I thought the picture above was a cute way to illustrate today's point. It’s from a few years back of our sweet granddaughter who was being squashed because her hound dog refused to budge. Our girl looks pretty uncomfortable, which is how our subject has a tendency to make us feel.
Jerry and I struck up a conversation with a man behind us at a recent conference. We discovered our lives had both been changed when we read C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity. Then we discussed Lewis’ chapter on pride.
It’s uncomfortable to say the least.
The chapter is called, “The Great Sin.”
There are few who can read it without squirming. Lewis declares the center of Christian morals does not lie in sexual morality but in Pride, which he believes “leads to every other vice: it is the complete anti-God state of mind.”
If you give that statement thought, you see that before we make a move against the laws of God, we first must believe we know better than God thus proving Lewis’ point.
When I first read the book decades ago, one of the many sections I underlined was about how we can know how much pride we have by how much we dislike it in others. He writes, “In fact, if you want to find out how proud you are the easiest way is to ask yourself, ‘How much do I dislike it when other people snub me, or refuse to take any notice of me, or shove their oar in, or patronize me, or show off?’”
See what I mean about the chapter being uncomfortable?
It’s a good thing God doesn’t give up on us, because this pride thing never relents either. A song written by Joel Hemphill comes to mind, “He’s still working on me.” No matter how long we live or how far we go with the Lord, pride is always trying to weasel in.
Lewis says if we think we are not conceited, we are very conceited indeed. The thing to do is to fess up about our condition and take it continually to the Lord.
Jerry often says the reason he asks people to come forward for an altar call is we must leave our pride in the seat to do so.
The uncomfortable message is to go forward with the Lord in any way, we have to leave our pride behind. It’s not pretty, and it’s not easy, but it’s the only way.
A verse the Lord continually brings to my mind is this one: “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18). This is kind of a funny story—years ago on a vacation trip, I was just strolling along a sidewalk and was allowing a prideful thought to rise big in me. In the next moment, I fell flat on my face. Literally. So embarrassing. As I hit the ground, I suspected the Lord was reminding me that when we let pride rise, we are going down. That’s because he loves us and wants the best for us. He will allow our momentary displeasure to accomplish his greater purpose. Please don’t hear me saying that every time we fall either literally or figuratively, it’s because of pride. I don’t believe it was pride when I suffered a concussion and broke my arm. And I don’t believe when bad things happen to people, it is always because of pride. But sometimes, it is. Only God and that person know for sure.
A few other verses to contemplate.
“But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: ‘God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble’” (James 4:6).
“Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up” (James 4:10).
Well, that’s it. You may be wishing you hadn’t come here today for this irritating post but thank you for sticking with me. And I hope it doesn’t happen again, but if you see me face planted on the ground somewhere, just pray for me. I’ll need it.
Just in time for the beach, a sale on the ebook of
A Season for Everything, July 14-18.