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The Power Of One....Chris Janson

During our first pastorate in Perryville, Missouri, we had so many great experiences. One of those experiences was meeting a young man at t...

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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Pride



Let us walk through life seeking a towel and not a title. Let us walk through life in humility, knowing only, through Christ can I do ALL things.
Often times I have seen people refer to the word "pride"  describing people with money.  I can assure you there are a great many people who stay in poverty due to their pride as well. Ignorant Pride leads to poverty. When you think that your opinion is the only one that matters and can never learn from anyone. That's pride as well. Lying is a form of Pride. Let's do a study on this Subject. When they say the apple doesn't fall far from the tree, ask God to let a strong wind blow you far away from a cycle of Pride. Generational curses
come with the spirit of PRIDE.
PRIDE
Scripture: Matthew 23:1-12 ; Luke 18:9-14.
Text: Proverbs 16:18: "Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall."
You have heard it said that sin is sin, but all of us are aware surely that some sins are more serious, more dangerous and more destructive than others. John, in his first epistle, refers to the fact that some sins are not unto death as distinguished from the sin which is unto death.
What do you consider to be the most dangerous sin that a person can commit? the most serious, and the most destructive?
1. Pride puts oneself at the center
Our answers may differ, but there is a sin which, across the centuries, has been looked upon by many students of the Christian life as perhaps the most deadly of all the deadly sins. It is a sin which is common to human nature.
It is a sin, not of the few, but of the many.
It is a sin which appears in infancy and may follow a person all the days of his or her life.
It is a sin both of the young and the old, both of the educated and the uneducated, both of the rich and the poor.
It is a sin which may be found among church members right in the church on Sunday morning as well as in the lives of those who never darken the door of a church building.
Yet, it is normally not looked upon by the average person as being such a terrible thing, and many people are guilty of it who, if you were to accuse them of it, would deny it to your very face.
What is this dangerous, destructive, deadly sin?
Some call it self-centeredness.
Some call it conceit.
Some call it egotism.
Some call it vanity.
Some call it self-esteem.
The Bible calls it pride.
It is putting one's self at the center of life instead of God or others.
It is putting other people on a lower plane than one's self, thus erecting barriers between people, between races, between classes, between nations and between man and God.
It is feeling superior to other people even though we were all created by the same God and even though we have all sinned and come short of His glory and His plan for our lives.
It is wanting to be the center of attraction, the top man on the totem pole, the big man on the campus, the most popular girl in school, the most indispensable person in the organization, the star of the show, the frosting on the cake, the queen bee in the hive, and the biggest apple on the tree.
The valet of a German kaiser once said, "I cannot deny that my master was vain. He had to be (as All Highest) the central figure in everything. If he went to a christening, he wanted to be the baby. If he went to a wedding, he wanted to be the bride. If he went to a funeral, he wanted to be the corpse."
A man is quoted as saying that once when he was in a hospital, he had a nurse who was so conceited that whenever she took the pulse of one of the men, she always knocked off five points to all for the impact of her personality upon the patient.
Pride is thinking of ourselves more highly than we ought to think. It is thinking that our opinions are more valuable than that of others. It is thinking that our way is better than that of anyone else, and that our interests are more important than those of others.
The Pharisee in the temple is a good example of spiritual pride as he prays, "God, I thank Thee that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess."
And, unless we are extremely careful, we, too, may be good examples of the same spirit if we say, "Lord, I thank Thee that I am not like the Pharisee!"
We may not consider pride as one of the most deadly and dangerous sins, but there are perhaps few sins in the entire world that can lead to more harm and destruction than pride. We read in Proverbs 11:2: "When pride cometh, then cometh shame...."
We read in Proverbs 16:18: "Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall."
We read in Proverbs 28:25 that a proud heart is sin.
John tells us in his first epistle that the pride of life is not of the Father, but is of the world.
In our Scripture lesson from Matthew 23, Jesus warns us against doing things for a show and to make an impression on others of our own importance, and He says plainly that whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased or brought low.
2. God is the true center of life
Why is pride or self-centeredness or thinking more highly of ourselves than we ought such a dangerous and destructive sin?
Well, for one thing it is putting ourselves at the center of life instead of God, our Creator. It is a violation of the first commandment in which God says, "Thou shalt have no other gods before Me."
If you think it is not such a bad thing to build your life around yourself rather than with God in the center, to want your own way in preference to God's way, just remember that it was this very sin - the sin of pride - that we are led to believe caused the devil himself to be cast out of Heaven. According to the Scriptures, we are led to believe that Satan was once the angel of light, one of the greatest of the angels, a real servant of God, but he let pride come into his life and let that pride cause him to seek to be higher even than God Himself, thus leading him into rebellion against the will of God and his downfall from Heaven to earth.
God is the Creator of everything. The life we have, the health, the strength, whatever abilities we have, the world we live in - all these come from God and thus all glory belongs to Him. Yet pride leads us to seek credit and glory for ourselves rather than giving it unto God to Whom it rightly belongs.
