As you may already know, I have three kids in their school age years. In their toddler and preschool years, I found myself often saying to them, “I’m so proud of you!” I said those words as a means of encouragement, of course, but there were times where I felt pride, or a genuine sense of satisfaction, in their accomplishments and their ever-growing array of skills. But as I grew in my Christian walk, I have learned the dangers of pride and I used the phrase less and less. I didn’t stop feeling proud of their hard work but I wondered if this was a holy feeling? Was this a godly thing to say? If it was, couldn’t God use another word to distinguish this type of pride from that of the dangerous kind of pride that causes us to not recognize our sins and need for the Lord’s saving grace? And for me in particular, I know the ways in which pride manifests in my life and the dangerous repercussions it brings. Pride brings great pain and emptiness. I push the Lord away when I am in the sin of pride.
So I dug into Scripture- the Lord does acknowledge a type of “good pride” or more so a “genuine sense of satisfaction and deep pleasure.” In Ecclesiastes 3:22 it says, “So I perceived that nothing is better than that a man should rejoice in his own works, for that is his heritage.” Later in Ecclesiastes, it says, “Here is what I have seen: It is good and fitting for one to eat and drink, and to enjoy all of the labor in which he toils under the sun all the days of his life which God gives him; for it is his heritage. As for every man to whom God has given riches and wealth, and given him power to eat of it, to receive his heritage and rejoice in his labor- this is the gift of God.” (Ecclesiastes 5:18-19)
Billy Graham says, “It is not necessarily wrong to take pride in something we’ve done well. This kind of pride isn’t boastful or self-centered, but it is a feeling of satisfaction over what we’ve accomplished.” The Lord allows us to rejoice in our efforts and enjoy the fruits of our labor. The satisfaction we receive, and the product of our work is a gift from Him. I love learning of all the many ways God bestows His love for us!
Conversely, Scripture also describes many examples of the bad kind of pride. Often, it refers to our heart condition when we are in the sin of pride. Ezekiel 28:2 says, “In the pride of your heart you say, ‘I am a god…’ But you are a mere mortal and not a god.” Paul warns in Philippians 2:3, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves.” Pride, whether the good or bad kind, is all about the heart condition.
Are you glorifying yourself or the Lord in what you do? Only you and the Lord can determine where your heart is after a job well done, and it’s something you and I should consider honestly and frequently.