HUMBLING THE PRIDE
By Kevin Oruo
God is Infinite, Almighty and Holy; Man in contrast, is finite, weak and sinful. Heaven is the Creators throne, and the earth His footstool. We are His people, made in His own image and likeness. The King calls us to conduct business with Him; to decrease, yield, surrender, submit, cooperate into doing His Perfect will other than pursuing our own will. He calls us to willingly and obediently take upon His infinitely meek and humble yoke. His power isn’t controlling or meddling but is sustaining and enhancing of our freedoms. Our willingness to be humble and obedient frees God to manifest, to act and to reward divinely. He has always given Grace to the humble but has resisted and alienated the proud, an abomination in His sight.
Pride is alive and thriving. “Nobody does good” Scriptures reveal. The adulteress saith “I have done no wickedness”. The foolish man hath said in his heart, “There is no God”, and has thus lifted up himself against the Lord of Heaven. Nobody wants to be predominated; everyone wants to be the predominant one. Humans have without sobriety over estimated themselves and have become grave about trying to do ‘good’. Man has hardened his heart, revolted, and rubbished as foolish the idea of turning his will and life over to a Higher power. Having overlooked Divine help, man has adopted the spirit of the princes and taken to worshiping himself as ‘Supreme being’. His godlike self having displaced God, he has reached for The Most High’s throne as if it were his right. ”Come”, they say, “Let us build us a city that may reach the heavens “.
The serpent, the father of lies, the devil, darkened Eves understanding and encouraged her she belonged to godhood. Adam was prevailed upon to join the doomed rebellion- which went on to encompass all mankind. Our instinct is always to follow our first parents and aspire to godhood. By rejecting Gods clear system of right and wrong and replacing it with systems of our creation, we set the platform for sin. “Let’s get rid of Gods law and make our own”, ’Why not …?’, ‘…everybody is doing it!” we rationalize.
The Omniscient Creator of mankind knows there is a right way and right time to do everything. We are His people- called to a ‘Higher form of being’ – to have His Mind. We are not to supplant Him but to be His special possession. He generously rewards the humble, showing compassion and grace to the repentant but letting inevitable consequence pursue the hard of heart. By rejecting our Source we ail and by default become ‘slaves to sin’, and are consumed by the deadly sins of lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy and pride.
Not even the Angels who failed to keep their positions of authority but abandoned their heavenly home for the ‘lower order of being’ were spared. They were cast down to hell, by God, and He put them into chains of darkness to be held for judgment! Who then is man in the face of God’s wrath? No one loves to receive punishment or have their advantage taken away. Instead of feelings of insignificance or frailty, we desire to be strong and in pursuit of happiness. In place of hindrances to success coupled with hearts full of fear and minds full of worry, we desire rain; both the former and the latter, in their season. We desire to flourish like the green leaf, we long to shine like stars, and we aspire for the greatness of our land.
‘”Who is the greatest?’’, “Who is the fairest of us all?” pride fathoms. Man has conformed to the pompous and glamorous lifestyles of the rich and famous; ‘the respected Joneses’. Addicted to the peacock like swagger, he has projected a false balance of ambition and self enrichment. Man has renounced God as his ‘Strength’ and has gloried in filthy lucre. His trust has shifted to the abundance of his riches, and he in idolatry praises the gods of silver and gold, of brass, iron, wood, and stone.
Man has gloried in his might. His boastfulness about his abilities and his eternal yearning to excel in doing ‘good’, even at the point of triumph has earned him reverence only worthy of The Creator -His Maker. Boastful pride seeks the admiration of all. It makes sure all its feats are well known. Critically competitive and ever clamoring to be at the center stage, pride without discerning shows off arrogance, haughtiness, cockiness and conceit. Instead of serving dutifully and unprofitably in meekness and charity as a servant leader should, man has arrogantly taken up friendship with the world and he has been sold into the ‘good’ things; opulence, trophies, thrones and crowns.
Pride is racist. It looks down on whole races of people as inferior to self. Pride has always lifted itself up by putting others down. This dubious delight of feeling superior to others destroys others self esteems. Pride’s toxic conquests are often administered at the expense of the people. It shy’s not at taking credit or seeking recognition for the work of others. Pride presumes to have all the answers and has to be right no matter what. Consequently, it leads by manipulation and arm twisting but never by inspiration. The proud glory in wisdom that is earthly, sensual and devilish. There unruly and deceptive wisdom thrives on jealousy, factions and confusion. The wisdom that is from above is from God and is pure, gentle, easy to be entreated and full of mercy and good fruits.
