Made in His image.

Made in His image.
Photos courtesy Jan Ethridge Photography

Tuesday, October 14, 2014


When I was in elementary school I tried ice-skating for a bit. I remember after one of my competitions coming back to school and telling all of my friends and teachers that I'd won 3rd place!! What I conveniently left out of my story was that there were, in fact, only two other people that competed with me in that category. It was a minor detail that I didn't really feel needed to be shared:)

As a dancer and choreographer, there is a certain amount of pride that comes in seeing a work come together. To see the dancers flawlessly execute the moves they've been practicing for weeks, to see beautiful costumes that were stitched by hand shimmer in the stage lighting and swirl over legs moving in unison, and (in especially blessed moments) to watch an audience lean slightly more forward in their seat as they connect with what's going on in the piece.....and then erupt in loud, thunderous applause as the final note fades!..........Okay, I let myself get carried away for a minute:)

In our careers, we take pride in the projects that took months of planning and finally came together, the deals that closed, the awards presented, the new discoveries made, the endeavors fully-funded. As parents, we have pride in our children and all of their accomplishments as they learn and grow into their own independent persons. (I remember the pride of being able to tell the daycare teachers, "Yes, our child IS in fact potty trained!" ....Hallelujah!). 

Pride doesn't always have to be wrong. It can be an attractive virtue when it continues to throw the praise upwards. As our pastor reminded us last Sunday, God desires that we have a healthy self-esteem. We are the apex of God's creation! I have value because my Creator loves me! Jesus calls us, as believers, His sisters and brothers! After all, if we fall into the snare of thinking we're nothing, we can live and act like we're nothing.(Take a look at the root of most addictions).

So what then, does it look like when pride becomes a sin?

In Proverbs 16:18 it says, "Pride comes before disaster and arrogance before a fall." That wisp of arrogance was the first sin in the garden. When Eve was made to believe by the serpent that eating that fruit wouldn't really bring the death the Lord warned was really that God just didn't want her to become His equal. (Wrong!)

You see God, in His infinite wisdom and deep love for us had tried to protect His two children from pain and from death with a simple command. But in that moment that Eve held the fruit to her lips, whether she was thinking it or not, her actions were saying, "I know better."

And there it is. The wrong kind of pride is self-serving. It's a haughtiness, a self-esteem that is NOT in order. It is deadly to ourselves and ultimately self-destructive whether we experience that end result in this lifetime or the next.

The world doesn't understand the problem. Go ahead and build yourself up (even if it means a few white lies, everyone does it). Seek money first and the rest of happiness will follow. Worldly whims are the ruler of the day.

But the system is broken. Because God says to seek HIM first (Matthew 6:33). Jesus tells us to store up our treasures in heaven where moth and thief can't reach (Matthew 6:20). The worst kind of pride replaces the Creator with the created. It acknowledges our need for redemption zero times a day. The bad kind of pride causes impatience within ourselves against others. It annihilates relationships and if left unchecked can be a seed for idolatry, deception, and all kinds of arrogance. The irony of pride is that it leads us to envy. In our self-serving ways, we start to covet what others have instead of rejoicing for them and having thankful hearts.

James reminds us to submit ourselves to God (chapter 4). Philippians chapter 2 says, "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves,  not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father." (NIV)
Pride prevents us from confessing our sins because we don't see the need. It prevents us from saying we were wrong. It prevents us from saying there is One who knows better; who deserves to be Lord over EVERY aspect of our lives; who deserves ALL the glory, and in whom we can boast.
As Beth Moore will tell you, and I'm paraphrasing, 'I'd rather fall on my knees myself in humility, than be pushed there as a result of my pride."
Lord, let all that we do and accomplish through our ministry point the glory directly back to you. Lord give us humble and thankful hearts and let each of us think more highly of others than ourselves. Help us to love each other as You taught us how to love.
To watch the entire sermon on pride click the link below from Niceville UMC's website.

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