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Sunday, October 8, 2017
Did You Meme That? - Proud to Be A Christian?
Proverbs 16:18-19 Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall. Better it is to be of an humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud.
Occasionally I poke around on Facebook looking at things. I don't remember exactly where I got this particular meme, but I thought it would be worth talking about because it brings up an important subject - pride.
I always get uncomfortable when someone talks about being proud in a "Christian" context. Whether it's talking about the accomplishments of Sunday School students, the teens who went to camp, graduates, or whatever it may be, when someone starts in on being "proud of" anyone or anything and it's supposed to be a godly subject, I get rumpled in my spirit. It's even worse when someone says, "I know God is proud of you." Ugh!
The main reason it goes all the the wrong way in my mind is because I cannot think of one place in the Bible where pride is ever said the be "good." I know some people believe in a "good kind of pride", but biblically it does not exist.
The secondary reason that it bothers me so much is that I don't want to be tempted to do things to make some human "proud," and I dislike seeing other people tempted that way as well. There is a certain seduction in hearing someone say, "I'm proud of you." It makes us feel good about ourselves. The problem with that is that we are not supposed to be men-pleasers in our Christian walk. We are supposed to please God. If we do something that is right and good according to God's word, then some encouragement may be in order, but when someone says, "I'm proud of you," they are in effect bringing our focus to them and their approval when it should be on the Lord and His pleasure and praise.
Let's just talk about the meme here for a moment. If anyone is truly "a child of God," they would know what a tremendous price was paid to make that happen. They would know how unworthy they are in themselves of that name and the salvation that brought it about. They would be humble, not proud. They would feel blessed and privileged, they would feel thankful. But, to say "I'm proud to be a child of God," flies all in the face of everything that it took for that to happen in the first place!
We are told to humble ourselves before the Lord.
James 4:10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.
1 Peter 5:6 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:
We are told that God resists proud.
1 Peter 5:5 Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.
One of the proudest men who ever lived, who suffered greatly because of his pride, was king Nebuchadnezzar whose story is told in the book of Daniel. After experiencing what God would do to the proud in bringing him down from his own high place he wrote this:
Daniel 4:37 Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honour the King of heaven, all whose works are truth, and his ways judgment: and those that walk in pride he is able to abase.
Please notice that the opposite of his former pride here is that he now praises and extols and honors God. We should not be "proud to be a child of God" as if we did something to deserve it or were worthy of it. We should praise and honor God that He did provide a way to make us His children through the tremendous price of Jesus' death, burial, and resurrection.
I would also like to mention that it is cheap to say, "I am proud to be a child of God. Type 'Yes' if you agree." Anyone can post or share this meme, and their lives may not measure up to it in way. The person posting it might not even really be a child of God. Inviting others to participate in this manner is an even worse cheapening of the very sacred and glorious privilege of being God's child.
Let's use better words instead of using "pride" so loosely. We can say we are pleased with other people instead of proud of them. We can say that we are blessed that someone did this or that because it was glorifying to God. This puts the focus on Him instead of us. We can say we are thankful or privileged to be a child of God, because that is a more accurate way of speaking.
Matthew 12:37 For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.
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