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This is a profound and significant topic we all need to think about. Pride and self righteousness is

indeed a fatal sin we all need to overcome by being alert to signs of self righteousness.

This lesson is taught so that Christians are alert on the signs of pride and self- righteousness as

everyone, both Christians and non believers are prone to this all embracing subject.This lesson is

therefore an appeal for humility, a caution against arrogant self- righteousness that guides the

person to assert that he “knows it all,” Prov.26:12 that he fully grasps what is going on and that his

judgment is correct.


During and at the end of this lesson we will look at:

  1. What Pride is all about
  2. Who is susceptible to pride and self- righteousness
  • How to properly identify pride and self righteousness (signs)
  1. After effect of pride
  2. Examples of those who exhibited pride and self righteousness
  3. The bible view of pride and self righteousness.


At the end of the lesson, I hope we will be more successful in becoming less like us and be more like





PRIDE: The quality or state of being proud, share the meaning ‘to lift up; ‘to be high.”’ It is

translated as ‘arrogance; ‘haughtiness; ‘presumption’ and ‘boasting’ in various contexts. These words

would have the following meaning:

  1. Arrogance – showing too much conceit in oneself and too little consideration for others or an unreasonable conceit of one’s own talents, beauty, wealth, rank, etc;
  2. Haughtiness –having or showing a high opinion of oneself;
  3. Presumption – a behaviour that is too bold; and
  4. Boasting –praising oneself, acts belongings, etc. Pride also includes the refusal to depend on God and be subject to Him while attributing        to oneself the honour due to God. From the above shades of meaning of pride, it is obvious that it manifests in different ways.


If I have to describe what pride looks like it is like wearing the back side of a clothe, cover your face

and believing it is the correct side. Both pride and self righteousness blind our ability to see things as

they really are.


The worst part of pride is that the blind person does not believe they are blind the proud people

always see themselves in a different light than others see them.The bible has no evidence of good

thing to say about pride at all. Rather the Bible says that “Pride goeth before a fall, a paraphrase of

proverbs 16:18.


Pride goeth before a fall, in other words, demotion, physical death, spiritual death, eternal separation

or any other form of conceivable destruction may be proceeded by pride.


SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS: Is confidence in one’s own righteousness, self assurance, smug. It

should be noted that pride and self-righteousness are bed follows or interwoven.


It was first manifested when Lucifer attempted to elevate his throne on high out pride (Isa. 14:12-14).

Full of wisdom and perfect in beauty, he was the anointed cherub covered with every precious stone.

He, because of his riches, wisdom and beauty, and Satan, with the fallen angels, sought their own

glory instead of that of God. Pride destroyed the devil; it is still destroying man today that inordinate

desire for self-worship which is the essence of pride is still a problem of man.


Numerous scriptures strongly condemn self-glorification and human presumption “because every

human boast has been destroyed in Jesus Christ.” Our boast can only be on what Jesus Christ has

achieved for us. Hence, the scripture says “…. He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord” (1 Cor.1:31).

“Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the

rich man glory in his riches; but let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and

knoweth me …” (Jer. 9:23-24)


Paul’s boasting about his ministry (2 Cor.4:1-6;6:3-10), his suffering and weakness (2

Cor.11:23-30;12:9) and his congregation (2 Cor.7:14) should not be regarded as being contradictory

to other scriptures (e.g. 2Cor.3:1;5:12;10:8). Rather Paul was acknowledging the Lordship of our

Lord Jesus Christ over his life whowas all the time working through him. In all those passages, not

once did he ascribe his ministerial success to his own personal efforts. He said, “For I fear, lest by

any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from

the simplicity that is in Christ (2 Cor.11:3;12:11).

The definition of self righteousness is a person who believes they have higher morals than others. An

example of self righteousness is someone who talks about himself as if he is the only possible person

to see God.

Self righteous person is filled with or showing conviction of being morally superior, or more

righteous than others.



Christians are called to live a Righteous life: However, there is one particular type of “Righteousness”

that can easily prevent us from entering the kingdom of God.

This kind of righteousness had been condemned by our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. This

deceptive type of righteousness can easily spirituality blind a person and not even know that they

have it. I am talking about self righteousness.

