In this chapter, I’ll uncover how pride (the god complex) is very common and can be observed in everyday life; even among the least of us. Pride is the heartbeat of our societies and it’s killing us. What you’ll discover in most of these examples is that denial is present. Denial is the action of declaring something that’s true to be false.
The god complex tends to say to itself subconsciously, “I’m not weak, I’m not needy, I’m not insufficient, I’m not imperfect, I’m not faulty, I’m not ignorant.” This denial stems from a very weak or absent connection to the true God (as we’ve already brought out). It’s a sad state for most of us today, but with choice and trials, our minds can be renewed. The following are some cases of pride on display:
Rejecting the truth
I’ve heard a saying that goes, “It’s easier to deceive the masses than to convince them they’ve been deceived.” This is because of their pride. No one wants to admit they’ve been duped. This makes them feel less than a god because gods can’t be fooled. If you wonder why people won’t accept the gospel, or let go of false beliefs, or leave cults, even after shown the truth, it’s because of pride.
Struggling with sin and often failing
When we repeatedly fall into certain sins, we may be attempting to overcome them in our own strength.
Pride attempts to please God and overcome sin apart from the Holy Spirit’s power. Just like Israel was given Christ and the Spirit to obey God—and they rejected both—the same with many so-called Christians today. If it were possible to beat sin in our own will power, God would’ve never provided support.
But pride says, “Nope, I got this. I don’t need no help; I’m God.” And we watch as they continue to fail. If you wonder why Christians live defeated lives, it’s because they’re too proud to yield to the Holy Spirit for support (although other factors may be at work). Eventually, they begin to lower the standards of righteousness to suit their sinful lifestyles.
When the Pharisees added to the laws of Moses, and when modern day Christian preachers teach their members that regular attendance, financial support, charity, getting along with others, and active participation is enough to please God, it’s rooted in pride.
When you see people caught up in legalism, it’s a replacement for the fact they can’t obey God in their own strength. But instead of being empowered by the Holy Spirit, they come up with their own set of rules and declare that obedience to those makes them acceptable to God.
The Law kills, but the Spirit brings life (2 Corinthians 3:5-6). Laws and works do not save us, rather God’s grace, and our faith does (Ephesians 2:8-10). This biblical faith leads to obedience to the commandments of God in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Rejecting the sin nature
Pride says, “I don’t have a fallen nature.” I’ve come across many false doctrines like the Works Gospel (legalism) and Calvinism, but there’s nothing quite like Pelagianism. This belief states that mankind doesn’t have a sin nature, and man is good. It teaches that all men are just like Adam, before the fall, (perfect—no sin nature) and when men sin today, it’s because they chose to, not because something is compelling them from within.
The truth is, while men can choose to obey God, there’s also that compelling force inside us that leads us to sin (which I call the nature of Satan, and the Bible calls “the flesh”).
The book of Romans chapters 3 through 8 talks about this nature, but despite scripture, these so-called Christians retain this belief. With this crazy idea, there’s no need for the Holy Spirit, and men are capable of completely obeying God in their own will power.
But given the destruction mankind have caused in the world throughout the centuries, why hasn’t he just stopped himself and done the right thing? It’s because he can’t help himself—his nature is to sin—just like a dog can’t help but lick its own behind.
While he has some control over his behavior, he’s too weak to manage himself. Therefore, the need for God’s help. However, a small sect of Christians still hold on to Pelagianism, and why? Because of pride. Their god complex doesn’t want to accept that it’s flawed and weak.
The opposite is true for the Calvinist. He believes he’s totally depraved, his soul is defective, and needs a savior. But the false doctrine of Calvinism renders all men incapable of choosing God, or incapable of becoming like Christ (Romans 8:29). Their pride doesn’t want to yield to the Holy Spirit’s power to dominate sin in their lives, so they let sin reign and claim “I’m just a helpless, wretched, sinner.”
But God called us away from sin towards righteousness. Jesus didn’t die so we could continue in sin, but that we have salvation from the penalty and the practice of sin through the Holy Spirit. I once held the beliefs of Calvinism, but the Lord showed me the truth, and I was humble enough to accept it. Unfortunately, many Calvinists are bound to this lie due to their pride.
