Your 50 Favorite Proverbs: #46 Here Comes Trouble

February 2014 Your 50 Favorite Proverbs with Liz Curtis Higgs

Pride isn’t always a bad thing. Right? We call children our “pride and joy,” we sing the national anthem because we’re proud of our country, and even God’s Word says of Israel, “I will make you the everlasting pride and the joy of all generations” (Isaiah 60:15).

But pride in yourself? in your good works? in your virtues? Thinking of yourself more highly than you ought?

Oh baby, that kind of pride will get you in serious trouble.

The Lord makes this abundantly clear, especially in the Old Testament, where the word pride appears more than fifty times, almost never in a positive light. He promises his people, “I will break down your stubborn pride” (Leviticus 26:19) and “put an end to the arrogance of the haughty” (Isaiah 13:11).


Time to gird our loins and prepare to be humbled. Not because we’re bad and deserve to be punished, but because God is good and wants what is best for us. Always.

When pride comes, then comes disgrace,
    but with humility comes wisdom. Proverbs 11:2

Pride in the Garden of Eden

When pride comes,…

Not if. Not maybe. Pride comes to us all. It’s only a question of when. where, and how.

Whether it looks like “arrogance” (GW) or “insolence” (EXB), whether we’re puffed up and “swelling” (AMP), or trying to hide behind false humility, pride is the ugly underbelly of human nature.

I believe every sin has pride at its root. Though it’s counted among the classic list of seven deadly sins— pride, wrath, greed, gluttony, sloth, envy, lust—pride is the underlying reason we get mad, overspend, overeat, waste time, want what others have, and let our libido run wild.

One translation begins, “First comes pride” (CJB). Too right. From the very start, pride convinced our first Bad Girl, Eve, that she deserved a bite of that forbidden fruit. The snake may have started the conversation, but it was Eve’s pride that talked her into it.

“When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and”—here we go—“also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it” (Genesis 3:6).

This wasn’t just about feeding her appetite or holding something beautiful in her hands. This was about gaining wisdom from a source other than God. This was, “I want that, I deserve that, and I’m going to have that.” This was, “Look how clever I am now, and how much smarter I’ll be after I eat this!”

One bite, and Eve’s prideful party was over. “Then the Lord God said to the woman, ‘What is this you have done?’” (Genesis 3:13).


...then comes disgrace

…then comes disgrace,…

As surely as B follows A, “disgrace follows” (HCSB) pride, and “shame is not far behind” (VOICE). Eugene Peterson hits the nail on the head, as usual: “The stuck-up fall flat on their faces” (MSG).


One of the many problems with pride? It’s short lived. We’re standing on a pedestal of our own making one minute, then sweeping up what’s left of it the next. And the next, and the next, and the next. Such “dishonor” (NASB) isn’t easily overcome, and the sense of “emptiness” (AMP) lingers.

I still recall in painful detail a speech I gave in Newport Beach 20 years ago. It was an evening banquet for a mixed audience of business professionals wanting an after-dinner humorist. I convinced myself I could do it, even though none of those things fits my calling, which is to encourage my sisters in Christ with joy and abandon.

To say that it went poorly is an understatement. When I finally finished, the audience leaped to their feet—and ran out the door. I’d hoped for a standing ovation; this was more like a running ovation.

Two days later a brave friend finally called and said, “It wasn’t that bad…”

Nice try.

Ego says, “I got this.”
Conceit says, “I can pull this off.”
Hubris says, “I can’t possibly fail.”

The problem with pride is that I in the middle.

I Am a Genius


Our favorite word, setting us up for the good news ahead.

God has a better plan. Instead of spending years in the school of hard knocks, where “pride leads only to shame” (NCV) and “reproach” (DRA), the Lord offers us an easier, more effective way of doing life.

...but with humility

…with humility…

Humble people are “modest” (ERV) and “down-to-earth” (MSG). They think about others before themselves, and about God before anyone else. They “renounce self” (AMP). They are “not proud” (NIRV), but “lowly” (YLT), and “meekness” (WYC) is how they roll.

The Hebrew word is tsana—“modest or humble”—also found in Micah 6:8, one of The 20 Verses You Love Most, which calls us to “walk humbly with your God.”

