"Pride is the steel dagger in the heart of humility." So writes Calvin Miller in his very helpful and well written book, Into the Depths of God (Bethany House Publishers). I highly recommend this book to any person seeking to know God better.
Who hasn't heard or sung songs about being a servant of God? This is a common call within the Church, as well it should be. But pride not only dampens our ability but is diametrically opposed to such service. Richard Baxter wrote:
Beware of a proud and haughty spirit. This sin puts a great barrier between an individual and God. You will have a hard time being aware of God as long as you are filled with pride. If it gets angels cast out of heaven, it will certainly keep your heart out of heaven. It was the downfall of Adam and Eve. It increases our separation from God and expels us from paradise.
Pride sucks the vitality out of our character. Bernard of Clairvaux wisely taught that there are four Christian virtues. The first is humility. The second is humility. The third is humility. And the fourth is humility. Bernard also taught that most of us would like to gain humility without humiliation. Alas, it is not possible. Ego is the barrier that stands between God and his dreams for our lives.
"Pride is there when we feel our religion is making us better than the next person—and it is the work of the devil, not of God" (C.S. Lewis). Indeed, pride is the work of making comparisons. Humility is done with all that. Once one comes up against the true God of heaven, he knows infinite, matchless greatness. He can no longer glance sideways in comparison because he is too caught up with the superior though fearful vertical gaze to the Father! It is the want of this gaze that leads to pride. It is the fullness of it that renders a man capable of nothing but humility. As the erudite puritan, John Flavel remarked, "They that know God will be humble; they that know themselves cannot be proud."