Peacocks and Banty Roosters :: by Grant Phillips

The Bible has so much to say about pride. Since this was the primary cause of Satan’s downfall, it is worth taking notice of what pride can do to sinful mankind. I realize that I have spoken on pride before, but I would like to do so again, with a different slant.

We have all heard the saying, “Pride comes before a fall.” This is actually taken from Proverbs 16:18, which says, “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.”

As Christians, we need to be very cautious in this area, and especially those who are in the public eye. There are so many opportunities for pride to take over, and Satan knows it. I’ll discuss a few to illustrate


If you sing for others and they compliment you, it is possible to get what is called the “big head”. The same is true if you play a musical instrument. Anytime people praise us for the talent we have or the performance we have given, it is time to be cautious … not of them, but of ourselves.

I have listened to individuals and groups sing who were obviously very proud of their ability to respectably carry a note. It doesn’t take a spiritual heavyweight to tell if they’re singing for God or the applause.

Others were humble, and it was obvious in their demeanor. They were a pleasure to listen to. I recall two people from the past that really blessed me above and beyond what I expected when I heard them sing. Their voices were less than average, but their hearts were filled with humility toward Christ. On both occasions, the music was beautiful because it came from their heart. They’re in Heaven now, but I’ll never forget them.


I have great respect for those proclaimers of the Word who are truly called of God to preach. Many have been an inspiration to me. They earned my respect. Even though I always make up my own mind as I feel led by God, I have learned from them. I could hear in their voice, see in their actions, or read between the lines on the printed pages that they knew they were nothing without God. Pride was choked out by the humility they had toward Almighty God, and their messages revealed it.

I was very fortunate to have the same pastor from cradle to leaving home that was such a blessing to me and many others. He was not “educated,” but “self-taught,” but the Lord certainly opened his eyes to the Truth that needed to be taught. Many of us will thank him when we see him in Heaven for being a great steward of God’s Word.

On the other hand, much more plentiful are those who love to hear the sound of their own voice. They strut around like Banty (Bantam) roosters showing the beauty of their peacock plumage. They love the fact that the crowd hangs on their every word, so they give them more of themselves while God sits in the corner. Their pride has choked the spiritual life out of them, and they don’t even know it.


Those who are writers for Christ are also vulnerable. We need to be very careful that what we type is coming from God and not us. One of my greatest anxieties is looking over my shoulder for the hound of pride. I have seen so much of pride among us Christians; I don’t want it in my life. Even though it sometimes hunts me down, I hate its foul breath and call upon the Lord to remove it.


Even when we are the audience listening to another sing or speak, or reading something another wrote, pride is always a foe to contend with.

Do we listen to the music with an ear of appreciation and enjoyment, or to be critical? Do we listen to a Godly message from the one behind the pulpit with an attitude of “I needed to hear this,” or to be critical? Do we read a commentary the Lord brought our way with an attitude of growing spiritually, or to be critical?

Most just want to enjoy the moment and learn from the experience, but others are never at peace until they criticize all the “alleged” errors of the performer. The only way they can feel important is to cut someone else down to their own size. They are the “intelligentsia of critique incorporated.” They are never aware of the log in their own eye, but always available to help you remove your speck.

Pride chokes out any possibility of spiritual growth, and actually works in reverse by taking us backwards in our spiritual lives. Pride may be the Christian’s worse enemy since it blinds our eyes to the truth by pumping up our ego.

I have read tons of articles and listened to as many sermons, and I most always find something that helps me grow spiritually. It is just as true that I sometimes read or hear things I don’t agree with, but as far as I’m concerned, that is between them and God.


Peacocks are a beautiful bird. They have a plumage that is breath-taking. I’m not sure, but it seems they know they’re beautiful by the way they strut around. There are plenty of peacocks in Christendom too, and that should not be. It seems they are so plentiful today, you could throw a rock in any direction and hit one. Could it be that many are enraptured with themselves and have allowed pride to take over their lives? Obviously, they have. If you are a Christian peacock, rest assured that God may put up with it for a while, but sooner or later that plumage is going to look pretty ratty.


Barney Fife on the Andy Griffith show always reminded me of a Banty rooster. If you don’t know what a Banty rooster is, visualize Barney. These are Christians, much like the peacock, which are small of mind but big with mouth. They strut around the hen yard to let all the others know just how important they are. Their importance rests in the recognition and approval of others. Even when they make a fool of themselves, they can’t see it. They think they’re smart, but their immaturity is showing. How much longer until God has this rooster cooking on the stove of humility?


Regardless of what we are involved in, if there is an opportunity for praise from others, there is an opportunity for pride to sneak in and steal our blessing.

Satan is always out to make us feel more important than we really are, because by doing so, he knows we will fail. Anytime we take our eyes off Jesus, we’re going to get in trouble.

If we have a proud spirit, we must recognize that Satan is making a fool of us, and hurting our witness for Christ. Let us recognize too, that as a child of God, He will eventually “take us to the woodshed,” if we don’t climb down off that self-built mountain of pride.

God is not looking for peacocks and Banty roosters to serve Him. They could not do so anyway, because they are too full of themselves. Jesus is a sheepherder. He only tends sheep. Actually, that is what Jesus calls those who are His followers.

“I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.” (John 10:14)

It is a shame that some people can never enjoy life unless they’re busy trying to tear someone else down. They are so consumed by their pseudo importance.

Am I saying that to say anything negatively or offer advice (preferably when asked) is displaying a heart of pride? Of course not! It all boils down to attitude, delivery and intentions. What are my intentions? Are they to make me look good, or to lift up my brother/sister?

Keep this in mind. King David made a lot of mistakes while king, but prior to that he used good sense. When King Saul was trying to kill him, David had the opportunity more than once to kill Saul. However, David would not touch Saul, but left Saul’s fate, good or bad, up to God. “And David said to Abishai, Destroy him not: for who can stretch forth his hand against the LORD’S anointed, and be guiltless? The LORD forbid that I should stretch forth mine hand against the LORD’S anointed: but, I pray thee, take thou now the spear that is at his bolster, and the cruse of water, and let us go.” (1 Samuel 26:9, 11)

As seen in this verse, David would not touch the Lord’s anointed, because if he did, he would be guilty before God. When you or I downgrade, nitpick, criticize, or make fun of others personally for doing their best for God, we are walking on dangerous ground with God. We are touching the Lord’s anointed, and that is an attack on God. By the way, any child of God is the Lord’s anointed.

By the same token, Paul corrected Peter about Peter’s hypocrisy (Galatians chapter two, beginning at verse eleven) in front of all who were present that day. So what is the difference? The difference is that it was a very serious doctrinal issue at stake that could have severely damaged the cause of Christ. There was no other alternative. Also, it was not Paul’s intention to lift himself up, but only Jesus Christ and His Gospel. He was not “nitpicking” or trying to be argumentative.

Let us consider beforehand our actions before Almighty God.


Grant Phillips