What is the pride of life?

Posted: February 12, 2018 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Junub Sudan, Opinion Articles, Opinion Writers

By Michael Chol Tor, Juba, South Sudan

February 12, 2018 (SSB) — The phrase “pride of life” is found only once in the Bible, in 1 John 2:16, but the concept of the pride of life, especially as it is linked with the “lust of the eyes” and the “lust of the flesh,” appears in two more significant passages of Scripture—the temptation of Eve in the Garden and the temptation of Christ in the wilderness. The pride of life can be defined as anything that is “of the world,” meaning anything that leads to arrogance, ostentation, pride in self, presumption, and boasting. John makes it clear that anything that produces the pride of life comes from a love of the world and “if anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him”.

The first example of the temptation of the pride of life occurs in the Garden of Eden, where Eve was tempted by the serpent to disobey God and eat the forbidden fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Eve perceived that the fruit was “good for food,” “pleasing to the eye,” and “desirable for gaining wisdom” (Genesis 3:6). She coveted the fruit in three ways. First, it was appealing to her appetite. This John refers to as the “lust of the flesh,” the desire for that which satisfies any of the physical needs. The fruit was also pleasing or delightful to the eye, that which we see and desire to own or possess. Here is the “lust of the eyes” John refers to. Finally, Eve somehow perceived that the fruit would make her wise, giving her a wisdom beyond her own. Part of Satan’s lie was that eating the fruit would make her “like God, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:5).

Here is the essence of the pride of life—anything that exalts us above our station and offers the illusion of God-like qualities, wherein we boast in arrogance and worldly wisdom. Eve wanted to be like God in her knowledge, not content to live in a perfect world under His perfect grace and care for her. Satan tried these same three temptations on Christ during His 40 days in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1-11). He tempted Jesus with the lust of the flesh, bread for His hunger (vv. 2-3), the lust of the eyes, “all the kingdoms of the world with their splendor” (vv. 8-9), and the pride of life, daring Him to cast Himself from the roof of the Temple in order to prove that He was the Messiah by an ostentatious display of power that was not in the will of God or His plan for the redemption of mankind (vv. 5-6). But Jesus, though He was “tempted in every way, just as we are” (Hebrews 4:15), resisted the devil and used the Word of God to ensure victory over him.

Christians have always been, and will always be, lured by the same three temptations Eve and Jesus experienced. Satan doesn’t change his methods; he doesn’t have to because they continue to be successful. He tempts us with the lust of the flesh—sexual gratification, gluttony, excessive alcohol consumption, and drugs, both legal and illegal, as well as the “deeds of the flesh” about which Paul warned the Galatians, “sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these” (Galatians 5:19-21). He tempts us with the lust of the eyes—the endless accumulation of “stuff” with which we fill our homes and garages and the insatiable desire for more, better, and newer possessions, which ensnares us and hardens our hearts to the things of God.

But perhaps his most evil temptation is the pride of life, the very sin that resulted in Satan’s expulsion from heaven. He desired to be God, not to be a servant of God (Isaiah 14:12-15). The arrogant boasting which constitutes the pride of life motivates the other two lusts as it seeks to elevate itself above all others and fulfill all personal desires. It is the root cause of strife in families, churches, and nations. It exalts the self in direct contradiction to Jesus’ statement that those who would follow Him must take up their cross (an instrument of death) and deny themselves. The pride of life stands in our way if we truly seek to be servants of God. It is the arrogance that separates us from others and limits our effectiveness in the kingdom. The pride of life “comes not from the Father, but from the world.” And, as such, it is passing away with the world, but those who resist and overcome the temptation of the pride of life do the will of God, and “the man who does the will of God lives forever” (1 John 2:17).

When I see the term “Pride of Life” what I actually see is a life with a complete lack of humility, a complete lack of where one comes from and subsequently a denial that the only reason they exist is simply because they were created. We see this behavior all over the world these days. From leaders of nations who think it’s perfectly fine to kill their own people, right down to the individual who thinks its ok to tear down his brother verbally. Along with this complete lack of humility comes an overabundance of pride in who people think they are while all along they forget they would not even exist if God had not created them.

Pride is an inwardly directed emotion that carries two antithetical meanings. With a negative connotation pride refers to a foolishly and irrationally corrupt sense of one’s personal value, status or accomplishments, used synonymously with hubris. With a positive connotation, pride refers to a humble and content sense of attachment toward one’s own or another’s choices and actions, or toward a whole group of people, and is a product of praise, independent self-reflection, and a fulfilled feeling of belonging. In Judaism, pride is called the root of all evil. In Christianity, pride is the original and most serious of the seven deadly sins, the father of all sins.

Philosophers and social psychologists have noted that pride is a complex secondary emotion which requires the development of a sense of self and the mastery of relevant conceptual distinctions (e.g. that pride is distinct from happiness and joy) through language-based interaction with others. Some social psychologists identify the nonverbal expression of pride as a means of sending a functional, automatically perceived signal of high social status. In contrast, pride could also be defined as a lowly disagreement with the truth. One definition of pride in the former sense comes from St. Augustine: “the love of one’s own excellence”. A similar definition comes from Meher Baba: “Pride is the specific feeling through which egoism manifests.”

Pride is sometimes viewed as corrupt or as a vice, sometimes as proper or as a virtue.  While some philosophers such as Aristotle (and George Bernard Shaw) consider pride (but not hubris) a profound virtue, some world religions consider pride’s fraudulent form a sin, such as is expressed in Proverbs 11:2 of the Hebrew Bible. When viewed as a virtue, pride in one’s abilities is known as virtuous pride, greatness of soul or magnanimity, but when viewed as a vice it is often known to be self-idolatry, sadistic contempt, vanity or vainglory. Pride can also manifest itself as a high opinion of one’s nation (national pride) and ethnicity (ethnic pride). The disarray in Northern Upper Nile State and silent of H.E the president of the Republic of South Sudan. Hysteria of thirsty leaders has disheartening the people of State entirely. H.E the president of the Republic of South Sudan Adar County people are homeless, encountering the unique aggravation, agitation, oppression by who are hostile to innocent or acquitted citizens in Newly created Adar County of Northern Upper Nile State, Renk.

The writer can be reached through Email: Choltor45@gmail.com

The opinion expressed here is solely the view of the writer. The veracity of any claim made is the responsibility of the author, not PaanLuel Wël: South Sudanese Bloggers (SSB) website. If you want to submit an opinion article, commentary or news analysis, please email it to paanluel2011@gmail.com. PaanLuel Wël website (SSB) do reserve the right to edit or reject material before publication. Please include your full name, a short biography, email address, city and the country you are writing from.

 

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