  • The problem has been a common sin throughout the history of man.
  • It is so easy to be self righteous.
  • It is human and natural inclination that we need to overcome
  • It is so difficult to detect self righteousness in our lives.
  • It takes other people and the word of God to point out for us.




Have you ever been around a person who made you feel   uncomfortable, unrighteous, and guilty

because you can see how           he obviously shows his righteousness?This person constantly rubs on

your face his righteous acts and in the process, unconsciously put you down. This person has aura of

making you spiritually inferior.



A case study of the Pharisees and scribes.

For that reason, Christ ardently reprimanded them Luke 18:9-13 Christ stated that we must exceed

the righteousness of these people if ever we want to enter the kingdom of God (Matt. 5:20).

–        What did they do:

–        They love to publicly display their righteousness to people.

–        They were wearing their righteousness outwardly.

–        When they fast, they want to appear to people fasting Matt. 6:16.

–        When they repent, they don’t produce the fruit of repentance (Matt.   3:8)

–        When they give alms, they sound a trumpet (Matt. 6:2), the list is       endless.



Being self-righteous makes you a person without much compassion.

Why? Because you see other people full of sins and faults and you don’t understand why they are that


You have a hard time looking into yourself and Realizingthat you also have a lot of unchecked

problems. Self-righteous people are very critical of others.



The danger with Self-righteousness is that, it makes you believe that you are in the position of

God.They condemn people and make permanent judgment. They determine who will be part of

God’s kingdom and who will not.True righteous people loves sinners and hates their sin.

Whenever we are in presence of thief, adulterers, extortioners or somebody who have committed a

horrible sin, does it make us uncomfortable? A self-righteous person hates sinners instead of their




The motivation of a Self-righteous person is to gain approval from people. They want to look righteous, so that people hold them in high regards. This is exactly what the Pharisees did. They gave their alms in front of many people, disfigured their faces when fasting, love to sit at the best sit in the synagogues, and enjoyed being called with pompous tittles.


Note:-When we do something good, we do it not to show how righteous we are but we do it to show how Awesome the living God is.We do our good deeds so that people “may see (our) good works and glorify (our) father in heaven” (Matt. 5:16).



It should be noticed that it is hard for us to forget the good things we have done to other people? Every time we do something good, we have a note pad in our brain where we list all our good deeds. After wards, we add them all up and show ourselves and others how righteous we are.

When we do this, we forget that our righteousness is just like filthy Rugs (Isaiah 64:6). Our righteousness pales down to nothing,when compared to the righteousness of God.In reality, it is not our job to list our good deeds. It is God’s.”For God is not unrighteous to forget (our) works and labour of love, which (we) have showed towards his name, and do minister” (Heb.6:10).



If we remain self-righteous, a time will come that it will make us callous. We hold onto our self-righteousness and it will harden us.

And by the time we need to be corrected pride set in, and we become unteachable. This hardness of heart may spring from the belief that we know almost everything, that you already know what the scripture says, and nothing new can impress us anymore. We think that nothing to learn anymore and we would not let anybody tell us what to do.

We become too vain in our thinking that we won’t allow anyone to point out where we might have got it wrong.

True righteous people possess a child like attitude. That is entirely different from what self righteous people feel about themselves. Jesus Christ was teachable inspite of His wisdom and divine nature. He did everything and anything His father told Him to do.



Sometimes, in our Zealand passion in doing God’s work, we fall into the trap of thinking that its all about us.

We look at the result of our work and say, “Wow! Look how many people came into the church through me!” “Did you just see that? I just inspired the whole congregation with my sermon” “look at how much am doing for the work of the church. I am sure the church won’t grow without me”.

The church will surely miss me if I leave this church.

This type of thinking is focused on self. Self-righteousness literally means “Self-Right”. In reality, we must all be “Christ–Right”.

Sometimes, we think so highly about ourselves that we felt God needs us so badly.

Actually, the reverse is true. It is us who should desperately need God.

Righteous people DON”T think about the things they lost for following God. But rather, they concentrate on the things God gave them.



Every time self-righteous is chastened by God, he drowns in self pity instead of seeing trials and

challenges in life as a way to develop godly righteousness, they would instead pity and prevent

themselves from developing a fight back tendencies through Christ.