No wonder William Law, whose writings were such a great influence on the life of John Wesley, said, "Pride must die in you, or nothing in heaven can live in you...."
3. Pride shuts the door on help
Then, for another thing, pride tends to shut us off from the help we need if we are ever going to learn the things we need to know and secure the help we need to have to become and be the persons we need to be and do the things we need to do.
When we become proud and think we know more or better than others, we close the door to learning from them.
A woman once said, "What can Billy Graham tell me? I know as much as he does!" She had closed the door to learning from him.
There are times when all of us come up against problems that are too large for us to deal with in our own knowledge and strength, but pride can keep us from asking for help from those who are willing to help us if we would only ask.
There is a famous legend coming out of French history that is a good illustration of this. Charlemagne was known as one of the greatest French emperors of all time. In his army he had an outstanding officer by the name of Roland. On one occasion Charlemagne and his army were on the march and Roland and another officer, Oliver, with a small detachment of men were given the task of guarding the rear of the army. All unexpectedly Roland and his men were surrounded by their enemies, the Moors. Roland wore at his side a great horn whose blast could be heard miles and miles away. "Blow the horn," said Oliver, "and Charlemagne will come back and help us." But Roland refused. He was too proud to ask for help. One by one his men were killed until finally only he and Oliver were left. Oliver was slain and Roland was wounded to the death. Then, and only then, did he lift the great horn to his lips and sound the call to help across the hills and valleys. Charlemagne and his army came hastening back, but it was too late. Roland and Oliver and all their men were dead. Roland's pride was their undoing.
Napoleon and his army almost conquered all of Europe, but his army largely perished in the snows and ice and blizzards of Russia and that was the beginning of his downfall and eventual defeat.
He had been warned not to invade Russia. He had been told by the experts that in that particular year the birds had migrated far earlier than usual and that was a certain sign of a specially severe winter to come.
Yet, Napolean laughed at the advice.
Advice might have been useful for lesser people, but not for him.
He was proud. He would not listen to others. His army perished.
You say, "I would never be proud like that! If I needed advice, I would ask for it! If I needed help, I would let it be known."
Have you ever been in a strange town or part of the country, gotten lost or confused, and driven around and around trying to find your own way out rather than stopping and asking someone for directions? If so, you have the same problem Napoleon and Roland had, only in a different way and perhaps with less dramatic consequences.
J. C. Ryle, one of the great bishops and Bible students of an earlier day, once said that those from whom the Gospel is hidden are generally the wise in their own eyes and the prudent in their own sight. "Nothing is so likely to keep a person out of Heaven and prevent him from seeing Christ as pride. So long as we think we are something, we shall never be saved. The beginning of the way to Heaven is to feel that we are in the way to Hell and be willing to be taught of the Spirit... The sum of all our hopes must be that Christ has died for us. Yet one must humble himself and confess himself as a sinner before he can accept that doctrine, and pride makes it hard for a person to do this."
Pride is destructive because it tends to shut the door to knowledge and it tends to keep us from admitting our needs and our inabilities and from asking for help when we need it.
4. Jesus praised humble service, not pride
Not only so, but pride keeps many a person from walking the pathway of humble service that Jesus calls His followers to walk.
Pride seeks honor and glory. It does not seek humble and lowly service where one is not noticed and praised.
Two of the disciples asked Jesus for the privilege of sitting one at His right hand and the other at His left when He came into His kingdom. When the other disciples found out about it, they didn't like it a little bit and were moved with indignation against the two.
But, the night of the Passover supper, none of the disciples asked for the privilege of taking a basin, water and a towel and washing the dusty feet of the rest of the group. Jesus Himself finally got up, laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded himself; then poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples feet and to dry them with the towel.
One of the outstanding leaders in the Salvation Army in earlier years was Samuel Logan Brengle. When he applied for admission into the Salvation Army to go out as an officer following a period in a training home, he received little encouragement. He insisted that he be given a chance. The second day he was in the training home, he was sent down into a dark little cellar to black about half a cartload of dirty boots for the cadets who were in training. As he started the disagreeable task, the thoughts came to him that a few years before he had graduated from a university, that he had spent a couple of years in a leading theological school, that he had been pastor of a city church, that he had just come out of evangelistic work in which he had seen hundreds of people seeking Christ, and now he was only blacking boots for a lot of ignorant boys. Pride was cropping up and tempting him to chuck the whole thing and go back to where his talents were more noticed and appreciated. But then he remembered the life and example of Jesus and pride had to go out the door.
There are a lot of lowly tasks that need to be done in the work of serving Christ and His church and a needy world. If we give it half a chance, pride will get in the way and cause us to seek the places of honor while the more lowly and perhaps even more needful tasks go begging are even undone.
As John Jowett once put it, "We all want to be stars when our Lord wants us to be street lights. We want to stand in royal palaces and be cup bearers to the King, while all the time the King is saying, 'Give a cup of cold water in My Name.'"Reverend Donald K. Funderburk.
Date: November 7, 1979