Pride also undermines unity and can ultimately divide a church. Show me a church where there’s division, where there’s quarreling, and I’ll show you a church where there’s pride.

Pride also brings down leaders. “Pride ruins pastors and churches more than any other thing,” Mike Renihan writes in his essay “A Pastor’s Pride and Joy” from Tabletalk. “It is more insidious in the church than radon in the home.” When you read about the next public figure to fall, remember Proverbs 16:18 — “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” That person’s situation might appear circumstantially complicated, but at root it’s not complicated: Pride goes before a fall.

God’s Merciful Warnings

The warnings from Scripture about pride could not be more serious and sobering. But they’re an expression of God’s mercy, intended for our good.

Don’t you think God is merciful to warn us in this way? He reveals this sin to our hearts and identifies its potential consequences. He is merciful, and He intends to protect us. So throughout His Word, God exposes pride as our greatest enemy.

By unmasking pride — as well as introducing us to humility, our greatest friend — God lays out for us the path to true greatness, a path that we see most clearly in our Savior’s life and death. We’ll begin walking that path together in the next column.

Excerpt from Humility by C.J. Mahaney. Used with permission.
C.J. Mahaney leads Sovereign Grace Ministries, a church-planting ministry with a growing international family of churches. He also is the author of several books and a contributor to the Together for the Gospel blog. This column is adapted with permission from his book, Humility: True Greatness (Multnomah Publishers, Sisters, OR).