Read Billy Graham’s responses to a wide assortment of questions from his “My Answer” column and other resources at billygraham.org
Q: Why does the Bible say that it's wrong to have pride? If we don't have confidence in ourselves and take pride in our work, we'll never do anything worthwhile. Personally, I think pride is a good thing.
A: It’s not necessarily wrong to take pride in our work, or in something else we’ve done well; the Bible urges us to be diligent and do our best. The Bible says, “I know that there is nothing better for people than to … find satisfaction in all their toil—this is a gift of God” (Ecclesiastes 3:12-13).
But when we take all the credit for our success and begin to think that we’re better than everyone else—then pride turns into something poisonous. This is the kind of pride God condemns, because it puffs us up and makes us think we’re better than we really are. It blinds us to our faults; it also cuts us off from others, because no one likes a cocky, arrogant person. The Bible warns, “Do not be wise in your own eyes” (Proverbs 3:7).
But most of all, pride cuts us off from God. Why turn to God and humble ourselves before Him, if we think we don’t need Him but are sufficient in ourselves? We become like the proud Pharaoh in ancient Egypt who enslaved God’s people and told Moses, “Who is the Lord, that I should obey him and let Israel go? I do not know the Lord” (Exodus 5:2).
Don’t take credit for your abilities. Instead, humbly thank God for giving them to you, and make it your goal to use them for His glory. Most of all, by a simple prayer of faith submit your life to Jesus Christ. The Bible says, “Whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31).
Q: Where do evil thoughts and ideas come from? Does the devil put them in our minds? I'd hate for anyone to know what's actually going through my mind sometimes.
A: One of the Bible’s greatest truths is that God knows all about us — including even the bad things that are going through our minds. And yet He still loves us, and wants us to cleanse us and make us part of His family forever! The Bible says, “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).
Yes, ultimately Satan is responsible for all the evil in the world — even the evil thoughts that go through our minds. He is absolutely opposed to God, and will do everything he can to tempt us and turn us away from Him. At times, therefore, Satan may be able to put evil thoughts directly into our minds. For example, when Judas turned against Jesus and secretly betrayed Him to His enemies, the Bible says that “Satan entered Judas” (Luke 22:3).
But Judas alone was responsible for what he did; he could not blame Satan for his actions. Driven by greed, he willingly accepted the money he was offered to reveal where Jesus could be found. In other words, Satan only took advantage of his sinful desires. The Bible warns that “each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed” (James 1:14).
Don’t give in to Satan’s temptations, and don’t be content to let your mind wander in places it shouldn’t. Instead, turn to Jesus Christ and commit your life to Him. Then ask Him to fill your mind with His love and peace and righteousness. The Bible says “we have the mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:16).