Friday, November 21, 2014

Jeremiah 13:15 -- On Pride and Value

"Hear ye, and give ear; be not proud: for the Lord hath spoken."
Jeremiah 13:15

Pretty clear, right?   But I was listening to Elmo's World today (my niece got to choose the show), and he was singing about being proud, and a little kid being proud of himself isn't bad, is it?  So what is the difference?  I think we get this mixed up sometimes and think of pride as the same thing as self-esteem.  And if we do that, then we can fall into traps like thinking that we have to hate ourselves or suffer in order to please God.
God isn't looking for us to grovel.  We do have to go through tribulation and sometimes sacrifice what we want for what God wants in life, but that's so we can learn from our experiences, and learn over time that God's will always turns out better than ours.  It isn't about beating us down and making us feel worthless.  Even when we talk about being less than the dust of the earth, it isn't about our value as beings.  It is, again, about obedience, because the dust does whatever God asks.  It takes us much longer to get that down.
The way we use the word pride in our society is tough.  I think in the way that it means self-esteem, thinking that we are okay, and we can work to be better... or being proud of someone else for choosing the right, it's okay.  But as soon as it becomes a comparison or a contest, that's when it starts being a sin.  When we start thinking that we are better or smarter than other people or God.  When we think we can stop growing because we're the best, or what we value our own works over the works or requests of God, then we've lost sight of who we are, rather than just recognized that we're worthwhile.
As for being worthwhile: we all are.  It doesn't matter what we've done or how far we have to go. God still cares about us, and if we have the desire to change, God will help us to come back to him.  As long as we are alive and have the ability to make choices, we can choose to turn around and do good.  Not saying it is easy.  Sometimes, far down that path, it is really, really hard.  But it *is* possible, and we ARE worth the time and effort of saving.  Christ died to give us that chance, because we are each worth it, and God wants to be reunited with us and rejoice in our success.
Today, let's remember that we are valuable.  We matter, and whatever effort it takes to clean up our lives is worth it.  Let's just not take it too far, and think that our value makes us the boss of everyone else. :)  God's will should always come first.

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