Reading Proverbs 16 1:1-33
Day 16, we are at are the half way point of our journey in Proverbs, well done if you’ve kept up! But, don’t get proud, Solomon warns us, “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall” (vs 18). Pride is the first of the ‘deadly sins’. Thomas Aquinas said it was the ’cause of every sin’. Augustine saw it as the very thing that drove Satan away from God. Satan then goes on to draw humanity to pride, enticing them with the lie, “You can be like God” (Genesis 3:5). Pride is a kind of self love; Dame Edith Sitwell famously said in an interview in the 1950’s, “I have often wished I had time to cultivate modesty, but, I’m too busy thinking about myself”. It’s this desire within our hearts, for ourselves, our fame, our name, our way, our rules, our rule. Our desire to be godlike is the great sin of humanity, it’s what theologians call the fall. And, all the pain, misery, murder and death we see around us, is the fallout of that fall!
G.K. Chesterton said that if he had only one sermon to preach it would be against pride. Calvin, who I suspect preached against pride more than once, writes in his harmony of the Gospels, “There is no more deadly disease than pride, yet it is so deep rooted in all, that it can hardly be expelled and torn out by any means at all”. It is dangerous, Solomon warns us, “It is better to be of a lowly spirit with the poor than to divide the spoils with the proud.” Maybe this was on Jesus’ mind when he said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Mathew 5:3).
So, how can we move away from pride and move towards humility? Answer: By looking to Jesus!
For me the shocker is God’s character; the one entity in the universe who perhaps has a right to pride, is not proud. Jesus says “I am gentle and humble of heart” (Mathew 11:29). After Adam and Eve sinned by rejecting God’s command and submitting to the Devil’s encouragement to be like God, God makes a sacrifice for them, turns seamstress and makes them new clothes. He loves this world so much he sends his own son to rescue it. He is born in a cave or stable not a palace; he works as a craftsman for thirty years; washes feet, submits to punches, whips, a crown of thorns and finally nails; then dies on a Roman cross. All this he does for a proud humanity who longs to be like God; for them God becomes a human, pays their price, dies their death, that they might live.
Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death– even death on a cross! (Philippians 2:5-8 NIV 1984)
“Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18)
Father, please help me. I know that pride is always near. Please transform my heart. I simply ask today that you would help me to have the same attitude as Jesus. In his name I ask. Amen.
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