Ugh…Pride. What I love and hate about this book is that I am nailed every time in my sin. I love that Bridges gets to places that are so acceptable and shows us lovingly where we are spurring one another on in sin instead of love and good deeds, but I hate at the same time seeing the endlessness of my sin. I am reminded that the gospel is true and applied there–I must remember the character and beauty and reality of his grace. Then, I am reminded that it is not about my “righteousness” before Him or “paying Him back” but His AMAZING GRACE and love that grow me. Bridges speaks of 4 types of pride. It is funny how the Holy Spirit had already been revealing some of these things to me in my spirit, but I did not have a way to describe or name them. The four types:
1) Pride of moral self-righteousness
2) Pride of correct doctrine
3) Pride of achievement
4) Pride of independent spirit
This serves as a warning…if you do not want to be convicted, stop reading. However, I have seen the beauty and goodness of the Lord by being convicted. In the moment of conviction, I see the pitifulness of my “self-righteous” thoughts and acts and the beauty of his grace. Then, I am reminded that I am a branch and He is the Vine–living life truly is remaining in Him for apart from Him I can do nothing (John 15). This will be a quick overview of types of pride, and, as always, I encourage you to read the book. 1) Moral Self-Righteousness
This kind of pride expresses itself in a feeling of moral superiority in respect to others. Believers and non-believers alike experience this. We see ourselves fall into this when we begin to talk about society and what it is becoming. Any area where we feel better than someone else shows this whether it be about the environment or adultery, homosexuality, abortion or our finances. In other words, we are all nailed in some way.
He does encourage ways to guard against it–which is another reason I love this book. He doesn’t condemn in his pride, but spurs us on toward examining our hearts and growing in dependent holiness.
One way to guard our hearts is to foster an attitude of humility by remembering that “there but for the grace of God go I.” There is nothing that we would not be capable of put in the right situation, and we must cling to Christ and His grace to guard our hearts. For with pride comes a fall.
This makes me think of marriage. People do not plan to engage in adultery when they are getting married (except for Julia Boulia’s husband to be in “The Wedding Singer”), but adultery plagues marriages everywhere. Before we got married, Greg and I saw a lot of marriages struggling. It was sobering to me. I was “down right” freaked out, and I knew that if it could happen to them it could to us, as well. We made a decision together to have couple friends with good boundaries and to not have opposite sex friends. Both of us had good opposite sex friends before marrying, but we had seen the dangers played out in lives around us. We were trying to save ourselves from the consequences in the future of something that seemed like a right to be able to do now because “there but for the grace of God go I.” Some have not understood our decision, but it has already served as a safeguard to our marriage in the last few years. It is not something that I look on and say that we have down pat…I look at it with fear and a guard on my heart that I could just as easily be there and I must cling to Christ.
2) Pride of Correct Doctrine
This is the assumption that whatever your doctrinal beliefs are, they are correct and anyone who holds another belief is theologically inferior. He spoke of Arminian, Calvinist, to views of end times, to ecletic theology to thinking that theology is not important and looking down upon those who do. Again, he gets us all in this.
This is where God had already been tugging at my heart and showing me uncomfortable places in myself. I am very passionate about God’s word and studying it well and in the whole and seeing what it was written for and not just our feeling about a particular verse or set of verses. I have been reminded by God lately that anything I know about Him or His word is because of His grace toward me.
This point made me a bit uncomfortable, as well, because of the post-modern hermuenutic of life and the Bible. Bridges used a great example of Paul talking to the Corinthians (1 Cor 8) about eating food sacrificed to idols. They asserted that they had liberty to eat food sacrificed to idols. Paul rebuked them, not because of wrong doctrine but because they had pride regarding the doctrine.
1 Corinthians 8:1 “Now concerning food offered to idols: we know that ‘all of us possess knowledge.’ This ‘knowledge’ puffs up, but love builds up.”
Those who have read anything of Paul know that he is very concerned about right thinking about Christ and the gospel and practice in the church, etc. In fact, all of his letters are explicit about correcting error. However, he is just as concerned about the attitude in which that is communicated and thought of in the heart.
Lately, I have found myself getting angry and frustrated more and more that people would see the truth and the fullness of God’s word forgetting it was His grace that taught me in the first place. His grace opens my heart and eyes to see truth, and He works that way in others, too. There is a way to move forward in truth in a genuine spirit of humility.
I read blogs–sometimes way too many. A lot of blogs I read are about doctrinal differences. I have stopped reading some because of the attitude in which they are written. I found that some of them began to spread an attitude in me that I did not like. I did not disagree, per say, with the opinion, but I did disagree with the manner with which it is shared. My prayer is that daily I would lay my heart before the Father and share the Truth in love in genuine humility. There are many I disagree with vehemently about some issues, but I must remember that some of those are my brothers and sisters in Christ.
I have to keep a close check on my spirit. In a day like today, where anyone who proposes that their beliefs are truth, one is seen as arrogant. We will be hated, Jesus said. So, it is an internal check to see where our hearts are as far as humility verses pride. May He increase and I decrease.