“I have had more trouble with myself than with any other man.” D.L. Moody
Shortly after Lynn and I were accepted by Kachemak Bay Christian Center to be their pastor, we traveled to California to be with family for a few weeks. On our return to Alaska we drove from Anchorage to our home in Homer on the Kenai Peninsula. I could hardly wait to jump in and be a real pastor. It was my dream, and God had “groomed” me for this moment!
As we drove into Homer I noticed the marquee on the movie theater. It read, “Congrats to Bryan and Abi”. I immediately stopped the car to gawk in amazement. I was flabbergasted. I suddenly felt a warm flush of self importance. Homer was recognizing me as a pastor, as well as ABI, the Bible school in town that I had been teaching at, also in Homer.
I was delighted and duly impressed with how enlightened my town had become in recognizing me since my trip ‘outside.’. I actually drove around the block to take in this wonder and took another look. I was completely taken in by this marquee. My pride took over and I felt invincible. Words would pour off my lips and my little town would be guided by my spiritual brilliance. I felt a warm surge of “heavenly” authority.
About two weeks later I picked up the local newspaper. As I paged through I came across an announcement for a wedding for someone named Bryan and Abby. I suddenly pieced it together. Abby had been an employee at that movie theater before she got married! The management had put this message on their behalf.
Immediately the Lord jolted me back into reality. My arrogance and pride drained from me. I felt like a pompous ass. I had so inflated myself, thinking I was so impressive and important that the crash devastated me. I was not as awesome as I thought I was. I was embarrassed by how easily I was led into this spiritual trap of self-importance.
The Bible has a great deal to say about pride and arrogance. “One’s pride will bring him low, but he who is lowly in spirit will obtain honor.” I would like to say that I have overcome this arrogance, but I catch it growing in the corners. I can say that even though I was so self-absorbed and self-important that I am now immune from this sin. But that would be a lie.
Jesus loves the humble. He favors those who are poor in spirit. But he resists people who are proud and self-sufficient. He stands against the arrogant. The Father hates my pride and my arrogance.
I want to encourage you to come to Jesus now. Come as you are and He shall meet you. Dispense with your pride and “humble yourself before the Lord”. We do all right if we see ourself as ordinary and average. Satan will look for any handle you give him. Pride is one of his favorite ways to control you. When the disciples tried to figure this out they ended up fighting (Mark 9:33-34).
“But it should not be that way among you. Whoever wants to become great among you must serve the rest of you like a servant. Whoever wants to become first among you must serve the rest of you like a slave. In the same way, the Son of Man did not come to be served. He came to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many people.”
Matthew 20:26-28, NCV
The ”marquee incident” was 15 years ago, but I am determined to remember how the Lord revealed to me my pride. It has become humorous to me now, but at the time it was brutal. I have had to learn through weakness. When I am weak, He is strong.
“True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less.” Tim Keller
- Pride Dosen’t Impress God (debehnkenicole.wordpress.com)
- Old Memory, New Desire. (themicahblog.wordpress.com)
- A Hundred Choices (jimpruitt.wordpress.com)