Everyone of us is a creatures of dust. Naked we came into the world and naked will we leave it. We often encounter people who seem their strength is un-defied, they seem so invincible. To counter that, we ourselves seem to want to impress everyone as we were never defeated, as if our strength is not fragile, as if our knowledge is not too narrow, as if our lungs are rising because we are capable to live by ourselves. Solomon was right when he said that “… the children of man are full of evil, and madness is in their hearts while they live….” (Ecclesiastes 9:3) Madness in heart is pride.
Pride follows man everywhere. We wake, work, talk, play and sleep with madness in our hearts.
Pride of man murdered God’s Son. 1 Corinthians 2:7 speaks of “the princes of this world knew not, for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of Glory.” The “princes of this world” or “rulers of this age” include not only Herod and Pilate, but also those Paul calls the “wise,” the “scribe,” and the “debater of this age” — in a word, the proud. (1 Corinthians 1:20)
The beginnings of pride look harmless enough — a posed shot on social media, a hidden hunger for approval, a mocking thought toward those whose opinions differ from our own, the pleasure of being part of a group, laughter approval, others admiring of us. But fully grown pride does not shrink from murder in the heart, or murder with the hand (Matthew 5:21-22) Those who relish pride follow Cain in the field and dine with Herod the Great. (Matthew 6:21, 25-27) When people like this meet Jesus and the gospel message, they reach for wood and nails.
It is only the cross which can destroy the pride in us. Paul takes us to the cross and bids us to feel the nails and the wood. In 1 Corinthians 2:2 he says “I am determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.” He reminds us that it was our sin that nailed him to the cross, our toxic mouth, our secret lust, our lofty eyes. He reminds us that before we can see the cross as something done for us, we must see it as something done by us. Christ was crucified by me, therefore I must only glory in the cross, I cannot boast in myself. I have nothing to offer to God and the best thing in me is Jesus and His cross.
David in Psalm 73 says: “So foolish was I, and ignorant: I was as a beast before thee.” Unable to recognize the Lord of glory though he stands before our face. He knows that pride reigns only where the cross has been forgotten or distorted. Pride cannot breathe Golgotha’s air, pride cannot survive the cross. This is why we need to continually cling to the cross as the puritans did.
Read the bluntness of the puritan prayer.
Destroy in me every lofty thought,
Break pride to pieces and scatter it
to the winds,
Annihilate each clinging shred of
Implant in me true lowliness of spirit,
Abase me to self-loathing and self-abhorrence,
Open in me a fount of penitential tears,
Break me, then bind me up;
Thus will my heart be a prepared dwelling
for my God;
Then can the Father take up his abode in me.
And let us therefore “humble ourselves under God’s mighty hand, that He may lift us up.” (1 Peter 5, 6)
May this be our desire.
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