Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Why would someone do this?

"When I survey the wondrous cross,
on which the Prince of Glory died,
My richest gain I count as loss,
and pour contempt on all my pride."

Anytime I have a moment of reflection, and I meditate on the sins in my own life, I realize again that most of my sins springs out of my pride. It is the Ur-sin. It is my desire to be the master of my own ship, the king of my castle. And yet in one sense, the essence of the gospel is humility. The gospel is about humbling ourselves before our Lord, admitting our sin and need of free undeserved salvation.

Pride is a nasty sin. It is deeply entrenched in many of us, and one of the most difficult to dislodge. And yet Isaac Watts, in the hymn quoted above says that he is able to pour contempt on all his pride! What a wonderful thing to be able to do. And so I ask, what would make a man do this?

Sight and contemplation of (and faith in) the cross of Christ is the only thing that is able to move someone to pour contempt on their pride. When I consider the loving-kindness of my heavenly Father, the depth of mercy, the kindness of his love, the long-suffering of his patience, the gift of his son as a sacrifice for sin... this stirs the heart.

Sometimes the simple truths are the most profound. Long-term obedience to the Biblical command for humility (and others too) cannot be sustained through repeating the commandments to myself. Nor will guilt trips change my heart. The fear of impending judgment will not produce lasting effects. Only when my heart is changed, to love God, because of his great love for me shown in the cross, only then will I be able to truly pour contempt on my pride.

We will always do what we love. Always. So long as we love ourselves and our sin most highly, we will nurture them. When we love God most, we will delight to walk with him. We will delight to follow him, to trust and obey him. We will be irked by the sinful remains of pride, and their deleterious effects on our life. And that will be a good thing.

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