Thursday, October 21, 2021

Pride precedes destruction

 Read Proverbs 16

We will look at only two proverbs from this chapter this morning.  Here is the first from Proverbs 16:9

In their hearts humans plan their course,

    but the Lord establishes their steps.

We all make plans, some with more vision and detail than others.  Some plan off the cuff.  Some have never taken inventory of their planning skills and just are not aware of how little or how much they plan, but we all plan.

James warns us not to get married to our plans.  That’s Tom’s phraseology of what James had to say. If we plan and the Lord wills it, then that plan is established. 

If there is God’s plan and our plan and the twain never meet, then our plan is not established.  We are spittin’ in the wind.  We may have some success but our plan will never know what it is to produce the fruit that God desires.

Sometimes God establishes our steps to keep us on a smooth highway.  Sometimes we find ourselves on a path of growth.  It’s growth in grace, mind you, but growth normally comes with struggle.

Sometimes God’s way is like training for football.  There are zero dark thirty workouts, time in the weight room, and wind sprints before we get to game time. Sometimes, he just has us walk a certain path while he fights our battles. He opens the hole and we just run through.

So what do we do?  Pray, study God’s word, let it judge the thoughts and attitudes of the heart and make our plans the best we can.

Then be tuned into the voice of God’s own Spirit that lives within us.  It is time for our voice—our thoughts to lessen and for God’s to increase. That is most often a process and not an event.

We are made in God’s image.  He is a creative God.  We are a creative people.  We make plans.  He designed us to use the gifts and talents and abilities that we have to produce good fruit, but those plans need to be established by the Lord; otherwise, we might find ourselves building another Tower of Babel.

But what happens if we get a little hard-headed and go on with our plans regardless of where the Spirit is leading us?  C’mon, sometimes we just have a good plan and need to see it through.

That brings us to verse 18.

Pride goes before destruction,

    a haughty spirit before a fall.

Many of you learned this in a singular quip—pride goeth before the fall.

What’s that mean?

Sometimes we are hard-headed and sometimes we insist on our own way.  Determination is a good quality to have if you are attacking an enemy.  Those machine guns and mortars will not stop you.  You will take the hill, but most days we are not in mortal combat.

Most days we are navigating a world when we cross paths with other people and other people’s plans and wills and desires.

Sometimes people do something and we get angry.  We say, I remember quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger, but that’s going to play second fiddle to how I feel right now.  Somebody is getting a piece of my mind if not my fist.

Sometimes our human pride and ego and general makeup get in the way of following God’s way.  It’s that whole own understanding thing again.  It feels right because it is our own understanding.

But when we think that our own understanding trumps what God has told us, we have selfish, human, sinful pride.  That pride will lead us to the arena of everything else.

If you have eyes to see and ears to hear that there is God’s way and there is everything else, then you understand that pride is just waiting to sucker punch us to leave God’s way and join the fray of the everything else.

If we are on course following God’s way, our selfish human pride is always lurking to drag us out of the steps that the Lord has established.  We must be on the lookout for giving in to our own understanding.

We have to trust the Lord more and more each day.  We have to give way to our own understanding until our own understanding is in accord with the Lord’s direction for our lives.

We have to be on guard that we don’t deceive ourselves into thinking that our own understanding is automatically in accord with the Lord’s.  A haughty spirit will be at work in this deception.

Jump ahead to Paul’s time and recall his words to take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ Jesus. This is how we defeat our selfish pride and a haughty spirit that is trying to get us off course.

When do we see this pride goes before destruction stuff in our lives?

For most, it’s going to be somebody messing with your family—usually your kids.  You want to let them have it.  Sometimes you do.  Sometimes you have that emotional high when you go off on somebody, then you realize what a cheap drug that pride is.  What a poison that a haughty spirit is.

Then you are stuck with your next hard decision.  Defense of my haughty spirit or reconciliation. 

If the blood in your veins is still boiling, the reconciliation seems a long way off.  If you defend an emotional decision, you have anchored yourself to that position adopted in selfish pride.

It’s as if you have put a leg iron on yourself.  At some point you want reconciliation, but you have anchored yourself to the prideful position.  Defending your pride and haughty spirit makes it all the more difficult to free yourself of this anchor.

Better to stick to God’s way even when your own understanding says, Sorry God, this one’s out of your control. 

There is God’s way and there is everything else. If your heart and your plans are seeking God’s way, he will establish your steps.

If you really need to hold on to your own understanding, your pride will lead you into the everything else.

God’s way is for the wise.

The everything else is for the wicked and foolish.

Choose God’s way.




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