Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered outside the gate. Therefore, let us go forth to him outside the camp, bearing his reproach. For we have no continuing city here, but we seek one to come.
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The road of pride is a broad but crowded road that brings all who travel on it to sorrow and destruction. A proud man is like a turtle on a busy highway, boasting in the strength of his shell. Pride is a prayer for punishment. People who are proud are virtually begging the Almighty to destroy them; their pride is like a malodorous incense rising heavenward from their hearts, petitioning their Maker for death and destruction. God always hears and answers such prayers because He abhors proud people. He will lay waste all their possessions, and their expectations of prosperity and peace will come to nothing.
Great wealth tends to give men an exalted opinion of themselves; however, a poor wise man will expose the rich man’s vanity. The rich speak haughtily to those around them because they think they have no need of others, while the poor speak politely because they are at a disadvantage. But you do not have to be wealthy to become proud. Even in poverty, some men become puffed up with a false sense of self-importance. The upright man who is despised, yet has a servant, is happier than the man who is full of self-importance but has none. Choose the right way; it is better to be happy, even if men hate you, than to be cursed by God and praise yourself.
As I told you before, the aspirations of a fool for happiness are vain, and a fool’s pursuit of honor is useless; still, there is more hope for a fool than for a proud man. I warn you, my son; God loathes a proud man! So vehemently does God hate pride that He considers it a sin even to dress or to speak so as to make it appear that you are better than others. Do not even allow an expression of superiority to surface upon your face! If all the people on earth were to join together in defense of pride, God would utterly destroy them all; there is no safety in numbers from the wrath of God.
Some men think that if they claim to have something from God, then they have it. This is foolish. Boasting of a gift from God does not make it so. The man who boasts of a gift that God has not given him is like a dark cloud that blows in like a strong storm but then produces no rain; he disappoints those who trust in him and ends up looking like a fool. Most men speak more highly of themselves than the truth would allow. They trust the path of self-exaltation to lead them to happiness. It is extremely difficult o find a man who sees himself as he is and leaves no false impressions with others concerning his worth. Do not be like them, my son Do not brag. Why boast before men of how wise or talented or good you are? Just live your life and let others praise you, if anyone does. Why risk your future happiness attempting to impress people? Can people give you happiness? If someone praises you, let it be anyone but yourself, preferably a stranger whom you have never met and whom you may never see again. Do not become a braggart, my son! Of what do you have to boast? You may not even wake up tomorrow morning. Everything is in the hands of God, who despises proud people. But even praise from the lips of others, from even the best of your friends, can be a burden; neither desire it nor put your trust in it. Praise from others, although sincerely offered, can put your heart through a fiery test, which many have failed. And the loftiest praise often produces the hottest fire.
Do not puff yourself up to pursue any high position. Pride is the way to disgrace and disappointment because the honors that men give, they can also take away at their convenience. If, in your efforts to obtain praise and honor from men, you are humiliated, those whose praise you sought will not care that you are hurting. They will show no compassion on you at all. Listen to me, my son, for there is safety in my speech. The earthly glory that proud men covet for themselves is not real glory; it is fool’s gold. But even if it were worth something, too much of anything is too much, and those who hoard up great earthly wealth and stature are certain to become spiritually sick because of it. The world may envy and praise such men while they live, but their souls will become emaciated through avarice, and they will die unprepared to meet their Maker.
A little humility will benefit a man more than a lot of pride, for humility leads the way to the honor that comes from God. The road of humility and fear of God leads to real happiness: eternal life, enduring riches, and everlasting honor. Man is not able either to obtain these blessings or to make them secure by his own power. Trusting in military might, men have attempted to protect their possessions and secure happiness for themselves and their children, but, in time, all such efforts fail because safety is only of the Lord. He alone is able to make men truly happy and secure. He protects the possessions of the humble widow from wicked and powerful men, for the security and happiness God promises to those who trust Him are not just for the future; the honor God bestows on the humble upholds them through every trouble they face while they are yet living on earth.
Fearing the wrath of God that will certainly fall upon the proud, and desiring the blessings with which God will reward the humble, wise men choose the path of humility over everything this world can offer them. All wise men, whether rich or poor, fear God and cling to humility. Consequently, they live peacefully with others because strife can arise only where pride exists. Without even trying, a proud man stirs up strife wherever he goes, but an humble man lives in peace with those around him and is happy.