The Preparation of Surrendered Pride
A year ago, my writing career reached two early-career-type achievements. I happy-danced, praised God, shouted with joy, and prepared to tell everyone. It didn’t take long, however, for my mind to wander into the treacherous land of “what if.” You may know about “what-if-land,” too.
First, I wondered what if this good thing happened, then that good thing. Before I knew it, pride, not joy in the grace of God, took over for a few minutes. I was almost to the Nobel Prize for Literature before God stopped me in my tracks.
“Pretty proud of what I did for you, aren’t you, Leanna?” the Still Small Voice whispered in my heart. Oops. The fantasies in what-if-land glorified Leanna a bit more than they glorified God. A good bit more.
When pride threatens
Pride does not sit well with God and, as soon as I recognized it, I was cut to the core. I repented, apologized, and repented some more. “Lord, you’ve finally given me a piece of the desires of my heart, and I’ve already squandered it in my mind. Forgive me.”
I recognized pride, repented, and received forgiveness. My new beginning was that simple.
Every new beginning is that simple.
We see our sin, admit our guilt, repent, and reject the behavior. We choose a new path. The beginning is simple, but the difficulty lies in the carry-through.
In the last days, Isaiah wrote, God will have a “day of reckoning” with everyone who’s proud and “lifted up.” He’ll be exalted and all prideful people will be abased.
Women who take pride in their beauty, their clothes, their jewelry, and their possessions will be stripped of the adornments in which they’ve put their trust. Ladies, we may love the trappings of beauty, but God doesn’t. He wants beautiful hearts.
The choice before us
We have two choices:
- Reject pride, embrace humility, and avoid the reckoning.
- Embrace pride until God takes us down a few notches and restores our humble heart.
Which one of those choices is most appealing? Yep. Humility from the beginning.
The point of a fresh start is to continue in a new way. It’s easy to slip back into old habits, but we can make a better choice. This year, I had an even bigger landmark moment in my writing, but I learned from my mistake. No happy-dancing. No trips to what-if land. I simply thanked God and gave Him credit for what He did. I don’t claim to always get it right, but I want to be the one who responds in a godly way from the start every time, don’t you?
Our standing with God is not enhanced by what’s on the outside, but what’s on the inside. My Mama used to say, “Pretty is as pretty does,” and she was right. No matter how attractive we are on the outside, it’s not true beauty unless our heart is beautiful – pure, kind, loving, and humble. True beauty begins when pride comes to an end. Today let’s reject the trap of external beauty and prepare our hearts to celebrate our Savior by turning our focus on what matters to God – beautiful hearts.
How do we achieve true beauty and a beautiful, humble heart? Micah 6:8 says it best:
He has told you, O man, what is good;
And what does the Lord require of you
But to do justice, to love kindness,
And to walk humbly with your God?
Tough times are planned for those who hold to pride and focus on external beauty, but there’s good news. God has wonderful plans for the humble in heart. We’ll not only see His glory and holiness, but He’ll provide all we need, even in the places of desolation.
“But the Lord of hosts will be exalted in judgment, and the holy God will show Himself holy in righteousness. Then the lambs will graze as in their pasture, and strangers will eat in the waste places of the wealthy.” (Isaiah 5;16,17)
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