Humility isn’t something we can manufacture on our own. It’s what happens when we walk with God. When we see how big his footprints are compared to ours. When we allow him to teach us, rather than insisting we know everything.

The truth is, it’s better to be humble than to be humbled, “pruned or chiseled by trial” (AMP). But whatever it takes—and for some of us, that means a sharp set of pruning shears or a very heavy chisel—the end result is more of God, less of us. Hooray.

Here’s the best part: God is the One who does the pruning and chiseling. He is the One who helps us grow into the image of his Son. Who better to wield the shears or chisel than the One who loves us completely?

The end result? You guessed it.

Wisdom from on High

…comes wisdom.

That beautiful feminine noun in Hebrew, chokmah: wisdom, a gift from above.

If “wisdom comes to those who are not proud” (NIRV), then “it’s wiser to be humble” (CEV). The two are intertwined: humility and wisdom.

Only when we are humble are we teachable.
Only when we are empty can we be filled up.
Only when we see God alone as our source of wisdom can we truly become wise.

Just as one of the problems with pride is that it’s short lived, one of the joys of wisdom is that it “stays” (ERV) and will “stand firm” (MSG), because “wisdom remains with humble people” (GW).

Pride can be dismantled in a heartbeat, but no one can undo the wisdom God gives to those he prunes, chisels, and loves.

God plants his wisdom deep inside us like a living, growing seed. That’s why studying his Word—his wisdom—really is genius. These eleven words have more power to change us than anything else we’ll read today.

When pride comes, then comes disgrace,
    but with humility comes wisdom. Proverbs 11:2

God prunes those he loves

Now it’s your turn

Just one question, beloved:

  • Have you had a Newport Beach moment in your life? What wisdom did God teach you through that humbling process?

I hope you’ll Post a Comment below. Not only will you benefit from sharing your heart: so will the rest of us!.

And here’s your Printable of Proverbs 11:2, with four copies of this week’s verse on a single page. I hope you’re finding them helpful.

Check out our weekly pins on Pinterest, another way to keep our favorite verses from Proverbs close to our hearts and minds.

Next Wednesday, a challenge that will hit us right where we live. If I haven’t mentioned it lately, I am LOVING doing this study with you!

Your sister, Liz
@LizCurtisHiggs #50Proverbs

P.S. Last week I gave you the first part of the verse, inviting you to fill in the second. Let’s try it in reverse, with one word to help you get started:

Let __________________________________
    bind them around your neck,
    write them on the tablet of your heart. Proverbs 3:3

For __________________________________
    from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. Proverbs 2:6

A ____________________________________
    and how good is a timely word! Proverbs 15:23

The __________________________________
    but the wise listen to advice. Proverbs 12:15

The __________________________________
    that sheds light on one’s inmost being. Proverbs 20:27

When _________________________________
    but with humility comes wisdom. Proverbs 11:2

Meanwhile, I’m trying some new ways to memorize Scripture, and am looking forward to sharing them with you later this month. So proud of you for GOING FOR IT!

Your Sister, Liz Curtis HiggsBible Gateway Blogger Grid MemberFebruary 2014 Your 50 Favorite Proverbs with Liz Curtis Higgs

27 Responses to Your 50 Favorite Proverbs: #46 Here Comes Trouble

  1. Christina Anderson February 12, 2014 at 11:21 am #

    I used to be a church musician. I was head organist for all the churches in tiny Buena Vista, Colorado. I was a BIG fish in a little puddle. And I walked in pride. But God humbled me big time. He let me have four strokes and even though I still play at my church, I am not able to face the stress of doing a concert, or even of playing for the services. God did not let me die in my sin and my pride, but raised me up. His grace and mercy are never ending. Praise the Lord!

