Friday, September 13, 2013

Notes From My Daughter - The Many Faces of Pride

My daughter

Occasional notes from my 19 year old daughter. I never know what to expect when she writes, but it's usually a pleasant surprise.  Read on!

As told through C.S Lewis quotes :)
As you might be able to tell through the subtitle; I have a deep fond love for C.S Lewis. I sometimes refer to him as one of my best friends, and my mentor. He's one of those people that I highly look forward to meeting in heaven (after God, Jesus, Paul, Samuel, and some other folks).
However, currently a new friend has been trying to make their way into my life, and as is typical of me my initial reaction was to resist. Though naturally resistant, I still try to give people the benefit of the doubt because I know my judgment is often faulty. This would usually be the time where I would become more accepting, but instead I became more rejecting and ran far away as fast as I could and hid so this pushy "friend" would never find me.
This friend was humility, and I have to say from the surface no one would want to befriend them. Humility literally has Death written in bold letters on its forehead. That's scary. But the heart of humility holds life. Life that we cannot gain on our own but only through the grace of God.
In the new testament we begin to understand that we don't understand much about God's love (and everything in the old testament points towards this truth). What is life in this world, is usually death spiritually and what is life in the spirit requires us to die to ourselves. Through Jesus' life we begin to see that there is no fear in death, physically or spiritually because there's a road beyond that God paves for you when you trust in him. Still that doesn't change the fact that many of us aren't eager to die. Fortunately we take or cue from scripture and not from feelings:
In Matthew 16 we see Jesus' example of desiring God's will above anything else (and he continues this pattern until God's will is completed and perfected in Him):
"21 From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.22 Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!”23 Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 25 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. 26 What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? "
Jesus' humility pushes him towards obedience, (which I would define as a God driven action that has an immediate and eternal impact), and allows Him to complete the purpose that God lovingly designed Him for. Peter's actions however, drive us to meet one of the many faces of pride - Righteous/Justified Pride.
If humility has death written on its forehead, then pride has comfort written on its forehead. Or in the words of my articulate mentor:
"The human spirit will not even begin to try to surrender self-will as long as all seems to be well with it. Now error and sin both have this property, that the deeper they are the less their victim suspects their existence; they are masked evil. Pain is unmasked, unmistakable evil; every man knows something is wrong when he is being hurt" -C.S Lewis
Humility brings us the necessary dosage of pain, pain that will eventually yield fruit. The irony of life is that what we seek in comfort is peace, but comfort actually yields death.
Righteous Pride: "But Peter wasn't comfortable, he was a disciple, he went through a lot, he was just trying to have God's back. He was trying to do a good deed."
When you look to yourself for answers, you're choosing the comfortable route because you will never really tell yourself the whole truth because you don't know the whole truth. You are one person, with one perspective on minor situations that relate to you. Yes, Peter was trying to do the right thing, but people with good intentions are led by the devil all the time. Life isn't about being a good or bad person because all of us by default have been born into bad ways. We're all wrong! (So please stop trying to compare yourself to others and playing the "I can do anything better than you" game) Peter wasn't doing Jesus any favors, in fact Jesus refers to him as a stumbling block in that moment. Peter wasn't led by God but by his feelings.
Life is about God. So if you want to do something look at Him.
Righteous Pride: "But I don't want to just sit and look at God, I want to karate chop some demons, be a big evangelism star, and CONQUER THE WORLD……..for Jesus."
The truth is you can never win others for Christ if you are not even focused on him. We are made to bring God praise, not to bring ourselves praise in the name of God. If you can't learn to listen to God, then pride will start to seem like the loudest and most logical voice.

The irony is comfort is a result of stagnation, and stagnation is rooted in death only, no fruit of life will ever be produced from comfort. However humility is rooted in life, and though it has a stage of death it is resurrected and soon results in an abundant life. A life that constantly and continually grows, producing fruit. A life that produces more seeds than what was originally sowed into the ground. Matthew 13:31 gives us a great visual:
31 He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. 32 Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches.”
The kingdom of heaven can be developed in your heart and shared in your life if you humbly come before God and allow his will to have precedence over everything. I invite you to run to humility and befriend it. Even if you think there's no way you are proud, humility will show you.

We all deal with sin, we all deal with pride, we're all wrong. There is one way, one truth, and one life, his name is Jesus; but there are many faces of pride that we must leave in order to truly live in Him and have Him live in us. We need to constantly gaze at our Father as he teaches us about his love which fulfills all our needs and desires. Run with Christ towards humility, die to yourself and live in his love.

If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. - 1 John 1:8

Pride or humility? Is this a constant struggle for you?

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