Proverbs 21:4…”Haughty eyes and a proud heart – the lamp of the wicked – produce sin.” We have very high views of ourselves. A great example is the high standard we have for the way we want to be treated, which we don’t typically follow in the way we treat others. Even depression is a form of pride because we don’t like that our lives haven’t gone the way we wanted them to go. Interestingly, despite the ease of life and abundant wealth in the US, Americans are some of the most depressed people in the world (In fact, if you’re a woman living in the United States, you’re six times more likely to be depressed than a man living in China according to a recent study by Bromet et al, 2011). We need to put away the secular language of “improving self-esteem” and realize that ours is too high, and is the foundation of our discontent. Our hearts desire self-glorification in place of God, which means that we try to sit on His throne and rule in areas where submission to Him and trust in Him are needed. This is what guides the unbeliever (i.e. the lamp of the wicked), and produces sin. For the believer, we need to see our own high view of ourselves, repent from pride, and pursue a humble submission to the Lord in all we think, say, and do.
Proverbs 21:2…”Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the heart.” Our unbelief results in our motives being selfish in all we do. Our pride, born out of unbelief, justifies all we do. When we don’t pursue the Lord through lively and habitual faith, we sin and are quick to justify our ways. In fact, prideful unbelief is the most egregious sin, and has also been the most frequent of mankind since Adam, driving all other forms of disobedience. However, the Lord knows our motives. He evaluates our desires, and sees clearly our sinful motives even in religious activities. We need to take spiritual inventory daily, and test ourselves to be sure we’re desiring His glory in all we do. This will cause us to run to the cross in repentance increasingly as we see our desperate need for Jesus.