Does the Bible say anything about ego?

The ego is our sense of self; it represents the "I" aspect of a person. Though it is not inherently prideful, it can easily represent human pride, because our natural tendency as humans is to be self-focused. The Bible doesn't discuss the ego by name; however, it gives us guidelines to live by that often conflict with our natural egos. The Bible calls us to die to ourselves that we may live in Christ: "I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me" (Galatians 2:20). This does not mean that we cease to be unique individuals or to have a sense of self. But it does mean that we are no longer self-obsessed or prideful; rather, our primary identity is founded in the truth of Christ and our lives are lived by His power and for His glory.

Throughout the Bible, an inflated sense of self is shown to be destructive. At the beginning of time, Lucifer wanted to be at the same level as God, and his inflated ego led to his banishment from heaven and his transformation into becoming Satan. This all happened as a result of pride (Isaiah 14:13–15). In the garden of Eden, Satan deceived and tempted Eve by telling her that she could be like God (Genesis 3:4–6).

These are just two examples that prove pride leads to severe consequences. The Bible goes so far as to say that pride will destroy you: "Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall" (Proverbs 16:18).

For Christians, the Bible makes it clear that we are to be humble, not egotistical. "He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?" (Micah 6:8). We must remember that everything we have comes from Christ. Paul makes this observation: "… What do you have that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it?" (1 Corinthians 4:7). When we realize that everything we have has come from God, it leaves no room for prideful ego (Ephesians 2:8–9).

As we stay humble, God promises that He will lift us up: "Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you" (James 4:10; cf. 1 Peter 5:5). It is much better for us to be lifted by God in His way and His timing than to lift ourselves by our own egos: "The reward for humility and fear of the LORD is riches and honor and life" (Proverbs 22:4).

Jesus serves as the best example of humility. Jesus did only what His father God directed Him to do: "I can do nothing on my own. As I hear, I judge, and my judgment is just, because I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me" (John 5:30). He didn't take credit for His teachings, recognizing that even talent and spiritual revelation are gifts from God (John 7:16). By coming to earth as a human, Jesus "made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men" (Philippians 2:7). Living in humility like Jesus brings rest to our minds (Matthew 11:29).

The true purpose of humility is that it enables us to honor God and to treat others as better than ourselves: "Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others" (Philippians 2:3–4). The greatest commandment God has given us is to love Him with all of our heart, soul, and mind and to love others as we love ourselves (Matthew 22:37–40; John 15:1–17). There is not room to fulfill these commands if we allow our egos to have first place in our lives.

Related Truth:

Pride—What does the Bible say?

What does the Bible say about self-esteem?

Does the Bible talk about self-love / loving self?

What does the Bible teach about confidence?

What is the meaning of agape love?

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