The greatest threat to our relationship with the living God is not the government. It is not another religion. It is not the secular influences of our culture. The greatest threat to our lives is our own pride.
Pride is at the root of all of our sins and rebellion against a living God. Each of us struggles with it. Pride is so deadly, that we can find ourselves justifying the presence of it in our lives. Pride at its root is nothing more than the attitude that you or I know better. We know better than God. We are better than others. It serves as the basis for our judgment of others.
The writer Luke shares the interaction that Jesus has with those who were invited to a meal at the home of a prominent Pharisee. This story reveals the evil of pride as it is manifested in the lives of those who were dining with Jesus. He writes:
Now it happened, as He went into the house of one of the rulers of the Pharisees to eat bread on the Sabbath, that they watched Him closely. And behold, there was a certain man before Him who had dropsy. And Jesus, answering, spoke to the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?”But they kept silent. And He took him and healed him, and let him go. Then He answered them, saying, “Which of you, having a donkey or an ox that has fallen into a pit, will not immediately pull him out on the Sabbath day?” And they could not answer Him regarding these things. (Luke 14:1-6 NKJV)
When we look at the attitudes and actions of these religious people who were eating with Jesus, it is easy to pass judgment on them. But, we need to use this story as a mirror to our own souls. When that occurs, we will see that we are no different than these religious leaders. Notice five component of a life that is dominated by pride.
1. It sees people as nothing more than objects.
The man, who suffered from dropsy, was nothing more than a pawn to serve the purposes of the Pharisees. They had no concern for his personal well-being. Their concern was discrediting Jesus. Pride is so focused on self and what self wants. People become the means by which self is gratified. They are nothing more than objects.
2. It sees misfortunes of others as the judgment of God.
Dropsy was a condition where the body swelled due to water retention. It is a symptom of a greater health issue. Such a visible sign of a health problem brought the condemnation of others. The problem would be seen as the judgment of God. Pride views the misfortune of others as the judgment of God. It automatically assumes the worse of another person.
3. It views its experiences and opinions as trumping God’s word.
Jesus asks the Pharisees and religious experts if the Law forbids healing on the Sabbath. They refused to answer him. This was partly due the fact that Jesus’ question revealed their error. They went beyond the Law with their traditions in forbidding healing on the Sabbath. They placed their traditions above the word of God. Pride says that it knows better than God what one should do in a given circumstance.
4. It exists with a double standard.
Jesus points out their hypocrisy in that they would not hesitant to help their donkey or ox if it was in harm’s way on the Sabbath. Yet they strongly felt that it was wrong to help someone with a health issue on the Sabbath. They had two standards. They held others to a strict standard, but they held themselves to another less strict standard. Pride views itself as the exception to any standard or rule.
5. It cannot see what God is doing.
Pride is so self-absorbed that it misses what God is doing around it. These Pharisees missed the beauty and blessing of seeing a man healed of a major health issue. All they saw was their precious man-made rules being broken. Pride blinds us from seeing the reality of God in our lives.
It is incumbent upon us to take a long hard look at our own lives. Each of us suffers from pride. It is reflected in our actions and attitudes. Pray that the Lord would reveal to us the wickedness of our own hearts. Ask him to lead you in the path of humility.
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