Flights of Faith

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Pride and Humility or A Prickly Bush Sitting on a Field of Treasure

In the same way someone cannot really self-report humility as his or her greatest strength, I am not sure if we can truly report pride as our greatest weakness. I know I've been tempted to do that. Both acts, are themselves, somewhat internally contradictory. In fact, it seems pride is cemented through action: disobedience. Decisions, choices, even declaratory statements in one's mind that boast without Christ. Pride as a feeling that's rebuked soon after...this seems to be much less a weakness and much more of an attack.

Why am I making such a distinction--perhaps, even an excuse? It is because people seem to misunderstand pride and humility to the point where they cannot serve God fully or even at all while still desiring to do so. I'm convinced that if that's the result of a certain thinking or philosophy, then it's not really a helpful one. I think to myself sometimes, "What am I even proud of?" "What have I accomplished "on my own?" To be clear, that's not putting myself down (another unhelpful "humility theology") it's acknowledging that all of my "great" or "good" actions are inspired, supported, and fueled by God, my family, friends, past actions, prayers of strangers. I'll never know how much of an act was me and that's completely fine! The only thing on me is to commit to people, situations, or actions. I commit to the showing up and the doing. We do cooperate with God to will our bodies to move. Jesus simply had to walk to the Cross; everyone else did the rest. In his walking though, Jesus can boast in the God who ordered him there!

Honestly, how foolish was Satan to think that he could stand against the one who created him, who created this world, who created the people the enemy would come to torment? Then, I realize all of my selfish pride works to fuel this evil force in the world. Get back Accuser in the name of the one with true Power Jesus! To me, pride is knowing that whole story and still choosing to rebel. I wonder how much guilt and shame is in the self-report of pride as opposed to a mourning that recognizes how little we value others, how we can be prone not to worship God's involvement in our lives? If it's the former, I think that might be another form of attack. It starts a cycle of self-loathing when the entire problem is just that, the self! We need to add others into the mix. Most importantly, God! And then, we love them. Love God until we worship Him and love others until we serve them. We rebuke attacks of pride, and we worship and serve in place of feeling guilty or ashamed. It's an active theology based on Jesus' life.

I guess we're looking for a "Jesus quick fix solution" since He appears naturally perfect. Look at everything else though: faith, obedience, love, service, compassion, deep intimacy with the Father, etc. It is about walking with God and becoming pure. Let's not let attacks of condemnation keep us from walking with a God who loves us no matter what. He walks on the narrow path, the humble path. Even if we stumble, we are still choosing to bow down.

Holy Spirit, protect us with the shield of faith. Give us faith to believe in a Father who does not sever ties based on our thoughts or actions - big or small, in our minds. Encourage us to become friends with Jesus, our humble King, and to learn His ways Let us know and feel that this path will give us sight and vision of you, not cloudy vision or a distorted image. God, give us Your power to rebuke and cast out the Enemy just as you shut him out of the heavens with the Victory of Your Son. Living Spirit, keep ministering to us gently. Thank You for giving us vision to recognize sin, pulling us from it, and then reorienting us towards a new path that we can walk down confidently. Lift up our heads to remind us of Your love and then nudge us to look lower still to keep building this upside-down Kingdom. We thank You and praise You, Father.

In Jesus' name,


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