• Making Sense of Pride - Part B

    4 June, 2009

    Making Sense of Pride - B

     

    Introduction:

    'Fearsome' may be a good way to describe Jesus' teaching in Matthew 7:5.

    You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye.

    Candidly Jesus teaches the hordes on the hillside in this purple passage of life wisdom. The wisdom of heaven descends yet again to penetrate hearts and reveal persons.

    This parable is as ubiquitous as it is short. Jesus punches holes in human egos with a deft accuracy. Its veracity has never been challenged. His teaching simply commands correctness. It can never be corrected - who would be so foolish as to try?

    Surely this fearful thought must assail any truth seeking soul? My brother has a speck in his eye and I actually have a plank ..hmmm? BUT what if Jesus understated this parable - what if Jesus got it wrong? What if my 'plank' is actually a rich, robust and verdant forest?

    If my plank is in fact a healthy forest, then the trees are not pine trees but 'pride trees'!

    Pride is the idol within men's hearts. It is a forest that obscures sin.

    Pride is both a scaffold to sin and a scaffold to self.

     

    Pursuing Pride as Pollution

    In Jesus elitism is abolished! He calls on adults to become as children, the wealthy to become as bankrupts and the pharisees to believe that religious performance is as hollow as death is long.

    Jesus is attracted to human emptiness alone!

    The contemporary multiplication of evangelical fervor to assuage the gospel of grace, empties the 'faith' component of salvation as 'pride kicks in'. We say 'faith alone', but actively live as if salvation was works alone'. Our head says 'faith', our heart says 'works'. Pride is the intermediary, as I try to 'top up the cross', and somehow contribute to the only un-earnable salvation that has ever been available.

    It was once said that the longest journey a man can take is from his head to heart. This journey has not even seen the ignition key, while pride sits behind the steering wheel.

    This poisoner of persons, resilient in its self-aggrandisment, is fed in autonomy. But Jesus seeks brokenness and indeed invites it. He boldly loves 'a broken and contrite spirit I will not despise' (Ps 51:1). Jesus looks for the absent autonomy that a broken spirit knows. Jesus spirit invites dependence, my spirit invites independence.

    God's intentions are that all detestable practises are to be acknowledged (Ez 14:6) - pride is detestable to God. In fact, He enjoys closeness with the humble and great distance from the proud.

    Pride is filling myself with me, yet God desires to fill me with Him. No wonder He is so misunderstood - He isn't even able to approach the proud, there just is no 'space' for Him. Pride is the separator of a heart from God (Ez 14:7-8).

    Surely God's revelation of my pride is THE most difficult thing to ever see. Shrouded in correctness, good intentions, pure theology and great abilities the proud can never perceive their pollution. This relentless and unseen pursuer of souls is eminently successful - it makes sin undetectable, buttressing the human spirit in its own self based truth.(Mt 7:1-5)

     

    For in his own eyes he flatters himself too much to detect or hate his sin. Ps 36:2


    Pride is in fact a sulphur immersed impediment to receiving the truth. Daily, satan offers a sweet invitation to a party of absolutely delicious lies.

     

    7 Points to the Poison removal

     

    1. See myself and my days as God sees them. I flourish like a flower that withers in the evening. My earthly sojourn is transitory and I am made of but dust. Only then I shall gain a heart of wisdom. (Ps 90:12, 108:14-17). I need to get 'me' into an eternally healthy perspective.
    2. Trust wholeheartedly in God and not myself. Pride claims I am the best organiser of my life - trust says He is! Trusting God uses His understanding and not mine. (Prov 3:5) This means I become a pursuer of humility.
    3. Acknowledge God as your guide and then paths become straight and not torturous. Pride is both a torturer to the soul and to those who know the proud. Seek His counsel and pray about your judgements. Prov 3:6
    4. Fear the Lord, for this is the beginning of wisdom and knowledge. Pride claims that knowledge and wisdom is contained within me. Prov 1:7, 3:7
    5. Guard your heart! Place a sentry over your heart and accept no sulphur sourced invitation to self-elevation. Prov 4:23
    6. Allow another to raise you up. Prov 27:2 (Remember it is not honourable to seek one's own honour - Prov 25:27b)
    7. Remain with Jesus, honouring His call for you and not your call for you. Remember that nothing can be done without Him. Jn 15:1-17

    Conclusion

    Pride is so well expressed in this paradox of life -

    "the emasculation of self is found in the elevation of self".

    True self-promotion is found in the poverty of the spirit.

    Drink no poison this day, savor no sweet invitations and then enjoy His presence forever.

    "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." Mt 5:3