October 19, 2011

Day 19: The Great Sin

This is it, readers, the final post in string of sin posts.  The list of sins has not been exhausted, but a month is only 31 days and we need to move on.  I've saved the best (or worst) for last:


beasts,dragons,fantasy,mythical creatures,symbols,United Kingdom,Wales,animalsPride is a beast, the sin that lies beneath the surface of all the others.  C. S. Lewis calls it The Great Sin and devotes a chapter to it in Mere Christianity.  (A book that you need to make it a priority to read if you have not.)  I don't believe I can say much better on the subject that my friend Lewis, so I've invited him to be a guest writer linked to the blog today.  Please click here to read his thoughts on The Great Sin.  Thank you, Mr. Lewis, for obediently writing for the edification of the church in your own generation and the generations that followed.

I am a highly competitive, self-absorbed individual.  Pride is a driving force in my life like none other.  From fighting over the privileged front seat of the car with my siblings in childhood, to wanting to be perceived as a great parent as an adult, my need for admiration, getting the best thing, or being the very best has driven me to countless sins against God and my fellow man throughout my life.

It is a beast, my friends.  I can think of no other way to describe it.  Are you familiar with this beast in your heart?  We must know the beast to properly identify and confront it.

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On the other end of the spectrum from pride, we find


Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.  Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.  (Philippians 2:4-5)

His name is Jesus.

Jesus did not seek equality with God.  Though he was the only man who ever lived who could have!  He humbled Himself, even to death on a cross.  He took on the form of a servant, while knowing he was the King of kings.  (Philippians 2:6-11)  This Jesus, with power over life and death, laid down his life for us.  He calls the proud to believe, be forgiven, and be transformed into His likeness.

Pride is the first and worst sin, so grace is most amazing when it embraces the fruits of pride rather than the the fruits of gluttony or lust, when it reaches the Pharisee souldrather than the profligate Mary Magdalene, when it wins the proud person made prouder still by calling rather than the sinner feeling unworthy to be addressed. 
Only grace can dissolve the hard, solitary, vaunting "I" of the sin of pride in each of us. But the good news is that it does.  Os Guiness' The Call, p123 (emphasis mine)

Let me leave you with this final encouragement,

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he   will   lift   you   up.  James 4:7-10

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Looking ahead:  Tomorrow we'll be shifting gears, looking into how God uses our circumstance to shape our faith and our character.  Often in the most uncomfortable places, God does His best and most glorious work in us.

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