When people idolize people
When people idolize others, it’s because of pride. We’ve all seen people worship entertainers, government, and religious leaders.
When a man or woman is exalted, the people can associate themselves with that person’s greatness which boosts their own pride. Instead of God being worshiped as the greatest of them all, most people refuse to glorify him due to the nature of Satan.
They instead, lift up anyone else. Then they say in their hearts, “See my great artist, leader, pastor, president, etc.; s/he’s one of us.” But if the Lord was their god, they couldn’t make that claim because God is nothing like mere humans.
Another reason for human idols is they can be handled and controlled. If their gods please them, they’ll continue to exalt them, if they don’t, they’ll tear them down. In the end, idolizing anyone but God ends up hurting both the worshipper and the idol.
Magnifying the sins of others
Some people tend to fixate on the mistakes and sins of others. Be it politicians, secret world leaders, celebrities, white people, black people, wicked preachers, a broken church system, doctrines, religions, neighbors, or family members; these people can’t help but ramble on about the errors of others.
While there are things that need to be exposed, the constant focus and talk about such is due to pride. This is why gossip columns, political critics, and exposés are so popular. Pride loves to expose the faults of others because it degrades one person while lifting up the others. It reinforces their god complex at the expense of someone else’s. With someone’s dirt magnified, the spectator’s or accuser’s sins appear microscopic.
This constant pointing-the-finger leads people to miss the kingdom of heaven. They tend to believe God will accept them because they’re not as bad as that pimp preacher, or that corrupt politician, or some convicted felon. But God doesn’t compare our lives to our neighbors’ or the standards of society, but to the righteousness of Christ.
In society, it’s almost a sin to confront someone about their error because we know the reaction probably won’t be good. People can become very agitated when someone corrects them because the god complex is “perfect” and needs no correction.
According to how much pride one has, they can take great offense, and view correction as an attack on their very soul; and they will retaliate. This is why we have to be smart about who we correct; we should only correct “wise men,” as Proverbs 9:7-8 advises.
Difficulty admitting failures
A god makes no mistakes and can do no wrong. When a proud person is faced with their sins, they shift the blame elsewhere, minimize their error, and accuse others of wrongdoing.
Proud people can’t just humbly say, “I was wrong, I sinned,” they have to add a “but.” “But this individual did this or that.” The god complex can’t bare the fault alone; they must take someone else down with them—this is dangerous behavior. Under the New Covenant, the blood of Jesus washes away our sins, but with one condition—confession.
11 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. (1 John 1:9-10)
Confession means to agree with God that we were completely wrong and that his ways are right. When we do this, are sins are forgiven and washed away. Sure, if others were involved, they too will have to give an account to God, but we must admit the part we played.
Failure to accept the blame, and admit our faults is not true confession. Saying “we’re sorry” is vain and God knows our hearts. When we don’t agree with God that what we did was sinful, we receive no forgiveness.
Finally, most people (unknowingly) call the Holy Spirit a liar by rejecting his conviction by excusing their sins. They’re basically saying, “No, Holy Spirit, I didn’t sin, you’re a liar.”
Feminism is rooted in pride
Some women simply don’t want to accept the fact that they are weaker than a man, not only in physical strength but emotional strength. Their god complex says, “I can do whatever a man can. Satan does not easily fool me. I’m not submitting to my husband.” Pride rejects the roles assigned to men and women, and it leads to chaos. See our series on Feminism and Satan’s war on women here.
The three “I Am’s”
“I am good enough. I am not that bad. I am better than them.” The previous statements are all self-deceptive—expressions of pride. First of all, Jesus said no one is good but God (Luke 18:19). And God never compares us to each other as a basis on who will receive eternal life, but judges according to his perfect law, and the image of Christ (Romans 8:29).
Giving instead of receiving
Pride reveals itself when a person refuses to accept a gift, or they feel compelled to reimburse that which they received. A god never owes anyone anything.
Other than praise and worship, a god doesn’t receive, rather he or she gives. Therefore, some people love giving to the needy because it makes them feel like God; and they usually boast about it as they glorify themselves. These people publish videos of their charity on social media to get praise and honor; this is why Jesus said:
Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven. Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. (Matthew 6:1-2)
However, if these same people ended up needy, they’d have a hard time asking or accepting support because they still consider themselves gods, and when they do accept it, they try their best to pay it back.
