Useless Until Broken

If Pride equates to wholeness, and Humility brokenness: then I truly am useless until Broken.

Pride the Bigot 

Why does humility so easily elude us? Is it because no matter how much we desire humility it’s impossible to achieve by our own strength? No matter how much we deny self, self always rises back up again in conquering victory. It seems to me that even when I feel as if I’ve conquered pride and have finally allowed humility its proper place in my life, I become proud of how humble I am! Even the times I write or speak about humility, trying my hardest to help others out of the dangers of pride, I find myself repenting deeply. After the writing was done or the sermon was over God exposes the root of pride in my own heart. There it was, written between the lines, hidden within the words of the sermon, attacking, accusing, beating down those I thought I was helping to overcome pride.

I notice groups of people everywhere trying their hardest to live a life of humility; so much so, that they have gone to great lengths to separate themselves from the rest of us. But all I see is more pride. I even find myself working so hard to live the Christian life of separation, only to fall deeper into the deadly trap of pride. The trap so easily concealed under the comparison of myself to those around me. I begin feeling like I’ve reached the mark of true holiness only due to the fact that I’ve become more separate from the sins of this world than my fellow Christian. Oh the foolishness and folly of such comparisons that I make!  The holiness I give to God must spring from my very own desire to please Him, not to be better than my brother or sister.

“For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.” (2 Corinthians 10:12 KJV)

Learning Humility

Could it be that the only way to truly preach against pride is to live humility out-loud? And could it be that the only way to live it out-loud is to have love for those who have given up the fight or have never really known how to fight in the first place? Or to continue to lift up those around us that are also fighting the fight of faith? Paul said this, “We are human, but we don’t wage war as humans do. We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments. We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:3-5 NLT)

Moses, the man of Humility

I’m reminded of Moses, the man of whom the Bible had this to say;  “Now Moses was very humble—more humble than any other person on earth.” (Numbers 12:3 NLT). It was during a very trying time of Moses’ leadership that the Bible makes that statement. His very own brother (Aaron) and sister (Miriam) no longer believed in his leadership and in rebellion spoke out against him. God was angry with them and cursed Miriam with leprosy. But Moses, being humble, prayed for her and begged God to heal her.

Time and again Moses prayed for those who angered God by speaking out against the two of them, and thereby bring trouble and even death upon themselves. It was his prayers for those who didn’t understand how to fight, even when they hurt him that earned him,Moses, the title, “the most humble man on earth”.

“Therefore I do not run without definite aim. I do not box like one beating the air and striking without an adversary. But like a boxer, I buffet my body, I handle it roughly, discipline it by hardships and subdue it, for fear that after proclaiming to others the Gospel and things pertaining to it, I myself should become a castaway.” (1 Corinthians 9:26-27)

I’m Guilty and Shameful

This is long, but I hope that if you read it to the end, it will bring healing to your soul. I know God’s word has that effect on us.

Selfishness = Pride

From the very beginning of time we see a clear picture of mankind displaying selfish pride. Eve stands looking at a tree, pondering, wondering, what is really so bad about this tree, and why can’t I eat of it? What’s God trying to keep from me? Adam stands nearby, more than likely wondering the same things but too scared to do anything about it first, and far too willing to let his wife take the fall if something really bad is going to happen. Satan sees this scenario playing out to his advantage so he seizes the moment. It looked like this:

He (the Devil) asked the woman, “Did God really say you must not eat the fruit from any of the trees in the garden?” “Of course we may eat fruit from the trees in the garden,” the woman replied. It’s only the fruit from the tree in the middle of the garden that we are not allowed to eat. God said, ‘You must not eat it or even touch it; if you do, you will die’.” “You won’t die! the serpent replied to the woman. God knows that your eyes will be opened as soon as you eat it, and you will be like God, knowing both good and evil.” The woman was convinced. She saw that the tree was beautiful and its fruit looked delicious. She wanted the wisdom it would give her. So she took some of the fruit and ate it. Then she gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it also. At that moment their eyes were opened, and they suddenly felt shame at their nakedness. So they sewed fig leaves together to cover themselves. (Genesis 3:1-7 NLT)

Pride Always Leads to Fear

You see, it was pride that led Eve to eat, and Adam to follow her. The Bible said “she wanted the wisdom it would give her.” The Devil promised her “you will be like God.” And Adam, when he saw that nothing happened to her, ate also. He and Eve thought they knew better than God. But we see that their pride led to fear;  because now when God comes again, they run and hide out of fear.

