Following is the second of weekly devotionals that will be posted throughout the Lenten season. May these reflections encourage and help you as you repent, reflect, and prepare to celebrate the resurrection of Christ. Thank you to Jimmie Massie for today’s post.
Pride goes before destruction; a haughty spirit before stumbling. —Proverbs 16:18
“Pride produced the first sin in the Garden, and pride always precedes every sinful stumbling in my life.” —A Gospel Primer, Milton Vincent
I’m in charge.
No to your rules.
This acronym exposes the heart of sin. Sin is more than our bad thoughts and deeds. It is a deep-seated belief that “I know what’s best for myself.” Sin sees the plans of the All-Knowing, All-Living, All-Powerful, All-Present, and All-Loving God and thinks “I can do better on my own!”
That’s how Eve felt in the Garden of Eden. That’s how Jonah felt as he took the first ship away from Nineveh. What Saul felt as he kept the spoils of his victory. What David felt when he saw Bathsheba. What Peter felt when his friendship with Jesus was questioned.
And that’s what we think when we sin. When we take care of ourselves first. When we lash out in anger. When we turn away from our neighbor’s suffering. When we indulge secret sins. When we gossip, or covet, or slander. We consider God’s will and say “I can do better on my own!” Sorry God. I’m in change. No to your rules.
Lent is a prime opportunity for God to break us of our pride and draw us nearer to Himself. Repentance admits our weakness, our foolishness, and our pride. More than that, it turns away from pride and commits to live for God.
And nothing better exposes our pride and humbles us than the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Jesus’ death shows us the terrible end of all our proud plans. And it proves to us the goodness of God’s plan for us – eternal life with Him.
“Pride wilts in the atmosphere of the gospel; and the more pride is mortified within me, the less frequent are my moments of sinful contention with God and with others. Conversely, humility grows lushly in the atmosphere of the gospel, and the more humility flourishes within me, the more I experience God’s grace along with the strengthening His grace provides.” (A Gospel Primer, Milton Vincent)
Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called . . . God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him . . . Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 1:26-31).
Where does your pride lead you to sin? How can you cultivate humility in that area?