10 February 2008

Thoughts On Pride

My mind just can't let go of this topic of pride. It has permeated our earthly existence from the time of the Fall - forward. Proverbs tells us that God hates pride and arrogance (8:13), a prideful heart is an abomination to Him and will most certainly be punished(16:5), pride leads to destruction (16:18 & 18:12), and that haughty eyes and a proud heart are the lamp (glory) of the wicked (21:4).

C.S.Lewis wrote that pride is the complete anti-God state of mind and that pride leads to every other vice (Mere Christianity). I agree with him completely, and here's why.
  1. When Lucifer fell to become the devil, his sin was pride/arrogance. A puffed up view of himself in spite of the immeasurable superiority of God. Pride is what made him satan.
  2. Pride has to be at the root of all sin, doesn't it? Think about it . . . Eve and then Adam disobeyed God because the prideful heart desires to be like God (disobedience is a complete lack of humility and a complete submission to self); Cain killed Abel - pride that led to jealousy that led to murder; the population of the world became so wicked and consumed with self that God destroyed them by flood, pride again; the Tower of Babel; Lots choice of the superior land and what that led to; Abraham taking matters into his own hands in efforts to fulfill the covenant God made with him, hence the birth of Ishmael; Jacob's blackmailing Esau out of his birthright and then tricking his father and getting Esau's blessing - - and let's not forget the conniving of his mother Rebekah, and the sin of both parents in having favorites; Joseph being sold into slavery by his brothers; the constant fuss and complaining of the freed Israelites; the golden calf; more grumbling; grumbling; grumbling; grumbling; complaining; some more grumbling still; striking of the rock by Moses who (according to Numbers 12:3) was more humble than any other man on the face of the earth; idol worship; Achan's theft; the decline of the judges; the decline of Saul; Joab murdering Abner; David's adultery and then murder. I'm exhausted, and I've not even gotten to Solomon, the divided kingdom, the havoc of prideful kings and idol worshiping people. I have to stop here . . . but it goes on and on and on - - all the way to US! Do you see it as plainly as I do? Pride IS at the heart of every sin all through the Bible and beyond. I've really been giving this a lot of thought and believe it to be true. Now where it really hit home was when I began relating the things I have done wrong (including thoughts) to the pride that must lie underneath. I encourage you to do this little exercise as well (Although let me warn you . . . it is ugliness and then humility that is found in this endeavor - - but the ugliness that puts us face to face with the fact that we are nothing in comparison to God is actually quite beautiful, isn't it?)
First, the good news . . . God is not, in any way, thrown off course by our pride and sin. He's so very much BIGGER than that. It would be the absolute epitome of pride to think that our selfish pride and what it leads to in any way inhibits God and the outplaying of His purposes. God used the OT characters listed above in great ways to accomplish His will. Whether it is through repentance and humbling of ourselves or in humiliation and the shameful acting out of our pride and its effects, God's will IS accomplished and His glorification in all things is sure.

Galatians 6:7 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap.

The worst news is that all of us are so darn susceptible to it. Pride can be blatantly obvious, or it can be very subtle. It is always deadly to our own selves and damaging to others. We often don't even recognize it. In fact, we are just the creatures who can become quite proud of our own humility!!!

So I want to know what pride is . . . I want to know what it looks like even when disguised, and I want to recognize it not only in others, but especially and most importantly in myself. This recognizing is a work of the Spirit, but I believe it also involves an educating of ourselves.


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