Let another man praise you, and not your own mouth.
Everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.
And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins.”
What is in a name? “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet” – so sang sweet Juliet to her precious Romeo, in Shakespeare’s tragic love-story. But what of sin? What of those 3 small letters – S. I. N. which combine to separate us from God? Some would argue that a SIN out of sight is a sin out of mind. Others place overwhelming import on one sin.. calmly disregarding another. Most of us are conditioned to point our index finger, at the overt sin we see in society, without seeing the three curling fingers pointing inwards to ourselves – to the covert sin hidden deep within our heart.
The central letter of that little word S-I-N is “I” = “ME” = “MYSELF”. That hidden, secret sin is laid buried deep within the very being of man. That furtive sin which seeps like a toxic poison into the very soul of man. That private sin concealed from all others bites at the very heart of man.. like a venomous snake. The clandestine sin that feeds one's ego so satisfyingly, separates us from God.. as surely as a dagger plunged through the throat.
The first sin committed by the exulted heart of the anointed cherub was one of pride. The arrogant, “I wills” of the falling angel who sought to elevate him to the status of God. Satan is thrust out of heaven for seeking to take what was the Lords.. but God thunders: I will not give my glory to another. I will not give my praise to idols. Isa.42:8
And yet this sin we so despise in this precocious angelic being, can ofttimes be the downfall of the most gracious saint. It can stain the garments of the most kindly heart, for a proud look or haughty eyes is identified as one of the six things that God most hates in us. Prov.6:16. This hateful crime of pride is ofttimes couched within the ‘eye‘ of SIN. Blinding us to the pride that lurks in the hidden recesses of the mind, where man’s boast is inflated and Self seeks independence from his Sustainer.
How easy a task to point out pride in another.. oblivious of the poison lurking deep within. And yet this deceptive seed can grow and blossom.. in the heart of many a careless saint. As soon as my eyes are taken from the face of Jesus, I also fall prey to this cantankerous disease. How can I search out and rid myself of this bane.. in the life of all who would live Godly? How can I root out this evil that seeks to separate me from the One Who is my Sustainer? How can I replace the scourge of pride with the depth of humility? How can I clothe myself with humility and love – the inner garments that Christ seeks in each of His own?
C.S. Lewis said, “A proud person is always looking down on things and people.. and, of course, as long as you’re looking down – you can’t see something that’s above you.” Stanley added that, “Pride is revealed in our attitudes and interactions with others, and instead of desiring to be the best we can be – pride seeks to “better” than others. He said that, “a prideful person can’t handle criticism; hates handing out apologies; and pride seeks a central spotlight and can’t stand to see others succeed. Pride also refuses to do ‘menial tasks.“
Stanley continues, “Don’t compare yourself to others; compare yourself with Christ. Remember where you came from, and recall what God has saved you from. Without Him, you would be staring at eternity in hell. Only through His sacrifice are you able to rest in eternal security.” Stanley concludes, When all else fails, God may allow adversity into our lives. Nothing gets our attention better than going through a difficult time and He allows these experiences in order to filter our pride – causing us to return our focus on Him.
We need to concentrate on Christ Who was the personification of humility. We need to centre on Christ – Who washed his disciples' feet. We need to copy His example – we ought also to wash each others’ feet. Is pride an issue in your life and is pride an issue in mine? These stark and serious cautions to seasoned saints – need to be dearly examined.
As I seek to challenge the elevation of Self in my own life.. as I seek to examine myself, my attitudes, my motives, my heart’s desire.. as I seek to repent of my laxity and return to my first love.. as I seek to discover the awful truth about my own faults and failings, I need to turn to the Spirit of grace and truth and cry out as did King David:- Search me and know me, cried the man after God’ s own heart, cleanse me from my secret faults – my sin, know my heart: Try me, and Know my thoughts.” Psa.19:12
As Pride elevates Self – So humility looks away from self and gazes on Jesus. As Soul raises Self to the exalted position – So humility kneels in reverence at His feet. As Ego seeks the applause of Self – So humility points with unswerving resolve to Him. At this critical time in our spiritual walk, when the Lord is at the very door. We would do well examine ourselves as never before. We need to see if secret sins have crept deep into our hearts. SEARCH ME OH GOD.
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