A great many saints today have pride of race, pride of face, and pride of grace — they are even proud they have been saved by grace! My friend, your salvation ought not to make you proud, it is not even something to brag about. It is something about which to glorify God, and it is something that should humble you. Aren’t you ashamed of yourself that you have to be saved by grace because you are such a miserable sinner? I wish I had something to offer God for salvation, but I have nothing. Therefore, I must be saved by grace, and I cannot even boast of that.
Pride is that which is destroying the testimony of many Christians and has made them very ineffective for God. They go in for show, but the thing they are building is a big haystack. They are not building on the foundation of Christ with gold and silver and precious stones. Pride has a great many saints down for the count of ten; it has pinned the shoulders of many to the mat today.
What is pride? Pride of heart is the attitude of a life that declares its ability to live without God. We find in the Book of Obadiah that pride of heart had lifted up the nation of Edom just like Esau who had despised his birthright. Even in the home of Isaac, where there was plenty to eat, he liked that bowl of soup, and he liked it more than he liked his birthright. He didn’t care for God at all. In despising that birthright, he despised God. And now Esau had become a great nation that had declared its ability to live without God.
“Thou that dwellest in the clefts of the rock, whose habitation is high; that saith in his heart, Who shall bring me down to the ground?” (Obadiah 3). They dwelt “in the clefts of the rock.” They were living in great buildings which were hewn out of solid rock inside this great canyon and up and down the sides of it. They were perfectly secure — at least they thought they were. The Edomites had signed a declaration of independence. They had a false sense of security and had severed all relationship with God. They had seceded from the government of God. They had revolted and rebelled against Him.
Now what is God going to do in a case like this? “Though thou exalt thyself as the eagle, and though thou set thy nest among the stars, thence will I bring thee down, saith the Lord” (Obadiah 4). The eagle is used in Scripture as a symbol of deity. The Edomites were going to overthrow God as Satan had attempted to do, and they were going to become deity. They were going to handle the business that God was supposed to handle. “And though thou set thy nest among the stars” — this was the sin of Satan, for he sought to exalt his throne above the stars. God says, “Thence will I bring thee down.”
How many people today are attempting to run their lives as if they were God? They feel that they don’t need God, and they live without Him. The interesting thing is that when God made us He did not put a steering wheel on any of us. Why? Because He wants to guide our lives. He wants us to come to Him for salvation first, and then He wants to take charge of our lives. When you and I run our lives, we are in the place of God. We are in the driver’s seat. We are the ones who are the captains of our own little ships or our own little planes, and we are going through the water or the air just to suit ourselves. That is pride, and anyone who reaches that position, if he continues in it, is committing a sin which is fatal because it means he will go into a lost eternity.—From Edited Messages on Obadiah by J. Vernon McGee