PRIDE! It’s that dirty little five-letter word that creeps into your heart, mind and soul and robs you of your self worth. Most of all, it is most often what blocks our relationship with God. As I deepened my study of wisdom and began to realize it was all about our relationships, it was obvious that the first relationship that must be right in my life was my relationship with God.
Now I’m a Baptist preacher’s daughter and have sat in more pews and heard more sermons than most. I graduated from Bible college at the top of my class, have memorized chapters of Scripture (still not so good with quoting the references). I’ve worked in the church/Christian school, sung in the choir, taught Sunday School for over 50 years, led VBS, hosted missionaries, tithed, been somewhat faithful to prayer and Bible study (I’ve actually worn out a Bible or two), taken bus loads of teens on youth trips and summer camps (which ought to earn me some special reward in heaven), swatted mosquitoes at tent revivals, drunk gallons of sweet tea at church socials and made my share of covered dishes and pies. But when I came face to face with Proverbs 8:13 I had to take out my list of amazing accomplishments that I could wave before heaven and come face to face with the fact that none of that matters. Nope–none of it.
“To fear the LORD is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech.
Instead what I saw was pride. Where had it come from? How had it crept in? As I began to look inside my heart I realized I had a lot of pride. Digging it out seemed hopeless–keeping it out impossible. But if a relationship with God was my true prize, then I had to get down to business with God. Over these past few years God has taken me on a journey to reveal just how much pride is in my heart. We have had to bring it out to the surface and I have had to repent of it. It’s worthless. Even worse–it’s what separates me from Him. He is what I desire. I can honestly say there has been no pride in this effort–it is very humbling. It has been very painful. How and when do we begin to take credit for what God is doing? When do we become self-sufficient instead of solely reliant upon Him? Oh, the deceiver has been busy in my life (and no doubt in yours) because He wants to separate us from our God and to hinder the blessings He has reserved for us.
God is teaching me how to boast and that my boast is found only in Him. Praise God He loves and forgives, He cleans and restores and He uses and rewards. So today I thank Him for His unfailing love (translated as loving kindness in several versions) toward me even though I am a sinner lost and undone. So I rest in and celebrate the fact that He doesn’t discard me because I’ve failed, but instead He has chosen to forgive me. I praise God for His tender mercies and lovingkindness. I delight in Him and His attributes. Unworthy, yet He has set my feet on the solid rock (Psalm 40:2) and He alone is the lifter of my head (Psalms 3:3).
This is what the Lord says:
“Don’t let the wise boast in their wisdom,
or the powerful boast in their power,
or the rich boast in their riches.
But those who wish to boast
should boast in this alone:
that they truly know me and understand that I am the Lord
who demonstrates unfailing love
and who brings justice and righteousness to the earth,
and that I delight in these things.
I, the Lord, have spoken!
What are you proud of? Be honest–make the list. . .give it to God and let His Spirit speak wisdom to your heart as you begin to recognize your pride. Then join hands with Him as the Spirit begins to root out your pride.