“Follow your heart” they say. “Do what feels right to you” they tell us. The voices of our society assure us our feelings rule. We are awesome just the way we are because we are number one. Do you recognize individualism, pride, or idolatry? Are you willing to admit we get caught up in the ways of the world? Whoever controls your mind controls your decisions.
We live in a day when the Bible is thought to be old fashioned and irrelevant. And when our thoughts are not in tune with the will of God, they are driven to self. Our choices are driven by our thoughts and when we are self-centered, our thoughts are dominated by lies. As a result of those lies and self-ambitions, our thoughts tend to be driven by and reduced to what we have been denied, what we believe we deserve, what we want, what we think we should have, or what we think we need. Pride is idolatry of self. John Calvin was right when he wrote: “Man’s nature, so to speak, is a perpetual factory of idols.” And don’t kid yourself if you think it doesn’t apply to you, because none of us has arrived.
We have a pride problem. Pride wreaks with individualism. Pride says we deserve to do our own thing and go our own way. Sinful pride is not only behavioral, it is also relational. In our most intimate relationships, pride creates a wedge between two people eroding trust and denying peace. Oftentimes it is more about who and what we value most, more than what we do. In friendship, pride becomes the root of self-focus and keeps us from caring for others rightly. And, when we overvalue ourselves, we refuse to ask others for help. We see it as a weakness. Moving from pride to humility requires work. We must put off/put on from heart to behavior. Humility has an accurate view of one’s gifts and abilities (Romans 12:3) with a thankful and grateful attitude towards others (1 Thessalonians 5:18). Humility sees repenting of sin as a way of life and minimizes the sins of others in comparison to her own.
Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. - Philippians 2:3
Humility can be defined as God-worship, recognizing and trusting in God’s character (Psalm 119:66). Having knowledge and choosing to live in sin is a result of stubbornness and rebellion. Asking God for the gift of humility is unpopular. It requires consciously deciding to make God a priority in all that we think, say, and do. We must identify the areas of our lives where we are dominated by lies and self-ambition. We can humbly bring to God the specifics of where this is happening in our attitudes, intentions, desires, actions, relationship patterns, and service to God. Healing and restoration requires we confess and repent of these things. It can be a process and for most of us, it’s a repeated life-long process.
"But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light." - 1 Pet. 2:9
Through the Person, power, and precepts of Jesus Christ, we can turn from a self-centered life to a God-centered life. We can live counter to culture as a peculiar people. Will you choose this day to follow the ways of our world or will you walk in a manner that would be pleasing to the Lord?