Wednesday, 2/12/14 A Well Hidden Enemy
A Sunday School teacher was reading and explaining a classic story of pride and arrogance to the children in her class, Jesus’ Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector. [The story is found in Luke 18 and I suppose all of you are familiar with it. The parable begins in verse 9 and reads: To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told this parable. It tells of two men who went to the temple to pray at the same time. The religious Pharisee thanked God that he was better than other men, especially the tax collector who was nearby. The other fellow acknowledged he was a sinner and just prayed that God would have mercy on Him. Jesus said it was the tax collector who went home justified that day, not the Pharisee.] Upon ending the story, the teacher told the children: “Now, lets pray and thank God we’re not like the Pharisee.
Pride is like that. Many who have it are not aware of it, much like the new Christian who glowingly told the church in his testimony: “Before Jesus saved and transformed me, I was very proud and conceited; now I’m one of the nicest guys around.” I think many will disagree, but I am inclined to believe that, like a few other bad traits, we all have pride in varying degrees. To make it even harder, the triggering mechanism is all around us daily. In his first letter to the church, the Apostle John told of these three things in the world we should guard against: the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does. (1 John 2:16 NIV) The KJV calls the last one the pride of life. Not coincidentally, all these three pitfalls were present in the Garden of Eden and Eve fell to all three. She desired the fruit when she sawit because it looked luscious. She just knew it would be very enjoyable. She even believed it would make her wise, perhaps dreaming of the day when many would tell her: “Wow Eve, you sure are wise.”
How can we best protect ourselves from pride’s subtle attacks? The answer lies in praying and staying close to God. Knowing the destruction the sin of pride can produce, David prayed: Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and shall be innocent from the great transgression. (Psalm 19:13 KJV) Presumptuous is “an exaggerated sense of one’s importance.” Simply put, David was praying, “Keep me safe from the sin of pride.” We should too. And if we stay humble, we won’t easily tumble.
Memory verse for the week: Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. (Colossians 3:13 NIV)