May 20, 2014.
This trip already seems like it is flying by. I’m trying to savor the moments, but as is with all good times, they seem to be quickly fleeting. I cannot say enough about the people here in the church. We have been more than taken care of daily. They know how to extend the love of Christ. Tonight I was given a second opportunity to preach to the congregation (or at least the portion that was here) and I spoke on Hosea (yes, I may have used yesterday’s post for inspiration). I actually went for a long time, speaking in American terms, but that didn’t seem to matter here. These people seem to truly have a thirst for the word, and it is great to see that. I think it is a bit disheartening that I have to travel to a different country to find people that interested, but perhaps I am just not looking hard enough at home. I would love to see a third great awakening in America. I honestly believe it could happen with the hand of God.
Tonight the guys got to talking about church splits and it was sad to hear the details of past splits, including the one that happened here last year. I find it sad to know that church splits happen even outside of the US on the mission field. I’ve said it before, but most splits aren’t even over any doctrine that is in the Bible. Most splits boil down to one, maybe two, issues that we ignore as being issues: pride and then envy/greed. And when you think about it, envy can often stem from pride. Pride is that sin that we get so mad at other people for having it, but we don’t notice when we have it. It’s also probably one of the worst sins that man can commit. Once you get caught in pride, many other sins follow, including dividing the church. This is what is said in Proverbs:
“There are six things that the LORD hates,
seven that are an abomination to him:
haughty eyes, a lying tongue,
and hands that shed innocent blood,
a heart that devises wicked plans,
feet that make haste to run to evil,
a false witness who breathes out lies,
and one who sows discord among brothers.”
These sins are sometimes referred to as the “seven cardinal sins” or the “seven deadly sins.” Notice which sins is listed first: pride. There are six things The Lord hates, yea seven are an abomination to him: pride, lying, murder, scheming, looking for trouble, slander/liable/gossip and causing division (that’s my simplification at least). Seven things The Lord hates. Hates is a strong word. Why are we so easy to look past most of these sins? Why are we so ready to jump on “big” sins, but not fret over pride or division?
Why? Probably because the “little” sins mentioned here are some of the most prevalent amongst human beings. It’s almost like we are drawn to them. How easy is it to gossip? How often do we lie? How much pride are we taught to have simply being Americans? This, I would say, it why we call these “little” sins. It is yet another justification for our actions. And I’ll admit that I do indeed struggle with these sins. What did Jesus say?
“An argument arose among them as to which of them was the greatest. But Jesus, knowing the reasoning of their hearts, took a child and put him by his side and said to them, “Whoever receives this child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me receives him who sent me. For he who is least among you all is the one who is great.”
Even the disciples had issues with pride, and they walked with Jesus! That is a bit scary to me because it means no one is immune to pride. If we believe that Satan was first an angel of God because everything God creates is originally good, then likely his sin was pride. He tempted Eve that way, telling here that God was lying and that she could know what God knew. He tempted Jesus with pride, offering Him all the kingdoms of the world. What do you think he temps us with?
Pride is deadly and we need to do everything in our power to fight against it. We need to think humbly, putting ourselves below others. But not because we are proud to do so, which is ironic but very common. Pride seeps in almost everywhere. As you go throughout this week, try and be hyperaware of your pride. Try to honestly assess where you are at and what you need to work on. Try to let go of your pride and truly realize how much pride you really have. It will be very difficult, but I believe that if we do so and work to eliminate it, we will be much happier, and much more right with God.
Suggested Daily Reading: Proverbs 6, Matthew 4, Luke 9, I Corinthians 3.
May God be with us all.