Monday, June 20, 2016
I won’t steal the thunder from our pastor and his sermon this past Sunday. However, I was reminded in his talk by something that many of us often overlook in our daily lives. What is this hidden something you ask?
It is the danger posed by our own closely held opinions, beliefs, traditions, prejudices, and rules for living.
Hidden at the core of these things is what can at times be something good, but more often than not, it is a stumbling block to forward motion, personal growth, learning, maturing, and as followers of Christ, our becoming more Christ like. This hidden thing is none other, than this: PRIDE.
What our pastor said in passing was this, that often we even take pride in things that you might not ordinarily associate with pride. And, inherent in that, we may miss that these things are stumbling us and impeding us from becoming the persons we want to become. More than that, this strange form of pride can be the thing that keeps us from reaching the goals we long to reach.
You see, our pride can lead us to wear some things like a badge of honor. As if they marked us as walking wounded, worthy of both people’s pity and also of their admiration. Visible marks not of our longsuffering ability to rise up and conquer the world mind you, but instead as our reasons for doing exactly the opposite, to stay indoors and keep to ourselves and to accomplish virtually nothing with the lives God gifted us with.
Yes… we are to be pitied, but not for our suffering, but instead for our lack of faith to grasp ahold of the strength God offers to us for the taking. Strength by which we could be what scripture speaks of as “more than conquerors.”
So many of us lament and complain about the unfairness of life and our lack of breaks, our unfortunate position, and circumstances. And, I am not even going to debate that these things could be fact for any one of us. Many of us are sadly struggling and often with circumstances that are truly out of our control. This may seem callous of me but if you knew my life story, like you, I could tell you some hard and sad tales about my own life. Many of us do not live a charmed or fairytale like existence as much as we may desire it.
Where am I going with this, you may be asking yourself at this point.
Really, I am just going to point out that God hates pride. Not the pride that comes when you are rightly warmed and happy by a personal accomplishment, a victory over sin, or a new skill learned. No, if we proudly hang onto some weakness, some circumstance, some oppressive and difficult lacking in our lives and then we use this as an excuse for not trying, for giving up, for accepting defeat, then this is the pride that we must repent of.
This is the pride that comes before the fall. This is the pride that if we are in the midst of it, God cannot reward us or accomplish His purposes for our lives. If we are living in this, He has to shake us up. If we are living in this, we may have to get beat up and end up at the bottom. For here in the depths and in the reality created not by our circumstance, but by how we face them, is where our God can begin to teach us and lift us up. Whether we are on our faces or on our knees, we can finally hear His voice and begin to shed the heavy burdens that hold us back from the victory that God has for us. We must repent of our pride and place life’s burdens on Jesus’ shoulders where He has said He will gladly bear them.
After hearing our pastor speak of this, I was reminded that like many of you I must take an inventory of my attitudes and beliefs regarding my own life and circumstances. In order for me to continue to become the man God has envisioned for me to become, I have to see my old self crucified to my pride. Pride can only hold us back.
So, shed your pride. Shed the skin of your old self. Take up the cross we are all called to bear though yours is more than likely different than mine. Take it up and allow God to show you how you can be an overcomer. Take it up and one day you can look back on a life well lived. A life lived with no regrets.
Live well and seize the new day!