And no, I’m not talking about lust; although that is certainly high priority on the list of things that Christian men constantly wage war against. Today we are talking about battling the enemy of pride. And why? Because “God opposes the proud” (ref. James 4:6). And as godly Christian men, we do not want to live a life in opposition to God.
One of the most notable examples in the Bible of a Godly character that exhibited a life marked by Gods favor was that of King Uzziah. We are told in 2 Chronicles Chapter 26, verse 4 that “he did right in the sight of the Lord”. Further in this chapter, we see many examples of Gods favor upon him; God helped him prevail against his enemies in war, “he had much livestock”, and he created “engines of war” (ref. vs. 10-15). Here we have a man that whatever he touched flourished because of Gods continued favor with him. “Hence his fame spread afar, for he was marvelously helped until he was strong” (vs. 15).
Unfortunately, “when he became strong, his heart was so proud that he acted corruptly, and he was unfaithful to the Lord his God, for he entered the temple of the Lord to burn incense on the altar of incense” (vs. 16). Up to this point King Uzziah had not failed. Everything that he touched turned to gold. So with this at the forefront of his mind, he had the audacity to enter into the temple and do something that according to God’s law only consecrated priests had the right to do – offer incense. While the priests tried to rebuke him, instead of humbling himself before the Lord and repenting of his mistake, the King became “enraged” (vs. 19). I mean, everything else he had done up unto this point seemed to have Gods stamp of approval so why not this too? How dare the priests challenge the King of Judah who God obviously favored? Right? Wrong.
King Uzziah’s pride was so disgusting in the sight of the Lord that God punished him with an equally grotesque punishment – leprosy. “[W]hile he was enraged with the priests, the leprosy broke out on his forehead before the priests” (vs. 19). Sadly, “King Uzziah was a leper to the day of his death; and he lived in a separate house, being a leper, for he was cut off from the house of the Lord” (vs. 21). King Uzziah, a man who had done so much right in the sight of the Lord, was now cut off from Gods presence and could not come near the house of the Lord any longer. In those days, having a major illness like leprosy made you ceremonially unclean and you would not be able to participate in the feasts and celebrations. How lonely! How humiliating!
See, this is why pride is such an enemy. It drives us far away from God’s presence and removes us from His blessing and perfect provision. Now, I firmly believe that had the King had a different reaction to the rebuke of the priests and repented, that God would have simply restored him to His good will and he would have been able to continue on in Gods favor. But instead, King Uzziah held tight to his pride and suffered the penalty because of it.
Now lets go back to where we started – James 4:6. The rest of that verse states that God “gives grace to the humble.” As mature Christian men, one of our deepest hearts desires should be to live a life of humility and walk in a manner that is pleasing to the Lord. “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God that He may exalt you at the proper time” (1 Peter 5:6).
In a battle of pride versus humility, humility wins. Everytime.
(This is just one of the many examples of pride resulting in a beings removal from the presence of God – Lucifer the angel, aka Satan, being another obvious but great example.)