ONLINE CHURCH BULLETIN
PRIDE, PART 2
God affixes some hefty punishments to the "light-weight" offense of pride.
Pride condemns nations and destroys kings. John Adams said, "Whenever vanity and gaiety, a love of pomp and dress ... expensive diversions and elegant entertainments, get the better of principles and judgments of men and women, there is no knowing where they will stop, nor into what evils—natural, moral, or political—they will lead us."' Pride was the sin of Judah (Jeremiah 13:9), Moab (Jeremiah 48:29), Babylon (Jeremiah 50:29), Sodom (Ezekiel 16:49), Egypt (Ezekiel 30:6), Israel (Hosea 5:5), Edom (Obadiah 1:3), Philistia (Zechariah 9:6), and Assyria (Zechariah 10:11). Interestingly, when a victorious Roman general arrived back in Rome, he was given a hero's welcome and a triumphant parade of victory, but a philosopher was also hired to ride beside him in the victory parade. As the victor acknowledged the cheers of the crowd, the philosopher kept whispering in his ear: "You are mortal. You are mortal."
Pride defiles individuals. Jesus said, "That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornication, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: all these evil things come from within, and defile the man" (Mark 7:20-23). Noting the downward progression in which pride leads one, Ben Franklin said, "Pride breakfasted with plenty, dined with poverty, and supped with infamy." Perhaps no one illustrates the foolish extremes to which pride will go better than Simon in the story of Lucian. He was so proud of his high station in life that he set fire to the house in which he was born. He was afraid someone would point out his humble birthplace!'
Pride can destroy novice elders and unwary preachers (Romans 16:17, 18; 1 Timothy 3:6). D. L. Moody stated it memorably: "Be humble or you'll stumble." Jesus put it this way: "And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all" (Mark 10:44; cf. Matthew 20:26, 27). God's shepherds readily agree with Goethe, "The deed is everything, the glory [position] nothing." Someone wisely observed, "Once the game is over, the king and the pawn go back into the same box."
A DOWNHILL ROAD TO A FIERY CRASH. Pride is one of the three avenues along which all sin passes. John wrote, "For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world" (1 John 2:16). Pride has been the basis of many sins from the Gar-den of Eden ("make thee wise") to tomorrow's headlines. Paul lists the "proud" with the vilest of sinners (Romans 1:30; 2 Timothy 3:2). What sins are connected with pride in the Bible?
Pride can lead one to:
-Refuse to seek after God (Psalm 10:4; 2 Thessalonians 2:3). A disciple once asked Socrates, "Why is it, sir, that you tell everyone who wants to become your disciple to look into this pond and tell you what he sees?" "That is very simple, my friend," he answered. "I am ready to accept all those who tell me they see fish swimming around. But those who see only their own image mirrored in the water are in love with their own ego. I have no use for them." God is the same way. Certainly He is no respecter of persons (Acts 10:34; Romans 2:11), and will require the same of each person at the Judgment. Someone asked an insightful question, "Why does everyone think he is an exception to the rules?"
-Falsely accuse/judge others' motives (1 Samuel 17:28).
-Refuse to get one's hands dirty. The proud "nobles" would not help Nehemiah rebuild the wall (Nehemiah 3:5). Small men in big places have often taken the "hands off" approach to work projects. A rider on horseback, many years ago, came across a squad of soldiers trying to move a heavy piece of timber. A corporal was giving loud orders to "heave." But the timber was too heavy for the squad. "Why don't you help them?" asked the quiet man on the horse, addressing the important corporal. "Me? Why, I'm a corporal!" Dismounting, the stranger took his place with the soldiers. "Now, all together, boys—heave!" he said. And the big piece of timber fell into place. The stranger remounted and addressed the corporal: "The next time you have a piece of timber too big for your men to handle, corporal, send for the commander-in-chief." The horseman was George Washington. We are not greater than our Master John 13:16), either. He was willing to "get His hands dirty"—and so must we be.
-Boast/make inappropriate statements (Psalm 12:4; 73:8; 1 Samuel 2:3; Proverbs 14:3). No one can glorify self and Christ at the same time. He who had every reason to be proud did not seek His own glory (John 8:54). Jesus was born in a manger, washed His disciples' feet, and died stripped and shamed (Philippians 2:5-8). Yet human nature is different. One fisherman observed, "No man having caught a large fish goes home through the alley." The Academy Awards presented a special award posthumously to Irving G. Thalberg. Thalberg was a genius producer of the twenties and thirties who died at age thirty-seven. His excellent work made a lasting difference in the film industry. What is noteworthy was that he never allowed his name to appear on the credits of any of his films. "Self-praise is not worth having," was his attitude. Another story offers a contrast. On May 31, 1889, a terrible flood at Johnstown, Pennsylvania took thousands of lives. One survivor told people about the flood every chance he got. The story goes that he died and went to Heaven, where he was told he could have anything he wanted. He wanted a great hall where he could tell his story to tens of thousands. The day came and the hall was packed. As he was ready to make his talk about the Johnstown flood, the master of ceremonies told him he would be the second speaker on the program. He would be preceded by a man named Noah!' Remember, "Don't brag—it isn't the whistle that pulls the train."
-Since Ephesians 4:2 puts "lowliness" first, as being the basis and precursor of all other graces, it makes sense that "haughtiness" would be the foundation of all houses built on the sand.