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I want to begin this Memorial Day post by honoring those who sacrificed their lives to keep this country free and thanking their families. May the Lord bless and comfort you.

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What does every person on earth possess that God does not?

A great many things. And a host of them are sinful. Premier among them, if that may be said, is pride.

But God? God is not proud at all.

Think with me for a moment. If any being had a right to boast about what he had accomplished, God would be that being. How is this for starters? He created everything that exists, including you. He gives life to all living things. He created a universe and world where everything works together in an orderly way. (Some quantum mechanics physicists may disagree!) He knows everything. There is nothing He cannot do. Finally, He, the Creator, sacrificed Himself for everyone’s sins and, if they believe, will save them from eternal death. Is He proud of what He has done? No. He is humble and lowly in heart.

In contrast, we, who are incomprehensibly weak in comparison to Him, have no problem whatsoever crowing about the relatively diminutive things we accomplish. This creates a rather large problem. The Lord hates pride.

Why does He hate it? He hates it because it is destructive to us. Pride is detrimental because it keeps Christians from living in the liberating, faith-thriving truth that God is the king, the ruler, and the one who controls everything—and we are not. Living as a Christian with God as king is a blessing for us. In His great love, He knows exactly what we need and when we need it. Pride, instead, leads us into the damaging error that we think we know what we need and when we need it, and thus will endeavor with all our strength to work our will to stay in control. We become frustrated. Angry. Even faithless. In truth, Christians are strengthened in faith and edified when they glorify the Lord. The Holy Spirit gives witness in our hearts that this is right and true. We find ourselves in agreement with God when we glorify Him.

In addition, pride is unlike God because it is unloving. It drives us to think we are superior to others, and we are happy to demonstrate it. We are intelligent and quite able, aren’t we? We’re probably smarter than most, aren’t we? “I can conquer this, and I will prove it to you. I can do this. I can make this happen.” Christians have mimicked the world in this, misusing scriptural truths. For example, we love to quote, “I can do all things through him who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).1 But think about this. Can you really do all things through Jesus? No, you can’t. It is an empty, unscriptural boast. This verse is ripped out of context from a passage where Paul wrote that whether he was experiencing difficulty or abundance, he had learned to be content.

Another verse Christians shout is, “All things are possible for one who believes” (Mark 9:23b). This is direct quote from Jesus. But we need to ask, “Believes in what? Believes that something I want to happen will happen?” This is off target. We need to couple Mark 9:23 with Jesus’ statement, “With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God” (Mark 10:27). It is true that God can do anything. Is He able to heal your sickened body? Of course. All things are possible for Him. We should believe that truth. Will He heal your sickened body? Perhaps not. Just because you believe all things are possible for the Lord and that He can do anything doesn’t mean He will.

Another slogan we like to say is, “We can change the world.” This is direct rip-off from the American culture. It is a vague, mindless statement. Can you “change the world”? Well, you can go outside and prune a tree and “change the world.” But believer, you cannot change anything at all of eternal value in this world. Only God can do that.

We must understand these things because here is what is to come:

“The LORD of hosts has purposed it, to defile the pompous pride of all glory, to dishonor all the honored of the earth. (Isaiah 23:9).

“Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted” (Matthew 23:12).

This is a judgment that we bring upon ourselves. At a certain time, which only He knows, He will say, “I have shown you the truth. Yet you continued to boast in yourself, your knowledge, and your deeds. I have opposed you. Yet you would not hear and obey. You will be humbled. You will be dishonored.”

Father, help us to humble ourselves before You. Rebuke and restrain us when we boast in ourselves. Teach us the way of humility.

 

1 All Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

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