Don't Look Down!

By: Hollis Wakefield
I would prefer not to set myself in opposition to the Person who is the very reason for my existence, salvation, and eternity. But I do it.

All the time.

The claim that pride is the “greatest of all sins” has always seemed like an exaggeration to me, even though Proverbs 3:34 indicates that God doesn’t treat it lightly. He opposes the proud? Why? Of course all sin separates us from God, but why does God’s reaction to pride seem so… extreme?

C.S. Lewis seems to have an idea. “As long as you are proud you cannot know God. A proud man is always looking down on things and people: and, of course, as long as you are looking down, you cannot see something that is above you.” (Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis) And unfortunately, upon reflection, I see this in my own life.

  • When someone accomplishes more than me, I sense a blow to my reputation. 
  • When I’m told what to do, I feel annoyed at the use of authority over me.
  • When I fail to “be the best at what I do”, I’m angry at myself for falling behind others.

This is all rooted in comparison. The desire to be better than, have more than, and be more well-respected than anyone else. Than, than than.

Contrary to what I used to believe, this doesn’t mean feeling stuck-up all the time. Pride manifests in many forms: irritation, anger, overconfidence, perfectionism, and sensitivity to failure. And while we’re busy looking down on the people we’ve “surpassed” and around at what we don’t have, we’re unable to look up.

He is the One Person we will never be greater than.

And His presence is an agonizing blow to our pride.

As C.S. Lewis puts it, pride is a “completely anti-God state of mind.” (Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis) And this mindset is particularly easy to slip into without noticing– purely because it can manifest in so many different ways.

But do we really want to live in opposition with the Person who is the very reason for our existence, salvation, and eternity?

I sure hope not.

Let’s ask God to search our hearts and reveal any wicked ways within us (Psalms 139:23-24). Perhaps we’ve slipped into an anti-God state of mind without even knowing it. And after we’ve identified the pride in our lives, let’s head straight into His presence.

After all, looking up keeps us from looking down.
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