Apr 5, 2017

A Dangerous Enemy



Today in my history textbook I was reading about the rise of a prominent leader.  I don't know much about his early years, but he had a dream.  He grew up with a desire to be an artist.  Unfortunately for him, his drawing skills were greatly lacking.  He wasn't good at drawing at all.  Thus, his dream died, and his life took a radical change for the worse.

His name was Adolf Hitler.

We know the rest of the story.  We know how Hitler came into power and the devastation he caused.  We read about the horrors he heedlessly created.  It's not difficult to see the evil in his heart and actions.

As I learned a little bit more about his early life, I wondered.  What was it that turned Hitler around?  What made him change into a wicked leader?

Think about other infamous people throughout history.  People like Hitler, Stalin, or Lenin.  Or maybe villains from the Bible like Jezebel, Judas, or Herod.  As I was reading the pages of history, I noticed that every single one had something in common.

These people, known for their evil deeds and wicked schemes, all struggled with a similar issue.  It's even one that you and I struggle with today.

Pride.

Unheeded, dangerous pride.

I'm not talking about taking pride in your country or your family.  This pride goes much deeper.  It's a matter of the heart, a monster that overtakes your life.  The lingering thought that whispers "All that matters is that I'm happy."  The "me" mentality we have that causes us to focus on ourselves.




Hitler was proud and wanted more power.  He ended up killing millions of Jews.

Jezebel was proud, wanting herself to be promoted and well-known.  She led her nation into idolatry.

Judas was proud and wanted to gain money.  He ended up sacrificing a close friendship with Jesus as a traitor and giving Him up to be crucified.

Many of us are proud.  We want to live comfortable, happy lives.  We want religion as long as it brings us joy and fulfillment.  Jesus is only there to bring us eternal life, right?

Sorry to throw you off, but you picked the wrong "religion".  Throughout history, believers have been mocked, scourged, imprisoned, stoned, sawn in two...the list goes on and on.  (see Hebrews 11:36-38)

Nevertheless, we still struggle with this mess called pride.  It ensnares us, and we often don't even realize it.  It's like a trap waiting to be triggered...and we don't see it hiding in the leaves only feet ahead of us.

Pride is the act of elevating our own self.  It is telling God that we deserve more time and attention than He does, and He can sit around until we need Him.  It is seeking our own will instead of His, thinking that we are simply more important than He is.

The Bible says pride goes before destruction (see Proverbs 16:18).  It says that pride is evil and defiles a man (see Mark 7:20-23).  God resists the proud (see James 4:6), and the proud is an abomination to Him (see Proverbs 16:5).   The list goes on and on.

Recently I have been focusing on two different aspects of the Christian life - abiding in Christ (focusing on Him throughout the day and building my entire life on Him) and making Godly decisions.  How does pride affect these areas?

If we have pride in our lives what will be thinking about?  Who will we be living for?  We most definitely will not be abiding in Christ!  We will be focusing on our own desires, plans, and dreams.  In the end, Christianity will likely become a "side job" or an activity that we participate in for what it brings us.

To make Godly decisions, we need to be asking God what His plans are for us.  But if we are full of pride and self-seeking, we will only see what we want and what our plans are.  It is impossible to make Godly decisions if we have pride in our hearts.

It's not hard to see that pride is dangerous.  It's consuming, devastating, ruining.  It takes a life and twists it into an ugly picture of evil.

On a more personal level, pride makes us feel lofty and above those around us.  It causes us to not want to associate with certain individuals.  It makes us desire attention and admiration.  Simply put, pride takes Jesus off the throne of our heart and puts self in His place.

The villains throughout history all lived under the rule of pride.  Do we struggle with the same problem?

I challenge you to take this matter before Christ and examine your life.  Do you truly love others more than yourself?  Do you love the Lord your God will all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind?  Can you willingly say, "He must increase, but I must decrease"?

As Jesus humbled Himself and washed His disciples' feet, may we also humble ourselves and serve, love, and respect those around us.  May we be willing vessels to do the will of the Lord.

It's so hard - even impossible in our strength!  But isn't that why we don't have to live life on our own?

What is one way that pride sneaks into our lives unnoticed?  How can we fight this evil tendency to think of ourselves more than others?  Comment below!

10 comments:

  1. ouch

    straight in the feels, girl

    that was a sanctified slap in the face for me tbh.

    i love this post! you made some good points and really hit it on the head. keep it up! <33

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lol, thanks Chloë. It really struck me too; people like Hitler whose evilness is so dark and terrible struggled with something that I do every day. I think we often justify pride without realizing its dangers. Reading through history has opened my eyes and made me see how much I need to focus on loving and serving other instead of myself.

      I'm glad that I could give you a sanctified slap in the face. ;) hehe, Love you!

