“Out of my sight, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men; the severest of harsh words to perhaps his most ardent disciple, the same whom He called a “Rock. And then immediately Jesus said to Peter and the rest of his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. This whole incident reeks of the ingrained sin that sticks to our spirit like super-glue. We are all infected with it and can’t seem to dislodge it. When we think we have and say so to ourselves or others, it raises its ugly head with even greater strength. It’s a chameleon, fooling us with all the myriad of masks with which it manifests itself in who we are. We are seldom aware of its hiding in so many crevices of our being. But face it, PRIDE is our default nature, and the only way to get rid of it is to kill it! But if we kill it, we have to kill ourselves, because this is who we are. And this is precisely why Jesus said what He did, “Whoever wants to save his life will lose it. Lose it, and you kill your noxious pride with it.
C.S. Lewis wrote in his classic, Mere Christianity, that “Pride leads to every other vice: it is the complete anti-God state of mind… It is the characteristic which predominates in the atheist mind and pulls the rest of us in their direction more than we are willing to admit, even though we say we believe in God and His Son with the fiercest resolve. It has been said that among professing Christians there are many practical atheists who while loudly claiming to know God, actually live as though they do not. Lewis goes on to say, “As long as you are proud you cannot know God. A proud man is always looking down on things and people; and, of course, as long as you are looking down, you cannot see something that is above you…Pride is spiritual cancer; it eats the very possibility of love or contentment, or even common sense.
If Christ and His description of Christian character in the Scriptures are to be our mirror, do we really see ourselves in the reflection? If not, what is the most persistent, gnawing flaw which blemishes how we truly look? You can be assured our pride is right at the forefront. John Calvin wrote, “No one willingly yields to others, but each cherishes within himself a secret hope of being first.
God doesn’t pull any punches, nor does His Son, when they speak of the ruinous nature of pride and, apart from repentance, its inescapable path to destruction. Please read through Proverbs again watching this time for “pride, and do a word study of “pride in the New Testament, and you will see that the Lord never minces words when speaking of what becomes of a man or woman who will not slay their pride. It’s a deadly infection which must be lanced and cleansed before it destroys the whole person. Examine yourself and try to recognize what it looks like in you. If you are thorough and honest you will find it is not always what you may at first think. If on the other hand you would like to acquire humility, the first step is to realize where and how you are proud. It’s a big step. But nothing else can be done before taking it. If you think you are not conceited, it really means you are very conceited. This is the nature of the beast.
For each of us John the Baptist’s words are true: “He must increase and I must decrease. He will be infinitely merciful to our repeated failures. But He will not accept a deliberate compromise; for only as our self-affirming will recedes is there room for Him to fill our souls with Himself.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]
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