Sunday, September 25, 2011

A Picture of Pride

“Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like." James 1:23-24

Pride is just like Vanity... both are false reflections. We can’t see what's really behind them and that's their purpose - they show us only what we want to see. Ever met someone with so much make-up or such a pretty outfit that it made it hard to see the person behind it all?

Pride dresses up our lives in a way that makes it hard for us to see the truth, even and especially about ourselves. Yet because we can see a reflection, we think we are seeing ourselves as we really are. But to get a proper view of ourselves, we have to stop looking at our own reflection.

The Bible talks about us looking at ourselves in different a mirror – The Word. Jesus.1 This 'mirror' doesn’t reflect our image back to us, it reflects Jesus, exposing the distortions in the image we have of ourselves, and giving us eyes to see how we really are behind the pride that would like to leave us the same way we started. The pride that keeps us from needing Jesus.

Whether puffed up or completely deflated, we simply can not change if we rely on our own reflection to evaluate ourselves2. We will either unnecessarily find fault in others or condone behaviour, comparing it all to our own image. Pride keeps ourselves at the centre and requires everyone else measures up to our standards.

No wonder He resists the proud and give grace to the humble3.

How magnificent is the Cross of Christ? When see the Word and accept it, we see that He (the Word) took our failings, everything about ourselves that we try to hide, dress-up, re-write, puff up and keep up - He took upon Himself, saying “I will bear this for you. I will not leave you with your own reflection, but instead, I will have yours so that you can have Mine". And so, contrary to perception, this sober view of our lives ends not with gloom but with utter joy... For if we will let go of our nature, the Lord will give us His.

When Jacob wrestled with God, God would not bless him until Jacob was honest and stopped hiding his nature behind a labyrinth of lies and a cloak of excuses and pride. "What's your name?"4 God asked. Up until then, Jacob had called himself all sorts of other names - Esau and Son of Rebekah, disguising the fact that his real name was supplanter, deceiver. But the moment he was honest with God about who he was, "Jacob" he said (grabber, supplanter, deceiver, yes that's me Lord) then the Lord touched Jacob and changed him. God gave Jacob a new name, and a new nature. The man who had deceived Esau and been afraid of him, became the man who humbly went out to meet his brother and make amends.

If we want to see God clearly, we can't continue to live in deception about ourselves. And the fabulous news is that when we come out from our hiding place, and lay down our Pride, He makes us into people, who no longer have to hide.

1.      John 1:1
2.      James 1:23-24
3.      1 Peter 5:5
4.      Genesis 32-33

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