‘The least you do to the least of my brethren you do unto me”, the scriptures reveal. God set up the foolish, despised, base and weak things to shame the wise and strong. The love of our ‘beautifully and wonderfully made’ brethren must precede our claim to love God. Confidently, no one is better or bigger than anyone else; before God, all men are equal.
We, therefore, need to restore stressed and broken relationships and develop meaningful friendships devoid of defensive or adversarial concepts. We have to learn to pray for our enemies, bless them and do them good. We have to focus on the intrinsic worth of people and build relationships anchored on the pillars of love, trust, respect, and understanding. We have to focus on win-win relationships other than the worldly win-lose relationships. Achieving success at the expense or seclusion of others should be a matter obsolete. As God-envisioned servant leaders we should observe the rule of law; submit, serve and defend everyone’s rights, even the ‘lesser people’, and exercise our credentials, position, personality and special abilities to the ‘Common good’ because ‘people are forever’.
The priests and ministers of the altar make no exception of retreating from ‘The Way’. Like Adam they have transgressed the covenant and have outrageously made the law corrupt. They have suspended fighting Jehovah’s battles. They have neither offered to give their lives as a ransom for many like their Master did nor have they opted to secure their treasures in heaven. Being hero-worshiped like Kings and chiefs, they have exercised Lordship and have made profit of the Gospel. Having nothing to do with Christ, the pride of the priesthood has become the prince of this world.
Status seeking; loving salutations, designer labeled clothes, chief seats and chief places; their works are more of showmanship. They are keen on honorable-earthly titles; ‘Rabbi’, ‘Father’, ‘Master’, ‘Teacher’, but have often preached material gospel packaged in spiritual language. Their religious spirit behind meticulous observance of religious laws and rituals, mumbling of liturgical, repetition of spiritual laws has done little to turn the wheels off self illusions.
The Church must arise and reclaim her heritage. Instead of excellent speeches and ‘persuasive words of wisdom’, she should take up a ‘low degree’ and in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling, preach bedrock theological truth. The true representatives of Christ on earth must preach the Word of God that is ‘living, active and sharper than any two-edged sword’, and that authoritatively treads upon serpents, scorpions and all the powers of the enemy.
Only Gods Divine Grace can breathe into extinction -to create in us new spirit. Only by His internal heart surgery operation do we become spiritually alive. We can only enter through His narrow door. The Cross restores us to biblical covenants that radically cultivate in us true spiritual disciplines than mere propagation of external acts. If our understanding is to awaken, if we are to have a new way of living, we will have to seize the blessed opportunities that knock daily though we try too hard to be perfect.
Strength submits voluntarily. The worthy sacrifice to God is a broken spirit: A broken and contrite heart, the Lord will not despise. Involuntary submission has nothing to do with meekness. We hide and offer excuses. We justify and rationalize. At the holy ground, we must put off our shoes from off our feet. We have to let go of our ego and realize our humble place.
Sooner, other than later, mankind must with shame realize that we are neither perfect beings, infallible nor Higher power, but people with shortcomings, strangers and pilgrims on the earth. We are mere dust, created to extol the King of Heaven. We must see ourselves as human children of God rather than perfect godlike images that we toil to be. “Every knee shall bow, and every tongue shall confess to God”, scriptures say. Thus, prostrate and without getting tired of God’s mercy we had better confess our self deceptions in sack cloth, with fasting, in weeping, in mourning and in the smiting of breasts.
Humility is the absence of vanity, arrogance, haughtiness and pride. Humility is the bloom and beauty of holiness. The Holiest will be humble even like Christ; who existing in the form of God, counted not the being on an equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant. He did all His Father s’ will without murmurings and questionings.
To enrich God man ought to be poor. For the Lord to increase, we have no choice but to decrease. That God may be all, man must be nothing. We are compelled to renounce independence, renounce supremacy of intellect and reason and choose to consciously depend on him—choose his ways, worship him, celebrate his goodness and delight in him. Under the One Almighty God, we become children of the Light, ‘slaves of righteousness’ adopting the virtues of chastity, temperance, charity, diligence, patience, kindness, humility. Yes, let’s boast only of Gods greatness; forget ourselves and choose to advance the integrity and welfare of The Holy One’s creation as a whole.