29 November 2010

Pride Goes Before the Fall

Pride is a subject few take the time to seriously consider…

It can be described in a number of ways including: excessive confidence, glorification in one’s self/possessions; arrogance, conceit, self-importance, overconfidence, superiority, ego, and self-righteousness.

Additionally, pride can take place in many forms such as competitiveness, contentions, rebellion, strife, personal gain, selfish ambition, jealousies and many others within the family unit, work and society.

In the newspapers and media, these characteristics seem to be a part of everyday life and a character of most people. Ego, status and power are today’s currencies and standards to live by. To get ahead and be in the ‘cool crowd’ is to have a healthy tank of pride and self-importance...

The Dark Side

However, there is a dark side to pride many do not see. Pride consumes, controls and causes destruction wherever it travels. It is especially deceitful and self-centered, leading to disregard and disrespect to all people. As a result it is self-delusion and often results in self-destructive behaviour. There is an overestimation of one’s self and an underestimation of others.

Pride is so attractive because it is a deceitful form of superiority and overconfidence. The things of this world which offer wealth, possessions and power can drive a man obsessively to pride for the things he can achieve. They believe they are greater and more deserving than anyone else. It is a state of mind of arrogance that deceives and makes us believe we don’t need anyone.

It is very fitting that the middle letter in Pride is ‘I.’ It is all about ‘me, myself, and I’, a total preoccupation an obsession with self.

So what does God’s Word say about all of this you may ask? Very simply: Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall (Proverbs 16:18).

‘In Their Pride the Wicked do not Seek Him’

Psalms 10:3-4 For the wicked boasts of the desires of his heart, and the man greedy for gain curses and renounces the Lord. In the pride of his countenance the wicked does not seek Him.

God’s word has much to say about the prideful and proud person. Pride is giving ourselves the credit for something that rightfully belongs to God. It is taking the glory that belongs to Him alone and keeping it for ourselves. Pride is essentially self-worship.

Everything we have is from God – existence and life itself, the ability to earn money, relationships, success from our talents and ultimately Salvation. Therefore anything we accomplish in this world ALL praise belongs to God.

I propose that the ways of this world are far below and substandard to the glorious and wonderful ways of God He is calling us up to. The God who created everything originally as ‘Good’ and even ‘Very Good’ in Genesis, we have created into evil. Love has become Lust. Good has become Evil. Light into Darkness. Peace into Fear. We have exchanged the Truth for a pack of lies, and it all originates with Pride…

Still not convinced? The fruit and results of pride historically has always lead down the path of destruction. Scripture is clear that pride will be destroyed in the end with all other sins, no one will be spared and all will fall for the last time ‘The Day of Judgement is coming, burning like a furnace. The proud and wicked will be burned up like straw’ (Malachi 4:1).

An Inconvenient Truth

Pride is a serious sin God takes very personally. Imagine your son/daughter, who you have given life to. Throughout their childhood you fed and clothed them, gave them a home, the best education, toys and much of your time and love. Everything they had came from you and not by their own ability.

But then one day in their adult life, after building a successful life themselves, they boldly exclaim, “Look at this great life of mine! I have everything I need and no one to thank. By my own mighty power and ability, I have built an empire for myself and take full credit for it”.

They have forgotten you completely, consumed with themselves and all their achievements. They never have quality time to see you anymore, and every Christmas are too busy to ever be around. This my friend is perhaps 1% of the pain that God in Heaven feels, towards us who have walked away. This is the true Heart condition of Pride.

Prides Contemporary: Humility

Micah 6:8 What does the LORD require of you, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.

True humility can only come from a changed heart and a renewed mind. Our sinful nature is so corrupted and depraved that it can not bear to remain humble for more than one day!

God’s word has as much to say about humility as it does pride. Some of the greatest promises and blessings in scripture are given to those who are truly humble and meek (Prov 22:4). Godly humility is to know that everything we have comes from above, and gives all the glory to God for every success. The humble man is so grateful for his Salvation that his only response is to willingly serve God and His church with all his heart for all his days.

Like all sins, pride corrupts our spiritual nature and being made in the image of God. Pride says, ‘God, I can do this better than you, I can take care of this, I don’t need your help’. This kind of attitude keeps us from the intimate relationship that God desires to have with us. ‘See a man wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than him’ (Prov 26:12).

Scripture warns the prideful that they will be humbled (Matt 23:12), scattered (Luke 1:51) and if not repentful, finally punished (Zeph 2:10). In contrast the humble will be heard by God when they cry out (Psalm 9:12), delivered by God (Job 22:29), lifted up (James 4:10) and finally exalted (Luke 14:11).

Pride is a difficult heart condition to overcome, but it is possible. When pride is rooted in a person’s life, only a place of repentance and surrender can remove it completely. We need to fight against it and stop it from taking a hold on our hearts. Staying humble is to be the furthest place from the devil. When our hearts are aligned with God, we will receive all that He has in store for us.

Proverbs 22:4 By humility and the fear of the LORD are riches, and honour, and life!