Is the devil in your pride? Is it God telling you “bigger” or is that your pride and ego telling you that you need “bigger”? A couple of weeks ago during one of our Sunday school lessons, I stated that a man filled with pride could never come to God. I then said that it takes for a person to humble him or herself to be able to come to God. There is something else that pride does, that I want to bring to our attention today.
In those Sunday school lessons we have taken a look at the showdown between Pharaoh and God. In Exodus, the Lord reveals His power to a man that was so prideful that he deified himself as a god. During their “showdown”, Pharaoh’s heart was so hardened by his pride and ego that he was unable to recognize who he was going up against. (His pride blinded him.)
There are many folks who share this same common trait with Pharaoh; they have a blinding pride. Some of us are so prideful that we cannot admit when we don’t know something or when we have made a mistake. In our pride, some of us never get sick or have to go see the doctor; we don’t ever need help. Some of us are so prideful that we are never wrong no matter how many facts points to our being wrong.
Is the devil in your pride? Is that devil blocking you from achieving the greatness that God intends for you to achieve? What I want to do today is focus on answer these questions about pride and I want to show you what your pride can lead too.
Every now and then I will preach a sermon that is centered on pride because I feel we can become too prideful and must be grounded at times. I will also preach a sermon that focuses on Satan and a lesson that we can learn from his falling. (Yes, it’s possible for us to learn from the example that Satan set in order for us not to follow his lead.)
You may have heard me say this before: we, mankind (collectively), have a mindset that is starting to get dangerously close to the mindset that led to Satan’s fall. I say collectively because at this exact moment, there is somebody that’s so filled with pride that they don’t believe they are included in this. We are very prideful beings! So much so that we go blind to the warning signs. I want to point out the signs of being too prideful by taking a look at Satan and his pride.
We are told of Satan’s downfall in a couple of places in the Bible (Is. 14:12-21; Ezek. 28:11-19). In Isaiah (Is. 14:12), the Lord mentions Satan directly by his name when he says, “How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, You who weakened the nations!”
While Isaiah tells us of Satan’s falls, the book of Ezekiel dives into the build up of what lead to the devil’s fall from heaven – that’s what we will look at today. If you were to quickly read through Ezekiel 28, you would believe that the fall of two people – the prince and the King of Tyre – was all this chapter was about. However, we find that once we reach Ezekiel 28:11, there is a change in how the Lord addresses the King of Tyre that we must pay very close attention.
We will recognize that the Lord is no longer addressing a man when He says to the King of Tyre (Ezek. 28:12-13), “You were the seal of perfection, Full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. You were in Eden, the garden of God.” The man that was the King of Tyre was certainly not present in Eden. (Adam, Eve, and the serpent -Satan – were all in the garden.)
The revealing of Satan is further shown to us when the Lord says (Ezek. 28:13), “Every precious stone was your covering … The workmanship of your timbrels and pipes was prepared for you on the day you were created.” We, mankind, are made of flesh and blood; this description does not fit us.
The devil was an absolutely beautiful being. Not only was Satan beautiful on the outside, but we are also told that he was full of wisdom! (I believe this means Satan knew the Lord and the Lord’s way.) The Lord also said of Satan that he was the ‘seal’ (or example) of perfection (Ezek. 28:12). Is it hard to see why Satan became filled with pride?
Lastly, we are told that Satan was the anointed cherub (cherub: angelic being) that covered (protected) and served on the holy mountain of God (Ezek. 28:14). In heaven, Satan was not only beautiful and wise, but he was also considered a protector! If you cannot tell, Satan was thought very highly of in the Lord’s kingdom. Not only was he thought highly of but of the angelic beings, he actually had the highest standing within the heavenly kingdom.
Satan’s pride born
Let’s consider how these accolades must have made Satan feel. Imagine knowing how special you are because Satan knew how special and unique he was. That would really make you start feeling yourself, wouldn’t it? Now, imagine knowing that you are the example of what it means to be perfect. How big would your head grow?
Satan began to get big headed – filled up with pride. In our key verse (Ezek. 28:17) we are told that Satan’s heart was “lifted up because of [his] beauty”. Now, pay very close attention to what that pride began to do Satan. Scripture tells us that for the sake of his splendor (or greatness), Satan “corrupted his wisdom”. So, this beautiful being became corrupted by this nature of pride that grew inside of him.
Satan’s pride led him to trading (working) with iniquity built up in his heart (Ezek. 28:16). He moved with ego and with a need for his pride to be filled. He became so prideful that he thought himself being better than the Lord (Is. 14:12-15). This sort of mindset is very dangerous and it is one that we have to be reminded of.
