People may be right in their own eyes, but the Lord examines the heart. Proverbs 21:2
This was the very last verse in my daily Scripture reading today. One thing that I have been hearing from God during my time in devotion lately is a warning against spiritual pride. We don’t talk about pride much in the church. We are good at ranting on materialism and sexual sin, but pride is not something we often discuss. Yet, pride might be one of the most destructive sins of all.
Here is the thing, even when we do the wrong thing, we fail to admit it. We justify our actions through rationalization or from comparison. We easily shift the blame to circumstance or to others.
Spiritual pride is another matter. Many of us are so convinced we have God figured out. We know we got a direct pipeline to him. We become offended when anyone might challenge our assumptions of what we believe to be from God. We may not necessarily say it, but we believe in our heart we are never wrong.
Are you in a place where you are teachable? Are you open to correction or admonition? Unfortunately, our pride prevents us from really hearing what God has to say to us because we think we already know what he has told us.
I have learned that as much as I grow and mature, there is still so much more that I have to learn. The more I come to know, the more humble I become because I realize there is so much beyond that I have failed to grasp. God is so much bigger. His knowledge is deeper. His power is wider. His love is beyond imagination.
I think about Paul’s prayer we examined in last week’s message:
14 For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:14-19 NIV
I have a long way to go to reach this. It is presumptuous for me to call myself a teacher or an expert. Yes, I am a pastor, but that doesn’t mean I have all the answers. I may have a few more answers to some questions. But every answer raises at least two more questions.
We are on a journey together. We can only see what is in front of us. God gives us his Holy Spirit, his Word, his Sacraments, and each other. As we navigate we rely on each of these. Sometimes we will take a wrong turn. Are we willing to admit our mistake and turn around?
Lord, I confess my pride. Who am I to be so presumptuous before you? Forgive me. Teach me the way of humility that when you examine my heart, you will find pure and refined gold. Help me open my mind and your heart to follow your lead. Amen