      Delete
  2. ^Agree with Chloë!! This is a challenging post! Pride is a big thing I see in my life. The book "Brokenness" really, really hit me and challenged me in that area. That is such an amazing and painful book! Pride is a horrible thing that we often don't take seriously. :(

    Thank you for writing this post! I know this hits a tender area for a lot of us(me included!). :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, it's a hard struggle, Hannah! Pride can slip into our lives so subtly. I think it's the main thing that keeps people from turning from their sins to Christ...pride steps in the way and tells them that they don't need a Savior. Even after we are saved, it can trick us into living for ourselves. And horribly, that pride all stems from Satan's evil schemes to keep us from the Truth. =(

      I'll have to look up Brokenness...it sounds like a very challenging book. =)

      Delete
  3. Chloe and Hannah's comments have pretty much summed up what I wanted to say already... This has been an area that I've been doing a lot of thinking about lately. I'm thankful that God has been revealing and helping me with some areas in my own life that needs to change, but pride is no easy thing to overcome. :( We can do all things through Him who gives us strength, thankfully!
    Thank you for this challenging post, Hosanna! God has really given you the gift of writing posts like these for His glory, so keep up the good work! <3

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Argh...pride. =P It's such a horrible issue, and, as you said, it is no easy thing to overcome! Several days have passed since I wrote this blog post, and now again I'm reminded of how hard it is. Even in the little areas of life - winning a board game or doing something better than a sibling - it just feels natural for us to show pride! I love the verse that says that no temptation has overcome us except that is common to man, but GOD IS FAITHFUL. Despite our struggles, He is strong, and He will help keep our feet from slipping if we seek His will. ♥

      As we experience the weekend of Good Friday and Easter it reminds me that we need to copy Jesus' example in being a servant. Ah, but how hard it is.

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Emily. I needed the good reminder. =)

      Delete
  4. This was a wonderful post, dear friend! =)
    I would say that one way that pride can sneak in is when we are seeking our own interests instead of others--pride is when we are more interested in ourselves than in anything or anyone else, so when we are making sure it is always 'me first', I think that might be defined as pride. What do you think?
    I think the way to fight this tendency is to always make it a practice of focusing on others, praising them and encouraging them, and then the spotlight will gradually fade off of us--and it will shine on God!
    (*whispers* Guess what? The gender reveal was on Monday, and... *drumroll* I'M GONNA HAVE ANOTHER BROTHER!!!)
    Hope you are having a glorious day, Hosanna!!
    -Ariel

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ah, good thoughts, Ariel! Pride is definitely evident in the "me first" or "give me the biggest piece" parts of life. Living in a large family can make it easy to see how hard it is to die to self and love others unconditionally. (I mean, when do you not want to get the biggest cookie or be singled out as special?!) Pride slips in so easily, and it can be so hard to avoid it. But, as Emily said, nothing is impossible with God! ♥

      Yes, that is one way to fight against being self-centered...but may I suggest another way as well? Certainly encouraging others and serving them is wonderful, but I think that if we simply focus on and love God, pride will vanish. We can't focus on ourselves and God at the same time. It's either "me, me, me" or "HIM." Both aspects are important - pouring out yourself in love to God and also living and serving those around you. ♥ What are your thoughts, my friend? This is such a difficult struggle, and I'm glad we can discuss it together. =)

      Yayyyyy!!!!! *applauds* I'm so excited for you!!!!! I can't wait for your little brother to enter the world!! How much longer is the due date?? Congratulations, Ariel!! ♥♥♥

      Delete
    2. Right, I think God putting me in a big family is providence, not only because THEY ARE THE BESTEST but also because they show me areas of life where I can become more like Christ!
      That's a really good point, girl! We can't really focus on us and God at the same time...like Jesus said (and I'm too lazy to look up the reference, hehe) we can't serve both God and money, and we also can't serve God and ourselves! I think another good idea would be to always ask ourselves, "Is what I am doing furthering God's kingdom?" If I am doing something to serve ME when God is obviously calling me to do something to serve HIM then I need to reorganize my priorities a little bit. =)
      I knowwww I'm so happyyyyyy!!!!! <333 The due date is August 23rd, and Mom is at 22 weeks currently, so we're, like, A BIT OVER HALFWAY THERE!!!! Right now, the name we are considering is Jaxon, but I betcha that's gonna change in the next month or so. =)
      I hope you are having a wonderful Resurrection Day, sweet girl!!
      -Ariel

      Delete
    3. I know that I have been quite late in responding, but I just love to read your thoughts, Ariel! More and more I have been realizing how having many siblings gives you many opportunities to work on patience, love, etc. ;) It's hard, but definitely a blessing! As you said, they are the BESTEST!

      True...but it gets hard when we make up excuses like "Well, this does serve me, but God can use it too!" We can even make selfish desires look Godly at times. =) Priorities and focus are important!

      August 23rd...♥ I'm sure you can't wait to meet baby Perran. You'd better send me photos once he's born! =) I love him already!

      Delete

I am thrilled to receive comments, but please remember to keep them clean and uplifting. Any inappropriate posts will be deleted. I respond to comments, so please check back! =)

Thank you for commenting! You made my day, and I'm so excited to become better friends as we seek to have a heart like His. ♥