June marks LGBT Pride Month, but what does the Bible say about humility, pride and holiness? Erik Strandness explores

The Bible calls us to be holy like he is holy. A worthy goal to be sure, but sadly this endeavour often gets confused with ritual and law and we end up taking pride in our moral cardiovascular fitness rather than in a broken and contrite heart.

“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” (Psalm 51:17)

We boast about how tough our heart of stone is and forget that God prefers a heart of flesh.

“And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.” (Ezekiel 36:26)

We fill our ego with legalistic hot air and confuse our weightlessness with being one step closer to heaven when, in reality, we remain grounded until our sails are filled with the Holy Spirit. 


Read more:

Christians… You need to talk about pornography

How to talk with young people about love, porn and sex

Same sex attraction, transgender, racism and more

Why are we so obsessed with sex?



It’s interesting that we admonish the sins of the flesh yet still seem to think that pride is a worthy goal. CS Lewis, however, corrects that mistaken notion:

“The vice I am talking of is Pride or Self-Conceit: and the virtue opposite to it, in Christian morals, is called Humility…According to Christian teachers, the essential vice, the utmost evil, is Pride. Unchastity, anger, greed, drunkenness, and all that, are mere flea bites in comparison: it was through Pride that the devil became the devil: Pride leads to every other vice: it is the complete anti-God state of mind.” (CS Lewis in Mere Christianity)

We need to remember that holiness doesn’t just consist of exaltation at the right hand of God but begins with the incarnation of a man of sorrows acquainted with grief. Holiness shouldn’t make us feel full of our “divine” selves but rather spiritually empty every time we look in a mirror and see an emperor with no clothes.

Humility is an interesting thing. Our culture considers it the enemy and makes every effort to make us feel proud. It hands out participation trophies and offers microphones to those with fragile worldviews. It divinises our choices even when those choices prove to be destructive. 

The problem with this kind of self-esteem is that it is built on nothing. If you truly want infinite value, then you cannot rely on finite investments. If your human portfolio is measured by amounts of earthly treasure, then you will find yourself destitute when your life crashes. However, if you sell your earthly possessions and serve those less fortunate than yourself then you will be investing in a heavenly treasure that will keep you secure well into your resurrection years.


Sadly, we live our lives like an Egyptian Pharaoh preparing his tomb for an afterlife journey by filling it with money, boats and food. The problem with this afterlife strategy is that we can’t bribe St Peter, our boat won’t fit through the narrow salvation lock system, and strict agricultural restrictions ban the transport of forbidden fruit into the next life. 

However, if we invest in the Kingdom, we will find that our credit is always good because it is backed by heavenly treasure, we will easily fit through the narrow gate because we have trimmed ourselves of our bulky earthly possessions, and we will have plenty to eat because the Tree of Life always bears good fruit. It appears that he who dies with the most toys doesn’t win after all.

Humility appears to have value for the afterlife but what about our present life? Why is bending a knee a more noble posture than sitting on a throne? 

I would argue that if your worth is built on anything other than God then your life is nothing but a fragile facade of self-esteem, and once your story comes to an end, the Hollywood set you had meticulously constructed to perform upon will be broken down only to reveal an empty lot. 

If, however, your worth is found in God then you will always be a crucial member of a supporting cast in a story that never gets old. 


Get access to exclusive bonus content & updates: register & sign up to the Premier Unbelievable? newsletter!



I find it interesting that those who get angry when their views are criticised are the ones that have nothing in reserve. Their identity is so attached to their viewpoint that giving in on any point leaves them less than whole. Christians, on the other hand, find that even when they are cut down to size, they actually stand taller. Perceived weakness turns out to be the power of God.

If you are a Christian, then every humbling act reveals more of the saviour. God’s power is found in weakness because as we become lesser, he becomes greater. When we act sheepish, we reveal the Shepherd. We don’t humble ourselves out of slavish subservience to a demanding deity but bend a knee because we worship a God who came to serve and not be served. 

If, as Paul said, our bodies are temples where the Holy Spirit dwells then every act of humility opens a sanctuary door and allows the Spirit to flood the place and fill the atmosphere. Humility was also a thorny issue for Paul, but God made it clear that his scrapes and cuts would reveal Jesus’ scarred hands and feet.

“But he said to me: ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)

Jesus emptied himself and revealed the Father. Adam and Eve filled themselves and revealed the serpent. It is only when we make ourselves smaller that God becomes larger. A prideful witness is a poor argument for a suffering servant.

“How much larger would your life be if your self could become smaller in it.” (GK Chesterton)

If you believe that you are just an evolved animal, then humility weakens the line of defence in your battle to survive, but if you believe you are an image-bearer then your weakness assures your eternal survival.

Sadly, the original sin of pride has become a cultural virtue. Maybe the world would be a better place if we had humility parades instead of pride parades. Maybe the world would be a better place if we truly believed that our weakness made us gospel red carpets and not cultural door mats.


Erik Strandness is a physician and Christian apologist who practiced neonatal medicine for more than 20 years and has written three apologetic books; ”The Director’s Cut: Finding God’s Screenplay on the Cutting Room Floor,” ”Cry of the Elephant Man: Listening for Man’s Voice Above the Herd,” and ”God Spoke: Bridging the Sacred Secular Divide with Divine Discourse.” Information about his books can be found at godsscreenplay.com