Monday, December 6, 2010

Mental Vitamins: Check Your Pride at the Door

"As long as you are proud you cannot know God. A proud man is always looking down on things and people: and as long as you are looking down you cannot see something that is above you."  
— C.S. Lewis

Pride is by far our greatest downfall. Pride is the attitude of self-worship and leads to every other vice. It was through pride that the devil became the devil and the very element which brought sin into the world. The most tragic result of our own pride is that we sometimes elevate ourselves to the point that we think we are above God...our Creator...our Saviour. Pride gets in the way of our relationship with Christ. It blinds us from the simple Truth - which is that God loves us and desires to have a meaningful relationship with us. Pride has many symptoms and features. The difficult thing about it is that it is so hard to see in ourselves! Often the people who hate pride the most in others are those who are the proudest themselves.

As human beings, we have a tendency to want to be selective about the people we associate with. Our natural tendency is to seek the company of those who we find interesting, attractive, intelligent, accomplished. On the other hand, for most of us, there are some people we would rather not spend much time with at all. People who are of a different social background, who are physically or mentally handicapped, who have obnoxious habits, or who hold different beliefs than our own. And yet, I have found that God Himself is willing to associate with such people! In fact, He is willing to come into their lives, permanently! God is there for the people whom society rejects. While we wouldn't want to be associated with these "outcasts" God wants them to be a part of His family.

Christ has every reason to be prideful, but He is not. When God sent Jesus into the world, He could have arranged for him to be born in a grand palace, or at least in the house of a nobleman. But He didn't. God sent His Son into the world to be born in an animal's feeding trough. That's what the word "manger" actually means. None of us would be willing to have our children born in an animals feeding trough. But this humble birthplace made him accessible to EVERYONE and is a testament to His own humbleness. There is no lower, upper, or middle class to Jesus...we are all of equal importance to Him and He wanted to make sure that everyone had the opportunity to know Him regardless of social standards.

 Christ extends His love and mercy to everyone who will receive it. He does not play favourites. We are all equally loved in His eyes. Being a Christian does not make us any more worthy of salvation than those who do not believe. We are all unworthy, but we can choose to be grateful. We could never earn salvation, we could never deserve God's love. We either accept His love or we don't. There are no trophies, there are no awards, salvation is not a prize to be won and Heaven is not a reward. We either accept God's gift of salvation or we reject it. We can't buy it, we can't earn it, but we CAN enjoy it. All we have to do is humbly accept God for who He is. Our own pride is the valley that stands between us and God's love. Humility is the bridge.

For the LORD takes delight in His people; He crowns the humble with salvation. (Psalms 149:4)

How does God feel about pride? On this point, the Scriptures are very clear. Here are just a few Bible verses with references to pride and humility: Psalms 37:11,  Proverbs 16:18-19,  Proverbs 22:4,  Proverbs 25:9,  Isaiah 5:21,  Matthew 23:12,  Romans 12:3,  Romans 12:16,  Ephesians 4:2,  James 4:6

God hates pride, not because He is proud, but because it is completely inappropriate. Anything good we have came only because of God. Any good we might show forth is like the light of the moon, which has no light of its own, but merely reflects the light of the sun. Should the moon then boast as if it was the creator of the light which comes forth from it? Much less should we show darkness in place of the light we should be reflecting from the Lord.

God tells us that our job is to humble ourselves, and His job is to exalt us. If we try to reverse the roles, and do His job, exalting ourselves, then He will do our job for us, and humble us.

Society encourages pride up to a point. We are taught to be our best, not so much because that will enable us to help more people, but rather, because then we have something to be proud about, so we can feel good about ourselves. One of the most powerful motivations in the world today is what the Bible calls “the pride of life” (1 John 2:15).

This “pride of life” motivation is what drives many people to devote their lives obsessively to their career or to the pursuit of money. In the process, people miss God's plan for their lives. Often families are neglected as well. The desire to live prestigiously, to drive an expensive car, or to achieve some other material objective often has a lot more to do with fulfilling personal ego needs than anything else. The same can be said for the academic pursuit of knowledge and understanding. If the goal is never achieved, the person becomes miserable. And if the goal is achieved, chances are, the person will become proud of what they have done, and this pride will cause them to further resist God's purposes for their life. Pure and good motivations are love for God and people, and a passionate desire for the honor of God.

Pride is a sinful attempt to meet a deep emotional need that we have for significance. If we can realize that we are already immensely significant to God,  we can be freed from the sin of pride and enjoy a personal relationship with Him.

I must also add that our own pride is a battle we will face often, if not daily. We all have a sinful nature and therefor will have to constantly battle against our own selfish desires. No one is perfect, but if there is something we seem to really struggle with...asking God for help and strength in our daily lives is definitely the right step toward humility.

No comments:

Post a Comment