  2. Sandy February 12, 2014 at 11:49 am #

    Take Newport Beach and transport it to St. Louis in the year 2000. I found myself in front of a very large group that I was SURE wanted to hear what I had to say – unfortunately, I was also SURE that the sponsor knew what I needed in order to accomplish my goal (i.e., computer, screen, etc.) I was so wrong. Instead of accepting my role in contributing to the fiasco, I held them responsible and subsequently held my head high…all of the way out of the building (holding it high allowed the tears to fall to the side instead of down my cheeks!) It was like a self-imposed tar and feathering effect. I learned so much from the experience, professionally and personally, and literally shudder to think about it to this day. Humility trumps pride any day…

  3. Edna February 12, 2014 at 12:00 pm #

    I just want you to know that I am enjoying this study so much. Every week I cannot hardly wait for Wednesday to come so we can get into the next verse. Thank you so much for doing this study.

    • Susan Ireland February 12, 2014 at 11:58 pm #

      I love your l

  4. Jeanne February 12, 2014 at 12:12 pm #

    This may not seem as big as a Newport Beach moment, but oh boy, was it humbling! Years ago I was in charge of a meal ministry on Wednesday nights at my church. It was really my first experience in a church ministry. I planned the meals, cooked and delegated. I was pretty awesome…. One Wednesday night fell on my birthday, so for dessert I planned chocolate cake and made it well known that it was my birthday. Suddenly in the middle of dinner, someone called me out to where the 100 or so people were eating and while I stood there in front of them, they all sang “Happy Birthday” to me. I was mortified! My face was beet red, but I knew I had to stand there until it was over. God used that horribly uncomfortable moment to teach me that being in a ministry is about serving him and others, not about how “awesome” I am! 🙂

  5. Barb February 12, 2014 at 3:30 pm #

    When my expectations are all about me and do not include feelings or consider what others are going through, I need to step back and say to myself ” it’s not about you”, then I feel the love and joy with others. Humility is positive, becoming a martyr is negative. I need to remember the difference.

  6. jaime February 12, 2014 at 4:27 pm #

    My husband and I refused to have our photos taken for the activities page of a church directory. We were involved in almost every aspect, from kitchen to maintenance to VBS and children’s ministry. We thought we were being humble by not wanting to be in that many pictures. Instead, we alienated a lot of people. Someone told me “God gave you your abilities and positions. You need to recognize what He gave you and let Him have the glory.” In trying to be humble, we inadvertently became prideful because a lot of others at that church felt we were saying that we’re too good for the directory. Not as embarrassing as some moments but definitely a lesson and definitely humbling.

  7. Carol Best February 12, 2014 at 5:47 pm #

    I don’t know of any recent Newport moments Liz, but one thing I’m sure of is I can be very prideful and I’m afraid of this, it’s almost what I call a Hamaan complex sometimes I’ve thought things that self aggrandize thinking people think I’m so spiritual etc etc. lately I’ve ask the Lord to deal with my pride , He is so faithful and gentle with those pruning shears, it seems whenever He uses me in some way He usually prunes me and gets me ready for what’s next on His agenda, making sure that I’m going to rely on Him and not myself. I could be wrong about these conclusions, but I want Him to have all the glory and sometimes I need help getting out of the way.

  8. Cynthia Stevenson February 12, 2014 at 7:00 pm #

    I don’t have a story, but I just wanted to say I loved what you said about the “I” in the middle of “pride. That says it all! I look forward to hearing from you each week and seeing what our new memory verse will be.

  9. Lois Myers February 12, 2014 at 7:12 pm #

    Liz – this week the Bible study I lead did CH 15 of Max Lucado’s Facing your Giants. Subject “Thin Air-ogance”, (2 Samuel 11:1-17) on this very subject. Sooooo next week I am sharing this with them as an opener to our study. Great Stuff!! I think you should do a study book on the 50 Proverbs. You are a blessing – You go Girl!! We’ll be right behind you! NOTE: I am in Eagle Point, OR. My daughter led us in your Bad Girls Study, we even made it into your newsletter once!

  10. Johnna February 12, 2014 at 9:52 pm #

    Thanks again, Liz … for your honesty and your example. I know we are all examples whether we like it or not and unfortunately I seem to be the negative example far more than the positive. I so agree with your statement: “I believe every sin has pride at its root.” I have held to this belief and it has been proven continually to me and in me. Most hang ups I have had come down to a self focus. I have had so many Newport Beach moments … and always think … that was so awful, I will never let that happen again. Yet, as long as it is “I will never let that happen” it always does. I am learning more and more that we are to rely on Him, His strength, His wisdom, His love, His power — I am but to be a fit vessel … clean, humble, and ready to allow His work through me.
    Daily learning and so thankful He’s still workin’ on me!

