Thursday, November 27, 2008

The Enemy of Thankgiving

There is a very devious enemy who revels in residing inside a person's heart undetected to the victim. It wages battle every day against you and me. When this enemy wins even a bit of ground, it's hard to truly be grateful for what God has given us. It hinders authentic thanksgiving.

Our foe's name is Pride. Even while God has extended the riches of His grace to a sinful humanity, nevertheless we cannot seem to comprehend or appreciate what that means because of a pride-filled heart. For some the question pertains to "Why do I need a Savior when I'm as good as I am?", but for most Christians pride manifests itself through looking down on others, a judgmental spirit, criticism, and the need for approval (which is our ego needing to be coddled).

How can I be thankful for what others have done if I'm centered on the "good" which I have done? Why count the blessings I have received from God when I get a good feeling from the "blessings" I have bestowed? The answer is because nothing I have done is anything compared to the good and the mercy God has given. Nothing. Our pride suffocates when we die to ourselves at the foot of the Cross. Herein lies our daily battle.

Quotes On Pride:

Jonathan Edwards:

[Pride] is . . . the first sin that ever entered into the universe and the last that is rooted out. It is God’s most stubborn enemy!

"Pride is much more difficult to be discerned than any other corruption because of its very nature. That is, pride is a person having too high an opinion of himself. Is it any surprise, then, that a person who has too high an opinion of himself is unaware of it?"

Charles Spurgeon:

"Pride is self-deceit. Those who are sure that they have no pride are probably the proudest of all. Those who are proud of their humility are proud indeed. The confidence that we are not deceived may only prove the completeness of the deception under which we labor.”

C. S. Lewis:
"The essential vice, the utmost evil, is Pride. Unchastity, greed, drunkenness, and all that, are mere flea-bites in comparison. It was through Pride that the devil became the devil. Pride leads to every other vice. It is the complete anti-God state of mind.

If anyone would like to acquire humility, I can, I think, tell him the first step. The first step is to realize that one is proud. If you think you’re not conceited, it means you are very conceited indeed."

John Stott:
"At every stage of our Christian development and in every sphere of our Christian discipleship, pride is the greatest enemy and humility our greatest friend."

"But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word." (Is. 66:2)

"But He gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: 'God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.' " (James 4:6)