Tag Archives: Pride

Adventures in Pride & Humility

Proverbs 29:23

23 A man’s pride shall bring him low: but honour shall uphold the humble in spirit.

A Secret Life

My wife and I recently had the opportunity to see the remake of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. Neither of us is particularly fond of Ben Stiller, but every so often he is in something we like watching him. This is one of those.

Walter Mitty is a quiet man who has a tendency to slip into daydreams and out of focus with reality. This occasionally leads to problems at work, in various conversations, and in his love life. When his job is endangered by a superior who is overconfident and displays this overconfidence by picking on weaker-willed individuals such as Walter, Walter sets out across the globe in a series of adventures to save his job at LIFE Magazine. Without spoiling the story too much, Walter finds a confidence he forgot he had, and his superior gets put in his place.

The Next Life

The difference in real life is that the consequences are far different.

If we live our lives overconfident of or full of pride in ourselves and what we can do, we can forget about God or think there is no need for God. This will bring us low … very low … to Hell. Eternal separation from God.

However, if we can live with humility, we will find honor. Humility is understanding the truth of ourselves, and the truth is that we need a Savior: Someone who understands us better than we ever could, knows that we are dreadfully sinful beyond our ability to overcome that sin, and was willing to take our punishment by dying on a cross. Jesus Christ took that punishment because He knows us so completely and loves us still.

If we are humble enough to know and accept this truth, we will be honored with Christ by the Father with eternal life!

Gracious Savior, thank You for Your love and sacrifice for our friendship. Help us to rid sinful pride from our hearts to be filled with true humility to seek You above ourselves and all else.

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What a Day May Bring

Proverbs 27:1

Boast not thyself of to morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.

Making Plans

We love making plans.

Look at government calendars, business agendas, church programs, and a weekly schedule in most personal calendars.

As a people, humans enjoy making plans.

The danger comes in boasting of our plans.

This comes out as almost rubbing it in the faces of others what we are doing or are getting ready to do that they are not.

This comes out as “look at how amazing we are for doing this!”

This comes out as knowing what great things we will accomplish for God … for our glory.

Tomorrow

Let us consider James’ advice from chapter 4 (NIV):

13 Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” 14 Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.

We cannot know what will happen tomorrow, or even tonight for that matter.

We may be in a crash. A natural disaster may occur. A family emergency may arise. A terrorist attack might happen.

Anything can happen.

15 Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Matthew 6:34

It is okay to plan things. We simply must remember Who is in control.

It is okay to celebrate good things. We simply must look at our own motives to ensure we give God all of the glory.

Heavenly Father, grant us the peace to know we do not control our lives, the wisdom to accept our time here on this earth, and a heart that remembers Your greatness over our own.


Victim Lawyers

Proverbs 24:28-29

28 Be not a witness against thy neighbour without cause; and deceive not with thy lips.
29 Say not, I will do so to him as he hath done to me: I will render to the man according to his work.

Perhaps you remember my last entry from a few days ago, Pray for Your Enemies and the few since then. There is a common theme that is continued here, a theme dealing with envy and revenge and, ultimately, pride.

Perhaps you have heard of those so-called “victim lawyers” who look for ways to sue people and/or businesses for supposed infractions on freedoms or services received. Even though there is rarely solid cause for these lawsuits, there are enough times when the “victims” win their cases. This causes fear and confusion for many, causing pushed up prices, changes to things (often for the worse), or closing good businesses.

Some of these lawyers do it for fun, while others do it because they have been wronged before and wish to help others no matter the social cost.

The Great Accuser

There is one who does this against each and every person, but with much greater consequences and cost to the individuals.

Sadly, much of his accusations are true.

Thankfully, we have a better lawyer … if we are Christians. The Devil, the one full of pride and envy of the love we give God, accuses us of our sins straight to God, yet he does not have the ultimate victory over us who believe in Jesus Christ as the Son of God and Savior from our sins.

