"The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogance and the evil way and the froward mouth I hate...." (Proverbs 8:13)
"Everyone who is proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD: though they join forces, none will go unpunished." (Proverbs 16:5).
Deep within the heart of every man exists a darkness, a demon, a foul disease. It is an evil that lodges in each and every one of us and distinguishes not between men, whether rich or poor, free or slave. The rich man, who looks down on the poor and boasts of his wealth, is in bondage to it. The poor man, who likewise despises the rich and views his poverty as injustice and a barrier to his rightful due, is controlled by it. The free man and the slave are also co-laborers beneath its miserable yoke. It is a universal cancer; it is ungodly pride.
It was pride that reached out the hand in the Garden to take of the forbidden fruit. It was pride which formed the foundation of the infamous Tower, and pride that laid its every stone, one upon the other. It was pride that moved David to number his troops and to trust in the sword and the chariot rather than in his God. Pride kept the Israelites in the wilderness for forty years. Pride drove Nebuchadnezzar from his throne and deprived him of his sanity. Pride brought the Apostle Peter low. Pride ate the heart of Pilate with worms. Pride crucified the Lord of Glory and brought destruction upon Jerusalem. Rightly does the Scripture declare, "Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall" (Proverbs 16:18).
Beware of this consuming cancer; check its spread before it overruns your whole person. Never entertain the thought that perchance you are immune from such a dread disease. Pride is at first a shadow that seeks to elude our notice; it feeds upon ignorance and draws strength from blindness. "You do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked" (Revelation 3:17), was the chastisement of Christ against the prideful Laodiceans. Yet, once discovered, pride becomes a roaring beast that will fight its eradication with tooth and claw. Fervent prayer and sweat and tears will prove this adversary not unconquerable. However, neither begin to speculate that, once discovered and strived against, that it has gone into remission and cannot assault you afresh. "...Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees...." (Matthew 16:11)
"Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith" (2 Corinthians 13:5). Further, examine the standard by which you examine yourself. Is it by the infallible Word of God, or is it by your own sentiments and your own self-love that you judge yourself.? Do not even stop there; examine also your interpretation of the standard of the Word. Is it according to truth, or is it according to your own depravity?
Always remain suspicious of yourself, of your own righteous deeds and of your knowledge, yea, of your own humility- too easily you may begin to find your righteousness and knowledge grounds for praise, and your humility itself a source of pride. Maintain a constant mistrust regarding yourself, and never rest upon anything but the mercy of the Father and the Blood of His Son for your justification. Therein lies your only source of hope and assurance.
Heed also the words of Jesus Christ:"... Why do you look at the speck in your brother's eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me remove the speck from your eye' ; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye." (Matthew 7:3-5).
The intent of our Lord in this passage was not to distinguish between sins or to class them by degrees or magnitude, this one a plank, and that one but a speck. Rather, His exhortation was to make us mindful first of the sin that dwells nearest unto us before we notice that which is afar. What business have you in rebuking your brother and making known his shortcomings, when so great and numerous are your own? The sin that putrefies our own home is to seem to us of more import and ever more odious than that which putrefies our neighbor's home. Though our nostrils, having grown accustomed to the stench in which we ourselves dwell, may often be more sensitive to that to which we are temporarily exposed, we are instructed by Christ to search diligently to find the sin within ourselves before that which is in others. And when we have so discovered one sin, there is yet another that eludes our gaze and must be rooted out. So endless is this task and so consuming this duty, that scarcely have we time to assist our brother in his own search.
Pride is quick to see the faults of others but slow to focus upon the faults of the very heart in which it has taken residence. In reading this article, notice how quickly your mind has envisioned someone other than yourself to which these descriptions apply. Notice the exultation that you have begun to feel rise up within your heart in knowing that the prideful man has at last been discovered and exposed publicly. Indeed he has been; he is you:"... All of you be submissive to one another., and be clothed with humility, for 'God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.' Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time...." (1 Peter 5:5-6)
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