For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. ~ 1 John 2:16
“Let’s go, guys.”
We were visiting my parents in Cape Coral and headed to a nearby park. We lived in Cape Coral from 2007 through 2009 and made wonderful friends in the local Moms’ Club. Time was always short, but this trip we were finally able to meet up with a couple moms and their kids at a local park.
As we climbed into our shiny new vehicle, a keen sense of worldly fullness began steeping in my heart. Much like the tea bag I’d soaked in a coffee mug that morning, the haughty feeling of importance enveloped the Holy clarity God provides and replaced it with a bruise-purple shade of pride.
Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. ~ Proverbs 16:18
A few months’ prior, we sold our 7-year old Dodge Dakota and bought a two-year old Expedition from Trevor’s parents. Money is tight within a one-income family, so we worked out a deal to pay them back as we were able.
The day we sold the truck and picked up the Expedition was emotional for me. I cried because I felt so blessed to have a newer, larger vehicle and such wonderful, generous in-laws.
And I’d never driven such a fancy car!
It beeps, chimes, and I’m pretty sure it dings when dinner is ready. There’s a reverse camera that alerts me to anything within 5 feet of the tailgate, a dashboard I’m certain was designed by an airline pilot for an airline pilot, and more adjustment buttons on the side of the driver’s seat than in a dentist’s chair.
Ah, but human nature. So fickle, so transient and expectant. I relearn – daily – that gratefulness must be recharged through God’s word and prayers of praise and thanksgiving to our Creator.
Did I mention every day?
Over time, gratefulness waivers and weakens. The crafty, fleshly spirit of pride appears, eyes bulging and head swiveling to see who’s watching, wanting.
“Look at me!” Pride shouts.
Look at this car! The running boards go up and down when the door opens!
Pride is ugly and serves only to bring us low. Low and broken to the ground, head in the dirt with nothing but dust to clench in our empty hands. And God will surely empty what once was full in order to refill it with Himself.
That day at the park, God called me on my pride. Big-time.
In a crunchy, oops-I-just-hit-something- large-and-concrete-sort-of way.
As we pulled into the parking lot, I noticed my friends’ cars were already there. The burgeoning wave of pride that began at my parents’ house had ballooned into a raging tsunami of selfish conceit. I was dropping lower into the dirt I came from as I filled up with pride.
The pride of your heart has deceived you,
You who dwell in the clefts of the rock,
Whose habitation is high;
You who say in your heart,
‘Who will bring me down to the ground?’
Though you ascend as high as the eagle,
And though you set your nest among the stars,
From there I will bring you down,” says the Lord. ~ Obadiah 1:3-4
In my hurry to park – and be seen exiting the Expedition - I didn’t pay attention to details. Though I saw the large concrete ball in the parking spot ahead of me, much like the reddish-orange cement balls marking the entrance to Target, I failed to notice the lack of parking blocks in front of it.
I was smiling as I pulled forward, forward, forward – why am I not stopping? – forward, crunch.
There’s nothing quite like the crunching sound of plastic bumper and concrete ball.
I stared for a pained moment at what I could see in front of the vehicle – a large concrete ball. The sound of the crunch echoed repeatedly in my mind like a throbbing headache.
I jumped out of the expensive contraption of metal and plastic and found myself brought low, so very low.
A man’s pride will bring him low, but the humble in spirit will retain honor. ~ Proverbs 29:23
To the ground I fell. As I inspected the damage, shame quickly filled up the places inside where pride had so easily ruled. When we’re rid of the poisonous trap of pride in our heart, humbleness lines our soul and prepares a comfortable home for God’s Holy Spirit - a spiritual space where we can hear His still small voice instead of our own loud, selfish groans and demands.
When pride comes, then comes shame; But with the humble is wisdom. ~ Proverbs 11:2
Please forgive my pride, Lord. It quenches your Holy Spirit and separates You and me. Thank you for loving me enough to humble me to my knees and for reminding me that every good and perfect gift is from You – the Father of lights.