Counterfeit Pride vs. Spiritual Pride

29 May

Or do you think that the Scripture says in vain, “The Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously”? But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.”  -James 4:5-6

If there’s one thing God finds repulsive, it’s pride.  Pride is the only thing in all of the New Testament which God is said to “resist,” literally meaning to “prepare for war against.”  As spirit opposes flesh, God wars against and opposes pride.

You can bet that there is a difference between what God and men see as pride.  Men have defined pride as essentially an inflated ego and self-absorption. That may be true to an extent, but I’m coming to see that every spiritual dynamic found in scripture (such as pride) has a fleshly “counterfeit,” either made or reinforced by the religious, darkened, natural mind of man.  Like counterfeit money, counterfeit spiritual things are designed to seem real – they go by the same name as the genuine, have circulated so long they are accepted almost everywhere without question, and tend to remain in wide circulation until examined closely by someone with better means of perception, often a higher authority.

The counterfeit version of a spiritual dynamic is almost always the most common, because few people wait for and rely on the “light” of the spirit to see and define their reality (why this is so is an interesting question). Instead, the vast majority approach the spiritual realm the way they approach everything else – with the natural mind – which can never produce anything other than natural understandings and ideas.  The presence of Bible quotation and study, inspiring rhetoric, loud music, prayer or fasting, spiritual words, emotional stimulation, or even spiritual “manifestations” don’t at all mean genuine wisdom is present or God is glorified.  

As God sees it, pride is flesh claiming or pretending to be spiritual.  It’s darkness masquerading as light. The Greek word for pride is huperephanos, a compound of huper (over, above, beyond, instead of), and phaino (to shine, lighten, appear). The idea seems to be this: something leaving its proper place in order to take over and be seen.  Pride is flesh/self covering the spirit, making itself seen instead, but pretending nothing is wrong or out of place.

Here’s what’s scary: God opposes and resists pride, but (like many spiritual things) true pride is subtle, deep-rooted and can easily go unnoticed.  Many familiar “counterfeits,” on the other hand, having come from the mind of man, are easier to identify and “correct” through self-discipline of some sort.  Flesh can see and correct flesh, but only the spirit can see and correct spiritual error.  The first step toward the spiritual reality of humility instead of pride is to cry out for God’s light, recognizing the need for it.  Remember –> Jesus said that to claim you can see is to remain blind and under sin (I wrote about that in more detail here). 

I’ll stop for now, but I intend for more to come soon.  God bless you.

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Posted by on May 29, 2014 in Uncategorized


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