James teaches us how dangerous pride is since we are reminded that “God is opposed to the proud” (Jas 4:6). Here we get a general statement about how God views our pride, but the Bible gives some specific examples of what forms our own pride can take. The problem with our pride is we are often blind to it. We don’t realize that pride exists in us because we are not aware of the forms.
Here are a few of the forms pride can take.
Moral Pride: Moral pride is a feeling or attitude of superiority towards others. It can take the form of condescending words directed at those we think are morally below us (Jn 9:34). The Pharisees are the clearest example of moral pride in the Bible. To see how God is so opposed to moral pride, we have the parable Jesus told about the Pharisee and Tax Collector (Luke 18:10-14). It’s worth reading and meditating on.
Intellectual Pride: This form of pride is found in those who think that knowledge is supreme at the expense of love. Intellectual pride begins to creep in when we think we’ve arrived at spiritual maturity simply for reaching a certain level of knowledge. It is found in 1 Cor 8:1 “Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up.” It takes place whenever knowledge is prized above love (1 Cor 13:2).
Independent Pride: There are several variations. Independent pride can be refusing to look to God for help or seek him for strength (Obadiah 3). Not praying is a sure sign of independent pride (Ps 10:4). It can also be found in a rebellious, unteachable attitude, what the Bible calls “stiff-necked” (Ex 32:9).
Pride has no place in the disciple’s life, so let’s be sure our aim is to seek Christlike humility.