Friday, May 31, 2013

Lust, Pride, and Power (Part 2)

Photo: Pedro Gandra (Unsplash)


Pride can come in different forms and sizes. It can be seen as a small issue to some people, but when you get to the root of the issue, pride is a big ugly mess. It makes us put on this front that we are totally in control of everything that goes on in our lives. We are in control, and we are the boss of our lives. Pride paints this mirage of us being greater than ourselves when deep inside we know we have little power of our own. In Romans 1, Paul describes what pride is and gives some of the things it does for believers in Christ and those who don't believe in Christ. The effects are the same for both, but for those who don't believe in Christ, the consequences are much greater, and I'll explain that later on.


Romans 1: 28 says:

"Because they did not think it worthwhile to acknowledge God, God delivered them over to a worthless mind to do what is morally wrong."
Like what was mentioned in Part 1, people began to idolize the things that God created rather than worshiping Him. Because they didn't acknowledge God's power and holiness, God delivered them to a worthless mind. Worthless means to have no good qualities and deserving contempt, disgrace, or disobedience. They wander away from God until all traces of His truth is far from their minds. This doesn't mean that they don't that the bad things that they are doing is bad; they are fully aware of all of the bad decisions that they do. This means that they know that what they are doing is bad, but instead of turning away from their sins, they do what is bad to please themselves rather than God. People live their lives to the fullest, indulging in their desires, when deep down they know that one day they will be judges by the One they rejected (Romans 1:32). God, being just, allows them to freely choose to disobey Him. He won't force Himself on anyone.


Because of their worthless minds, they do anything and everything that is in opposition to God, His holiness and His goodness. Verses twenty-nine through thirty-one states:

"They are filled with all unrighteousness, evil, greed, and wickedness. They are full of envy, murder, quarrels, deceit, and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, arrogant, proud, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, and unmerciful."
Everything that are mentioned in these verses are against God's nature (Galatians 5:22-26). It's not a coincidence that the words "proud" and "boastful" are in the center of these verses. All of the other things that are mentioned stem from pride and boasting. 

There are two types of pride, but really they are the same. The first type comes from having an esteemed position. This can be a good thing, because it's okay to be proud of the work that you have done. However, this pride can turn very ugly when we start to feel that we are entitled to the finer things in life - the mansions, cars, money, etc. Along with this we begin to feel that everything good that has happened to us was done by ourselves and God had nothing to do with it. Evil happens as a result of God allowing it to take place. (I'll talk more about this type of pride in Part 3, dealing with power)


The second type of pride comes from people who really don't have much authority but tries to fake like they do until they actually have some sort of power. They'll do whatever it takes to get to the next level, whether it be with a job that their working, wanting higher grades in school, more money - the list goes on. They're never fulfilled with their chase, but pride causes them to never seek God for His guidance or trust in Him (see Proverbs 3:5-6). 


A final thing about pride is that it is directly connected to lust. Idolizing things of this world - things leading to arrogance and pride in self - produces pride. Lust and pride go hand in hand, just like pride and power; however, the Holy Spirit gives us the power to not yield to temptation. In the Garden of Eden, Eve was tempted by Satan to eat fruit from a tree that God had told Adam not to eat from. Eve saw that the fruit was pleasing to eat (lust), and then when Satan told her that she would become like God she decided to eat the fruit, knowing that what she was doing was wrong (pride). In contrast, Jesus Christ was also tempted by Satan for 40 days, all in the same ways (Mt. 4:1-11; Mk. 1:12-13; Lk. 4:1-13). He was offered bread to feed his flesh, offered all of the kingdoms of the world, and was tempted to prove that he was the Messiah. Instead of yielding, Jesus resisted Satan by using the word of God. 



Some take-away points:

  • How have you allowed pride to take over your life? 
  • What are you chasing after? Is it the things of this world, or is it God?
  • Where does your pride come from? Is it from having an authoritative position and failing to give honor to God, or is it that you're taking matters in your own hands to be in a position that God hasn't placed you in?