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Read Introduction to 1 John


“For all that is in the world the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life is not of the Father but is of the world.”


and the pride of life

The word “pride” conveys the idea of someone making more of himself than the facts truly justify.  He promises more than he can perform.  The idea conveys both pride and pretension.  Greek literature used this term of politicians, orators, and philosophers.  The Greek also uses “pride” for a vagabond, hence, an impostor or quack.  This person puts on an arrogant display and vaunts himself above others, yet he has nothing to back it up. 

Jas 4:16, “But now you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil.”

Pride involves both boastfulness and self-sufficiency.  It is willful independence from God, “I have enough resources in myself.  I don’t need God.”  This attributes to self a false grandeur.  Pomp and circumstance are not always real.  Pride is more interested in applause than in truth.  To seek the admiration of men preempts seeking after the approval of God. 

2 Ti 2:15, “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”


The pride of life is the sin of egoism, idolatry, of self-centered power.


The pride of life is the sin of egoism, the idolatry of power.  Status symbols are more important than genuine representation of self.  This person seeks to define himself by his possessions, “I have a Ph.D. (so I am smarter than other people)”; “My church is larger than the next pastor, so I am a better pastor than he is”; “My car is larger than my neighbor’s car, so I am more successful than he is.” 

We commit the sin of “pride of life” when we brag about something aside from its intrinsic good.  This is ostentatious pride or vainglorious pride.  This celebrates the means rather than the end.  We concern ourselves with superficial benefits rather than the spiritual blessing.  For example, “Clothes make the man.” 

Pride is the proclivity to be captivated by the outward appearance of things without appreciating God’s fundamental principle behind it.

Many believers live their spiritual lives in proud pretension.  It is quite an irony to be proud of our spirituality!  This is the bogus assumption of spirituality, but in reality, it is a farce.  It is make-believe spirituality.  Boasting about social status and public image is an illusion.  The deadliest pride is spiritual pride. 

Reputation never replaces character in God’s system of values.  Some people care more about their reputations than glorifying God.  When we define ourselves in terms of our annual income or the size of our house or car, we care more about reputation than character.  We also misrepresent the truth of who we truly are.  We show ourselves to be pompous fools with fatuous pride.  Success does not measure the man in God’s economy. 

Dan 4:30, “The king spoke, saying, ‘Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for a royal dwelling by my mighty power and for the honor of my majesty?’”

When we lose our sense of dependence on God, we develop supercilious superiority over others.  We measure ourselves against other people rather than against God’s standards. 

1 Co 4:7, “For who makes you differ from another? And what do you have that you did not receive? Now, if you did indeed receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?”

When our ego is the basis of our motivation, we cannot walk in fellowship with the Lord.  When ego rises to the fore, then someone can hurt us, “He doesn’t appreciate me.  Doesn’t he understand that I sacrifice a lot for this ministry?”  Ego ultimately produces self-pity.  We feel sorry for ourselves if people do not appreciate us as we think they should. 

Pride of life orients around ego.  We want to outdo or outrank others.  This is pride of race, pride of face, and pride of grace.  Those of us who exercise pompous pride have very little to be proud of.  Pride attempts to gain the adulation or envy of other people.  Instead of engendering envy, it often creates rivalry and jealousy in others. 

Ga 5:26, “Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.”

Php 2:3-4, 3 “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. 4 Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.”