I bring forth all of this about Satan, to tie it back to us. Are we allowing pride to swell up inside of us? Is our heart lifted up today by the Lord or is it being lifted up by pride? Again, is it God saying you need “bigger” or is that your pride whispering in your ear? Are we making the same mistake as the devil?
Mankind’s same mistake
While Ezekiel 28 is talking about the devil, we can see some connections to man. There is even a warning of what God will do to those who become too prideful in their heart.
For example, we do know that mankind holds a very special place in the Lord’s eyes. Unlike any other animal, mankind was made in the image of God (Gen. 1:27). We may not be able to run as fast as other animals or jump as high as other animals, but they certainly cannot think on our level. What separates us even more is that the Lord breathed into mankind’s nostrils and we became a living soul inside of these bodies of ours (Gen. 2:7).
We are very unique creatures and the thing is, we know it. Now, man believes that he is full of so much wisdom. Which is very interesting because we, collectively, are not as wise as we think. If you take a look at it, mankind spends most of its time being at one another’s throat. I guess our pride prevents us from realizing that or even trying to take measures to fix such a nature.
So, it’s certainly possible for us to take a look at our key verse and wonder if we fit this same bill as Satan. Is our heart lifted up today because of our uniqueness? Have we corrupted ourselves because of our splendor? Is the greatness we seek the same sort of greatness that the Lord wants for us?
Blocked by our pride
The thing that scares me about a mindset that is completely occupied and driven by ego and pride is just how blind it can be to the truth. For example, we are blessed – extremely blessed. Sure, we go through some things in life but that’s life – we make it through those things. God continually blesses us, but some of us are unable to recognize those blessings because of our pride.
Our pride tells us that the blessings that God has bestowed upon us aren’t enough and that we need bigger and better. A lot times that’s because of what somebody else has! The prideful person cannot be content with God’s blessings. So, because the prideful person cannot be content with the Lord’s blessings, this person begins to act outside of the Lord. If we choose to act outside of the Lord, how can we consider that to be abiding by Him.
In last Sunday’s sermon, we saw the call from Jesus to abide by Him. In doing so, we are told that we will find real joy and that joy will be full (John 15:7). In choosing to act outside of God, many people believe they will find bigger and better. Many of us are driven by our pride when it comes to our relationships, our career paths, education, family, etc. (Our pride tells us: I’m supposed to be with that person, or I’m supposed to have this figure for a salary.)
Pride blocks us in the world
We have to be careful of having a heart that is lifted up in such a manner. Our pride can cause us to end up missing out on the right people that should be in our lives. Our pride could lead us down a path of being too stubborn to realize when a necessary change needs to be made. In other words, our pride can keep us from growing as a person!
While living in this world, we learn that being driven by our ego and pride, is not something that always lead to success. Pride causes us to miss something great right in front of our faces. Why? Because our pride wouldn’t let us see it. If pride and ego can block us from success in the world, imagine what the result is for being prideful and ego driven spiritually.
Spiritually blindness leads to catastrophe
Paul warns (1 Tim. 3:6) us not to be a “novice … puffed up (filled) with pride” and fall into the same condemnation as the devil. There are some Christian who are filled with so much pride that they feel such a fall is impossible for them. There are many believers who believe they have already reached perfection. The ego and pride to think such a thing is dangerous. We must remember, Satan was the anointed cherub and he had a great fall.
Satan, we are told (Ezek. 28:17), was “cast to the ground”. To be specific, the Lord states (Ezek. 28:16), “I cast you as a profane thing out of the mountain of God; And I destroyed you.” This being that was once considered to be the example of what was perfect, is now the example of what is profane all because he let his pride and ego go to his head!
If Satan fell, what about us? All of us are just flesh and blood – human beings. If Satan can fall, we all can fall. Again, I tell you, it takes a humble person to understand what exactly we are. It takes a humble person to come to the Lord and get down on bent knees.
Avoid the catastrophe
We must put our pride to the side! Let us realize that we do not have to be cast as a profane thing out of God’s heaven. We must stop being so ego and pride driven and learn to accept the Lord’s word! God sent His only begotten Son that whoever chooses to humble him or herself and have faith, can dwell with God on His mountain – in His heavenly kingdom.
Don’t let your pride block you from this guaranteed greatness that comes from the Lord. Yes, the Lord wants us all to experience bigger and better, but that bigger and better is not something that any of us can find in this world or this universe. We must choose to humble ourselves now, while we are a part of this universe, so that when we leave these bodies (shells) our souls can go and dwell eternally in the bigger and better.