Apart from community kindness, this is the drive behind reciprocation; no one wants to feel in debt to anyone, so they have to give back—a god owes no one.
But let’s be balanced about this, a person shouldn’t be considered “proud” for rejecting support or a gift from someone who they know will attach a string to manipulate them. No, denying such “help” or “gifts” is wise.
Not asking for help, rejecting support
If you’ve ever seen a person refuse your help when they clearly needed it? It was because of pride; a god needs no help. Have you seen people refrain from asking questions when they’re apparently confused? It’s because of pride. Pride says, “I’m god, I know everything, I don’t have questions.”
How many men have drove around a foreign city, wasting time and gas, unable to find his destination because he was too proud to stop and ask for help?
We fall into danger when we attempt to navigate life in ignorance. We tend to look stupid trying to move something we’re not strong enough to carry—but we do it anyway because of our pride.
Taking on more than you can handle
Pride tends to believe it can pick up more than it can handle, or take on more work than it should, leading to physical injury, stress, and many more problems.
Not only are we limited human beings, but our bodies also require a sabbath. When you see people working too hard, doing more than they should, and not taking a rest, they have a pride problem. They think they’re a god with unlimited power.
I’ve talked quite a bit about this subject, and pride is always the root. People can’t forgive because they believe the offense was against them, and them alone. The truth is, all offenses are against God and his righteous law, and he alone has the right to withhold forgiveness.
For a woman or man to withhold forgiveness is saying they’re God; which isn’t true. This is why Jesus says, the Father won’t forgive the sins of men, who don’t forgive the sins of others (Matthew 6:15). No one has the right to withhold forgiveness.
When it’s hard to let go of what someone did to us it’s because we believe they owe us something, when in fact, they owe God. The remedy is humility and releasing that person to God, asking God for the power to forgive, and knowing he will bring justice in due time.
Matthew chapter 18 talks in detail about forgiveness, and for more information about it, visit our series on the subject.
All competition is rooted in pride
All sports, most games, and any competition is about pride with the prize of self-glorification. These practices are the epitome of the nature of Satan.
The god complex is attempting to get the praise and honor at the expense of the loser. While it’s not a sin to carry a ball down a field or slam it with a bat, the motives for everyone participating, including the spectators, is about pride. They’re glorying themselves just like Satan. When they win, they get excited, they’re lifted up; and the celebrate their own greatness.
Even if there’s no official game, anytime there’s contention between people, pride is at the root; one person is trying to overcome the other to inflate their ego further.
This competitive spirit is seen in academia, and material possessions as well. People will compare their degrees to others, or how much resources they have, and they either become arrogant or envious. Proverbs 13:10 says, “Only by pride cometh contention: but with the well advised is wisdom.” For more on this subject, visit the article: “3 Lies Men Believe about Manhood, Competition is #1“
Pride shows itself in Christian debates—another form of competition. I have to expose this form of competition because many have confused it with “defending the faith.”
But when it’s clear both sides aren’t going to change their view, the motives for “reasoning together” are rooted in pride; it’s about self-glorification and winning the argument—not defending the faith.
For this very reason, there are many Christians who start debates for pride’s sake. Not for truth, but for honor. They’re looking to beat someone so they can glorify themselves. Pride says, “let’s debate to see who will win.” God hates this.
Disagreement leads to offense
Pride takes offense when someone’s opinion differs. As a false god, everyone in your universe must agree with you, when people don’t, a debate is initiated to persuade such people to change their minds, or they’re flat-out rejected.
The nature of Satan needs everyone to agree because collective agreement validates their god complex. In the eyes of the proud, if you have an opinion, but no one agrees with it, you’re not a god. Therefore, the more people agree with a viewpoint, the more it validates one’s god complex.
Contrarily, humble and healthy people are not personally offended when others differ in opinion because everyone is entitled to their own. Humility stands alone and doesn’t need the agreement of others to validate its beliefs.
If a person doesn’t agree, just let them believe what they want. The meek don’t take it upon themselves to convert anyone to their side of the fence; it’s either take it or leave it. The true God is the same way. You can either accept him or reject him—he’s not going to force anyone to love him—he’s all about free will.
