[Papercut Press] 2006-07-05 - Summer Questions

2006 #6 ~ Pride

Jeremiah 49:16, "'As for the terror of you, the arrogance of your heart has deceived you, O you who live in the clefts of the rock, who occupy the height of the hill. Though you make your nest as high as an eagle's, I will bring you down from there', declares the Lord."

"I'm not sure if this is good for a devotional...That said, a nagging problem I have is pride, with the words of Nietzsche that Christianity is a slave morality as a backdrop to that. Do you have any thoughts on the matter?"

I'm not sure about the Nietzsche connection, but let us clear him to the side and then look briefly into the issue of pride. Nietzsche, in the late 19th century, advocated a nihilistic existentialism, which was completely opposed to the Christian faith. For him, the determiner of values and morality was not God, but rather the individual. He advocated an egoism that focused on self, at the expense of any altruism. We, ourselves, determine our own values for ourselves. The glaring disengagement of Nietzsche from Christian values and beliefs should be quite obvious.

While there is a loose connection between Nietzsche and Christianity on the issues of morality, it is only because both touch on the topic. That said, they view the grounds and practice of values and morals in a differing manner that can only be compared to the likeness of night and day.

The view of the Christian respecting pride can be examined helpfully by a brief glance into our spiritual poverty outside of Christ. Understanding that all that we have, are, and believe are gifts of God's grace will help to deepen our personal humility and swallow our pride. We are prone to fall into pride and think ourselves to be of eminent importance. Pride is the origin of the fall of Satan, as we see in Isaiah 14:13-15. Of the wicked, it is said that "pride is their necklace," Psalm 73:6. We all remember the old proverb, "Pride cometh before the fall." It has an even stronger wording in the Bible, where we find simply (literally translated), "Pride before destruction," Proverbs 16:18.

The Christian should have more of a tendency to fail to be dazzled with the splendor of his own abilities. He should be pone to overlook, with a sense of weakness, his own accomplishments. This is because, at the heart of things, the Christian knows that everything that is of worth in him, or done through him, is the result of grace. The Christian looks at his qualities, and they appear small, when he considers how far they fall short of what they should be. With such a view, even the best of our efforts vanish into nothing. This is not because our efforts are of no use, and our works have no significance, but rather it is because they become feeble when viewed in the light of Christ. All our excellencies have their root and foundation in Christ, and were it not for His infused mercy, the Christian could claim no good in himself.

Humility is not something that we force upon ourselves. It really is the new natural mindset of the follower of Christ. This started when we were made to know our need for redemption, and subsequently found ourselves coming to Christ, in faith, for forgiveness for our sins. We came as beggars. And beggars we remain, knowing that we began with Christ, and only progress through His sustaining grace. We make no boasts of our good heart, or gracious life, but we cast our crowns before the throne of God and freely acknowledge our need for His continued mercy.

Followers of Christ live on charity. We gather up the bounties of Heaven for our survival and progress. The Christian, even when things go well with him, knows that left to himself, he is foundationally poor and needy. However, that is fine, because being poor, the Christian, while resting in Christ, knows he is blessed. "Blessed are the poor in Spirit," Matthew 5:3.

Soli Deo Gloria,

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