Diagnosing Pride: A Checklist

How can you identify that you have a problem with pride? Following are 14 diagnostic questions that I recently adapted from a set of “rules” (advice) written by 17th-century clergyman Jeremy Taylor to help Christians grow in humility.[1] Personally, I have returned a dozen or more times to Taylor’s advice over the past 25 years, particularly during periods when pride has become a more obvious problem for me than it normally is(!). A careful and thoughtful response to each question will help you know whether pride is a problem for you.

  1. Do I get upset when others think poorly of me?

YES NO

2. Do I get frustrated when others don’t thank me for doing something nice for them?

YES NO

3. Do I feel unhappy for not being as accomplished, smart, or successful as others?

YES NO

4. Do I insert comments about myself into conversations for the purpose of making people think well of me?

YES NO

5. When people praise me, do I later find myself dwelling on those comments?

YES NO

6. Do I bring up my faults with the hope that others will remind me about the things they actually like about me?

YES NO

7. Do I get upset when others leave me out of their activities?

YES NO

8. Do I find myself dwelling on past accomplishments?

YES NO

9. Do I daydream about becoming great in some area?

YES NO

10. Am I critical of others?

YES NO

11. Do I feel jealousy in regards to others who are successful in areas in which I have not been able to succeed?

YES NO

12. When I compare my opinions to those of others, do I normally prefer my opinions to theirs?

YES NO

13. During times of group prayer, do I avoid praying about my weaknesses, failings, and sins in order to protect my good reputation?

YES NO

14. Do I complain when I face hardships, as though I expect life to be easy?

YES NO

If you answered yes to more than a couple of these, can I gently suggest that you may need to have a talk with the Lord about your pride? My own re-reading of this list today was like receiving a horse-kick to my head.

Let me close this post by quoting a few reminders from God’s Word about the importance of humility. Allow the Holy Spirit to use these verses to point out any vestiges of pride in your life, and draw you into a more humble walk with your Lord.

Proverbs 29:23: “One’s pride will bring him low, but he who is lowly in spirit will obtain honor.”

Isaiah 57:15: “For thus says the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: ‘I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite.’”

Isaiah 66:2: “But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word.”

Luke 14:11 (cf. Matthew 23:12): “For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

James 4:6 and 1 Peter 5:5: “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

1 Peter 5:6 (cf. James 4:10): “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you.”


[1] Jeremy Taylor (1613-1667), “The Grace of Humility,” in Devotional Classics: Selected Readings for Individuals and Groups, ed. Richard J. Foster and James Bryan Smith, 2d. ed. (HarperSanFrancisco, 2005), 244-248.

See also the post Humility and Prayer.

See also chapter 58, “Humility in Christ,” in How to Live an ‘In Christ Life.’

4 thoughts on “Diagnosing Pride: A Checklist

  1. Very helpful! That’s me! I get 14 out of 14! I have been struggling with pride for over 10 years… What should I do now?

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    1. Thanks for your comment, Yixia. The process can be slow and, nonestly, sometimes painful. I speak from experience. Here are a few suggestions: 1) Honestly confess any areas of pride to the Lord, and don’t be afraid to do so repeatedly. 2) Identify the areas in which pride particularly manifests in your life and make plans to address those areas. For example, if you tend to speak certain types of words hoping for certain types of responses from others that you think do not please the Lord, consider how to change your speaking patterns. 3) Immerse yourself in the Word of God and learn to think the way God thinks by thinking deeply on his Word, including specific passages that address pride (1 Peter 5 or James 4, for example). 4) Read a good book on humility, like Andrew Murray’s tiny classic (currently free on Kindle): https://www.amazon.com/Humility-Holiness-Updated-Annotated-Classics/dp/1622453549/ref=sr_1_1_sspa?dchild=1&keywords=andrew+murray+humility&qid=1602278309&sr=8-1-spons&psc=1&spLa=ZW5jcnlwdGVkUXVhbGlmaWVyPUExTTVLRkxOTFpBVE4mZW5jcnlwdGVkSWQ9QTA3ODQ5MzYxNVdGMERJVFVKUVZUJmVuY3J5cHRlZEFkSWQ9QTEwMDI2NzAzNjFKQjZDRlZHUkxIJndpZGdldE5hbWU9c3BfYXRmJmFjdGlvbj1jbGlja1JlZGlyZWN0JmRvTm90TG9nQ2xpY2s9dHJ1ZQ==. Those are a few suggestions to get you started.

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