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Mankinds Ten Worst Enemies: #1 Pride
We have a proclivity to think of individuals and nations as our adversaries when they present a threat to our personal or national well being. But, I submit, that our greatest adversary is Satan and he makes his assaults from within not without. It is an inside covert operation.
We have all heard people boast of all the things they do not do. What they often omit is what it is they do do. We all do something. Some of us engage in the same acts of others but we do it in a more subtle or different way. We may not drink, but we overeat. We may not murder physically, but we murder spiritually. We may not abuse a child, but we abuse those of a different ethnic group. We may not curse, but we demean and degrade others. Our pride blinds us to our failings. We seem hell bent on making ourselves look good to ourselves and feel good about ourselves and think God is satisfied with us. Some of us have never truly prayed but merely stood in the presence of a god we have created, because we refuse to see ourselves for what we really are. Pride is based in a real desire to be God and to be worshipped.
What does Scripture have to say on the issue of pride?
A man's pride brings him low... (Proverbs 29:23a)
Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. (Proverbs 16:18)
The pride of thine heart hath deceived thee... (Obadiah 1:3)
This shall they have for their pride, because they have reproached and magnified themselves against the people of the LORD of hosts. (Zephaniah 2:10)
When pride cometh, then cometh shame... (Proverbs 11:2)
Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil. (1Timothy 3:6)
Before his downfall a man's heart is proud... (Proverbs 18:12a)
For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. (1 John 2:16)
Better to be lowly in spirit and among the oppressed than to share plunder with the proud. (Proverbs 16:19)
What we so often fail to realize is that we need God to discipline us and draw us closer to Him that we might feel our status as creatures. God is the Creator and we are the creatures. We need God, He does not need us. As Robert Brown points out, We know we need God because even when we strive to be humble, to the extent that we are successful, we become aware of how humble we are, and, regardless of how hard we try, we are unable to avoid the thought that we are "good" because we are so humble. Surely God must be pleased by our humility.
Well, what has happened here? We have become proud of being humble. So then the question becomes does our recognition of this solve our problem? Of course the answer is no, because even when we are aware of this fact, we are in danger of being proud of the fact that we recognize that we were being proud of being humble. Thus, we cannot escape this evil of pride without God's intervention. It is only when we stand in His holy presence do we come to an understanding of who we are and who He is. Satan, God's most formidable enemy, will have us believing we are more than what we are. And, only God can defeat the enemy within: pride.
Rev. Saundra L. Washington, D.D., is an ordained clergywoman, veteran social worker, and Founder of AMEN Ministries. She is also the author of two coffee table books: Room Beneath the Snow: Poems that Preach and Negative Disturbances: Homilies that Teach which can be reviewed on her site. Her new book, Out of Deep Waters: My Grief Management Workbook, is expected to be available soon.
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