The Life of a Disciple in the World 2

The Life Of A Disciple In The World

The Seven Deadly Sins

Session 2: Pride- The Root of Sin

Core Teaching: Pride in the “core” of the Deadly Sins.  We are all affected by it.  It can be THE major barrier to Salvation.

Session Goals: This session focuses on the first of the Seven Deadly Sins, Pride.  Students should receive the basic grasp of Scripture’s condemnation of Pride and how Scripture sets a different standard than contemporary culture.           

Supplies: Bibles, Whiteboard/Newsprint, Markers, Masking Tape,

Sunday’s Newspaper, a copy of the Student Leader Help Sheet for each discussion/small group leader.

Memory Verse: Proverbs 16:18 NRSV

Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall.

(Write on the Board and encourage Youth to memorize this week.)

Scripture: Romans 12:3 NRSV

Genesis 11:1-4 NRSV

(You might possibly follow up this reading with Genesis 12:1-3 where God says to Abram that God will make his name “great” and discuss how & why this story might directly follow the Tower of Babel story in relation to pride.)

Luke 18:10-13 NRSV
Galatians 6:3-4 NRSV

Class Session

Opening Prayer- Student

Announcements, Attendance, and Offering- Teacher


Introduction to the Lesson- Teacher

Pride. It is considered the “root” of all Sin.  It is considered by Christians to be the beginning of The Fall we talked about last week from the Book of Genesis.  But, in today’s culture, Pride is often considered a Virtue rather than a Sin.  It is defined as a justified sense of one’s self-worth.  Self-respect, Self-esteem.  But the synonyms for Pride may help shed light on it’s actual meaning: vanity, vainglory, conceit, arrogance, egotism, boastfulness, self-glorification, selfishness.  These words do not seem to fit in with an “I’m OK you’re OK” kind of world.

“Pride is arrogant self-worship.  It is the sin of exalting oneself and placing one’s own interests above the interests of others.  Pride craves admiration and even adoration, and will not share the limelight.  Pride deludes its victims into believing that they have no peers and drives them to try to destroy anyone who takes recognition away from them.  The proud are in love with themselves and seek to call attention to their admirable qualities.  Pride is a primary barrier to salvation.” (Tony Campolo, Seven Deadly Sins, Victor Books, 1987, pages 74-75)

Pride and humiliation are among the most powerful motives for behavior and a major cause of conflicts between nations.  Just think of Saddam Hussein, Stalin, or Hitler to see how much evil could be caused by one person’s unchecked pride.  At the personal level, inappropriate pride can be the cause of great emotional distress.  Self-centeredness leads all kinds of neurotic behavior.

Christians have recognized since ancient times that Pride- exaggerating our worth and power and feeling superior to others- is the root cause of evil and cruelty and leads to the breakdown of community.  Humankind’s attempt to transcend human limits, to be as God is a common theme in the Biblical story.

Today we are going to focus in on the concept of Pride as Sin and discuss how we are all infected with Pride in different ways, whether we know it or not.

Small Group Discussions- Student Leaders

Key Questions (These should be answered during the discussion below)

  1. What is Pride?
  2. How do we put ourselves at the center of things?
  3. Why do we try to make a name for ourselves?
  4. How does Pride build a wall against Salvation?

Big Issue

Pride is unique among the seven deadly sins in that we are frequently unaware of our arrogance.  We do tend to know when we are angry, envious, greedy, gluttonous, etc.  Our culture values high self-esteem and fails to appreciate true humility (the antidote to pride).  Our society declares that the most valuable assets are wealth, power, social status, physical attractiveness, and intelligence.  Many who are superior to others in these assets believe that they are entitled to special privilege, exempt from having empathy toward others, contemptuous of weakness, and indifferent to the basic needs of others.  This of course is the opposite of a Christ-like character.  Even the most gifted among us will experience pain, sorrow, sickness, and eventually death.

Faith Link

“I” at the center– Read Romans 12:3 to the group.