  11. Birdie Cutair February 13, 2014 at 8:50 am #

    prideful moment: I had been praying for this one girl who has a huge problem. Then all of a sudden she was working as a physical therapist aide and telling me what to do. That was a very humbling experience.
    Thanks for listing the second half of the memory verses; harder than last week with the first half listed. I can’t wait for you to share some more memory tricks with us.

  12. cherrie:) February 13, 2014 at 9:31 am #

    dear liz;
    pride seems to be always behind tapping me on the shoulder. i have done some things that were good, like steering up a church activity and than wanting to be the center of attention. pride would creep in before i saw it and God would put me in my place.
    it is a constant trail to serve and try to just be there for others, and not be the center of attention. but the LORD has given me grace to rely on Him to just be quiet.
    it is getting better, i feel i have a long way to go before i truly am not tempted to say “here i am”. your book “embrace grace” and the LORD is continuing showing me how to do it.
    i have learned its not about me, but loving others.

  13. kelly February 13, 2014 at 10:09 am #

    I consider myself laid back and a behind the scenes girl, but God has showed me many times “little attitudes” that creep up every once in awhile are nothing more than pride. No one else may see it but God does and he will let the Holy Spirit point it out to me. It happens at home and on my job. When things are not going my way, I need to just put it in God’s hands.

  14. Julie Sunne February 13, 2014 at 11:23 am #

    Recently, I was humbled when I thought I was above the draw of my flesh. So angry at myself. So humbled later.

  15. Marte February 13, 2014 at 3:00 pm #

    Once at a new congregation, I was asked to head up a division for the annual gathering, only the day of the event, there were two others also who thought they were the head. It brought confusion, noise, hurt feelings, and the person responsible was not available for clarity. I relinquished my position, licked my wounds and retreated to my hotel room with a migraine and pillow covered tears. One of the other gals came to check on me and ministered mercy. I felt humiliated, pushed aside, useless, and shared my heart. She exhibited wisdom, kindness and recognized an unwise leadership call, but did not dwell on that instead she deflected my hurt into a better place of praise. I was able to partake in the rest of the event, refreshed, not harboring unforgiveness. They had bothed worked the events previously and we were all trying to find our niche of value. I had been so pleased to be given a position of power but for whatever reason had a dose of humbling coming my way. Pride is ugly no matter who wears its crown!

    Recognize as leaders, & teachers the need to make sure our requests are clear, written down in the event others are involved, not causing divisions among our helpers, but working together as a team.

  16. Marge February 14, 2014 at 6:21 am #

    I have had a slice of humble pie a few times and it has always left a nasty taste in my mouth and a sickning in my stomach. I am thankful for Gods medicine of mercy and grace.

  17. Jannie Ensing February 14, 2014 at 5:19 pm #

    It makes me feel really sad afterwards when I walk in pride, and it leaves a bad taste in my mouth, it does definitely bring “disgrace” and you feel it, and until you humble yourself and you repent, you can rejoice for His grace and forgiveness.
    I do want so much to walk with God and let Him teach me thru His word how to walk “humbly with my God”.
    Thank you Liz, for this study, it does so much good in my life and I am sure in many others also.
    Much love from your sister Jannie in Canada.

  18. Liz Yarnell February 15, 2014 at 5:02 am #

    I find it interesting that the Hebrew word for wisdom is feminine.
    when God did the original pruning for Eve’s pride, His love insures, making the wisdom that comes from humility is ‘named after the origin of pride’.

  19. Linda H February 15, 2014 at 1:51 pm #

    This speaks to me as I always think I got this, that I don’t need help. Discovering that being prideful keeps me in a place of disobedince to God’s will for me because some things I can handle better. This is playing out right now as I recover from skin cncer surgery and cannot use my hand for 2 weeks. I started out thinking, “I can do this, I don’t need to ask for help” God keeps whispering “lean on me” and let the people in your life help, “trust me for strength”. Loved how you broke it down Liz, I have reread it several times!!

