"Nothing more impressive than an intellectual and spiritual approach to seeking truth and a willingness to embrace it unconditionally."

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Pride: The Inevitable Christian Sin.

Recently, while discussing two different issues, the propensity toward pride was forwarded as the reason why certain things should be preached against. I commented in one of the conversations that the pride argument does not resonate with me, as several essential components of the Christian walk inevitably lead to pride. This is no reflection on whether or not these individuals were right about the issues under consideration, but potential pride should never be the basis of one's objection. The objection to a practice must always either be rooted in scripture or charity.

Apostolics struggle more with pride in our standards of separation than anything else. I have had to check my spirit, and even repent, many times in the past because of feeling prideful superiority. This sense of superiority arose out of comparing myself to other Apostolics who had a lesser standard; they were saved, but not quite as saved as me. My friend Daniel McDonald stated it best: "Some of our standards of separation are enforced to separate us from other Apostolics, and not the world."

If you have never had to repent for this kind of pride you have not truly seen yourself. Pharisaical pride is the ever present danger of seeking to please God by living a separated life. We must watch it ever so carefully. The flesh will always take good or evil to far. The Pharisees are a perfect example: they took the 10 commandments given to Moses and ended up with 613 rules. This, of course, led to the abundance of pride that Jesus continually rebuked in the Pharisees during his earthly ministry.

Let me say it a little more palatable: There is no Christian that has not had that awful moment where they realized that they were not as spiritual or holy as they thought they were. This is the inevitable pride that we have all fallen prey to. We have all had an Isaiah moment where we cry: "Woe is me, for I am a man of unclean lips." The ultimate proof of pride is when this revelation comes as a shock to us.

Yet no one, certainly not myself, would suggest that we abandon a godly standard of separation because it so often becomes a source of pride. The proper response is not to abandon the things that have a propensity to pride, rather we make the proper adjustments in our spirits so that we can view them with the proper perspective.

Prayer, fasting and tithing can be a source of pride (Luke 18:9-14). Surely no one would suggest that we abandon either of these truths. The Jews laid arrogant and exclusive claim to God himself. For the Jew, worship itself was a source of pride.

Since worship, prayer, fasting and tithing can all be sources of pride, I have decided that the only way to avoid pride is to become and atheist. :)

In all sincerity, we are to pray for God to put "things" in perspective and allow us to assign proper value to them. This is the mature way to handle "things." It is the immaturity of the child that compels the parent to take the new toy away from the child because he keeps bragging and showing it off to the kid whose parent can't afford to buy him that toy. Do not abandon the toy, make adjustments to the child.

If we always take the toys away, we perpetuate the immaturity of the child. It is imperative for the child to learn maturity in these matters. He needs to mature to the place that he can have the toy and treat it, and his friends, with the proper respect. This is a lesson we must learn as children of God. Don't be a child who can't handle the toys.