Allow me to take just a moment and thank you for reading these blogs. I know everyone is busy. It’s truly a blessing when I see folks have taken a few minutes out of their day to read my feeble attempts at writing. Secondly, I want to remind everyone I’m attempting my first blog series. Some time ago, my wife, Kris, forwarded me a brief post by Rachel-Claire Cockrell entitled, “8 Sins Christians are Starting to Ignore.” I liked the article so much I thought I’d follow suit. Cockrell covered her list of 8 sins in a very brief manner (about the length of 2 of my blogs…give or take a word or two). I decided to do one blog per sin on the initial list. Just offering this as a way of reminder.
Today, we have finally made it to the halfway point…the fourth sin on the list–Pride. Obviously it is not possible to address the whole of pride in this setting…so I need you to kind of focus on the original title and think about this list as sins we are “starting to ignore.” That’s what hooked me when I read it the first time. Cockrell presented her theme with words which suggested Christians were getting way too comfortable with these behaviors…even to the point of not thinking of them as sinful.
Pride comes in a wide variety of colors and platforms. In some cases, pride is a good thing. We can be proud to be Americans. We can be proud of our families. We can be proud of a test score or a report card. Time doesn’t permit me to run too far with this list. I’m sure you get the idea. Some forms of pride are almost natural and easily understood.
By the same token, pride also has an extremely ugly side to it. When we flaunt ourselves or our achievements in the faces of others, it is seldom seen as a good thing. When we take on the tone that suggests everything about me and mine is much better than you and yours…it gets yucky in a hurry. In fact, I don’t know of a single soul who has ever enjoyed being on the condescending end of one of those conversations.
But what do we do with our Christian faith and pride? How is it a sin we are starting to ignore? And if we are starting to ignore it…how do we stop and get back on track? Cockrell covered this sin in 5 sentences…yes 5…and no, I’m not kidding. 🙂 She focused her comments on this sin as it relates to the church family. For example our failure to forgive or our zeal to win an argument is fueled by pride. Our failure to realize the grace of God at work in other believers is also a pride issue.
I want to make just a couple of quick comments on this subject. For starters, the Bible addresses this head on. When we see Jesus interacting with the Pharisees and religious leaders in His day, we see “pride” in a sickening display. The Pharisees “looked down” on others. They were not just “proud”…they were good at being proud. The apostle Paul addressed this behavior in Romans 12:3, “For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.” He went on to say the Christian church was one body with many members…and the members do not have the same function. All the members were important…and needed.
In short, the Gospel itself offers the remedy and the perspective we should have in this issue of pride. Paul said in Philippians 3 that if anyone could boast or brag about themselves…he was definitely in the running for the prize. In verses 4-6 he states his case for his own righteousness that most any Jew in his day would have been proud to call their own. Then…he does something unexpected. He begins to talk about how the Gospel enabled him to see he had nothing to brag about on his own accord. Christ had humbled this man. Everything was considered a loss that he had once considered gain…compared to knowing Jesus. That’s how important Jesus is to the Christian. No one can or should brag or boast about themselves.
Ask God in your prayers to help you identify this sin in your life when it rears its ugly head. Nothing is more counter to the Gospel or unchristlike than spiritual pride that puffs up our egos and tempts us to think we are better than others. If we must brag, then let us follow Paul’s example and boast in the cross that Christ was willing to endure for our forgiveness. May God help us not to ignore this sin…or tolerate it. Let’s love Christ all the more…and each other. Soli deo gloria!
Blessings to all. Thanks again Monticello! 🙂