10 Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say:

“Now have come the salvation and the power
and the kingdom of our God,
and the authority of his Messiah.
For the accuser of our brothers and sisters,
who accuses them before our God day and night,
has been hurled down.

11 They triumphed over him
by the blood of the Lamb
and by the word of their testimony;
they did not love their lives so much
as to shrink from death.

12 Therefore rejoice, you heavens
and you who dwell in them!
But woe to the earth and the sea,
because the devil has gone down to you!
He is filled with fury,
because he knows that his time is short.”
Revelation 12:10-12, NIV

Our Father, help us to live like the father of lies. Remove all envy and malice, hatred and pride from our hearts. Create in us hearts that do not want to bring shame to our neighbor and lead to our destruction, but hearts that are full of love and may help lead others to everlasting life, in Jesus name.


Pride Comes Before A Fall

Proverbs 21:24

Proud and haughty scorner is his name, who dealeth in proud wrath.

How many of us have been warned in the past that pride comes before a fall? The saying is said to come from Proverbs 16:18 but there is a clearer definition of this age-old warning in Wiktionary: ‘A person who is extremely proud of his or her abilities will often suffer a setback or failure, because he or she tends to be overconfident and to make errors of judgment.’

Followers of boxing will be aware that fighters who swagger from the dressing room to the ring and ridicule their opponents often have cause to eat humble pie at some point during a fight. In some cases face meets canvas within seconds of the bell for the opening round. Whether down to overconfidence or basic errors in judgment, the result is the same. Members of the sporting press usually ridicule such falls from grace in fight reports, while the Internet means that the falls of the proud are recorded for posterity on YouTube.

Perhaps the writer of this proverb was talking about a different type of pride? The sort of pride that says man is all there is, and that God does not exist? The Psalmist calls such a person a fool: ‘The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, their deeds are vile; there is no one who does good.’ (Psalm 14:1/Psalm 53:1 NIV). If we deny God, then it could be argued that we are proudly elevating man to a position where he does not belong. Can man create a universe? Of course not. He can only speculate on how the universe came into existence. Sadly, many people spend hours engaged in proud but foolish speculation concerning the existence of God instead of humbly surrendering to Him and giving to God what is His. Paul spoke about this indirectly while teaching about the foolishness of loving money:

If anyone teaches otherwise and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, they are conceited and understand nothing. They have an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions and constant friction between people of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain. But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.
Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to your care. Turn away from godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge, which some have professed and in so doing have departed from the faith. (1 Timothy 6:3-7, 20-21 NIV)

What is the condition of your heart reader? Are you a proud fool heading for a fall, or a humble servant surrendered to God and wealthy beyond imagination in God’s promise of eternal life?


A Question of Attitude

Proverbs 21:4 

An high look, and a proud heart, and the plowing of the wicked, is sin.
Haughty eyes and a proud heart– the unplowed field of the wicked – produce sin. (NIV)

ploughed fieldIs an unplowed field equivalent to an untidy bedroom? If it is my kids are in trouble! After parenting five with two still at home I cannot recall any of them keeping tidy bedrooms ever, although it seems to be a different story when they have their own homes. While a tidy bedroom is not high on the list of priorities for your average teenager, you would expect that the owner of a field would keep it plowed to ensure the best environment for his crops.

But this proverb is not really about plowed fields and it certainly isn’t about untidy bedrooms, so what is the link? The link is attitude. This is something that each of us needs to consider regularly. How is our attitude? How and why do we do certain things, and why are there things we try to avoid doing at all costs? How are we doing with the pride issue? Are we too proud? Or does humility come easy?

The more I read this proverb the more I realize that it is about hearts not actions. It is sinful to do something with the wrong attitude, or to fail to do something we consider beneath us. Need an example? Here’s one. I am the Sunday Ministry deacon at church. I organise rosters for duty deacons and stewards, and anything the pastor wants arranged on any particular Sunday. The first task is always to make sure the forecourt is tidy, which as our city center church is surrounded by nightclubs and pubs is not always the case. But one Sunday morning the problem wasn’t leftover fast food and empty beer cans, it was confetti. There had been a wedding the day before and it had rained. The wet confetti stuck to the paving slabs as if it was glued. The guy who leads our men’s ministry gave me a hand to clean the confetti and other items from the forecourt. All but one person going into church walked past us, most of them with a witty comment. Only one person saw what we were doing and without saying anything went to the cleaning cupboard to fetch a broom so that she could help us. I don’t want to point the finger at the funny guys who walked past, but perhaps this proverb was written for them?


