Of Pride and Paradise

Pride, in its many forms, slithers its way between you and me and our loved ones and our paradise. Pride bit the apple in the garden of Eden. Pride said “I don’t need to listen to God right now. I can step over the line just a bit. I’m pretty sure I know what I’m doing.” And it's because of this pride that we need Jesus so much.

Over the summer I found myself scribbling down the same things over and over again in my quiet time with God, and a serious theme emerged. It goes something like this.

The basis of a healthy society: healthy family [Because we all come from somewhere. This refers to the places we came from, whether it was a traditional family or a different situation, and the families we form as adults with our church family, our friends, or our spouses and children.]

The basis of a healthy family: healthy people

The basis of a healthy person: adoption into the family of God through faith in Christ.

We are our healthiest on the inside when we believe God loves us for who we are, as we are, where we are, and that we are redeemed by Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross.

When we know we’re loved just as we are, and when we’re grateful for that, we extend that love to everyone else. And then everything else falls into place.

The more I looked at this stuff, the more simple it seemed. But all too often that’s not how it works, and that’s where the mess comes in.

Why?

Our need to be recognized, glorified, rewarded, or to advance our own interests often gets in the way. Pride, in its many forms, slithers its way between you and me and our loved ones and our paradise. Pride bit the apple in the garden of Eden. Pride said “I don’t need to listen to God right now. I can step over the line just a bit. I’m pretty sure I know what I’m doing.”

Our enemy loves pride. He invented it, actually, when he looked at his own reflection and decided it was better than God’s love.

And it’s because of this pride that we need Jesus so much. Because like it or not, we are incapable of living without pride. It’s so deeply ingrained in us that we literally need to be born again, of a new Spirit, to even begin to wiggle our way free.

And even then, it’s only by coming to the cross daily, drinking in the awe of what Jesus has done in spite of who we are and then being filled with the gratitude that overflows out of us, that we begin to heal. And that gratitude and love flows out around us.

And bit by bit, we become the body of Christ. More than a student body or a body of water. We are a body of people changed by His love, now becoming hands and feet of His love as He reaches through us to once again make all things right.

That is what life is about.

It’s not about our career, our appearance, our bank accounts, the places we live, or our personal ambitions. It’s not about the demands of this life or what others think about us or say we should do.

It’s about the love of God.

And yes, that grace fills us up. Makes us want to take care of ourselves because we are loved by the King. Makes us want to make beauty around us. Makes us want to lay down our lives to make another person’s life better. Spurs us into the sanctification process of becoming more like Him by entering into relationships with others and loving fully even in imperfection.

That grace shows us what real love is. When Grace allowed Himself to be strung up on a cross and die so we may live.

Amen.

Psalm 68:4 memory verse card

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