Sunday, August 3, 2008

How to displease God 2: Pride

This weekend being the time of the Pride Festival in Vancouver, it's interesting to take a look at pride, and what the Word of God says about it.

Don't worry: this isn't going to be an anti-homosexuality rant. I believe the Bible and I know what it says about that issue. It's no better or worse than any other sin, just as damnable -- and just as redeemable at the Cross, praise God.

No, this is about pride, and when you look into the Bible and its warnings about Pride, you have to wonder why there's a city-sanctioned, heavily sponsored event to celebrate it.

Pride, essentially, means "mocking God". Pride is that attitude, that says that, even though we know God doesn't approve of or bless something, we're going to do it anyway, because it feels good, and feeling good is what it's all about.

"The fear of the Lord is to hate evil: pride and arrogancy, and the evil way and the froward mouth do I hate." Prov. 8:13.

Wow. Do you want to be on the "hate" side of God? If God is love, then it's got to be pretty bad for Him to hate something.

The wicked in his pride doth persecute the poor: let them be taken in the devices that they have imagined.
For the wicked boasteth of his heart's desire, and blesseth the covetous, whom the Lord abhorreth.
The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts.
His ways are always grievous; thy judgments are far above out of his sight; as for all his enemies, he puffeth at them
He hath said in his heart, I shall not be moved: for I shall never be in adversity.
His mouth is full of cursing and deceit and fraud: under his tongue is mischief and vanity.
-- Psalm 10:2-7
James, Jesus' half-brother, writes,
"Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the firendship of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy? But He giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble." James 4:4-6
God hates Pride, because Pride makes us think we're smarter than He is. It makes us think that we can get by "just fine" without Him. It makes us think of our flesh, then think of the glory of walking with Him, and decide that glory is highly over-rated.
God created us in His image, but with a particular factory defect: we have to rely on Him. Pride blinds us to that defect. It's like driving a car with a knock in the engine and deciding that "it's supposed to sound like that."
When Gideon set out to fight the Midianites, he was already facing about 150,000 soldiers with an army of around 30,000. God told him he has "too many" soldiers for the job, and by the time God finished making the cuts, Gideon is left with 300. But God told him that, with more soldiers, the Israelites would "vaunt themselves against the Lord", i.e. they'd claim that they had beaten the Midianites, whereas God wanted them to know that He was the one winning the battle.
This is why God doesn't require works in order for us to be Saved and take our place in the Kingdom of Heaven: we'd all become boasters of the things we'd done to "earn" a spot. All He wants is for us to believe Him and His Word, and no one can do that better than someone else. Besides, can you imagine what Heaven would be like if it were made up of people boasting about their great works? We'd all be glorifying ourselves, and God would be off in the corner saying, "Hi there! Over here! Creator of the Universe -- remember Me?"
And Pride has no place in Heaven.
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.
Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature,shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
-- Romans 8:35-39
Wait a second. "Any other creature"? Paul hasn't mentioned any creatures at all, so what one creature is it, that could separate us from the love of God?
Wouldn't that be ourselves?
Through Pride, we create our own stumblingblock to God and His glory.
That's why God hates it. He wants us to walk in the glory and all the good things He has for us, so He doesn't want anything to come in the way of that.
Pride is nothing to be proud of.
Incidentally, today's New York Times has an article that shows that the estimate of the number of new HIV/AIDS cases in the US has been vastly understated. If you read through the article, though, you'll notice a word missing from the discussion about prevention. "Abstain", or any of its derivatives.
Can you say "elephant in the living room"?
No, it appears people will continue with this particular lifestyle, advocated by people who claim they "love" them and condoned by events like the one this weekend, holding onto this hope that there will one day be a vaccine and/or a cure. How many more thousands of wonderful, loving, creative, sensitive people -- people needed in the Body of Christ and the Kingdom of Heaven -- will become ill and die, their families and friends left devastated, because of this lie?

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