  20. Elise February 15, 2014 at 3:22 pm #

    Pride! It’s a horrible trait. Humbling. It takes many diverse circumstances. One of my most humbling came on a Sunday morning as I taught a group of adults.I had a horrible head cold, so I stuffed my nostrils with good old Mentholatum. Then off I went to teach. While I was teaching one of the class members came up to give me a Kleenex. Her husband loudly whispered, “You would dare do that?” She just as loudly whispered back, ” I love her to much to let her nose run like that.” The mentholatum had melted and I’m sure it was not a pretty sight! I went home and told the Lord, “I’m sure that I needed a good dose of humbling, but can we just have a talk first.”

  21. Susan Gruener February 16, 2014 at 7:31 pm #

    Oh Liz…I can’t think you could ever NOT be funny. 🙂 If I was there at Newport Beach (not too far from my daughters house) I would have given you a standing ovation all by myself! 🙂
    I know I have fallen flat several times when I open my mouth to ‘impress’, and everyone just looks at me…how embarrasing… 🙂
    Loved your insight and writings on this great proverb!
    Be blessed!

  22. Dawn February 17, 2014 at 9:41 am #

    I am truly encouraged by your posts and this study, Liz! Pride… at 52 and having been a Christian since my early teens, I’d like to say I’ve learned it all and don’t struggle in this area. But I do. It pops up at times when I least expect it. I’m reminded that my identity is in Christ and what I do is not what anyone else does – God has given me a very specific place in this life and in his kingdom and I don’t need to compare what I do or who I am to anyone! – looking at Jesus the author! He writes my story! No one else.

  23. Regina February 17, 2014 at 1:15 pm #

    When I look back now at all the activities and responsibilities I juggled in my early 20’s, I just don’t know how I did it. Being that high performer was an area of pride for me. My Newport Beach moment came when the inevitable happened and I dropped the ball in a big way. It was a time of transition at our church, and there was suddenly a need for someone to lead the children’s handbell group. The person who asked me thought I would be more than up to the task: I’d grown up playing handbells at our church, I was good with kids, I was a natural leader…everything pointed to me being the perfect person to fit the bill. I thought so too.

    But it turned out that even though the kids only rehearsed once a week for an hour, the demand and draw on me as the leader went much beyond that. The kids were lovely. I had actually had a great time introducing them to the world of music, and even more into the world of handbells. But I quickly discovered myself falling behind and feeling unprepared and frazzled. Long story short, it turned out to be a train wreck and I dropped out just two months after accepting the challenge.

    I was so embarrassed, disappointed in myself, and tremendously humbled. I prided myself on being dependable, being a leader, and being able to balance my demanding schedule…and I had fallen flat on my face. I felt guilty about letting the kids down. I felt guilty about letting the leader down. And truth be told, I spent the next several months avoiding both sets of people. Because each time I did, I felt my stomach drop anew. I was just ashamed.

    The lesson I learned? The power of focusing on a few things instead of trying to everything. The necessity of being able to say “no.” And eventually, the beautiful forgiveness and renewal you can find in the context of serving in a church family. (That’s quite humbling to receive too.)

  24. K February 18, 2014 at 10:09 am #

    Today is my daughters 42 birthday. Our family has served in our church since she was 2. We were a family that was looked up to. When she was 19 she came to us and told us she was going to have a baby. When we went to our church family and shared this news , they embraced us with love and understanding. We were so humbled and through that season, God showed us his love and mercy. Everyone sins, some are more evident. Now 22 years later, my beautiful granddaughter is a huge part of our happiness. She is so lovely, and loves The Lord. God redeemed my daughter, her hurts healed and her Boaz came into her life and loves our Katie as if she was his. God helped us, but we first humbled ourselves.


  1. Your 50 Favorite Proverbs: #44 I’ve Got a Secret | Liz Curtis Higgs - February 26, 2014

    […] pride is the root of every sin, then gossip is a prime example. Pride prompts us to say, “I know […]

  2. Your 50 Favorite Proverbs: #33 We All Fall Down | Liz Curtis Higgs - May 20, 2014

    […] I’ve said before, I believe every sin has pride at its root. This verse from Proverbs 16 brings that truth home. Pride is “the first step” (ERV) down the […]