Unfortunately today, many Christians are personally offended when people on the street reject the gospel of Jesus Christ. But why? It’s not their message; it’s God’s. All we do it deliver it.
God is the only one who has the right to be offended—they rejected his message. But these street preachers take it personally because they’ve turned evangelism into self-glorification and they view rejection as personal dishonor. They’re full of pride and fail to understand the very gospel they preach!
If they were humble, they might walk away sad that the person rejected salvation from damnation, but not personally offended because human beings have the right to choose God or not—it’s called free will.
But Satan is a twisted false god, and a won’t allow anyone to be free to disagree without accusation, abuse, and mistreatment. He’ll disrespect you until you accept his viewpoint, and his children will do the same. If you come across such people like this, don’t contend with them, let them believe what they want, their pride is the reason they’re offended.
Selfishness is rooted in pride
We’ve already seen how detaching from God left Satan void, making him naturally self-centered, which is why he draws all his power from everyone else. Pride turned Satan into a vampire.
Likewise, his children are selfish too—entirely concerned with themselves. They’re void of the source of life and provision, refusing to come to the real God for it, and attempting to fill that empty slot with everything else which leads to idolatry.
Be it sex, jobs, careers, food, entertainment, exploration, money, religion, Christian ministry, fame, honor—you name it—humanity will try and use it to satisfy their souls, but it never works. All they end up doing is hurting each other and causing destruction. Greed and theft also come from pride.
Manipulation is rooted in pride
The god complex needs to get its way at all times. Instead of humbly asking people to do this or that, and place themselves in the position of getting rejected, they control or influence a person unfairly, or immorally.
They result to such tactics because they can’t stand rejection. Rejection makes them feel less of a god and at the mercy of the person or situation. No, they must always be in control. Controlling people makes them feel powerful and validates their false god status. But this is the thinking of a twisted false god.
Even the only true God doesn’t always get what he wants. He wishes that no soul perish, but many reject him on a daily basis. However, he doesn’t manipulate people into accepting him—Christians may do this to “win” souls—but not the Spirit of God. He just visits people directly and asks them if they’d like to be saved from their sins.
God wants people who willfully love and serve him, not a bunch of fake relationships knowing each one, deep down, doesn’t respect him. However, the proud are fine with this; they much prefer making people into robots. That’s not freedom. That’s not godly love.
Those who manipulate others are filled with the nature of Satan, they’re perverted and lack the love of God. The Lord gives men a choice, and has enough love that he can take rejection without resorting to witchcraft. While offense hurts, he knows the souls who chose him did so of their free will; and that’s what healthy relationships are built on: mutual love and freedom.
People become physically and mentally dependent on a particular substance or practice, and unable to stop without adverse effects after they’ve first made it an idol. From there, spirits may inhabit their souls, and those people are bound.
The only way to have freedom from addiction is for them to understand that they replaced God with that substance or practice, and it’s insufficient, and destroying their lives. Only God can satisfy the void in their souls.
Salvation requires humility and the Holy Spirit. Failure to submit to God is due to pride, and as a result, that person will either replace the addiction with another or remain shackled.
Lying is rooted in pride
There are a few reasons people tell lies: to hide their faults, escape punishment, gain the approval of others, or to manipulate others. All of these are tied to pride.
A false god has to hide certain things that would expose themselves to be weak or inadequate. Depending on what kind of fault, if punishment is attached to it, they’ll lie to avoid it, plus, in their minds, gods are never wrong and can’t be punished.
To be accepted by others, they may feel that the “real them” is ugly, so they present a false image to be honored instead of dishonored. And finally, they lie to control (manipulate) as we already brought out; a god must always be in control. Therefore, lying comes from pride.
Fear is rooted in pride.
In chapter 8, we see how God was trying to get Israel to understand how his kingdom worked. He was their provider and protector. Those who don’t trust God, and instead, take care of themselves will become fearful when met with circumstances that are beyond their means
I hope these examples drive the point home about how pride is the motivation behind many our everyday practices, behaviors, and sins; but with humility and the Holy Spirit, we can defeat all sin in our lives.