In Perspective, Sermon Spillover on October 24, 2011 by The Spillover

Philippians 4:13 says “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”. Beautiful scripture, isn’t it? That is, unless we allow pride to make ourselves the sole character of the verse:

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

If we render this text with the accent on ourselves, it changes the meaning. The attention goes to self. I, me, I can do all things. Isn’t that great? Instead of this:

I can do all things through CHRIST who strengthens me.

When we emphasize Christ in this text, what are we saying? We’re pointing to Jesus and saying, Him! right there! He’s the reason I can do all things through faith. He’s glorious!

Of course, the latter is correct. The emphasis is on Christ. As in all areas of life, the emphasis should be on Christ. Not us; never us. But pride wouldn’t have it this way. Pride will tell us that God is a genie in the sky, one who we go to only when we need something, only when we desire a hand to help us through a tough stretch. Pride will tells us to glorify ourselves, and even worse, to use God as a means to do it.

Pride is the root of every sin, because pride places self in the most ridiculous place imaginable – above God. When we allow ourselves to buy into the lie of pride, sin is allowed to creep in. We begin to imagine that we “know better” than God, or that God “didn’t really mean that” though His word so clearly says so. Preposterous!

As we’re down here making an absolute mess of everything in every way imaginable, the perfect God of the universe takes our disease upon Himself that we might be saved. And in response, we attempt to place ourselves above the Holy Christ Himself!

It is no wonder at all when our Lord says

The fear of the LORD is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate. –Proverbs 8:13

I don’t know about you, but when the Being who controls whether or not I take one more breath decides to reveal to me that there’s something He hates, it makes me believe I ought to listen. The thing itself – pride – is so scary because it can be so subtle. Much like a chemical addiction, it is often the victim of pride who is the last one to realize his condition. So let us be on the offense against pride. Let us seek it out in our own hearts to destroy it at any cost. This evil thing called pride wishes to set our hearts in direct opposition to God.

Consider the following:

  • Are you currently not attending church because you think you’re “OK by yourself”?
  • Are you currently not giving as much money/time/energy to God’s Kingdom as you do to your personal hobbies?
  • Do you ignore certain sins in your life and justify them as OK, even if God’s word says they are not?
  • Do you crave attention and recognition for your accomplishments?
  • Do you spend more energy on your ideas, even ministry ideas, than you do seeking and listening to God for direction?
  • Do you tend to adamantly disagree with any reproofs directed your way?
  • Do you refuse to take responsibility when things go wrong?
  • Are you currently hard to get along with in the home, or in the workplace?
  • Do you tend to cast off people who think differently than you on non-essentials?
  • Do you care more about peoples’ reactions to you, personally, than you do about God’s thoughts about your life?

Kind of a long list, eh? Lucky for you, I happen to be an expert on pride. You can trust me when I say, it’s nothing to fool around with. It’s a disease.

Since pride is such a sneaky vice, it would be wise to ask another person in our lives about our current state of humility. Seriously. Let’s each seek out a coworker, spouse, pastor, friend, acquaintance…and just ask them if we seem prideful, and if so, in what areas. Maybe even offer some of the above points as a possible checklist. Tell them to be 100% honest – and listen – don’t talk, just listen!

It would be safer to risk embarrassment than to continue to possibly swim in a cesspool of sin that God hates. It would be more intelligent to take a chance that might sting a little than to let pride keep you from seeing God. As C.S. Lewis said,

A proud man 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.

Won’t you ask someone today?

And if you will not…won’t you ask yourself why?

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