THE SIN THAT TURNED ANGELS INTO DEMONS
It is declared by some that there is a distinctive difference in attitude between a dog and a cat. A dog will look up at you and think, “You know, you feed me all this wonderful food. You give me this great house to live in. You treat me with love and respect. You must be a god!” A cat will look up to you and think, “You know, you feed me all this wonderful food. You give me this great house to live in. You treat me with love and respect. I must be a god!” I don’t know if that’s true about dogs and cats, but it is too often true of human nature.
Solomon warned in Proverbs 16:18, “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” The one who said, “Pride was the ingredient in the sin that turned angels into demons,” was correct.
Several years ago I came across a list of things that reveal symptoms of pride. Allow me to share ten of them.
1. BEING OVERLY CONSCIOUS OF OUR SELF-IMPORTANCE. God Himself warns in Psalm 101:5, “The one who has a haughty look and a proud heart, him I will not endure.” Dr. Alexander G. Bearn, in an address to new students at the Cornell Medical College said: “Beware of the fellow student or faculty member who gives himself out as a person of large importance; in the words of Van Wyck Brooks, ‘Genius and virtue are to be more often found clothed in gray hair than in peacock bright.’ It takes an immense amount of energy to keep up the appearance of greatness – more, indeed, than the great are prepared to give.”
2. HAVING ALL THE ANSWERS. Proverbs 3:7 states, “Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and depart from evil.” Peter said, “Be clothed with humility, for God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” ( 1 Peter 5:5 ) The word for “resists” means, “to battle against, to oppose, or to foil the plans of someone.” “The proud” are those who show themselves above other people. Obviously, such people do not have the favor of God!
3. A PROUD LOOK. In Proverbs 6:16-19, we are given a list of seven sins that God despises. Included are lying, murder, profanity, and other acts of disobedience. However, “a proud look” is listed first among God’s seven most despised sins, apparently outranking the others. Anything given that prominence in the Bible must be considered carefully.
4. GIVING GLOWING RESUMES ABOUT ONESELF. Proverbs 27:2 says, “Let another man praise you, and not your own mouth; a stranger, and not your own lips.” Sydney Harris, in “The Presbyterian Journal,” September 1, 1982, wrote, “Your ‘religion’ is whatever you are most interested in; and if you are most interested in yourself, your real religion is Ego-idolatry, no matter what creed you profess.”
5. BOASTING ABOUT WHAT WE PLAN TO DO OR ACCOMPLISH. James 4:13-16 states, “Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit’; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that’. But now you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil.” The boasting and arrogance of Napoleon should be a warning. At breakfast with his generals on the morning of the Battle of Waterloo, he declared, “I tell you Wellington is a bad general, the English are bad soldiers; we will settle this matter by lunch time.”
6. LOVING THE PRAISE OF MEN. In Matthew 6:1-8, Christ spoke of those who do good deeds, seeking the praise and admiration of men. Such people, said our Lord, lose their reward in Heaven. John Bunyan once preached an especially powerful sermon. The first person he spoke to afterward told him so. He said, “Yes, I know. The Devil told me that as I walked away from the pulpit.” Charles Lamb, 1775 – 1834, said, “The greatest pleasure I have known is to do good action by stealth, and to have it found out by accident.”
7. MORE FREQUENT USE OF “I” OR “MY.” In Isaiah 14:12-15, we have the record of Satan being cast out of Heaven. Five times in these few verses he said, “I will,” revealing his pride and self-centeredness. Asaph was a man we do not know a lot about, except he wrote twelve of the Bible’s psalms. Of the twelve, there is one, Psalm 75, where he tells us how to keep our head and heart together. In verses 5 – 7, he speaks to those who have experienced a measure of success: “Do not lift up your horn on high; do not speak with a stiff neck. For exaltation comes neither from the east nor from the west nor from the south. But God is the Judge: He puts down one, and exalts another.” What Asaph is saying is, “Don’t toot your own horn. Your success didn’t just happen. Behind it all is the sovereign hand of God. You are only the recipient of His goodness and grace.”
8. HAVING LITTLE CONCERN FOR OTHERS. In Philippians 2:1-4, Paul admonished us about this very thing, then concluded, “Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.”
9. CREDITING ONESELF WITH WORK DONE FOR GOD. In Acts 12:21-23, King Herod came to a tragic end. His failure was, he took credit for his accomplishments, and, “He did not give glory to God,” verse 23.
10. LOVING TITLES, REWARDS, POSITION, RECOGNITION, AND COMPENSATION. In Matthew 23, this is the very thing that Christ spoke against. He then gave the remedy by concluding, “But he who is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted,” verses 11 and 12.
A man applied for a job, and was told the only job they had was down in the bottom of the mail room. He said, “Well, I need a job, so I’ll take it.” The next day, while he was working, he looked over and saw a cockroach. He thought to himself, “I’ll kill that cockroach and show’em I’m working hard.” As he went over, the cockroach said, “Wait a minute. If you won’t kill me I’ll give you anything you want.” Of course the man was surprised and he said, “Okay, I want to be the president of the company tomorrow.” The cockroach snapped his fingers, and said, “You got it!” The next day the man went to work, and sure enough, they had made him president. As he was sitting at his desk, he started thinking, “I’d like to be chairman of the board and have all the power and influence.” He looked over and saw the same cockroach running across the floor. He told the cockroach his wish, and the cockroach said, “Sure, I’ll give you anything you want.” He snapped his fingers and said, “Tomorrow you’ll be the chairman of the board.” Sure enough, the next day the man found himself promoted to chairman of the board. As he was sitting in his big office looking around, he heard a noise above him. As he went up to the roof he saw a little boy praying. He asked the little boy what he was doing, and he answered, “I’m talking to God.” The man went back down to his office. Sitting in his huge chair, the same cockroach showed up. He told the cockroach, “Listen, I want to be like God.” The cockroach said, “You got it.” The next morning when the man showed up for work, he was back in the mail room.
2 Corinthians 13:14, “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.”