The truly sad part of this story is not what took place for Adam or Eve, but for God. He loved Adam and Eve. He created them, placed them in the middle of perfection for one reason only; so that he could be with them. Share with them. Walk and talk with them. All in all, so that he could be intimate with them. But they let their selfish pride get in the way. There they were, hiding behind the very tree they had eaten of. What were they hiding from? God. He was perfect, and now, they were imperfect.

But God, who had this to say about himself to Moses when he passed by him, “(I am) Yahweh! The Lord! The God of compassion and mercy! I am slow to anger and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness” (Exodus 34:6 NLT), wanted to forgive them. Yes, he wanted to forgive Adam and Eve! How do I know this? Because God, the one who knows all things, the one who David said about, “I can never escape from your Spirit! I can never get away from your presence!” (Psalm 139:7 NLT) knew where they were and why they had hidden from him. He didn’t need to ask them anything… but he did.

The Promise of Help

If you go back to the story once more and take another look, you see God coming to the garden to walk with them again, just as he always had, in-spite of knowing their guilty sin. He did this not because he was ignorant or didn’t know what had happened. He did it in order to restore them. You see, it’s not the fact they had made a mistake that he had a problem with, it was their attitude about their mistakes he didn’t like, and ultimately brought his judgment upon them. When he asked Adam what he had done, there was no sense of remorse. He blamed Eve and God. When he asked Eve what she had done, she said it wasn’t her fault, it was the devil that made her do it. So much arrogant, selfish pride. I know it killed God to put them out of the garden. Literally, it killed him. He was willing to pay with his own life (through Jesus Christ) in order to buy back the times of intimacy.

After giving Adam and Eve a chance to repent by asking them questions, God turned to Satan and said, (notice no questions were asked) “And I will cause hostility between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring. He will strike your head, and you will strike his heel.” (Genesis 3:15 NLT). What he told Satan here could also be said like this; “I will come to this earth to walk with mankind again, but as a man myself this time. I will come back as a savior to humanity. I will love them so much that I will be willing to lay down my life for them. I will wash away every stain from their life. I will spill my blood to purchase them back from a life of guilt and shame. I will be beaten so that they don’t have to be known as failures and whipped so that they can be healed of every one of their sicknesses. I will come again, give up all, so that we can be intimate again as we were in the garden, just before they gave into their selfish pride and partook of that which I told them not to. I will do this for them, because I love them.”

Repentance Washes Away the Guilt and Shame

Is it too much to be asked of us to repent? Is it too much for us to be asked to follow some rules placed in our lives that only serve to protect us?

This freedom will cost you something. But what would you give to lay your head on your pillow at night and cry no more tears? What would you give to never have to turn your head in shame when you see certain people? Or have peace in your heart and no longer have to chase after it like a fleeting bird that you can never quite catch?

Would you be willing cheat on your spouse and run to the arms of another lover? Would you quit the job you’ve worked at only a short time to find another that you will only quit when you get bored, or the boss becomes too hard to work for? Would you let yourself get addicted to pornography and do your best to hide it because you’re so ashamed? Would you turn to alcohol and start getting drunk in hopes to forget? Would you start lying to everyone because you hate who you are? Or start getting high because reality isn’t good enough anymore? Would you run away from all your problems and hope that moving to a different location would solve the problem? Or would you be willing to block out the preaching of God’s word and try your hardest to make excuses as to why these parts of scriptures don’t apply to you so that you don’t have to become uncomfortable?

Yes! Yes you would, and at least on one or more accounts, you have. Why not just give up and stop running from God rather than make others pay for your unwillingness to lay down selfish pride? Let him love you by healing your pain. You must be willing to lay down your pride, and then he’ll take away your fear and cleanse you from all your shame.

Now repent of your sins and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped away. Then the times of refreshing will come from the presence of the Lord, and he will again send you Jesus, your appointed Messiah. (Acts 3:19, 20 NLT)