Tag Archive: Pride


The Only Way

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I wonder if perhaps one reason the Lord created the earth to orbit in such a way that it never gets anywhere new is to help us remember to stop trusting in the same old, man-centred habits we’ve repeatedly embraced and performed for so many years.

There is a tree firmly rooted in this sin-soaked soil, one that every prideful heart pledges to protect at all cost. This tree is watered and fertilized with every vain philosophy and false religious system formed and followed by the first Adam’s fallen race. Sadly, the fallen nature in each of us delights in its temporary beauty, food, and shelter.

Ever since sin came in, the mantra of man has been onward and upward by whatever earthly means possible. No matter how many times mankind’s failures reveal his own futility, he stubbornly refuses to switch directions. Our persistent pride is truly deplorable! We have repeatedly fulfilled Proverbs 16:25, “There is a way that seems right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.”

There’s only way to get off this earthly orbit. If we desire to truly be free, to truly live, our heart must move, not only off this planet, but out of the universe. Creation is fallen so it can do nothing but cause us to fall back to this world. We must move past all of creation and instead wholeheartedly fix our full and undivided attention upon the Creator. Only by turning to the One True God, the Creator and Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, will we pass from death to life.

“Jesus said… I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes unto the Father, but by Me.” John 14:6

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that hears My word, and believes on Him that sent Me, has everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.” John 5:24

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If there ever was an attribute which remains reprehensible regardless of its modern day adornment, it would be that of ungratefulness. There is something quite disheartening in watching someone receive a gift with a heart absent of genuine gratitude. Although many areas of selfishness/self-centeredness, mostly due to marketing and manipulation, have successfully won over the hearts and minds of the culture, there is nothing that can cover up the egregious attitude of being unthankful.

I cannot think of one redeeming book, TV, or movie character that has stood the test of time which has displayed such a self-centered heart, yet ungratefulness plagues us in real life perhaps now more than ever. This is much in part thanks to what many have deemed the self-esteem movement.

Over the last several decades the pro high self-esteem movement has literally plowed and paved its way into the very fiber of our postmodern thinking and behavior. But there are more than a few ironies facing the self-esteem philosophy and sadly, even more casualties. One such casualty standing at the forefront would arguably be that of genuine thankfulness.

Certain characteristics in life have quite natural outcomes. When someone is spoon fed (from the high chair) the necessity of having a high/good self-worth, self-esteem, self-image, etc. we should not be surprised when that child grows up to be a very confused and disillusioned young adult. Despite a high self-esteem being touted as the wonder drug of the 20th century, nothing could be further from the truth.

Geneticists have worked tirelessly in recent decades, discovering how to modify today’s foods to appear bigger and brighter, but often other attributes are lost in the process. A similar principle can be observed in people’s attitudes and actions. In a culture literally in love with itself, there are often other, much more nutritious characteristics that are deleted, due in part to our anxious efforts of self-exaltation. One of the nutrients often missing is that of genuine and lasting thankfulness.

Consider the child that is repeatedly told he is so special and so important that he deserves everything and that “having it his way” is just the way it should be. This child feeds on books and tens of thousands of hours of TV shows and movies essentially telling him the very same thing. He’s given many fabulous and expensive gifts, only reinforcing the delusion. It doesn’t take long before his emboldened and enriched self-esteem is off the charts. This will undoubtedly lead to a reduction of other characteristics, namely thankfulness. After all, why be thankful, when you wholeheartedly believe you deserve the best and the most?

But one might argue that even a selfish child is thankful for receiving a long desired present. True, however, this is a different sort of thankfulness altogether. It is a fleeting, fleshly thankfulness, not one born out of true, selfless gratitude. It is produced only temporarily, if, in a sense, as the soul’s way of expressing pleasure for getting what it already believes it deserved in the first place. (If you don’t believe this, watch what happens when people are kept from getting what they think they deserve. It really doesn’t matter the age. Often children are just not as good at masking their true feelings.) In fact, it won’t be long before even the extravagant gifts will not be enough to satisfy that child’s insatiable appetite of self-aggrandizement. Soon even the presents will bring nothing but ungratefulness, always believing he deserves more and better things.

