Pride; March 17, 2019

Acts 17:24-25 “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else.”

Paul here beautifully destroys two major arguments of atheists. In the first place, he agrees with them that the idea of “housing” the Creator somewhere is absurd. By agreeing with them that idols are strictly human constructs, he removes that “straw man” from the discussion. He amplifies that by pointing out that the Creator has no need to be served by anyone or anything. In the process, however, he points out that everything we have comes from the Creator, so that automatically creates the need for accountability, which is exactly what atheists are seeking to escape. I have always felt it was quite obvious that vocal atheists actually believed a Creator existed, they just didn’t want to be accountable to Him. Otherwise, why would they care if other people believed in Him and sought to please Him? The foundations of morality come from Him, so denying that He exists seems to be a way to justify their immorality. Mankind loves to place itself in God’s seat (or so it thinks). That was the temptation in the Garden of Eden, when the devil said, “You will be like God.” (Genesis 3:5) To me, sin is always tangled up in some way with pride, because at the very least it is choosing our way over God’s way. We need to get quiet enough and honest enough to know that we literally can’t exist apart from God, and respond accordingly, in grateful obedience.

This is of course as true for me as it is for anyone else. I have struggled with pride all my life, and the more I have been able to let go of it, the happier I have become. I am constantly counseling people to strive for an “attitude of gratitude” if they want to be happy, because that really is essential. If we think we are in control, or if we strive to be in control, frustration and disappointments are guaranteed. We are in the middle of an epidemic of entitlement, but that is one of the surest ways to a life of misery. It is when we recognize that everything we have is a gift, and seek to be good stewards of all that we have, that we experience the joy and peace God intends for us. I tell people this, but I’ve got to practice it fully myself, for His glory.

Father, thank You for this reminder. Forgive me for all the little ways I complain. Help me indeed rest, relax, and rejoice in You, just as You have told me to do, so that all of Your purposes for me may be fulfilled, on Your schedule and for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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