Aug 4, 2010

In Case You Missed It...

This past Sunday was an awesome time of worship at Sixth Street.  The highlight of the day had to be the commissioning of my wife Alison and Morgan Jones who leave this Saturday for a mission trip to Swaziland, Africa.  It was awesome to see God's people flood the aisles to come and pray for them. 

The sermon was the latest in our series through James called "According to Jim".  We looked at the topic of "Battling My Pride" from James 4:11-17.  Here are the highlights:
  • Pride can be a great danger to our spiritual health and vitality because it says that "I am the center of the story."  
  • Pride itself is not necessarily evil.  There is nothing wrong with taking pride in a job well done, showing pride in your children when they do well, or having a strong sense of nationalistic or patriotic pride.
  • Pride is something that is easy to see in others and hard to see in the mirror.  Most of us don't think we have a problem with pride.  However, there is an insipid form of pride that is very self-focused.
  • James 4:6 says that "God opposes the proud."  The picture of opposition is someone who takes up full battle armor.  He's completely at war with our pride.  (See Leviticus 26:14-19; Proverbs 8:13; Proverbs 11:2; Proverbs 8:13)

Pride's Destructive Power

1.  Pride can ruin our relationships.  James 4:11-12
  • When God says do not speak evil of each other, he is speaking of several forms of speech - slander, gossip, and fault-finding.
  • James says when we judge others, we are judging the law - specifically the 2nd Great Commandment to love our neighbors as ourselves.  Judging and fault-finding come from a prideful heart that doesn't love others.
  • James is not condemning all judgment - just self-righteous, prideful judgment.  We are told to judge teachers according to sound doctrine.  Jesus said to stop judging my mere appearances and make a right judgment. John 7:24
  • The point of judging is Matthew 7:3-5 where we are commanded to remove the log from our own eye before trying to see and remove the speck in our brothers.
2.  Pride can lead to dangerous assumptions. James 4:13-17
  • It feeds our unredeemed ambition
    • Ambition can be a very productive and powerful thing making us capable of great accomplishments.  However, when not sanctified and surrendered to God, our ambition can make us very susceptable to pride.
  • It gives an unrealistic perspective.
    • The merchants were under the impression that their prosperiity was completely a product of their own effort and planning. 
  • It blinds us to our own frailty.
    • James says our life is nothing more than a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.  
    • We can make great plans, but we are dependent on the Lord for our very life - however brief.
  • It prods us to boast in our arrogance.
    • Pride not only causes us to make plans without an awareness of God's will, but to arrogantly boast in our own assumed sovereignty.
  • It creates a self-centered agenda
    • Ultimately, these merchants plans were not evil, but the fact that they planned with no concern for God and his sovereign purpose in their lives.
    • James is not against good planning - he is just concerned with where are starting point is.  Is it on our prideful agenda or surrendered to God's will.