Thursday, September 15, 2011

Our Greatest Common Enemy

Pride. In his essay, "Pride, Humility, and God," John Stott wrote, "Pride is more than the first of the seven deadly sins; it is itself the essence of all sin.” Satan fell from heaven because of pride. In Isaiah 14:12-14 and Ezekiel 28:12-18 it references the kings of Babylon and Tyre; however, it seems that the kings that the scripture is referring to are too powerful to be human; therefore, they may have been describing the motivating spiritual force of Satan behind these kings. Common to these viewpoints is the truth that pride, "For you said to yourself, ‘I will ascend to heaven and set my throne above God’s stars. I will preside on the mountain of the gods far away in the north. I will climb to the highest heavens and be like the Most High.’" (Isaiah 14:13-14) was what exposed Satan and led God to severely punish him, for he desired to be God, to essentially “kick God off His throne” and take over the rule of the universe.

Unfortunately all of us have been prideful. I have heard one too many stories, including some of my own, that say, "I wouldn't do that" or "It will not happen to me, I won't put myself in that position" or "I know I can do this myself, I don't need help." Ouch! I know the sting of those statements and it isn't pretty. I look back at myself and think, "how arrogant of me to think that I could that on my own."

Mary Cassian in her book, "Girls Gone Wise, in a world gone wild" talks about a couple who both graduated from bible college, secured staff positions at a church and after a few years got burnt out by the grind of church life and politics. They eventually decided they needed a break, they both resigned, found secular jobs and moved away from friends and family. They soon found themselves not going to church, reading their bible, nor fellowshipping with Christian believers. Eventually they found friends that were unbelievers they knew from work and the community. One night a new couple in the neighborhood invited them to have some drinks and play cards. Eventually the card nights of poker, turned into strip poker, sexual favors and dares, and later orgies.

Mary Cassian posed the question, "if a friend in Bible College had asked Judy if she would ever participate in a sexual orgy, Judy would have scoffed at the question. It was preposterous! Of course she would never
do that! She wouldn't compromise her morals. How could she? She was a Christian. She loved Jesus." I thought to myself as I read this story, what a sad path of life this lady and her husband chose.

Well don't be so prideful into thinking that this couldn't have been you in the same or similar situation in which you never thought you'd find yourself in. Don't think that you are above our common enemy of pride and you can control your actions.

At times our actions and thoughts can be clouded by the mere circumstances in which we find ourselves and it is then that we must ask God for His guidance and strength to resist our enemy, pride. For we must avoid the temptation of becoming prideful, for "Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before a fall" (Proverbs 16:18)." If you find yourself stumbling over and over in areas of your life, humble yourself and ask someone you trust to evaluate whether you are blinded to the warning signs that are making you stumble.

Pride takes many forms, but ultimately it ends with self-glorification. If you or someone you know struggles in this area, ask yourself/them, "is my motive to glorify myself and not God?" Help yourself and others today by helping them unmask their pride and introduce them to humility by sharing the story of Jesus with them, the author of humility.

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