Repentant Sinner vs. Unrepentant Christian

Proverbs 18:23

23 The poor useth intreaties; but the rich answereth roughly. (KJV)
23 The poor plead for mercy, but the rich answer harshly. (NIV)

This could easily be about the differences between the wealthy and those in poverty.

This could easily become an indictment against many parts of the Church around the world.

Instead, this is based more on the parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector (Luke 18:9-14), and it is a call to follow the Greatest Commandment (Matthew 22:35-40).

Unrepentant Christian

When one has believed they have become saved by grace through faith in the redeeming work of Jesus Christ through the cross, it can become easy to forget those humble beginnings: you were a sinner in need of a Savior.

The danger comes when we change everything in our lives to cut off any attachments to our sinful lives before Christ. It is not that we have removed any danger of temptation and sin, rather that we surround ourselves with Christians. Sometimes this is to the point that we do not know any non-Christians or Christians from other churches/denominations. We surround ourselves only with the riches of God’s mercy, grace, and love.

This is dangerous, because we can forget how to act around non-Christians. We see the sinful behavior, the effects of sin, and dangerous lifestyles and choices. We see the ways of living and interacting with others that remind us of our own sins or what the Bible says about certain sins.

And we judge them and thank God we are no longer like them. Which is good … to a point …

… but we forget to love them.

Repentant Sinners

What is easy to forget is that non-Christians, and even some who were raised in the Church, are pleading, sometimes begging, for a demonstration of mercy. They have not partaken of the riches of God’s mercy, grace, and love.

They may be painfully aware of how their lives are not perfect. They may understand what they are doing is wrong.

They do not need more reminders.

They need mercy, grace, and love.

And all we seem to show them is distaste and superiority. We seem to show them they do not deserve what we have been given.

Saved Sinners

May we remember that we are sinners saved by grace. We are the saints of God having been washed in His blood.

May we remember that God has entrusted their salvation to us.

May we remember to show the same mercy, grace, and love God has shown to us and not hold onto these riches to the detriment of those around us.

Merciful God rich in grace and love, remind us that we need You every day. Help our hearts to long for You. Remind us to share Your love and mercy every day. Help us to not answer harshly to the lost as You have not answered harshly to us.


Haughty or Humble?

Proverbs  18:12

12 Before destruction the heart of man is haughty, and before honour is humility.

Haughty and in Hot Water

In the last several years there have been many high-profile stories out of politics. Granted, that sentence could have been written at any time in modern history.

What I am speaking of, specifically, are politicians who thought they were above reproach. Most called themselves committed Christians. Many of these were caught with prostitutes, girlfriends (other than their wives, of course), or sharing pictures (of their own body parts or other women/men).

They were caught for the very reason they thought they could get away with it: they thought too highly of themselves. Most these men lost their positions and even careers over these scandals. Most people could care less about these men today.

Humble and Honored

Now look at the other side.

Mother Teresa never held a public office. In fact, she spent the majority of her time with sick, injured, and societal rejects. She never considered anyone beneath her or less important. She put most people ahead of herself.

When she died in 1997, many millions of people mourned and remembered her. Many people called for her immediate beatification by the Catholic Church. She is still remembered well by over a billion people.

You and Me

Our pride can only lead to problems in our life. If left to continue unabated, our pride will lead to our separation from God after this life.

If we humble ourselves, confess our sinfulness and need for Jesus Christ, God is the One who will honor us.

every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.” (Luke 18:14)

Faithful Father, teach us true humility. Help us to seek You above ourselves.