By: Eric Wheeler

originally posted December 15,2005 re-posted October 15, 2013

The Lord spoke to me recently about the “pride of life”. Whether we realize it or not, we
all have it. We collectively inherited it at the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve ate of
the forbidden fruit. It is a result of eating from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and
Evil. The taking of the fruit of this tree represented the snatching of power to choose for
oneself- to make one’s own decisions — to become one’s own master or god. When our
parents ate this forbidden fruit, it caused them and all of their descendants to embark on
a lifelong journey of trying to decide for themselves how to live and how to survive. In
other words, it is “the knowledge of experience” which enables a person to be able to
reason for themselves what is right and what is wrong. We collectively look to our own
“wisdom of experience” to serve as our teacher and our guide. Thus we become our own
god. This knowledge or “know-how” causes all of us to trust in our own abilities, our own
experiences, our own strengths, our own thoughts, and our own human reasoning’s. In
other words, it causes us to be “self-reliant”! Every human being who has ever lived,
every descendant of Adam and Eve, no matter who we are, has this human nature (“the
pride of life”) in them!

Take a robot for example. It has no power to decide for itself what to do or not to do. It
doesn’t make judgments or decisions. Its actions aren’t based on past experiences or any
assessments of knowledge. It is merely programmed to do what it does. It has no pride,
because it doesn’t have the ability to think for itself. Animals don’t have pride either.
Obviously, they have life, but they don’t have the pride of life, because they don’t have
the power and ability to reason. They have instinct. They don’t have the ability to think
and reason. Having this ability and power to reason, and to make choices based on
experiences and knowledge, is what sets us apart from the animals. But unfortunately, it
also creates in us the “pride of life”. We learn to live by what we experience and think,
instead of what God says.


When God began to deal with His servants in the Bible, you’ll notice that every one of
them had to first go through some sort of wilderness experience. Notice in Deut. 8:1,
God said to His people Israel, “Every commandment which I command you today you
must be careful to observe, that you may live… And you shall remember that the Lord
your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test
you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not.
So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna… that He might
make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every
word that proceeds from the mouth of God
” (Deut. 8:1-3). God was trying to reveal
to them the very founding principle upon which a person of God must stand on and live by
— that is, to live by what God says and trust in Him, and not one’s own life experience.
“Bread” in this passage represents “man’s sustenance” – in other words, that which man
relies upon to sustain him and give him life! God was trying to show His people that the
“justified” (those who have been made right with Him) live by their faith in Him (Hab.
2:4; Heb.10:38), not by what they experience.

According to Jesus and the Book of Hebrews, the Israelites didn’t understand this! Jesus
said that they all ate the bread in the wilderness and died (John 6:49, 58). They didn’t
live! They didn’t learn to live by what God said. They didn’t believe God. They trusted in
their own abilities and in their own ways. And as a consequence, God let them all die in
the wilderness because they had no faith in Him (see Hebrews chapters 3 and 4). Man
must learn to live by what God says and not by what he experiences or he chooses! That
is why Jesus said that He is the True Bread from heaven. As God in the flesh, Jesus
declared, “I am the Bread of Life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger. And he that
believes in Me shall never thirst… If any man eats of this Bread, he shall not die
… He shall live forever” (John 6:35-58).

Notice that after Adam and Eve sinned and decided to choose for themselves how to live,
God declared that part of man’s curse would be that mankind would have to work for his
sustenance (earn a living), and that “by the sweat of man’s face [hard experience] he
would eat bread till he returned to the ground” (Gen.3:19). In other words, man would
now be subjected to a lifetime of hard work in which he would have to struggle to survive
and eek out a living, experiencing both good and bad, only to find out that in the end it
only leads to death. This is called “learning by experience”. Some people would call this
“the school of hard-knocks”! Unfortunately, this method of learning ultimately leads to
death, just as God told us that it would! For He said, “In the day that you eat of it
[partake of it], you shall surely die” (Gen.2:17). But when a person follows after the
example of the “Second Adam” [Jesus] in faith, trusting in God, he no longer dies, but

God recently told me that because all of mankind has eaten of this Tree of the Knowledge
of Good and Evil, every person therefore naturally has the “pride of life” in them. In other
words, every person lives by his or her own decisions which are based upon his or her own
experiences. Each person has learned to trust for themselves what to do, how to live,
what to believe, etc. Every one of us follows our own mind, looks to our own
understanding, and proceeds forward based on our own judgments. This is not following
God, or serving Him! This is serving our own gods, trusting in our own minds, and
obeying our own commandments! This is idolatry!

