Bruce Collins, Evangelist

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Pride, the Sin that Puffs us up!

Meditation for the week of July 10, 2011

(1 Corinthians 13:4)  Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up.

The Corinthians had been blessed.  Good preachers had led them to the Lord. They had gifted men and women in their congregation.  They had great potential and they knew it. It was causing them to be puffed up with pride. This pride was leading to divisions.  They were proud of their ability to tolerate grave sin in their presence.  They were taking each other to the courts of law and letting unbelievers decide cases that only believers should have known about.  Believers should have been deciding these cases.  They were not concerned about offending others when they ate meat offered to idols.  In addition, they were using their gifts in a way that was confusing rather than in a way that would build up the church.  Their pride was causing the church to be divided since everyone was acting in a self-centered way rather than in a self-sacrificing way.

Pride is the crowning sin of Satan.  In Isaiah 14:12-14, Lucifer or Satan declares his intentions by saying “I will” five times.  The last time he says he wants to be like the Most High. In contrast when the Lord was suffering in the Garden before His crucifixion, He said, “Not my will but yours (the Father’s) will be done (Luke 22:42).”  Satan thinks that everyone thinks like he does and most of us do.  That is why he was able to convince Eve that if she took of the forbidden fruit, she would be like God (Genesis 3:5).  Satan’s pride caused him to fall.  Angels fell with him and he caused mankind to fall.  Pride has far reaching consequences which is why it is pictured as yeast in the Bible.  A little yeast will permeate the whole loaf and puff it all up.  How do we control it?  Just about the time that we think we have it under control we become proud of our humility and we are back to the starting gate.

I am convinced that we can’t get rid of our pride by being occupied with getting rid of it.  We can only get rid of it as we allow the Holy Spirit to get us occupied with the Lord and with others rather than with ourselves.  Love, that word that sometimes seems to be used so cheaply, is of course the solution  Love is sacrificial and is concerned about others.  Pride will cause us to sacrifice others to obtain our desires and goals and is self-centered. 

Pride keeps the unsaved from admitting that they need to be saved.  After all, most of us start out thinking God is like man, and we think that man’s way to God should be acceptable.  Generally, we don’t want to accept the fact that God is holy and we are sinners who are perishing.  We would like to think that there is some merit in our good works and in the sacrifices we have made for the Lord.  In fact, we fail to understand that God doesn’t judge us for our good works but for our sin.  The biggest sin is the pride that keeps us from admitting that we are but man and that God is God and that He is calling the shots.

A Christian who has been saved by the blood of the Lamb has nothing of which to be proud (Ephesians 2:9).  We are just sinners saved by grace.  Our lives should be characterized by humility and love and not by the anger and strife that comes from pride.  When it comes to ability, the Lord says, “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself (Philippians 2:3).” How can an illiterate Peter be “better” than a well educated Paul?  How can a simple believer be “better” than a seminary trained and ordained clergy person?  I think the idea is that, everyone has gifts and talents where they excel and we should esteem them for those spiritual abilities.  There Is a sense as well, where we can get religious in our attitudes and look down on others who are not as “refined” or as “well taught” as we think we are.  There is no doubt something in everyone that makes them better than us in that particular area.  That is why we need each other and the support of one another.

Is there ever a place for pride?  Possibly if the word is used in a right way.  We are told that we should take pride in our appearance and in our work.  Usually that means we are trying to be good stewards. We want to have a good reputation so we can preach the Gospel without hindrance.  We should not however, become competitive as we try to do our best for the Lord.  Neither should we get so occupied with doing our best that we forget that without Him we can do nothing (John 15:5).

Since most of us get “puffed up” from time to time, we need to have honest people like Paul around us to deflate us so that we can be used of the Lord.

Bruce Collins

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