Friday, May 21, 2010

Uglier than Pride

You see it all over the place. The arrogant look of the competent soccer star; the smug look of the little league superstar; the haughty glance of the person who is a tad bit prettier than the rest of us. Pride is ugly. If you like me it repulses you to the core. For years there have been people who have tried to turn it into a positive character trait. We talk smack on the basketball court, we speak highly of ourselves on our resume, we blog as if we had all the answers to the questions of life (ouch!). But no matter how hard we try to promote pride and mask it as confidence it smells bad and makes us sick to our stomach! Even more so it sickens God. James 4.6 God resists the proud. Hmmmm. The God of love who pursued us even to death on the cross is repulsed by our pride- even to the point of resisting our prayers and our person. Wow, he is made sick by it too.

But there is something uglier than pride. It is hard to imagine but it is true. It is spiritual pride. Pride that masks itself in pseudo-spirituality; Pride that covers its ugliness with the language of the Spirit but is profoundly of the flesh; Pride that judges others as less than self. Spiritual pride condemns others, judges others, and can't see the failings in their own hearts. It is the ugliest thing that anyone will ever see! It makes me sick when I see it- especially so when I see it in me!

I was talking about spiritual pride the other day with my best friend. She said to me that "people who have this kind of pride- spiritual pride- had better have their knee pads on because pride comes before the fall."

Well said.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

National Day of Prayer- On or Off?

Since President Obama has cancelled the White House's involvement in the National Day of Prayer one has to ask what the purpose of the NDP is.

For millenia national leaders have declared a day of fasting and prayer to show humility and reverence in times of stress and trouble. It is curious that the President, who "prays everyday" according to White House insiders, would not see value in leading the nation in that reverential humility. Especially so, with the violent storms that have ravaged the land, the terror threats and attempted bombing in Times Square, and the economic hardship that currently rocks the nation. We are left to assume that the controversy that might ensue from a nation unifying to pray is being avoided.

Nevertheless, we in the church must pray. We are commanded in 1 Tim 2.1-2 to pray for "for all men, for kings, and for all who are in authority". Of course, that should be more frequent that the first Thursday in May. (I pray for those in authority on Wednesdays, btw). We citizens, regardless of creed or religion, should set aside time to beseech God for blessing on our country. This is no vague patriotism. It is a recognition that mankind, and the US in particular, needs divine help.

We Christians need to pray, especially today, for God's blessing on America. Not that we may be blessed more than other countries (though we already are) but that we show God our recognition of our own desperation and a thankful heart for all that has come our way.

"if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land." 2 Chron 7.14