James said we must “count it all joy when (we) fall into various trials.”

We need to see correction as a way to bring us back to our loving father.

When God gives us trials, it is not because He wants to prevent us from getting into the kingdom, but

to help us develop the righteousness that enables us to be part of His family.When we are corrected

for our self-righteous arrogance, we must have a positive attitude, learn the lesson and

overcome.That’s the only way we can destroy the shackles of self- righteousness that restricts our

spiritual growth.



  1. It generates rivalry (unhealthy struggle – (Gal. 16:5-6)
  2. It dampens love and cooperation
  3. It negates unity and progress


Examples of those who exhibited pride and self-righteousness:

  • Satan, the father of pride (Isaiah 14:12-16)
  • Hagar (Gen. 6:4-5)
  • Peninnah (I Samuel 1:6-7)
  • Miriam/Aaron Numbers 12:1
  • Driven by pride Absalom conspired against his father, David (I Samuel 15:1-4)
  • Uzziah (II Chron. 26:16-19)
  • Haman (Esther 5:9)
  • Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 4:29-31)
  • Belshazzar (Daniel 5:1-2, 22-23)

In an effect to identify pride, one should not judge by what-appears to the eyes no reprove simply

because of what you hear, but should be handled in fairness and righteousness, no bias and no

prejudice (John 7:24, Isaiah 11:3)

Material wealth, beauty, family background and academic attainment among other things can affect

our view and treatment of others. Christian should be properly guided (James 2:2-4). Pride does not

allow a Christian to render proper service.


Previously, the various ways pride manifests were discussed. What are the consequences of not

dealing with pride in the life of a man? What are dangers, for now and eternity? The consequences

need to be examined closely with respect to the following:



  1. i) Salvation:

Salvation was brought to man through humility. From the beginning to the end, the life of Christ was

a show of humility. He showed that humility is the noble gate into elevation and promotion. Because

he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, wherefore God has highly exalted him and

given him a name above every other name so that at the mention of His name every knee must bow

(Phil. 2:8-10). “Let this mind be in you which was a mind of humility. Without humility Christ could

not have come down to die for our sins.

Pride brought curse and destruction to man; humility brought salvation. A proud man cannot receive

from God. God knows him only from afar. Consequently, he cannot develop a close relationship with



  1. ii) Blessings

Pride hinders Christians from receiving blessings from God. II Kings 5:1-14 told the story of how

Naaman, the great commander of the Syrian army was healed of his leprosy. Elisha instructed him to

go and wash himself in river Jordan seven times after which he would receive his healing. But

Naaman became angry. Going away, he mocked, “Are not Abana and Pharpar, rivers of Damascus,

better than all the waters of Israel? May I not wash in them and be clean? So he turned and went

away in a rage” (II Kings 5:12). Naaman nearly missed his divine healing because of pride. In the

same manner some believers have missed their blessings because of pride. It is not only physical

blessing but material and spiritual.


iii)     Service

Pride limits the extent of commitment of an individual to Christ. Some Christians would sing praise

to God but when they go out they are as silent about their faith as a grave. They find it difficult to

share their belief with anyone in the place of work, school, at home or in the community. Many

reasons, ranging from ignorance, lack of assurances of one’s salvation to living in sin, might be the

cause. But one of the major reasons is pride. This often manifests through the fear of being mocked

at, fear of losing one’s personality and friends. But God has not given us the spirit of fear but the

spirit of power, love and a sound mind (II Tim. 1:7). God has given us the spirit of power. “For I am

not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that

believeth; to the Jews first and also to the Greek” (Rom. 1:16).


  1. iv) Fruitfulness

Pride limits fruitfulness. Many people have started well but with time pride sets in and destroys their

effectiveness. A man is fruitful in Christ only as long as he remains humble. Immediately he is puffed

up, he becomes encased in a shell of self which limits the flow of Christ-likeness.

Verily, verily, I say unto you, except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone; but

if it dies, it bringeth forth much fruit (John 12:24). Believers who have not died to self and pride,

consequently, remain only single Christians. They cannot bear fruits. Pride and self-righteousness do

not allow them to be true Christians. Envy, idolatry, hatred, self-vindication and unforgiveness all of

which are fuelled by pride limit their fruitfulness.


