Friday, June 24, 2011

The Paradox of Pride

“For thus says the High and Lofty One who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: ‘I dwell in the holy place, with him who has a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.’” –Isaiah 57:15

Pride gives us a false view of reality. Pride is like wearing a pair of glasses with magnifying lenses. It distorts how we view the world and how we view ourselves. Let me show you: The proud man lifts himself up. He has an elevated view of himself. He considers himself more important and more prestigious then his peers. In fact, the proud man is higher, in his own mind, than anyone else on the earth. He needs no one’s help. He desires to have no equal, and definitely desires no superior. But the reality is this throne of pride that he has put himself upon is lower than any position on earth. The reality is that pride has drained the very life from him.

If pride is the pair of glasses that distorts our vision, then humility is the pair of glasses with the correct prescription. Humility sharpens our view of reality. Humility helps us to see ourselves in the light of who God is. Isaiah proves this to us. Just look at his description of the Lord—look at this glimpse of reality: God is the High and Lofty one. God inhabits eternity. His name is Holy. He dwells in a high and holy place. Indeed, our God is great than any other. He is what we could never be. He does what we could never do. He dwells where, in our pride we can never dwell.

The amazing thing about this verse is that “God…dwells with him who has a contrite and humble spirit.” Humility brings us close to God. James 4:10 puts it in a concise statement: “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.” When you get a good glimpse at the reality of who God is, you will realize that you are nothing. That very moment when you see yourself as nothing, God lifts you up.

God intended human life to be connected with Him. He desired that relationship right from the beginning. Pride destroyed that fellowship when Adam and Eve desired to be like God knowing good and evil. Humility before God also restores your life to be the way God intended it to be. “to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the spirit of the contrite ones.” God restores your life. God gives you back what pride took away.

Pride brings us low, distorts our view of reality, and separates us from God. But humility lifts us up, restores life to the way God intended, and allows us to dwell with God in that high and holy place. What grace! What love! We can dwell with the High and Lofty One!

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