Thursday, January 25, 2018
Psalms 138:6 Though the LORD is on high, he looks upon the lowly, but the proud he knows from afar.
Pride can certainly cause us to do some pretty dumb things. Like the guy in New Zealand who had been ticketed and fined thirty-two times for not wearing his seat belt. Finally, in an attempt to avoid detection, he fabricated a fake seat belt strap that would rest across his shoulder to give the appearance of wearing one. He never got another ticket. He was killed. His car was hit head-on by another car, and authorities say that had he been wearing a real seat belt he would probably have survived. He’ll never know.
Wanting our own way is deadly. Pride has caused us to be enamored by image and appearances. We do everything we can to keep up with what looks like success. We’ve discovered it’s impossible to save money when our neighbors keep buying things we can’t afford. Our pursuit of personal happiness has stifled our pursuit of God.
Pride is eating away at the very foundations of Christianity in our world. The church has become overrun with people who have climbed onto the cross merely to be better seen by others. In doing so, they have trampled on the One who has been there all along. Pride has made us look down on others, which makes it impossible to look up to God.
There’s a predictable and consistent consequence of pride – loneliness. Friends will leave us alone when we care more about ourselves then we do about them. We alienate people when we draw attention to ourselves. But the loss of human relationship is not the biggest consequence. God also stands far off from proud people. He models humility for us, by stooping down to help the least and the lowest. He withdraws from those who don’t follow His example.
The prophet Isaiah says, For thus says the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: “I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite. (Isaiah 57:15)
I believe the power of God is severely stifled in today’s church because of the arrogance of people who call themselves Christians. They seek to know themselves far more than they seek to know God and be known by Him. They are satisfied to work in their own strength to accomplish their own goals, while God stands at a distance and watches. How sad that so much that is done in the church today is done apart from any involvement of the Spirit of God and done solely with the skill of man. Our pride stands in direct opposition to God’s power. I seriously wonder what God would be able to accomplish if we were not in His way.
I recall an illustration from the life of D.L. Moody that has had a huge impact on me. Mr. Moody held a series of remarkable evangelistic meetings in Birmingham which intensely stirred that city. Dr. Dale, who was warmly sympathetic, was greatly amazed at the marvelous results produced. In his comments about the revival he said, “this work must be of God for I can see no real relation between him (Mr. Moody) and the work that was done.” That is the proof conclusive of the Spirit’s presence and active power. In all truly Divine blessing and success, there is something which cannot be attributed to merely human causes.
Let it be said of our lives that there is no relation between who we are and the work that is being done. That will happen only when God’s people humble themselves before the Lord and become weak and needy. Then, and only then, will we experience the power of God to do great things, and they will truly be the work of God.