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  • Writer's pictureRandy McKenzie

"Appropriate Smallness"

"We are all worms. But I do believe that I am a glowworm."

Winston Churchill

What was the first sin? We learn about it and Satan’s fall from Isaiah 14:12–15:

How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, You who weakened the nations! For you have said in your heart: ‘I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation On the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.’ Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, To the lowest depths of the Pit.

It is obvious from the text that Satan’s sin was pride. He was so beautiful, so wise, and so powerful as an angel that he began to covet God’s position and authority. He did not want to serve, he wanted to be served; he, as a creature, wanted to be worshipped. How starkly contrasted to our savior Jesus Christ, who came not to be ministered unto, but to minister and to give his life a ransom for many (Mark 10:45).

The writer of Genesis states that it was through pride that the serpent tempted Eve to eat

the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden.

“For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

Genesis 3:5

And we have all, in our own way, been trying to take God's place ever since. We have all been inmates in the same asylum.

We live in what Christopher Lasch has called "The Culture of Narcissism"

Mohammad Ali's signature line expressed the quest of the rest of us " I am the Greatest"

Pride is like a giant bolder rolling down a mountainside. It destroys everything in it's path and no one is immune to it.

The book of Proverbs warns us about pride.

Proverbs 16:18 Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.

Proverbs 11:2 When pride comes, then comes shame; But with the humble is wisdom.

Proverbs 18:12 Before destruction the heart of a man is haughty, And before honor is humility.

Pride, like many other things that God condemns comes from within man. That area in us is our heart. Everything we do and everything we say stem from our heart. Did you ever notice that the middle letter in the word pride, just like the word sin is "I". Could it be said that pride and sin are always what "I" want to do , think, and act?

How do we recognize pride in ourselves?

Let's look at some of its features.

  1. Vanity- Vanity involves a preoccupation with my appearance. Do you wear spandex when you exercise in a gym where there are mirrors on the wall and watch? Do you take photos of yourself like you are looking at someone else when the whole time you are looking at yourself. Do you tear up the ones you do not like? These are only a couple examples, but I am sure you can think of more. Vanity is perhaps the most common form of pride. It can be silly and irritating but it is not the most dangerous.

  2. Stubbornness-Stubbornness is the pride that causes us to shun correction. It renders us unable to defend ourselves when someone points out an error or flaw, we evade or deny or blame someone else.

  3. Exclusion- At the deepest level of pride is the choice to exclude both God and other people from their rightful place in our hearts.

Jesus said the essence of a spiritual life is to love God and other people.

We cannot do that if we are full of pride.

* Pride destroys our capacity to love.

*Pride moves us to exclude rather than embrace

*Pride moves us to bow down before a mirror than before God

*Pride moves us to judge rather than to serve.

* Pride means that we not only want to be smart and wealthy, but also that we will not be satisfied until we are the smarter and wealthier than those around us.

*Pride is essentially comparative in nature.

* Pride is a persistent problem for people who strive for spiritual growth.

In place of pride Jesus invites us to live a life of humility.

" For all who humble themselves will be exalted"

Luke 14:11

Humility has to do with submitted willingness. It involves a healthy forgetfulness. Humility involves a revolution of the soul, the realization that the universe does not revolve around us.

We will know we have made progress in humility when we allow the Holy Spirit inside us and we cease to be preoccupied with ourselves. When we are with others, we are truly with them, not wondering how they can be of benefit to us.

Humility always brings a kind of relief. It means we can stop trying to be what we are not, or pretending to be what we are not, and accepting our "Appropriate Smallness".

We need to let God be God!.

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