Pride will bring you low

Pride

Proverbs 29:23  One’s pride will bring him low, but he who is lowly in spirit will obtain honor.

Pride is one of those things in our lives that can go undetected, unchecked, and unsuspected for a long time.  We may think we’re doing just fine by behaving the way we are, never even having so much as a hint that we’re being driven by our own pride.  Then it happens.

It’s interesting how much easier it is to see pride in someone else’s life than it is in our own.  When someone comes crashing down after they let their pride guide them in all their decisions, we have an “I saw it coming” attitude, but when it happens to us it’s always a surprise.  The old illustration of boiling a frog seems appropriate here.  If you put a frog in hot water, he’ll jump out, but if you put him in room temperature water and increase the heat little by little, you’ll boil him.  Pride creeps into our lives in this way, not all at once, but a little bit at a time.  One selfish decision leads to another and so on.

But it can’t go on forever.  Everyone who is led by their pride will eventually fall and when they do it would have been better for them to bring themselves down in humility than to face the consequences of their pride.  We have many chances along the way to check our pride and make sure we humbly put it aside.  It’s better to do it voluntarily than to be brought low without warning.  Following the example of Christ will help us in this endeavor.

Jesus, the high priest

Who is Jesus?

Hebrews 5:5  So also Christ did not exalt himself to be made a high priest, but was appointed by him who said to him,“You are my Son, today I have begotten you”

In the days of the Old Testament priests, a sacrifice was made on behalf of the people by the High Priest.  This would atone for their sins for the period of one year.  In this way the priest brought God and man together.

Jesus is the perfect High Priest because He serves as both the priest and the sacrifice.  He brings God and man together by the shedding of His own blood, not that of an animal.  The sacrifice of this perfect Lamb is once and for all, not just to atone for a limited period of time.

Jesus didn’t appoint Himself to the position of High Priest, but He’s the only one who can fill the role perfectly.  Unlike all other High Priests who had to offer sacrifices for their own sins as well as those of the people, Jesus can atone for our sins by offering His own life in the place of ours.  And that’s just what He did.

Pride goes before destruction

Pride

Proverbs 16:18 Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.

Have you ever witnessed someone who seemed to have it all together suddenly tumble down from their high position, whether that means losing respect, losing money, or losing everything?  Beware of pride lest that be you in the future.  Pride has killed many giants, and it’s the root of many sins.

Things like lust, arrogance, anger issues, disrespect, irreverence for God, divorce, lawsuits, and many others on a long list can often be traced back to their roots in pride.  For so many of us, pride is not something we see in ourselves until it’s too late.  We carry on our lives without realizing that what drives us is our self-pride.  We ruin relationships, step on others, cheat, abuse, and sin all because of pride…and we don’t even realize it because we’re blind to it.

But if we ask God to open our eyes, to keep us from pride and to help us repent, He’ll show us the way.  Pride does come before destruction, but the good news is that we don’t have to remain prideful.  We can’t get over the problem of pride on our own, we have to turn to Jesus, but His power is sufficient to relieve us and bring us back to a humble demeanor under His grace.

Jesus, the friend

Who is Jesus?

John 15:15  No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.

Can Jesus really be your friend?  The Creator of the universe, your BFF?  Well, it all depends really.  The first thing that needs to be pointed out is that we do not get to decide if we’re friends of Jesus.  He chooses us, not the other way around (John 15:16).

Secondly, there are stipulations to being a friend of God.  “If you do what I command you,” He says (John 15:14).  With Christ we don’t get a genie in a bottle who we can manipulate to get what we want.  We get a loving God who cares about us but expects us to give our lives to Him.

Are you a friend of God?  Is your whole life His?  You don’t get to take your ball and go home in this friendship if you don’t like what you’re hearing.  If the Lord of all chose you as His friend, you’re never going to be apart from Him.  In good times and in bad, He’s by your side.  When you need Him, He’s there.  When you fall, He’ll pick you up.  And best of all, He gave His life for you.  There’s no greater love than that (John 15:13).

Fear of death

Fear

Luke 12:4  I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do.

One of the biggest fears we tend to have as humans is that of the unknown.  The powerless feeling that comes from not knowing what is going to happen can be terrifying.  Nowhere is this feeling of helplessness more evident than in the fear of death.  Many people fear death because they don’t know, and think we can’t know, what happens next.

But we can know what happens after this life.  God has revealed to us in His Word that we will live on eternally after this life, either in heaven with Him or in hell apart from Him.  Fear of death then, becomes less about not knowing what will happen and more about fear of going to hell.

Christians have no reason to fear death.  If we are in Christ, we know that we will go on to live with Him in glory.  To live is Christ and to die is gain for the believer.  We can know where we’re going after this life is over and if it’s into eternal fellowship with God, then there’s no reason to be afraid of dying.  Christ’s sacrificial death paid for our eternal life.

Jesus, the redeemer

Who is Jesus?

Colossians 1:13-14 He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son,  in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

You and I were once under the wrath of God, helpless to free ourselves from the state we found ourselves in.  We were enemies of God and we never could have done anything to appease Him.  It was beyond our ability to reach out to Him.

But God, in an act of amazing grace, reached out to us.  He extended His hand in peace by offering His Son to die in our place.  His perfect, sinless Son became our sin and paid the price we owed.  And He set us free.  He redeemed us.  Do you understand the term redeemer?  Do you realize the weight it carries?

A redeemer is one who buys something or someone back, say out of slavery or bondage for example.  An Old Testament picture of the redeemer concept is given in the book of Ruth when Boaz redeems Ruth out of her widowhood.  Jesus became our Redeemer which means He purchased us at a price.  Now we belong to Him.  We’re His.  But belonging to Christ is where true freedom is found.  It’s in Him that we really find life.

No one can ever take us away from our Redeemer.  Once Jesus has paid the price for you, you’re His, once and for all.  We can never lose Him and He’ll never leave us.