(Excerpts from a book Joe is working on for publication)
|Pride, a sure path to destruction.
Pride is the sleeping dragon that once awakened will extinguish the love of God within us. It is the false confidence we feel
about ourselves that consumes peace, love, and charity. Pride is the reflection of Satan we see every time we look into a mirror and
behold how wonderful we've become.
In Proverbs 16:5 God provides us with a description about how He feels about the "Proud of Heart."
"The Lord detests all the proud of heart. Be sure of this: They will not go unpunished."
Pride is an emotion that is extremely difficult to understand. It is how we feel each time we succeed, acquire, or behold.
Society counts pride as an attribute, however, God considers pride the first step towards eternal doom. Pride is that puffed up
feeling of accomplishment we enjoy for our achievements, status, wealth, position, intelligence, appearance, and sadly, even our
spiritually. So what is so wrong with being proud of a job well done you ask? Nothing, as long as that pride is not in yourself.
In Ezekiel 28:17, we are told that pride will destroy our wisdom.
"Your heart became proud on account of your beauty, and you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendor. So I threw you to the earth."
Ezekiel 11:20 describes the emotion that caused Satan to fall from grace...it was pride. Satan plummeted from being the
"Model of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty." To,
"You have come to a horrible end and will be no more."
One glorious day a long time ago, in a place so distant from earth it is called Heaven, there lived an extraordinary being named
Lucifer. Now this magnificent angel would spend his days in splendor and glory as he moved effortlessly through all three Heavens
God created. One day, the sleeping dragon within him was aroused by pride and envy. Suddenly, Lucifer's ego was no longer
content to linger between submission and pride; after all, he was mighty, beautiful, talented, wealthy, immortal, and perfect in all his
ways, why shouldn't he be considered a god?
Behold what the sleeping dragon shouted out to Lucifer's heart once it was awakened.
"You can ascend to Heaven and raise your throne above the stars of God. You will be worshiped like the Most High God."
Lucifer listened to the voice of his dragon and envied his God. This
"Model of Perfection," became proud and no longer desired fellowship with his Creator. Lucifer's love for God was extinguished by his pride, and his heart was darkened by his ego.
For his rebellion, Lucifer was cast out of Heaven along with one third of the angels, and his name was changed to Satan, the
prince of darkness. He paid the price for his pride and arrogance, and a third of the angels for their mis-directed allegiance. The
rest is history.
The name Lucifer heylel in the Hebrew means
"Sense of brightness" or "The morning star." In contrast, some of the new names
given to Lucifer, Satan, or the Devil, refer to a being who is now an adversary full of evil and death. All this because Satan became
proud in his heart. So what's so wrong with feeling pride for our accomplishments? Everything! We are taking credit for something
we could never have accomplished without God. Furthermore, after taking this false credit we find ourselves beginning to change
inside. Suddenly, our dependence on God is vaporized by the splendor of us. We no longer require God's assistance in our lives,
and after time may begin to question whether or not God even exists. After all, with the spiritual blindness that always accompanies
pride, we will be unable to recognize the finger prints of God in our world or in our lives.
This is the condition of our world today. Mankind has become proud in his heart, believing himself to be far more than he is. He
is so blinded that he claims he created himself out of a pool of sludge billions of years ago, and was able to evolve into the splendid
being he now is without any outside help. Man has become his own God.
God created us and has blessed us with numerous gifts. So why are we so proud? Because many of us have become so
blind. The desire of Lucifer's heart was to be like God. He wanted to be worshiped and followed by those he considered to be
weaker than himself. God granted Lucifer the desire of his heart when he cast him out of Heaven. It was then that he put together
his first infomercial for the children of God. Satan is the god of this world; he has convinced most that his attributes are the ones to
be prized. Pride, self-confidence, wealth, status, self indulgence, and beauty. These are the goals of today's rich, famous, and
powerful, these are the fruits of pride.
"God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble." James 4:6 It's clear that Satan, pride, and Hell, go hand in hand.
They are linked together as the glue that holds evil together. However, it is the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, that enters a man's
heart and frees him from bondage and sin. Humility is the attribute that holds life together, without it we become more like Satan
than we know.
In the life of Jesus Christ, we are given the example of what it means to have humility.
"Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
For my yoke is easy and my burden light." Matthew 11:29-30
Jesus washed the feet of his disciples, entered Jerusalem on the back of a donkey, and allowed himself to be spit upon,
whipped, and mocked. Then in the ultimate act of love, sacrifice, and humility, permitted man to place Him on public display while
they stripped His broken body naked and crucified Him. At any point in time Jesus could have exercised his right and authority over
every living thing and ended this travesty. Instead, Jesus asked God to forgive those who were persecuting him for they did not
know what they were doing.
Although everything about God is mighty, glorious, and spectacular, His heart remains just, pure, and humble. To a world full of
egomaniacs, these personality traits don't seem to fit. However, for a man of God, humility is the crown of glory that separates him
from the rest. Humility shouts out! I am never better than my brother but always dependent on God. It is this declaration that says,
although others may see me as mighty, I will always give thanks to God for what he has accomplished through me. It is God's
promise that "Blessed are the meek for they will inherit the earth." Matthew 5:5
Pride is perhaps one of the most difficult dragons to control, and once it's out of hand it will devour us like a small meal. If in the
pursuit of happiness man discovers the secrets to controlling this out-of-control beast, it will be humility that ultimately guides his
life back towards God. Next time you become proud of one of your accomplishments, or feel big because of your wealth or status,
glance over towards the graveyard... that's where the proud will be spending eternity.