Love is not proud
I've been avoiding this post. It's a topic I don't particularly enjoying talking about, despite the fact that I've referred to pride countless times in other posts. Somehow confronting it head on is a bit too difficult.
Reading Timothy Keller's book Counterfeit Gods I found myself immediately going on the defensive. If you haven't read the book (I recommend it) Keller discusses the subject of idolatry in a Christian context. He explains that when the Bible talks about idolatry it isn't just referring to the physical worship of idols, rather it is a matter of the heart. Essentially anything that replaces God in someone's heart, yes even a Christian, is an idol.
Our God is a jealoous God and He doesn't want to share us with other 'gods.' He wants us to trust Him completely and not turn to other things for our salvation, our deliverance, our sense of worth... He gives us all these things and more. But sometimes we deceive ourselves, or are deceived by others, and no longer trust God completely. We hide part of ourselves away and build our own little kingdoms where we are in control (supposedly). Satan loves that. He'll tempts us with false promises: "This is what you want, this is what you've been looking for all this time." And so we separate ourselves from God to get 'it,' whatever 'it' is.
But we don't get it. Not really. It's all a lie.
In discussing this with a close friend of mine I related my concerns about whether I had separated part of myself from God, set up my own little kingdom in my heart. Note this was a few years after reading Keller's book and largely dismissing any concerns because, quite frankly, I didn't want to think about it. My friend reflected on what I had said and then asked a very good question:
"What do you think you're getting out of it? The idol?"
Her point is that idols 'work', in the sense that we continue to hold to them and trust them, because we believe that we can get that 'it' out of them: success, power, sex, love, whatever. Satan will use this false belief to tempt us into continuing to trust the idol. We believe that we are in control and ultimately going to receive 'it.' But this is a lie. Albeit a very clever, very pervasive lie. Never forget that Satan is referred to as the "father of lies" for good reason.
So, what does all this have to do with pride? Better yet what on earth does it have to do with love not being proud?
God's love and our pride don't mix. We don't deserve His love and His grace, given to us freely in love, leaves no room for pride (see my post on "love does not boast"). However pride and idolatry go very well together. Certainly in my case I was more than happy to say "I know better, God" (Pride Alert!) and go chasing after 'it' and away from God's love.
While God is telling me that He loves me and that He can heal all the hurt, my pride says, "No, you're wrong." And this double mindedness, simulatenously believing in God's love in an abstract sense but refusing it in my life, allows sin to creep in. I separate part of myself, my heart, from God and set up my own little kingdom, my own heart-idol where I believe I can receive all the things I seek. I foolishly believe, in my pride, that God cannot give me these things.
So, dear readers, this is what idolatry has to do with pride and love.
God revealed these things to me over time (I suspect my pride may have slowed things down), eventually bringing me to a place where I was left with little choice but to confront it head on. I chose (thankfully) to submit myself to God and repent. This came in stages. Working out our salvation doesn't happen overnight. But I believe that I am now on the right path. I still have a choice, to trust God or to turn away. That choice isn't always easy but now I have that freedom of choice. Without the revelation of God I was unconscious of many of the things that were going on in my heart (and when God started to show me it was "easier" to ignore Him) and didn't really have a choice. I had surrendered part of my will to this heart-idol.
This is a dangerous place to be. You only have to do a quick Google search on idolatry to see how incredibly serious it is. But take heart, God is greater than all things.
"Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in the time of need." (Hebrews 4:16)
|I couldn't decide between the awesome Hebrews verse and this fantastic promise. So I chose both! :D|
Source: Sapphire Dream Photography www.flickr.com/photos/worshipbackgrounds/