Sadly, this pattern is a deceptive and tragic trap, one ultimately set by the enemy of our souls, and one many corporations and psychologists have been utilized to employ, having profited greatly. Breeding discontentment will naturally lead people to spend more in hopes of satisfying their already discontented hearts and minds. Who better to benefit from this sort of philosophy than retail companies? Perhaps that is why so many of them are the leaders in self-centered advertising. Another business benefiting would of course be psychotherapy. After all, who better to seek than a therapist to “cure” the pain and emptiness that this sort of discontentment eventually produces? Sadly, much of today’s church is no different, seeking psychology and the next big sale to satisfy instead of the Word and indwelling Spirit of God. Is it any wonder we see so little vibrancy and victory in today’s Christianity?

Arguably there is a simple philosophy that our culture has bought into from birth. It says that most, if not all people begin with a low self-esteem. Whether due to circumstances or something broken within, that low self-esteem must be overcome at all cost if we are ever to succeed as successful human beings. In order to do so we must enjoy a high self-esteem diet of flesh enhancing philosophies and practices. Only then can we overcome our maladjusted beliefs and begin soaring like we were always meant to do. As tasty as this might sound, this is not how God designed us to live. We were not designed to raise ourselves up, but rather to lower ourselves down and instead raise God up.

Only in magnifying Jesus can we truly find genuine and eternal contentment and fulfillment. This is why God’s Word reminds us that godliness with contentment is great gain. “But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. But you, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life…” 1 Timothy 6:6-12a

The actual name for a high self-esteem is pride and pride is really nothing less than self-love. It is the very heart of all that hates God, seeking to exalt itself above Him, stealing the Lord’s rightful place upon the throne of every human heart. Despite what most schools, commercials, “professionals”, retail companies, and story books tell us, it is not having a high self-esteem that will ultimately fulfill us. Nor will it ever produce real thankfulness and gratitude. Only when we sincerely and desperately cling to the Great and Glorious God will we find the truth and truly be thankful to the Lord. Only when we understand that it is because of our willful rebellion against God that we deserve nothing less than Hell, only then will we truly embrace God in His forgiveness and love found in Jesus Christ alone.

Only in humility will thanksgiving not only be produced, but also bring about an abundance of the Life of Christ in us and through us. If pride is the ultimate culprit, then humility can be the cure. Like the sun, Jesus burns away the prideful fog obscuring God’s greatness, helping us to finally humble ourselves, coming to grips with the very real and freeing fact that we are really nothing. We will finally realize it is the Lord, not us, Who deserves it all! We do not “deserve a break today” and we most certainly should not seek to “have it our way”. Instead may we humbly seek His perfect and plentiful way. May we wholeheartedly desire to see the Lord in His true beauty and splendor. Then we will begin to see our discontentment and ungratefulness burn away and finally begin to understand what it truly means to “abound in Christ with thanksgiving” (Colossians 2:7).

OldRuggedCross_B&WMost will readily acknowledge that people lie, and we might even admit we too are prone to talebearing from time to time, yet somehow there’s this strange belief within each of us that says our feelings will never lie. But nothing could be further from the truth. Feelings lie more than any of us probably care to admit. 

How many times have we heard, “Go with your heart”, “Trust your gut”, “Let your heart lead you”, etc.? Yet, God’s Word very clearly reminds us that our hearts are far from trustworthy. They are self-centered, deceitfully wicked, and naturally bent toward getting what they want. Jeremiah 17:9.

