Pride lied: “I hide what you cannot confide”

Have you ever had things about yourself that elicited such deep shame for you that you would do anything to remove the blemish they created? I have had many things; things that I felt compelled to cover up.

Envy has been one of them. Inside I was saying I want to be like you; I despise who I am because I am not what I think I should be. Since I can not be the version of me that I want to be, I will try to be everything that is attractive about you. This is my last hope of being special.

Gluttony has been another sin I felt consumed by, and yet unable to confess. I spent years of my life thinking of food as my first object. When I woke up in the morning I was set on preparing the meal I had went to sleep planning for myself. I refused to turn to God for comfort when I was grieved. I also refused to let Him be the center of my interest when I knew I lacked something meaningful to live for.

Idolatry figured largely in my addiction to food, but it was also fed by other things when that wasn’t the first thing on my mind. I was convinced that God could not be everything to me, so I made myself an indentured servant to other gods that seemed to offer more pleasure than I could get with Him by means that were more desirable to me.

Or how about gossip? This was just one more of those sins that other people were guilty of; guilt that God’s grace could not be enough to cover in my place. I believed that He and I just expected too much of myself for me to go ahead and engage in such crude and common behavior. Imagine my surprise when I began to realize that the intentions of my heart in conversation was not as pristine as I thought!

Add to this list self-righteousness, judgment, fear, jealousy, hate, and all the evidences of a lack of love and you should have no shortage of things to chew on. But this sin-celebration wouldn’t be complete without the cake that holds all these brightly burning candles in place. The reason why I could not trust God in what He wanted to do in my heart was because my pride.

I would not let Him reveal to me my true appearance. I could not allow Him to remove my sand foundation from beneath me and insist that He build me up on a foundation of rock. I would need to be too vulnerable if I could not depend on my appearance. God wanted me to take on His appearance, but that offer wasn’t worth it to me if I couldn’t look beautiful for who I was without Him.

Have you ever had a trial that put pride to death in serious ways? For the past six months I have gotten to know just how creative God can be in unbinding the fetters of our idols and setting us free to worship only Him. Though it has been the hardest thing I have gone through so far, it has been necessary to my growth in Christ, necessary to my understanding of the gospel, necessary to reflecting the image of the Only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

Things were great, and then it bit me!

Have you ever heard someone comment after another has experienced some measure of success, “Well, he/she sure got a big head!” Or maybe the sentiment was voiced in a cautionary tone: “Now watch that all this doesn’t go to your head!” In these two examples it is evident that pride can be a fearfully unattractive quality. Yet, there is another assumption here that I would like to deal with here: Pride is something that springs up, suddenly becoming a temptation for us when blessing and prosperity come our way its tag-alongs — praise, prestige and power.

Though prosperity certainly does present a threat to our souls, it is more like a gift that must be handled with the utmost care. A great portion of our knowledge of how to handle blessing must be learned in the midst of it — much the same as the instruction we receive in trials.

We should not be afraid of prosperity; if it reveals our pride, it has done its job. This is not to say that pride’s exposure is its only purpose for being a part of our lives — it is a blessing to us in so many other ways. It showcases such things as the Father’s love, His generosity, His faithfulness, His boundless imagination and His kindness. But to the degree that it reveals sin that has long since lingered in our hearts, it makes the unceasing mercies of our Lord more precious and more astonishing.

We realize that God is not out to punish us for our sin, but to uncover it that we may freely repent and be cleansed of it. Eagerness to find our sin and destroy our dignity was never God’s method. He cannot ignore our sin because everything we do wrong is against Him. He is seeking to reconcile us when He opens our eyes to what He sees that we might not demand from Him His holy discipline.

So when we see our sin we should not fail to see His mercy there too. Not that we should make light of us in our sin, but that we should make much of Him in His holiness. I know that it is a mistake that I have made too many times: I have tried to create an artificial sobriety over my sin by meditating on it. I didn’t realize that only Christ could make my heart both eager for holiness that begins with Him and appropriately sorrowful for sin that dismisses Him altogether.

But recently I have come to the realization that my sinful response can make bad come of anything. But the problem is with me and not with the undeserved gifts that I enjoy from the hand of God. Nothing is bad for me but serves to reveal the corruption in me that I should be constantly aware that is at the mercy of God that I stand and not in the endurance or plenty of what surrounds me.

When wrong is righter than right

I don’t know why I didn’t realize until now that perfectionism was such a pride thing. But, when a sin so consumes me like that, it will naturally keep me from recognizing anything that is apart from sin — anything that is holy.

When I make a sin like pride my shelter I need no other. And being so confident that this is the only place for me, I will behave defensively toward anything that threatens my position and respectability in remaining there in that hiding place. When this is how I carry out my life, how can I be surprised that the ways of God should regularly seem to be against me?

You Call This Beautiful?

I have become convinced that my life will never be pretty — at least not according to the guidelines that I believe make something beautiful. Too many things have been broken — including my pride — and through it all God is making me understand that so much of what I would like to hold onto really doesn’t matter.

I don’t have to be the most popular person among the people I know, I don’t have to have the most enviable life, family, friends, or social engagements. I can just be grateful for and enjoy what specific blessings God has given me, and not charge Him with wrong, for the ones that seem to yet elude me.

I wasn’t born with a picture-perfect package, but I am not a picture-perfect person. I need the life- and family-package that God has given me to mold me into a person who does not cling to outward displays of perfection, but one who is able to accept trials from the Lord and still bless His name.

I need to have tribulations that make me long for heaven so much it hurts and tests that make me question why and for whom I live. I need to have pressures that teach me what to let go of and Who I must hold onto.

In life there really is no either/or propositions when it comes to experiencing true, abounding life. I must abide in Christ. I must choose to cling to Him no matter what He allows to come my way. Why? Because I have no other choice — to live I must choose Life.

Important Work

I wanted to find myself complete — all by myself; for, I thought a girl who lacks is a girl who loses. Loses her chance at admiration, friends, success and acclaim. I lived to prove I had no missing pieces, no empty places on the inside. I thought I was worth knowing, if I could prove it.

Needless to say, I have always felt compelled to perform and impress. I could not understand how it was possible for me to just be me and still expect to have friends.

Why would I worry about this? I don’t have all the answers to that, but I do know the these fears are real for every person at some level. And I think that we experience these insecurities in proportion to the extent that we pursue Christ and the person He has called us to be. If that be true, than what Christ is doing in us is important. It is a job we could not do for ourselves; a work that we cannot even glimpse the end of because all we have to go on is the past.

So we trust God with what He is doing, and who we become as His transformation continues.