Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Let Him Who Boasts....

I'm convinced...it's inevitable.  The day of humility in sports is rapidly coming to an end if it's not already dead.  Watching football stars arrogantly tout their own talent has become so passé.  What used to be considered a team sport, has now become another platform for people to showcase their own self-worth.  I  know I shouldn't be surprised by this concept, nor should I be surprised that the NFL had to actually institute a special penalty for "excessive celebration" in order to deal with this problem in an effective way.

So here comes the link.  Pride is actually the root of most sins.  Elevating 'self' to a disproportionate place and robbing God of his glory was in fact the very sin that put humanity on its downward spiral, and I suppose, some things never change.

I was reading 1 Corinthians 1:28-30 and was reminded by Paul of our human inadequacies.  We are a fallen people, riddled with doubts, insecurities, self-esteem & self-worth issues.  But instead of recognizing and accepting our shortfalls and acknowledging our dependance on God we turn to the horrible sin of pride to help us cope with our insufficiency.  When we see an area of our life that is in desperate need of change, instead of turning towards the cross for salvation, we turn towards other people and say, at least I'm not like them.  So, we no longer measure ourselves against the holiness of God (as scripture calls us to) but instead we measure ourselves against the holiness of other unholy creatures, struggling with the same inadequacies as we are.

But where does this leave us at the end of the day?  Can we honestly feel good about ourselves, simply because our life isn't as screwed up as that of someone else?  This seems so strange to me, like a football player who is completely satisfied with his sack of the opposing teams quarterback, even though his team is down by three touchdowns.  Why on earth would we accept our own sin on the basis that we are measuring our own success based on the life of other sinners.

Pride is the problem.  It manifests itself in many ways, but at root we are simply trying to be 'self-important.'  Like the sports star who could care less how his team is doing as long as he is having a game worthy of praise, we have become content with our sinful life simply because we are doing better than most.  However we are not called in scripture to 'do better than most' but are instead called to "be holy as Christ is holy." 

This problem came into play when we changed the rules of the game.  Call it human nature, or whatever you'd like, but no longer do we hold ourselves accountable to the standard which God (the creator of all things) set before the foundation of the earth, but instead we become comfortable playing by the rules which we have set on our own.  Rules which say,
yeah...this may not be the most God-honoring choice, but it could be worse, and God is forgiving...so I'll ask for forgiveness later after I've had my fun.
This becomes a very dangerous game, and yet we play it all of the time without thinking of the biblical or eternal ramifications of playing by our own rules.  The bible is full of warnings about how God views the proud.  One example which sticks out most to me is Jeremiah 9:23-24:
[23] Thus says the LORD: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, [24] but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the LORD.”
We have a tendency to forget who is really in control.  We seem to think that we have earned a throne of our own.  We have placed ourselves in the center of our own lives.  We look at our own kingdoms, our own domains, our own fortresses and we convince ourselves that we are doing a fine job being the god of our own lives...but this couldn't be farther from the truth.  The sad reality is, that in our efforts of being self-sustaining we are in reality hardening our hearts towards God.  We were not created to be self-sufficient or self-reliant.  We were created to be dependent on God.  We were created to be fulfilled by God and God alone, and only in Him can we find our true joy, peace and worth.

Christians, let's break this evil cycle of self-reliance.  Let's make it a point to not be like the football players we see on Sunday afternoons.  The kind of people who could care less how our team is doing as long as we look good in the process.  This is a facade, and in reality what we have convinced ourselves is providing us joy and self-worth is actually pulling us further and further away from God.  Let us think biblically and eternally about the choices we make and strive, as scripture says, to be holy.  Let us make it our habitual prayer that God will bring us to a place where we don't boast in ourselves, but instead boast in the fact that we understand and know God, that HE is the LORD who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth, so that he may delight in us.  And let us always have a faithful and God-honoring response to the question:

Do you feel most loved by God because he makes much of you or because he frees you to enjoy making much of him forever?

For His Glory,


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