Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Pride of Life


Inherent in all of us is the ‘pride of life’ and the ‘boasting of what one has and does’. 1 John 2:16

One of the worst things that makes me the wretch that I am is my pride. Within all of us is that streak of self-righteousness and egoistical notion that we’re better than others. Some of us have it more than others. Some of us see it and try to change it; others do not see it at all.

From the moment we enter school, we somehow have that idea drilled in us that we have to be better than all the other kids. We have to do well. We have to prove ourselves better. Whether we like to admit it or not, it’s all there and some may have this intrinsic drive more than others. But we’d all like to be better than our neighbour.

I hate how I often lapse into a judgmental attitude towards my sisters, towards people I do not yet know properly, because I think myself better than others! By the time I catch myself doing it, it is too late. Sometimes I keep it to myself; sometimes I make the mistake of saying it out loud, and so risk jeopardizing my relationship with the person. I’m an idiot a thousand times over for doing that time and time again.

Phillipians 2:3 says, ‘Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory: but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Every man should not only look for his own interests, but for the interests of others.’

How do I flush out pride? By my own effort I am hopeless. Absolutely hopeless! I can’t force myself to be more humble!

I remember that humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less.

So the only way to strip myself of pride is to think more on God and the things of God, and so receive the love of God. If you have the love of Christ in you, you will be able to love others genuinely and of course think of others more than yourself.

Pride stops me from loving others, from speaking the truth in love. Pride makes me speak the truth out of spite, and with the effect of condemnation, which all creates strife. Pride does not speak a word of encouragement or edification, it only puts down others so that one can prop himself up higher over the rest.

Even great men of God have fallen prey to this beastly thing cloaked in seemingly wondrous light. It is horrible what pride does to people. And the more successful and accomplished and recognized one is, the most he is at risk of succumbing to pride and forgetting that losing it all is only a breath away.

I realize that God is always reminding me of my pride. Sometimes I pause and listen, and with His help try to change. Other times I am already so puffed up that I just shut Him out and continue with my life. What an idiot I am! Eventually things do get worse, and I thank God for allowing things to get worse, and allowing me to fail big time, so that I realize the root of my problem! When I’m proud, it’s because I think I’m good enough, I’m better, I’m alright, I can do this because I have what it takes. But that is the stupidest notion I can ever entertain! Without God, I am nothing. If there is no God, truly I am an insignificant speck in the cosmos!

But I have experienced God. I know He is real. Even when I doubt, I will remember what I have experienced and what He has done in my life, and I will choose again to believe. So I only lapse into pride because I forget that God is my only source. I think I can do it myself. Well of course, I always have to come back to the painful realization that when I try to do it by my own strength (which is God-given anyway), I am utterly hopeless. Of course, I wonder, there are plenty of people out there who seem terribly successful without God.

But am I looking only for worldly, temporal success?

No, I am not. Success to me is meaningless if God is not a part of it. How did I even get the idea that I’ll be happy and secure and contented if I achieved success, if I followed my dreams? That’s just foolishness. What is momentary success or security and happiness? It is meaningless. It is selfish. It is prideful. Why? Because I think it’s all me. It’s all me.

The moment I think I’m okay by myself is the moment of my downfall.

The pride of life corrodes us silently on the inside. But of course, on the outside, everything seems wonderful and glamorous. But it is a horrible thing. I know that no one can rid me of it, not myself either. No one except God. So I’ll keep praying this prayer: that whenever pride surfaces, God will allow me to suffer the consequences and so realize again that without Him, I am utterly hopeless. If it’s all me, I’m heading nowhere, I’m grasping for the wind. When it’s all about Jesus, it’s all about the people who so need grace & truth and the love of Christ and then there is direction. Then life isn’t just about finding my own success and being happy because of me and the life that I think I want. Life is about doing what I truly want, which is of course, what God has placed in my heart and soul to do – which is of course, much, much better than what this temporary world places in me to temporarily want and in the end find I’ve missed the whole point.

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