Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Destructible Sin of Pride

Pride--the sin that got Satan himself thrown out of heaven.  The sin that I would daresay is the most dangerous and blinding.  The one we often have a hard time seeing in ourselves.  The sin that has self at the core like no other.  

Lately, one of our children has been struggling with this sin.  Now I know we are all going to struggle with pride to some degree because we are human.  Since the fall of man, it has been etched into our sinful nature.  However my concern for this particular child is that he has become dominated by a prideful spirit.  I've realized that the danger of pride running amok in one's life is that it results in blindness.  He ends up no longer being able to see it.  He has justified, excused or accused for so long, that he no longer takes ownership in any conflict.  He cannot see his sin.  Oh, that is such a bad place to be.

The 1828 Webster Dictionary has quite the defining list for pride:

1. Inordinate self-esteem; an unreasonable conceit of one's own superiority in talents, beauty, wealth, accomplishments, rank or elevation in office, which manifests itself in lofty airs, distance, reserve, and often in contempt of others.

All pride is abject and mean.

Those that walk in pride he is able to abase. Dan.4.

2. Insolence; rude treatment of others; insolent exultation.

3. Generous elation of heart; a noble self-esteem springing from a consciousness of worth.

4. Elevation; loftiness.

5. Decoration; ornament; beauty displayed.

6. Splendid show; ostentation.

7. That of which men are proud; that which excites boasting.

I will cut off the pride of the Philistines. Zech.9. Zeph.3.

Pride, v.t. With the reciprocal pronoun, to pride one's self, to indulge pride; to take pride; to value one's self; to gratify self-esteem. They pride themselves in their wealth, dress or equipage. He prides himself in his achievements.

As we have been praying for this child, we have been examining our own hearts in this area, too.  We have been asking the Lord to 'search our hearts and know our thoughts and see if there be any grievous way in us (Psalm 139:23-24).'  God has opened my eyes to blind places in my own heart and has helped me to further understand this grievous sin of pride.

In the Bible, pride is associated with people who were ruthless, hateful and downright evil.  It is associated with actions that are in opposition to the fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self control).  James 4:6 tells us that God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.  On one hand, this verse is chilling:  when I am prideful, God opposes me. Standing in direct opposition of God is a scary place to be.   On the other hand, this verse is full of hope:  when I humble myself, I receive an extra portion of His grace.  Grace is poured into me--His free, unmerited love.  Grace is poured into me--His favorable influence of the Spirit, enabling me to respond and live in His power.  I guess it comes down to one question, really--Am I going to choose to stand against God with Him opposing me, or to stand with God, receiving His blessing?

Proverbs 16:18 tells us that pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall.  Another chilling verse.  Of course, we are all going to mess up, make mistakes and fall.  Sometimes God uses a fall of some sort to teach us humility that we otherwise wouldn't have learned.  That is, if we are willing to learn.  Ultimately, therein lies the question:  Are you teachable?

Being unteachable is really at the root of this heart-issue of pride.  Choosing to not come up under authority = Unteachable.  A 'know it all' mentality = Unteachable.  Not allowing a voice into your life because you feel they are beneath you in age, experience, etc. = Unteachable.

Lastly, I have come to another conclusion lately in regard to the sin of pride:  A heart that is full of pride has a leaky mouth.  Yes, the poisonous venom of pride in one's life has a tendency to escape through the mouth. This should not surprise us because Luke 6:45 says that 'out of the overflow of his heart, his mouth speaks.'  'Leaky mouth syndrome' comes out in a variety of ways.  Sometimes it's in the form of arrogance.  Sometimes it's mean-spirited gossip.  Sometimes it's in the form of blame-shifting, justifying or excusing.  Sometimes it's in the form of 'victim mentality', the 'woe is me' syndrome.  Whatever the form, it's primary goal is to exalt self, rather than exalt God and others.  As believers, the New Testament commands us to 'love God with all of our heart, mind, soul and strength' and 'love others as ourselves'.   Thus, I think we have come full circle once again:  Exalting self opposes God and 'God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble'.

Really, it comes down to one thing: Jesus. Jesus died for every one of our sins, including this one. My child, myself and everyone of us must humble ourselves and repent of this sin if we want to walk in freedom of it. It's a daily walk of examining ourselves, coming to the foot of the cross in humility and recieving grace.

Dear Lord,

I need a healthy heart check this morning.  Open my eyes in regard to the poisonous sin of pride.  I come before your throne of grace, asking for help in time of need.  I want to experience freedom in all areas of my life, especially in my 'blind spots'.  Open up my eyes!  Give me your eyes to see!

Help my children not fall prey to the life-taking sin of pride.  For that child in which I see pride dominating, I ask that you would open up his eyes to it.  Replace pride with 'life-giving' humility.  I know You are able to do this because You are in the business of trading death for life.  I ask for a transaction to occur on this day--I ask that Jesus' blood pump life into my child's heart and also into my own heart.  May it pump through and through so that all that we say and do will bring life and not death. 

Jesus, be my All in All today--give me Your ability, Your strength and Your power to walk in humility.  Only You can do this in me.

In Your precious name I pray,

1 comment:

A Joyful Chaos said...

Thanks for sharing this thought provoking post. Pride is such an ugly thing and can show up in so many different ways.

Blessings as you continue your journey through life.