Friday, March 12, 2010

Pride vs Faith

“Pride goeth before destruction and an haughty spirit before a fall.”

“Better it is to be of an humble spirit with the lowly than to divide the spoil with the proud.”

- Prov 16:19+20

Pride will and does lead to destruction and punishment. It is a ticking time bomb: it will blow and consume everything around it. No matter how attractive the bomb is, it is still a bomb and it will go off.

Believe it or not, these two proverbs are “faith” proverbs. A picture of something you cannot see:
The destruction of the proud that is coming
The glory of the lowly

They are faith proverbs because what you do see is the glory of the proud: the riches, the benefits, comforts. The discomfort of the lowly, the poor, the homeless: They smell. They are disorganized. They do not care. They are not intelligent. They dig their own graves. They are draining. They are completely uncomfortable.

In the stark and harsh reality of these things, Solomon speaks the word of God: it is better to be humble, and to be with the lowly. To have nothing and be uncomfortable. Better this than to get things, comfort, and benefit from the proud.

Faith. Faith means to act on Gods picture that I cannot see rather than on the picture that is mine that I can see.

Faith is not twisting reality around to match an idea. Some see this passage and say: better to have nothing than something. That is incorrect and illogical, and perhaps a topic for another day.

And what is a humble spirit? A humble spirit is one that sees himself under another, not above. In this, a humble spirit has faith: faith that sees God as God, man as man, and the self in its proper place. That is, one who sees the self as under God, in fear of God, and with honor towards God. The one who sees the self as under others who God has put in positions of authority.

Note that the humble spirit is not the cowering one—who in fear and pain runs from all who might hurt him. This one only sees himself in danger. He sees not God, who calls him to courage and to stand. The cowering one, if he finds one weaker than himself, he becomes cruel and tortures him—for that is what he knows. The humble spirit treats those under him with respect and reverence, again putting the self in its proper place.

Jesus marveled at the faith of the centurion who said: “I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me; and I say to this man, go, and he goeth; and to another come, and he cometh; and to my servant, do this, and he doeth it.” Matt 8:9.

The centurion had faith. He saw the reality of God.

The reality of our natural selves is that we all start from the self. We make circles outward from the self, in larger and larger diameter, as we understand and accept (or reject) the restraints and interactions brought upon us. In the midst of this stuff of life, we hear the word: The word of God that tell us:
-the center is God
-the power is God
-the love is from God
-the truth is found in God
-the hope is in God
-the reward is God
-the knowledge comes from God
-the problem is sin, separating us from God
-the salvation is from God: Jesus Christ

These concepts completely destroy our circles and show us the fallacy of starting with the self. For this, all need the word of God.

The problem that Jesus faced is not that this was not known. The people knew the Word of God, they had these words from Solomon, and many others. The problem was that it was not believed. Surely it was believed “enough” to proclaim it, to write it, to keep it sacred. But to believe it in the heart, to the point of acting on it, that was missing. And belief that is acted on, that is the only faith worth having. All the rest is fantasy.

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