Feelings are far from objective. They are fickle and focused on keeping all the attention on themselves. As Christians, we often struggle against our natural emotions. Many times we have a godly desire to faithfully follow the Lord, yet find ourselves having to push our natural emotions out of the way. One author correctly compared feelings to a room full of crying babies. If you were to continually hold them, the babies would be satisfied, but at the end of the day you would be completely tired out and the babies would’ve only learned that crying will get them the attention they desire. Sure there are appropriate times to hold a baby, but just like  parents must train their little ones, so too we must learn to train our fleshly feelings. If we spend our entire lives holding or indulging our feelings, we’ll become nothing less than a helpless, hopeless slave to them.

Praise the Lord we do not have to rely on the world’s methods to do the training! Instead, we have the eternal and magnificent power of the Holy Spirit and the marvelously sufficient Word of God!  Jesus desires all His children be sanctified (set apart) by the truth of God’s living and active Word.(Psalm 119:9John 17:17)  He has not left us as orphans to figure it out on our own. He has graciously given us His Holy Spirit to daily and powerfully transform us into His image. (John 14:18-26;2 Corinthians 3:18)  First, we must be honest and admit that our fleshly feelings don’t always tell the truth, that they only have their best interest in mind.  Then we must continually capture our thoughts (and emotions), nailing them to the cross of Christ, knowing only Jesus can cleanse us, oftentimes even from our foolish feelings.  (Matthew 16:24;2 Corinthians 10:4-5)

The world spends literally billions of dollars a year to produce in people certain emotional connections to it’s philosophies, methods, and products.  Why?  Because it knows very well that once we’ve attached an emotion to an idea or product, we’ll have a very difficult time letting go.  Oh, how true this is!  May we let the Lord Jesus Christ break these attachments, allowing us to finally enjoy the freedom and liberty we have in Christ!  Freedom from the flesh! Freedom from Satan! Freedom from Sin! Freedom to keep in step with Jesus, knowing soon we’ll be able to see Him face to face, with only godly feelings flowing from Heaven’s throne, filling our hearts and minds! What a glorious day that will be!!!

Until that day, may we say like Paul, “I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13-14

“The LORD knows the thoughts of man, that they are vanity. Blessed is the man whom You chasten, O LORD, and teach out of Your law…” Psalms 94:11-12

“O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walks to direct his steps.” Jeremiah 10:23

“This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. But you have not so learned Christ; if so be that you have heard Him, and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: that you put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; and be renewed in the spirit of your mind; and that you put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” Ephesians 4:17-24

“Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” 2 Corinthians 3:17

“If the Son therefore shall make you free, you shall be free indeed.” John 8:36

“The highest glory of the creature is in being only a vessel, to receive and enjoy and show forth the glory of God. It can do this only as it is willing to be nothing in itself, that God may be all. Water always fills first the lowest places. The lower, the emptier a man lies before God, the speedier and the fuller will be the inflow of the diving glory.”
― Andrew Murray, Humility

“Only the humble man is completely sane, for he is the only one who sees clearly his own size and limitations.  The egotist sees things out of focus.  To himself he is large and God is correspondingly small, and that is a kind of moral insanity.  Humility is a coming back to sanity like Nebuchadnezzar.  The humble man evaluates everything correctly, and that makes him a wise man and a philosopher. 

Young Christians often hinder their own usefulness by their attitude toward themselves.  They begin with the innocent notion that they are at least a bit above the average in intelligence and ability, and consequently they feel shy about taking a humble place.  They want to begin at the top and work upward!  What happens is that they usually fail to secure the high place they feel qualified to fill and end up developing a chronic feeling of resentment toward everyone who stands in their way or fails to appreciate them. 

This is too serious to be funny and too tragically harmful to take lightly.  The simple fact is that no one can stand in the way of a completely humbled man.  There aren’t enough mountains in hell to hold down the true man or woman of God even if they were piled on him or her at once.  God chooses the meek to confound the mighty.  “Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast Thou ordained strength because of Thine enemies, the Thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger.” Psalm 8:2.  Babies pass for what they are — they have no pride in themselves and they bear no grudges.”  A. W. Tozer, “This World: Playground or Battleground?” pp.37-38.

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