Arrogance surrounds me.
This week, I have heard fresh stories of men abusing women. They do so because they love themselves supremely. All about them are objects for their own promotion and pleasure.
Yesterday, I witnessed elected representatives, on both sides of the aisle and both sides of the ocean, moving, shaking, positioning, and posturing themselves. They are so grand in their own eyes. Their pride makes me nauseous.
Last night, when I watched the pontificating news pundits, they again proved to be full of themselves. They always know what is best regarding politics. And they are always more righteous than anyone whose sin has come to light.
And today, as I watch some ball games, I am sure the self-worshiping egos of athletes will be proudly displayed one more time.
And on and on it goes …
Arrogance identifies me.
Sadly, I love me more than I love my neighbors. At times I will sacrifice for them, but normally it is only when it benefits me or hurts me little. And when it comes to evangelism and helpful confrontation, I am only sometimes willing to “go out on a limb” in order to benefit Christ and my friends.
Sadly, as a minister, I love me more than my congregants. Too often I need to hear from them how great I am. Ministry becomes a means of me finding fulfillment and my place in this world. And too often, I am terribly troubled when I learn the truth – I am not their perfect minister. Stupidly, I over-value my importance to people’s spiritual walk. I also consistently under-value my need of the Holy Spirit’s power — this is persistently manifested in my pathetic prayer life.
Sadly, I love me more than I love my family. Too often, in my wicked heart, I am the patriarch who is the most important person in the room.
And most sadly, I keep proving to love myself more than my God. I am more interested in my kingdom than his. I am consumed with my reputation than his. My pleasure too often trumps his will.
And I am not alone …
Arrogance defines you.
If you are honest, you are chief and foremost in your affections. I am sure you too love yourself more than your enemies, your neighbors, your church community, your family, and your God. The consequences of sin still affects you. You are egotistical through and through. There is none righteous, believe it or not, not even you. Like me, you continue to revert to the self-loving character of our former father — the devil.
There are only two options before us.
In my devotions this morning, I was reminded of the discipline and/or judgment. The Father promises loving discipline towards his beloved children. He also promises condemnatory justice towards his devilish enemies. Listen to the admonition of Isaiah:
The haughty looks of man shall be brought low, and the lofty pride of men shall be humbled, and the Lord alone will be exalted in that day. For the Lord of hosts has a day against all that is proud and lofty, against all that is lifted up—and it shall be brought low … The haughtiness of man shall be humbled, and the lofty pride of men shall be brought low, and the Lord alone will be exalted in that day. (Isaiah 2:11-17)
Did you see it at the end? It is an undeniable fact — the Lord alone will be exalted. We can be arrogant and forget this fact. We can be more arrogant and laugh it off. But every knee will be brought low. The sovereign God has stated such.
Therefore, what are our options? From my thinking, there are only two:
1) We can be humbled.
We can continue to walk proudly and receive God’s loving discipline and/or his condemnatory judgment. (This depends upon whether we are in the family or not.)
Friends, it has happened before; oh how the mighty have fallen. (Tiger Woods and Martha Stewart were yesterday’s news.)
It is happening today; we only need to look around to see big men being brought low. (Harvey Weinstein and Matt Lauer are two more recent examples.)
It will continue to happen to arrogant fools beloved by the Father. He will not allow his elect children to sin without being “adjusted” and “improved.” And let us not think his loving discipline is always light; sometimes the consequences of sin and the hand of the Father are most tough to endure.
And there will come a day, at the end of a man’s days, or at the end of time, when those who repent not and find not the transforming grace of God will be brought eternally low. God will crush Satan and his friends under his feet. They will all cry “uncle” and “master.” They will do so unwillingly, but they will do so.
So what is our second option?
2) We can be humbled.
No, this is not a typo.
Perhaps the Lord’s loving hand is using this devotional to humble you and me? Perhaps, instead of a whipping, he is whispering tender words of truth to our soul and calling us to stop our insanity and respond properly to him.
Friends, let’s contemplate our pride and confess it afresh.
Today, let’s spend more time being blown away by God’s grace, on our knees and in his Word seeking his face, and then obediently and honorably running his race.
The Lord tells us, “He opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” (James 4:6; 1 Peter 5:5)
He also promises us, “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.” (James 4:10)
Oh arrogant brother and sister, instead of our being heavily humbled tomorrow, why not humble ourselves today? He loves us. He has died for all our arrogance and pride. He has filled us with the humility of Christ and calls us saint. God has called us to walk in accordance with our new humble identity, and he will make sure this happens. And one glorious day, we will worship him humbly and gloriously without any stench of sin. before Him in glory. Therefore, why not practice today?
Let us prioritize Him above us.
Let us prioritize family, church community, and neighbor before self.
Let us spend much time in prayer, for this truly is a mark of the deeply humbled friend of God.
Let us bathe more and more in the Gospel, for one who does so cannot walk as proudly as he once did.