Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Pride and it's destruction.

This has been on my heart for a few weeks now.  It just seems that God is showing me that now is the time to share it.  I hope you’re able to follow along as my thoughts were a bit scattered.  Hopefully the true point comes through.
Pride, by definition, is “self-satisfaction”, “proper sense of own value”, “feeling of superiority” and a “source of personal satisfaction”.  Of course it is also the name we use for a “group of lions”, but we aren’t talking about lions today.
My question is how can we ever be proud of ourselves if we will never be perfect in this life on earth? We will always have flaws therefore anything we ever produce will inevitable be flawed in some way as well.  Psalms 51:5 (NLT) says, “For I was born a sinner—yes, from the moment my mother conceived me.”  As soon as we were conceived we became a sinful being.  So much for people who like to think that humans are “good” natured...   
I feel that many people who claim to be religious are in a sense “self-worshipers”.  I have fallen into this trap myself, and it is a daily struggle to give all the glory to God and not keep it for myself.  Have you ever thought of yourself as being a good person?  You may teach Sunday School or volunteer at your local homeless shelter.  Maybe you pay the extra dollar at the grocery store to donate to the food bank-but don’t you get to write your name on one of those paper cut outs to display that you were “selfless”.  Ha!  Selfless...  Do you ever feel like you’re doing a good job because you got to tell someone about your faith, or that YOU were able to bless someone with some random act of kindness?  Do you really think that YOU had anything to do with it? 
I have done all of these things and thought I was, to an extent, superior to others.  After all, I took meals to someone or I gave to the grocery store food fund.  I’ve chased homeless people down in parking lots to give them food, but was my motive really selfless. (The answer is no)  What are your motives?
If I give, am I giving in Christ’s name or my own?  If I rely on myself, I’ll be let down every time, and then, where does that leave room for God’s salvation?  If I am always self-reliant, if I feel superior or let myself have the feelings of self-worth, where does Jesus’ sacrifice fit in?  Pride is destructive!  It leaves puffed up people in its wake and doesn’t allow God’s mercy to have a foot hold.  It actually lends itself to thinking you can earn your way to heaven.  People may think, “If I continue helping with the kids at church I’ll earn a point.  As long as I’m giving my money each week to a great cause, I’ll make it in.  Every year at Christmas I always make sure to help a soup kitchen, so I know I’m going to heaven.” 
Fortunately it doesn’t work like that!  Ephesians 2:9 (NLT) says, “Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.”  See---it has NOTHING to do with what we do, how good we are, how much we give, how often we participate.  We/I could never be good enough, do well enough or participate enough-because we’ve been sinning since CONCEPTION!!!! It is only by God’s grace that we are shown mercy.  That mercy is a GIFT.  It is nothing we earned.  The gift is free, and offered to everyone, not just an elite group of people.  And because of this free gift, God sees us with renewed eyes.  He sees us through the perfection of His Son Jesus.  We are no longer flawed in His site, but perfect in His image.  Praise God for this!!!  He saw worth in us, when we were unworthy.
John 3:16,17(NLT) says, “For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.”  If God had sent Jesus to judge us, we would fall so very short of the mark that none of us would ever meet the standard.  We would all be condemned.
Before you ever let a thought enter your mind about how good you are, or how much you’ve done, make sure that your motives were in the right place.  Did you do it out of pride?  Or did you do it in the name of Christ for God’s glory?  I would like to close with and excerpt from and e-mail my cousin, Denise, and I were writing back and forth about today.  She said it so well, that I couldn’t rephrase it to make it sound any better.
“They [Christians who feel superior and more spiritual] aren't really worshiping god, they are worshiping themselves. They aren't seeking glory for god, they are hoping that people think they are super extra spiritual, and they hope that the glory reflects onto themselves. Moreover, I think this behavior is counterproductive because the rest of us looking on don't see a witness for Christ, we see a witness for vanity and self-aggrandizement.
Perhaps the real message is that you ought to be crazy in love with god, and i hope that is the case. i mean, if you truly believe that the eternity of your life is either spent in the best place ever or the worst place ever, and the only way to get into the best place ever is through the sacrifice of Christ, how can you not be totally in love? Our short time here on earth is about to be eclipsed by eternity of pain and sorrow, but instead, like a super hero, Jesus swoops in and saves the day. He not only returns us to our mediocre existence, but offers us the opportunity to live in perfection...awesome.”


Anita said...

... Ok... God is so AWESOME.. I have been having similar thoughts on/and with this issue.. but definitely more on a personal level.. between selfishness and selflessness..still somewhat in shock that we are on a similar wavelength.. and assured there is a God in control of that ..PRAISE HIM!!!

Lori said...

I know what you mean. It's a hard subject to talk about because when you sit back and look at yourself with a really honest eye, you see that most of what we do is for our own ego, not to bring Him praise. Or, you do it with the intent of giving God the glory and end up hiding a little bit of it in your heart. I's a crappy thought.

Robyn said...

I've been doing a LOT of thinking about this over the past few months! I've seen pride manifested in the spirit of control and accusation in the church setting, and the results have been devastating for the Body of Christ, but one thing God has taught me very well through all of it is that no matter what I do, I cannot change people's lives! It's never been my job! God calls me to be obedient... He works the miracles! God calls me to be passionate for Him, and excited about Him, following after His heart, whether or not anyone else is! I can't AND shouldn't be the Holy Spirit for anyone else! I can only choose to quench of accept His Spirit through His grace, and cannot force that on anyone else! Realizing that has brought me to my knees (literally and figuratively) in a HUGE way! It's both humbling and freeing to give up control of even what I thought I was supposed to do FOR God, and instead realize that if He can use a donkey he can certainly use anyone or anything... doesn't have to be me! I believe he wants us to be excited when we see Him glorified! And I know I always have to keep myself in check!... am I excited because they approve, or because God does! Whew it's been eye opening for me to realize how easy discouragement has been when HE approves, but "they" don't. That's where the rubber's really hit the road for me!
Love your blog Lori! :) Keep it up! :)

Lori said...

Rob, I love this observation. I actually found that I was the one trying to "do" for God, when in reality I was only "dong" for myself. Thank God for his mercy, because without it, I'd be a regular sinner, going to Hell. It is so freeing to give that control over to Him. It's also scarey!! I love what you wrote about the discouragement when others don't approve. Sometimes we don't realize what a hinderance we are to Gods will in others lives. I love hearing how God is teaching you in these situations. The Holy Spirit has been having a field day with me =) Take care my friend! Love ya, Lori

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