Pride

I was thinking this morning, as I was making my egg omelet and drinking some yerbe mate chocolate mint tea.  Yum!  You know how you think those deep things when you are doing mundane, repetitive things?

I’m an avid people watcher.  The last couple of weeks I’ve been watching to see if someone would do the right thing.  This person entertained the thought, stepped briefly over the line, then made a concrete decision that it challenged their thinking too much to continue.

All of us must stretch.  It’s how we grow.  Beliefs I once held have little by little been eroded from my thinking by the caustic and cleansing Word of God.  Yes, it’s been painful, but it’s well been worth the pain.  There appears to be great assurance — great rest — great peace that arrives through the painful process of challenging yourself to confront your pride…and error.

We all suffer from human pride.  Yet, it must be confronted if we are to continue to conform to the image of Christ.  We don’t want to see the prophetic words of Psalm 59:12 come true:  For the sin of their mouths, the words of their lips, let them be trapped in their pride. Rather, we would prefer to be freed from our pride.  Proverbs 11:2 is another great reminder that:  When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom. I truly desire to learn wisdom, which is different than knowledge.

I’m not sure why we cling to our pride.  The only possible reason could be that we truly suffer from total depravity (a doctrine I now cling to.)

It’s dangerous for us to cling to our pride.  When we cling to — possess — refuse to submit our pride to God, we can expect that a faithful God will judge.  More often than not, the contemporary image of God is not the God of the Bible.  The Old Testament is full of the judgments of God against an unfaithful people.

Certainly, we deserve judgment.  How are we any different than those who lived in the days we read about?  What makes us special?

Nothing…..

Still, I am reminded in passages like Isaiah 9

8 The Lord has sent a word against Jacob,
and it will fall on Israel;
9 and all the people will know,
Ephraim and the inhabitants of Samaria,
who say in pride and in arrogance of heart:

that there is still a promise

For all this his anger has not turned away,
and his hand is stretched out still.

His hand is still stretched out to his people.  This is a people He has personally called.  He chose His redeemed people.  He offers redemption to his elect because it glorifies Him.

I can’t change anyone’s heart.  I can pray for this person.  I can pray for the people influenced by their words.  I can petition God for his mercy for all involved.

Then I must remind myself that God is always in the driver’s seat.  He uses uncomfortable things for his will — for his good — for his glory.  He even uses evil things for his purpose.  There are those in the Christian realm who would deny this fact as if it would somehow taint the image of God that He would do so!  His justice is not of our own understanding.  God will be glorified and only He understands the reasons for why He chooses one over another….why He must sometimes allow evil in the lives of his people.

We all deserve death.  Yet, God, in His infinite wisdom saves some like Jacob.  Others like Esau will not be saved.  It is not up to us to question the wisdom of our Holy God.  It’s the acceptance of his truth that liberate us — those truths which free us from the bondage of our corrupt will, as Jonathan Edwards has said in his book called The Freedom of the Will.

I would encourage you, my children, not to rest until you know the real God.   Ecclesiastes 1:8 says:  the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing. Do not be satisfied until your eyes and ears finally open.  Then, be satisfied by accepting the hard things of God.  Rest in them.  They are the things which you will cling to in this uncertain future.  Do not rebel against them.  If you do, you rebel against your Creator – the one and only Holy God.  However, if you do eat and drink his words of truth, you will be truly satisfied.  You will then know in your heart that:

6 Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel
and his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts:
“I am the first and I am the last;
besides me there is no god.
7 Who is like me? Let him proclaim it.
Let him declare and set it before me,
since I appointed an ancient people.
Let them declare what is to come, and what will happen.
8 Fear not, nor be afraid;
have I not told you from of old and declared it?
And you are my witnesses!
Is there a God besides me?
There is no Rock; I know not any.”  (Is. 44:6-8)

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