limits his discussions of pride — there are SO MANY different ways in which pride manifests itself — to four general areas; expressions of pride which are special temptations to believers. They are

  1. moral self-righteousness
  2. pride of correct doctrine
  3. pride of achievement
  4. an independent spirit

Moral self-righteousness. He acknowledges that this prideful sin is incredibly easy to fall into today, when society as a whole is so openly immoral. Because we don’t commit those flagrant sins, he says, we tend to feel morally superior and look with disdain upon those who do. (Guilty as charged.) The cure for this, he says, it to seek an attitude of humility based on “there but for the grace of God go I.”

If we are morally upright… it is only because the grace of God has prevailed in us. No one is naturally morally upright…. Rather than feeling morally superior to those who practice the flagrant sins we condemn, we ought to feel deeply grateful that God by His grace has kept us from, or perhaps rescued us from, such a lifestyle.

We sang a worship song in church this past Sunday that reminded me of what I was like before I accepted Christ as my Savior, and how much better my life is now. It’s an updated version of “Amazing Grace” by Chris Tomlin, and the chorus goes like this:

My chains are gone
I’ve been set free
My God, my Savior has ransomed me
And like a flood His mercy reigns
Unending love, Amazing grace

I got goosebumps as I realized just how true these statements are for me.

Pride of Correct Doctrine

This form of pride, the author states, is “a pride in our particular belief system, whatever that may be, and an attitude that in our beliefs we are spiritually superior to those who hold other beliefs. He cautions that “we should hold our convictions in humility, realizing that many godly and theologically capable people hold other convictions.”

As an example from Scripture, the author cites 1 Corinthians 8:1

Now regarding your question about food that has been offered to idols. Yes, we know that “we all have knowledge” about this issue. But while knowledge makes us feel important, it is love that strengthens the church.

Pride of Achievement

We are told throughout Scripture that hard work brings success. We are also told, however, that “success in
any endeavor is under the sovereign control of God.” Yes, we are capable of doing great things, but when we do, we mustn’t fail to acknowledge God’s role in making it possible for us to do those great things. He blesses us with intellect, communication skills, tenacity, and whatever else it takes to become successful in our endeavors. When we claim that success as ours and ours alone, we are guilty of the pride of achievement.

Hand in hand with pride of achievement is what the author calls the inordinate desire for recognition. And he asks the question, “Are we willing to labor in obscurity, doing our job as unto the Lord, or do we become disgruntled over the lack of recognition?” He then goes on to remind us that “all recognition, regardless of its immediate source, ultimately comes from God.”

This section could best be summed up, I believe, by repeating the following until we get it through our thick heads: It is not about me, of me, or for me. It is about God, of God, and for God.

An Independent Spirit

The author described the independent spirit as expressing itself as a resistance to authority and an unteachable attitude. He directs us to Hebrews 13:17 and various verses from Proverbs that express the importance of having a desire to learn from those who are more mature in the faith.

It’s not about me. It’s about God….
It’s not about me. It’s about God….
It’s not about me. It’s about God….



  1. Good post, MM

    I think maybe pride is the foundation and beginning of all sin, and I’m always catching myself at it. I wonder how many times I fail to catch it?


  2. […] 23, 2008 · No Comments Okay, so yesterday I did my post on pride. The theme throughout, which I also used to end the post, was “It’s not about me. It’s […]

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