By Lou Coleman
Listen; if you want to get off to a good start, you need to begin in the right place. And it begins with a very frank admission. “Not that I have already obtained all this…” You see, the Word of God in Proverbs 16:18 tell us that, “Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall.” That tells me that in and of ourselves we have absolutely nothing to brag or be prideful about. Now if there was anyone who had reason to brag about his accomplishments, I would think it would have been the Apostle Paul. But he doesn’t do that. Despite having met the Lord on the Damascus Road, despite having preached across the eastern Mediterranean region, despite being an apostle called by God, despite writing letters inspired by the Holy Spirit, despite all that he had endured, he did not brag about anything he said or did. None of that mattered to him. He knew that he was a sinner saved by grace. In fact in 1Timothy 1:15, he even called himself the “Chief of sinners.” He made no claim of being perfect or having arrived in his own spiritual journey. Now Simon Peter, that’s a whole different story. Simon Peter had made an assumption, and it’s the same assumption that we all make from time to time. He assumed that he had reached a place in his relationship with Jesus where he would never forsake Jesus and would never fail in his faithfulness to God again. I tell you, we must never assume that we can’t miss the mark, for the moment we do, we are headed for a fall. Paul said, although we are perfect through sanctification, through our salvation in the Lord Jesus Christ, many of us – in fact all of us – still have a long way to go.
I don’t know about you, but there’s nothing that bothers me more than someone trying to claim to be all that when the Bible says that, “There is none good, no not one!” But some folks believe that they are the exception. My message to all of us today is this: Like it or not, whether we want to believe it or not, we’re not as good as we think we are. We’re not as smart as we think we are. We’re not as clever as we think we are. We’re not as wise as we think we are; and we are not as strong as we think we are. The only thing that keeps us going is Jesus our wonderful Savior, and He is everything we are not. Don’t get it twisted! It has never been about us and it is not about us! It is about Him; the Alpha and Omega; the Beginning and End; the First and Last; the Wonderful Counselor. We have absolutely nothing to boast about, other than Jesus Christ… Throwing ourselves a party! Self-congratulations! Boasting! This is human temptation and human tendency; and a dangerous one at that. Careful! You are threading on dangerous grounds! Boasting is a growing cancer, an infectious disease, an intoxicating behavior.
Sadly, we live in a very proud and egotistical generation where it is now considered acceptable and even normal for people to promote themselves, to praise themselves, and to put themselves first. Pride is considered a virtue by many. Humility, on the other hand, is considered a weakness. Everyone, it seems, is screaming for his or her own rights and seeking to be recognized as someone important. The preoccupation with self-esteem, self-love, and self-glory is destroying the very foundations upon which our society was built. What’s worst of all, the preoccupation with self has found its way into the Church. Jesus repeatedly taught against pride, and with His life and teaching He constantly exalted the virtue of humility. Nowhere is that more clear than in John 13. I tell you, there is no better garment to clothe yourself with than to be clothed with humility. A humble person is a child of God; but a proud and haughty person is a child of Satan. Who’s your daddy? Pride should not be a problem to us; for according to God’s Word even our own righteousness is as filthy rags (Is 64:6). Get off your High Horse!
Don’t misunderstand me. It’s not wrong to brag. It’s wrong to brag about trivial things. When you brag and you should brag, brag on the Lord, that’s all I’m saying. Besides, if it had not been for the Lord… Hello somebody! The message is simply: Pride is the sin that made the devil the devil, pride makes us like the devil, and pride can prevent us from entering heaven and lead us to hell. Clothe yourself with humility –Boast only in the Cross!