Sunday, August 31, 2008

Pride: A Nasty Thing!

I stood there listening as the music floated around the room. The piano was being played stupendously. The notes perfectly hit. Everyone joined in. The singers, the drums, the guitar, bass, keys. The music was lovely, genuine and praising God. But my heart wasn't. My heart was shouting out insults. "My song! That's my song she's playing on the piano." my heart screeched. Was it my song? Did I write the song? The answer to both of those in one shot, no. I had just been the only who has ever played the song before in church and now she was. She was stealing my song. Or was my pride getting the best of me? A friend came and stood beside me whispering in my ear, "She's playing your song. I'm sorry. You must be mad."  "No." I replied trying to push away the feeling of jealousy in my heart, "It's fine." My friend made another comment about it and then walked away. I stood there. Listening. She did play the song better than I and after all who am I to claim a song for me. I never even wrote the song! I stopped. I was trying to block out the slander my heart was still trying to seep into me. The pianist was glorifying God with her music. She was leading other people into worship and I was focused on me and how I needed to look. How could I look good if she was playing one of "my songs" better than I could? I needed an attitude checkup. I had a bad case of pridefulness and needed to fight back at it. 

I'm sure everyone's dealt with pride one time or another in their lives. I know I have had my share of pride. It is one hard thing do deal with and it sneaks up very easily. What does the Bible have to say about pride? Let's take a look.

2 Choronicles 26:16a:
"But after Uzziah became powerful, his pride led to his downfall."

It says that Uzziah's pride led to his downfall. Uzziah became king at sixteen years of age. He was a good king. He followed the Lord and God blessed him because of that. Uzziah won many battles. He rebuilt cities. He had a huge army and provided shields, spears, helmets, coats of armor, bows and slingstones for the entire army. He made different machines to use during the wars. His power grew. His fame spread. And Uzziah's pride got the best of him. Just as it says in the verse above, "his pride led to his downfall." God struck Uzziah with leprosy and he had it until he died. Pride was his killer. 

Psalm 10:4:
"In his pride the wicked does not seek him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God."

This verse puts pride into a nutshell. Pride is when you think only of yourself. Here's the dictionary definition: "The quality of having an excessively high opinion of oneself or one's importance." Having a high opinion of me and my importance. Have any of you seen the movie Gameplan? There's a scene where his daughter keeps changing the music and then grabs his towel. He turns to her and says, "No! It's mine! It's all mine! It's all me! My towel! Mine! It's all mine! It's all me!" We laugh at the scene, but it portrays pride to a tee. Who was he carrying about? His daughter. Nope, don't think so. He, himself and him. Back to the verse, David is saying that a person full of pride (i.e. full of himself) has no room for God. His thoughts are consumed with himself. And how can he be thinking about God when all he cares about is himself? He can't. His pride has won him over. 

 Proverbs 8:13:
"To fear the LORD is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech."

The Lord hates evil. Four things are defined as evil in the verse. Number one is, you guessed it, pride. The Lord hates pride. And it's no wonder why. Our purpose for being here, on this earth is to glorify God and God alone. Not ourselves. How can we be focused on bringing glory to God when our focus is on just the opposite, bringing glory to us. It doesn't work and it is a sin. The Lord hates it! Hate is a strong word, but that is how God feels about it! 

Daniel 5:19-20:
"Because of the high position he gave him, all the peoples and nations and men of every language dreaded and feared him. Those the king wanted to put to death, he put to death; those he wanted to spare, he spared; those he wanted to promote, he promoted; and those he wanted to humble, he humbled. But when his heart became arrogant and hardened with pride, he was deposed from his royal throne and stripped of his glory."

Another example of someone whose pride got the best of him. "But when his heart became arrogant (dictionary definition: having or revealing an exaggerated sense of one's own importance or abilities.) and hardened with pride..." he was dethroned... thrown out... actually he had the mind of an animal. All because of his pride and arrogance. Wow! 

Charles Spurgeon stated that,
"Pride may be set down as 'the sin' of human nature."

Everyone deals with it and it is a hard thing to fight. Our flesh wants to only think about ourself. That is our flesh's number one priority. We, as believers, have a bigger priority and it starts by taking the focus off of us and onto the Lord. We need to be striving to please and glorify God in everything we do. 

Was my attitude towards the pianist pleasing and glorifying to God? No! Of course it wasn't. My focus then was all on me. I now realize that I shouldn't have been like that. That was my sister in Christ playing the song, not to make herself look good, but because she was trying to bring glory to God. We were a team trying to worship God with song and I was wanting it stopped in my heart because that wasn't me playing. It was wrong. I realize that.

 I am now overjoyed that she played it. She led people in worship that night far better than I could have (especially considering my heart) and she was glorifying God in the process. I am ashamed at the state my heart was in that night. 

I'm still fighting pride and am far from ever totally defeating it. Pride is a hard thing to fight. But God is good and His Word is a source of refuge, strength and encouragement. My sole purpose and what my heart is striving to do now is bring glory to the only One Who deserves all glory, praise and adoration, Christ Jesus our Lord! 

My prayer is what Paul said in Galatians:
"May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world." -Galatians 6:14

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