The greatest and most common sin that all of us are guilty of is PRIDE. Pride blinds us to the truth that we are all trying to live as mini-kings in our ego kingdoms of me, myself and mine. Pride keeps us from searching our hearts so that we will come to God with a desperate desire for Him to change our hearts. We worship God not for Who He Is but what He can do for us. We live our lives as slave kings trying to please the King of all kings instead of living as the children of our Heavenly Father with Jesus enthroned as King in our hearts.
In his sermon on chapter four of the book of Daniel, pastor Jason Lim drew attention to the heart beat of the spiritual cancer of pride – “I did it” & “I deserve it.” We see the success of our lives and our children as the fruit of our tireless efforts and we look forward to enjoying the fruits of our success in retirement and old age. The world entices us to focus on our wants and our narcissistic desires so that we become blind to the needs of so many others in the world around us.
We forget that life is not about us. True life is all about the Love of God that Jesus Christ died to reveal to us. God has sowed the seed of love in our hearts but it has not germinated or bore fruit in our lives. Our hearts are like a pathway, a rocky ground or a garden full of weeds. The circumstances of life - good or bad - reveal the condition of our hearts in our responses to them. Are our lives bearing thorns for others or the fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control?
The most critical step of changing our lives so that we can become the persons that God wants us to be is the act of humble submission and the total surrender of our mini-kingdoms to our Almighty God. But the God of Love will not demand our surrender. He is not a despot King who overcomes with the love of power but our Divine Healer who uses our adverse circumstances and the difficult people in our lives as His chemotherapy for the spiritual cancer of pride. He is our Divine Lover who woos us with the power of love and is patiently waiting for us to come to our senses so that we will turn back to Him.
But even as we do so, we need to recognise that there is a war within our hearts between our desires and God’s desires for us. The good news is that the battle does not belong to us but to God. As soldiers of the Cross, we are to simply stand firm with the armour of God and let Him use us as His instruments of healing and change in the world within us and around us.
We need our hearts to be filled with God’s love so that we can speak the truth in love and to bear one another’s burdens. Rebecca Van Noord makes the very important observation that community is not just to meet our social needs but for us to challenge and encourage one another to live for God. It is when we take rebuke graciously and seek forgiveness from God that the bond of community is forged. On the other hand, when we rebel or when we are sensitive or prideful, rifts will be created in the community.
We cannot love our neighbour as ourselves if we do not first love God above all else. Paul Tripp drew attention to the truth that “our willingness to gossip, to live in anger, and trim the truth reveals something deeper than a lack of love for people. It exposes a lack of true love for God.”
Our love for God is often conditional on what God can do or what He has done for us. We also feel that God’s love for us is conditional on our obedience and good deeds. However, a true love for God and the steadfast Love of God is rooted in what Jesus has done for us on the cross. We are to love God unconditionally even if we are not delivered from the fires of our afflictions.
We also need to believe that God loves us unconditionally even though we may be unfaithful and disobedient. The Blood of Christ has washed away all our sins. It is only our pride that keeps us from opening our hearts to receive the resurrection power of Christ and the love of God that is revealed through Christ Jesus our Lord. May the words from Psalm 57:9-11 fill our hearts with joy this Easter:
“My heart is confident, O God.
My heart is confident.
I want to sing and make music.
Wake up, my soul!
Wake up, harp and lyre!
I want to wake up at dawn.
I want to give thanks to you among the people, O Lord.
I want to make music to praise you among the nations
Because your mercy is as high as the heavens.
Your truth reaches the skies.”