It is precisely because of this “pride of life”, that God takes all of His servants out into the
wilderness for a season. God explained to me that this is why He drove Moses out of the
land of Egypt into the land of Midian for forty years. It was to “humble” him. But
Scripture says that Moses was “the humblest man on the face of the earth at the time”
(Num.12:3), so why then did God need to humble him? Because of the “pride of life”
which is in all of us. Moses didn’t have pride, as we humans think of pride. He wasn’t
arrogant or haughty. But like all of us, Moses did have the “pride of life”. He trusted in
his own ability and in the strength of his own arm. He relied on his own judgments, and
on his own decisions to guide his way. Notice how it describes him in the Book of Acts:
“Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and in
deeds” (Acts 7:22). The Jewish historian, Josephus, describes Moses as a very successful
military general and capable leader when he was a prince in Egypt. The Book of Acts says
that Moses knew what his destiny was, how he was destined to be the deliverer of Israel.
For it says that after he smote the Egyptian, “he supposed his brethren would have
understood how that God by his hand would deliver them; but they did not” (Acts 7:25).

In other words, Moses, knowing beforehand what his destiny was, decided to bring it
about by the strength of his own arm and by his own decisions. He didn’t rely on God to
bring it about. He took it upon himself. He trusted his own methods, his own military
experience, and his own wisdom. And so God sent him out into the wilderness of Midian for
forty years of humbling — to learn to rely on God, to wait on God, and to trust in God.
There in the wilderness He learned to live by faith.

When Moses’ wilderness time of training was complete, forty years later, God sent Him
back to Egypt. This time, Moses acted and spoke in the fear and wisdom of God, not in
“the wisdom of the Egyptians” (man). And he became a fitting leader qualified to lead the
next group of people that God was calling and was working with. And notice that the first
place that God took the children of Israel to for their first lesson was – the wilderness – to
be humbled and to learn to live by faith and not by sight! The only problem was that they
never got past their first lesson. They failed kindergarten, so to speak! For God said of
them, “They are a very perverse generation, children in whom is no faith!” (Deut.32:20).
And consequently, they ate the bread (of experience), and died. They did not learn “that
man does not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the
mouth of God” (Deut. 8:3).

Consider Joseph. He, too, had the “pride of life” in him that God needed to humble. Like
Moses, he also had a destiny given to him by God. For God had told him in a dream while
he was still a teenager that he was one day going to be a powerful ruler. But instead, he
was sold into slavery and put into prison. The Bible said that “he was laid in chains, and
his feet put in shackles until the time that God’s word came to pass, for the word of the
Lord tested him” (Psa. 105:17-19). God wanted to see if Joseph was going to rely on
Him and believe what He had promised, or was Joseph going to give up because of how
dismal his surroundings looked and because of what his five senses were painfully
telling him (ie: his experiences). God was testing Joseph to see what he was truly going
to rely on and live by. Was he going to trust his own experiences or God’s promises?
Which “god” was he truly going to serve and put his trust in? Himself and his own
understanding, or the One True God? Remember, after Adam and Eve sinned by eating
the forbidden fruit, God declared, “Behold, man has become like one of Us, to know good
and evil” (Gen. 3:22). In other words, He said, “Look, mankind has become a god unto
himself, knowing good and evil!” And as we all know by the sure record of history – all
of mankind’s decisions, all of our judgments, and all of our wisdom has only led us to
death. Every human being who has ever lived has died – just as God said!

But as Christians, God has not called us to die, but rather, to live in His Son (the Word of
God). Therefore, we all must renounce “the pride of life” that dwells in each of us (I John
2:16), and learn to live by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God. For in
order to truly be Christians, and sons and daughters of God, we must forget what
our human eyes, and our human ears, and our human senses deceitfully teach us, and
learn to rely solely on what God tells us. We are commanded to “walk by faith, and not
by sight” (II Cor. 5:7). For this is what Jesus meant when He said that unless we become
like little children, we will never enter into His Fathers’ Kingdom (Matt. 18:3) Because
little children don’t seek to choose for themselves; but rather, they completely trust in
what their parent tells them


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