  • Ask someone to restate this Scripture in their own words.
  • What is Paul trying to say here?
  • What would this Scripture point to as the definition of Pride?

q  Pride is the desire for recognition.  It is Sin expressed as the need to put “I” in the center of all things.  It has been described as a “swelling” of the heart.  It is making ourselves our own goal.

  • What is a person like who can not go long without talking about themselves?
  • Why do people want/desire recognition?

q  A preoccupation with the need for recognition can lead to 3 things: 1) not really listening to others, 2) being unaware of what’s going on around us, 3) insensitive to the needs or concerns of others.

Making a Name for Ourselves– Read Genesis 11:1-4 to the group.

q  You might want to also read Genesis 12:1-3 at some point.  God tells Abram that God will “make a name” for him.

  • Is there anything wrong with building towers or skyscrapers?
  • What made it wrong in this Bible story?

q  We are made to live for the glory of God.  Our search for significance and meaning, for name and for place, must be in the context of our relationship to God.

q  Pride is “deadly” because it leads to self-worship.  It places “my” interests above the interest of everyone else.

  • How is the Tower of Babel story like the Garden of Eden story form last week?  How are they NOT alike?
  • Why do you think the story of how God would make a “name” for Abram comes right after the Tower of Babel story?

Building a Wall Against Salvation- Read Luke 18:10-13 to the group.

q  The New Testament tells us that Salvation is not something we earn.  The Scripture memory verse from last week made that plain.(Ephesians 2:8)

q  Salvation is a gift.  It might be hard to receive this gift however.  Two thoughts are barriers for us, two thoughts definitely NOT found in the Bible: 1) “You get what you deserve” & 2) “God helps those who help themselves.”

  • What does this Scripture story have to say about our understanding of Salvation?
  • How is the Pharisee’s understanding of Salvation destructive?
  • Do you know people that try to earn God’s reward?  Do you know people who don’t even try to turn toward God because they think they can never do enough to earn God’s love?

q  The Pharisee can not be saved because he sees no need for Salvation.

  • What can redeeming love do for the Pharisee who is so satisfied with himself that he has nothing to pray about except his own merits?

q  “By the one solid rock we call the doctrine of justification by faith alone, we mean that we are redeemed from sin, death and the devil, and are made partners of life eternal, not by self-help but by outside help, namely, by the work of the only-begotten Son of God, Jesus Christ alone.”  Martin Luther, The Joy of the Saints

  • Are you more like the Pharisee or the Tax Collector in your prayer life?

Life Application

Read Galatians 6:3-4

  • How does this Scripture address Pride in your everyday relationships?

q  Pride infects us with deeper problems: envy, jealousy, anger, greed, intolerance, worry.  Nothing destroys relationships in the Christian community faster than undisciplined Pride.  When the heart “swells” and is preoccupied with the self, it leaves no room for others.  Having no room for love of anyone other than self, we increase our loneliness and isolation from other people.

q  Pride destroys relationships in 4 basic ways:

  1. It makes us impatient with the faults of others.
  2. It makes us expect others to cater to our desires and happiness.
  3. It keeps us from giving our attention to someone else.
  4. It does not allow us to confess and repent, to say “I’m sorry.”
  • How do these 4 items describe work you need to do in your relationships with:
  • God
  • Family
  • Friends

q  Take the Sunday morning paper and cut out a few articles that give tangibles examples of what has been discussed today.  Post these on the wall with a label above saying “Pride” so they may be referred to in future weeks.  If there is not time for this in class, ask for volunteers to get it done before next week.


Joys and Concerns- Teacher– Write these on a piece of butcher paper.

Closing Prayer- Student

Our Father, who art in heaven,

hallowed be thy name

Thy kingdom come,

thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread.

And forgive us our trespasses,

as we forgive those who trespass against us.

And lead us not into temptation,

but deliver us from evil.

For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory,

forever.  Amen

(The United Methodist Hymnal, #895)


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