‘Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.’ – Proverbs 16:18
A haughty spirit is one which makes people think of themselves more highly than they are supposed to. People who have this spirit will often show the attitude of being better, smarter, and more important than others. They will display an attitude of superiority and disdain for other people they believe to be lesser than them. This attitude is contrary to the divine attributes of God and should not be found in the life of a Christian. Furthermore, God has a very great hatred for this attitude because it is the attitude satan put up before he got kicked out of heaven! The attitude of haughtiness is seen as pride by God and He shows us in the Bible that ‘… God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.’ – James 4:6. This scripture tells us that a man can lose God’s presence and protection if he chooses to remain proud and haughty, even after the Holy Spirit has convicted him of his sin. And yes, haughtiness and pride are sinful before God! ‘A haughty look, a proud heart, and the plowing of the wicked are sin.’ – Proverbs 21:4.
Can Christians be Haughty and Proud?
‘A proud and haughty man – “Scoffer” is his name; he acts with arrogant pride.’ – Proverbs 21:24.
It is possible, but not right, for God’s people to manifest a haughty spirit. This will cause them to be unloving and treat other people as if they are lesser humans. This happens mostly to those who are spiritually gifted, anointed and have vast mental knowledge about the word of God. ‘Knowledge puffs up, but love edifies.’ – 1 Corinthians 8:1. They will typically seek to compete with, put down or outshine others instead of trying to edify them or help them become better. The Bible records a situation concerning a Christian man who had this attitude. ‘I wrote to the church, but Diotrephes, who loves to have the preeminence among them, does not receive us.’ – 3 John 9. God is not the least bothered by an unbeliever manifesting haughtiness, however, He is [even more] displeased when a Christian displays this attitude because he is supposed to know better and maximize God’s manifold grace to rid himself of the haughty spirit.
Identifying the Haughty Spirit
This spirit is not categorically a demon, rather it’s a spiritual condition of a human spirit – whether Christian or not. Remember that God is [a] Spirit and He sees all men’s hearts, motives and intentions naked as they are (See John 4:24). The sight of haughtiness or pride is repulsive to Him, because it is a spiritual disease, and when the devil gets to find out that someone has this haughty-spirit-disease, he sends demons to reinforce it and make the person more haughty or prideful, which might eventually lead to the person’s destruction. However, there is healing in the word of God for this ‘spiritual disease’.God sees all men’s hearts, motives and intentions! #HeKnows #PerfectLove Click To Tweet
Characteristics of the Haughty Spirit
Slander. ‘Whoever secretly slanders his neighbor, him I will destroy; the one who has a haughty look and a proud heart, him I will not endure.’ – Psalm 101:5.
A sign that one has a haughty spirit is when one begins to think that he is far better than his fellow men and then begins to secretly speak evil of them. One of the strongest reasons that make people slander others is envy, which the bible describes as rottenness (meaning a spiritual disease) to the bones. God wants spiritually and physically healthy saints and He will not bargain for less!
Competition. ‘Moreover, Absalom would say, “Oh, that I were made judge in the land, and anyone who has any suit or cause would come to me; then I would give him justice.” And so it was, when anyone came near to bow down to him, that he would put out his hand and take him and kiss him. In this manner, Absalom acted toward all Israel who came to the king for judgment. So Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel.’ – 2 Samuel 15:4-6.
Haughtiness also causes competition to take root in a man’s soul, which when given room, will lead to ambition. This is very common in the corporate, political and business world, where rivalry causes men to speak against and defame one another, organizations seeking to outdo [rather than complement] one another to gain more votes or more sales. Christians who work in these kinds of places must be careful not to be conformed to the ‘accepted’ culture.The haughty spirit influences people into thinking too highly of themselves. #behumble #Hisway Click To Tweet
Cure of the Haughty Spirit
Humility: ‘You will save the humble people; but your eyes are on the haughty, that you may bring them down.’ 2 Sam 22:28. Humility is not a spiritual gift for special Christians, rather it a divine character that must deliberately be cultivated and grown. We are created to bear the image and likeness of Jesus Christ, Who Himself said, ‘…learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart…’ – Matthew 11:29.
Grace: ‘Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in weakness.’ – 2 Corinthians 12:8,9. A haughty spirit can be cured by depending on and drawing from the grace of Christ and His strength which enables us to think healthy thoughts and display godly attitudes toward our fellow men.
Wisdom Keys to Effectively Getting Free from a Haughty Spirit
- Meditation. Take your bible and meditate on the nature of Jesus Christ and His entire life in His earthly days. Compare His character to yours and see how well [or otherwise] you’re doing! It is easier to conform to His likeness after you have first learned about Him. Jesus is your pattern, and if you can’t find it in your Bible that He displayed pride, haughtiness or envy, then you have no business with that! However, knowledge is not enough. You must ask Him for grace to conform to Him in every way.
- Prayer. There is no human weakness of ungodly character that God doesn’t have a solution for, you only need to talk to God about it in prayer and ask Him to deliver you from a haughty spirit, asking Him for the healing of the wrong attitude. This applies not only to pride or haughtiness, but also other ‘spiritual diseases’ such as envy, ambition, hatred or bitterness. You stay patiently in prayer and watch Him make your heart like His!
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Angela Lowe, MS. Ed., LPC
Angela Lowe is a licensed Professional Counselor, trained Biblical Counselor and certified Holistic Health Coach. Her kingdom mandate is to restore God’s counsel to transform lives, marriages, and churches worldwide.