  1. v) Reward

It is not simply that pride limits success in service; it also renders service regardless, no matter the

level of fruitfulness. Our work may be abundant, very wonderful and very beautiful. They may seem

very self-sacrificing, they may be done in the name of the Lord; but if pride is there, it has no lasting

value”. Any service that is not of lasting value shall not be rewarded as we all appear before the

judgement seat of Christ. Service should not be rendered to God so as to receive praise from men

(Matthew 6:2). The service must be done unto God’s glory. Jesus said that He did not receive honour

from men (John 5:4). He has given us a good example to follow. He never sought His own glory in

service (John 8:50).


  1. vi) Destruction

Pride leads to all manner of destruction – demotion, death and hell fire. God rewards the proud doer

plentifully (Psalm 31:23). God may allow someone to be in a high position. But after the exaltation, if

he allows himself to be puffed up, God will not spare him. Things may seem to be going on fine for

him. It is only for a moment that God allows it. Then He rewards him plentifully, not sparingly.


vii)     Demotion

Pride caused the devil to be driven out of the presence of God. If that could happen to the most

beautiful and wise angel of God who used to lead in worship, what of any man who exalts himself

above God! “For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell and delivered

them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment” (II Peter 2:4), what of any man that

puffs himself up!.


viii)    Death

God often visits pride with instant death, especially when it involves any creature arrogating to

himself the glory meant only for God. Belshazzar, Nebuchadnezzar’s son and successor made a great

feast for his Lords. But he was so proud that he drank from the sanctified vessels taken from the

temple at Jerusalem and he praised heathen gods (Daniel 5). Because he did not glorify God

Almighty, that night he was killed and Darius, the Median, took over the kingdom. One of the most

important lessons to learn here is that God told him through Daniel, “…thou art weighed in the

balances and art found wanting”. (Daniel 5:27). It is interesting as well as sobering to know that God

has balances or standards He uses to weigh our motives and actions.


  1. ix) Hell fire

The final end of a proud man is in hell fire. Pride is the mark of the anti-Christ and it is completely

opposed to God’s nature. The proud is worse than a fool. “Do you see a man wise in his own eyes?

There is more hope for a fool than for him” (Prov. 26:12). Yet, “the fool hath said in his heart, there is

no God…” (Psalm 14:1). Of course, more than a fool, a proud man does not make allowance for God

to control his life. “In his pride the wicked does not seek (God); in all his thoughts there is no room

for God” (Psalm 10:4 NIV), because pride is a sin (Prov. 21:4), the proud shall be cast into hell fire.

God cannot share heaven with a proud man because pride is not his nature.


It is hard to see the self-righteousness in us. Infact every time we do something good, the natural

response is to have a certain amount of self-righteousness budding in our hearts. However, if we

truly see what we are without God, then we will realize that our righteousness must be from God.

After all, we should know that it is Christ who lives in us and it is Him who helps us to produce the

fruit of the Holy Spirit. Instead of building our righteousness, we need to build the righteousness of




Pride and self-righteousness is sinful. Pride and self-righteousness is a manifestation of the devils

characteristics. Jesus came to deliver us from the power of sin. “For this purpose the son of God was

manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil (I John 3:8). Although the power of sin, and

consequently that of pride, has been broken in the life of Christians, we still have some

responsibilities of living the life of humility. Our responsibility is that of following Christ example in

all things, who being tempted in everything was yet without sin (Hebrews 4:15). Certainly, He was

tempted to become proud, yet He lived without pride. In Matthew 4:1-11, all the temptation of Christ

involved pride. First, for him to act independent of God and boast his ego. Secondly, He was tempted

here to show the world that He had power to perform anything. Thirdly, the devil wanted Christ to

worship him in exchange for world. Here, the desire for position and recognition, all of which

stimulate pride would have lured him into sin if He was proud.


At the cross – Matthew 27:42- “He saved others himself he cannot save”. Let us all be Christ like. May

God help and preserve us in this order. In Jesus dear Name, Amen.

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