Pride

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February 8

Thursday, February 8th, 2024

Something to think about: Someone has said, “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less.”

There is most definitely some truth to that. Proverbs 29:23 says, “Pride ends in humiliation, while humility bring honor.” When speaking to the proud and spiritually, self-righteous, arrogant Pharisees, Jesus said, “The greatest among you must be a servant. But those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” (Mt. 23:11-12).  And, of course, I think most of us are familiar with the words “Pride goes before a fall.”

Humility is not an easy virtue to see, nor is it an easy one to manifest. One can’t go around saying or thinking, “I’m humble” because that defeats the whole thing. 🙂 I read that the Hebrew word for humility literally means “being aware of and comfortable with your place.” I like that because it says, “Where I am, there I am. I’m content with my space and don’t want yours.”

In the book of Genesis we find the story of the tower of Babel. In 11:4 they say, “Come, let’s build a great city for ourselves with a tower that reaches into the sky. This will make us famous (emphasis mine). It made them famous alright, just not in the way they thought or wanted. They should have stayed content in their space.

Today’s challenge: Don’t think less of yourself. Think of yourself less. See how it turns out and let me know.

{Note: All Scripture verses are from the New Living Translation}

January 16

Tuesday, January 16th, 2024

“I’m proud of my humility.”

“I’m humble and proud of it.”

“I can’t wait until tomorrow.” “Why?” “Because I get better looking every day.” (attributed to Joe Namath from many moons ago)

Those are just three of the statements we make about pride. We are, of course, saying them jokingly. Well…at least I think we are. 🙂

Let’s be honest with ourselves for a moment (if our pride will allow us). Pride is an issue most, if not all of us, struggle with in some way. There are those who are blatantly arrogant. They turn us off immediately. It’s sort of like “Do I strangle them now or later?” It’s all we can do to even be around them. If we are the arrogant one our eyes are closed to the way we turn people off. “It’s their fault,” we say. “I’m good at what I do so they are jealous.” No, they are sick of your arrogance.

There are also those who have a false humility. They shrug while refusing help when it is offered. Or there feign humility (but really want to hear more).

What brought me to this topic this morning? Reading Proverbs 16 this morning. “The Lord detest the proud; they will surely be punished.” (v.5) “Pride goes before destruction, and haughtiness (arrogance) before a fall.” (v.18) “There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death.” (v.23)  {All Scripture from the New Living Translation}

To counteract the ugliness of pride, there are some verses on humility also. But you can read the chapter and find them on your own. 🙂

That is not saying all pride is bad. Some is good. Doing a good job. Working hard. Playing your best. But even then we must be careful pride does not enter the picture by taking even that good pride too far. A phrase from my generation is still true: “Don’t let it go to your head.”

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For you who like to live on the “wild” side, Christian rockers, Stryper, did a song called Pride back in 2015. You can find it here (if you dare). 🙂 

September 28

Thursday, September 28th, 2023

IMHO I think one of the hardest things to do is to see that we are all the same. My sin. Your sin. It’s the same in the eyes of God. No matter how you shake it sin still spells S.I.N.

What makes it so hard for us to admit that is that we are really good at comparing. We choose the sin of someone else that-in our eyes-is bigger and worse than ours. When we do that we get a sense of self-satisfaction. We think, “Whew! I’m glad I don’t do THAT!” We develop this air of arrogance.

You know what I have noticed? Two things actually. One, we have a bad tendency to rate or number sin. #1 is the worst sin (in our eyes) and #10 is the least sin. Two, when we compare, we often see the worst in another while our sin falls down lower on the number list. We pat ourselves on the back (if we can get around our big head) because our #8 ranked sin is not as bad as their #2 ranked sin.

There are several fallacies with that type of thinking. One, God never classifies one sin as being worse than another. That is a human invention. My sin of impure thoughts is not worse than your sin of lying. James 4 (which I read this morning) say, “What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel.” (verses 1-2 ESV). So sin is in all of us due to the sin nature we all possess. What I want fights with what you want.

Two, James writes just a few verses later: “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. Submit yourselves to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.” (Verses 6-8 ESV). Then in verse 10 James tells us to “Humble ourselves before the Lord.”

Pride. That is what James is talking about. “I want what you have.” “My sin. Your sin.” “My way. Your way.” Pride. Pride uses fine china and fancy linen. Humility (the way of Jesus) uses a basin and a towel.

“Pride goes before a fall” we are told.  Let’s stop with the “I’m better than/more holy than” and get real to the sin in our own life.