by inhonoredglory

In the world, the beauty of God’s creation is too often clouded by the ugliness of man’s sins. We see liars, thieves, and murderers. We see greed and lust and anger. We see that all men err, that all men are unified in this ugliness called sin. But all men also are unified in the black root that causes sin. For each sin is uniquely apart of the greater whole of Sin; every facet of evil is cut from one motive, formed from one mold. Sins are, in the end, only ripples on the sea, each distinct from the other, and alive only because of that one water which feeds them all. That unifying deep is the one transgression that started all sin, that of pride.

In the beginning, God’s most treasured creation, His most beautiful work, was Lucifer, an angel “full of wisdom and perfect in beauty” and possessing the “seal of perfection.”1 Yet this perfect creation rebelled against his Creator, spurned Heaven for a land of his own making, and denied a role of subservience to one of false authority. He gave up his lovely wisdom and perfection to perform the wicked desires of his heart.

peacock image

Pride threatens the ordinary individual to the most beautiful.

But why was this beautiful creature suddenly unafraid of the holy power he witnessed each day? Why did his perfect wisdom not tell him what he was doing was wrong? Why did he dare to rebel? Why was he not even grateful of the lofty position God had given him? God provides the answer: “Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty; you corrupted your wisdom by reason of your splendor.”2 Once Satan had convinced himself of his worth, he took it into his heart to “ascend to heaven,” to raise his throne “above the stars of God,” to become “like the Most High,”3 and was blinded to any reason or wisdom. Because he wanted a glory like that of God, he was obstinate, unfalteringly committed to the false belief he had formed to compliment his own desire. His fall could not have been caused by unbelief or ungratefulness, as some speculate, for why would he not believe if there was nothing in the circumstances of Heaven to make him doubt God? Why would he be ungrateful were he truly a humble servant before God?

Pride made Satan disregard all these rational thoughts. His lofty idea of himself, supposedly supported by his beauty in creation, made it possible for him to say “I can be like God; therefore, God cannot be all powerful. I am worth as much as God; therefore, why am I not given more?” Therefore, he became unbelieving and ungrateful. He became rebellious and bitter. Pride was the cause of all his other vices, the sprawling root of all his other poisonous fruits.

The door was now swung open: Satan grew envious of God’s creation, especially His special handiwork, man. He showed no guilt in deceiving Eve. He was only delighted in the murder of innocent saints of God. He did not hesitate to tempt the Lord Jesus Christ when He came into the world. Once he envisioned himself as worthy, Satan felt no guilt in indulging himself in pleasurable evils, for in Satan’s mind resides the thought: “I am worthy and deserve all things.”

But it is not only the head of evil who follows this degrading process. Fallen mankind often does the same. Pride is easy to accept, and natural to ourselves. And it is this same pride that is the root of every other wrong we do: A fornicator commits adultery because he believes the desires of his heart more worthy of fulfilling than moral law. A criminal breaks the law because he believes the greed in his soul is better gratified than suppressed for virtue’s sake. A murderer ends another’s life because he feels his own life and pleasure is worth more than his victim’s.

Even the littlest things find their source in pride. A petty argument is protracted because it has become a matter of pride to win. A grudge is held because the resented cannot let the worth of his heart go unavenged. Jealousy and envy arise from thinking that we are worth that beautiful thing; why is it then not ours? Snobbiness emerges from the belief that one is superior, above the ordinary man. Even gluttony and laziness arise from pride – albeit in the most subtle ways – for in these we place our pleasures above our responsibilities to our bodies and our circumstances.

Thus it is how fallen man has become like its “father, the devil.”4 Like the great adversary, the wicked man has followed his heart, journeyed into the place where he believes only himself must be pleased, and have, as a result, found the land where God’s storms shall soon thunder. Like the first rebel, these souls have placed their desires above that of God and virtue; they have then fallen into every other evil their heart could concoct.

But if pride is the door to other crimes, then it is humility that lays out before us the golden path to God. For if we are truly humble, we cannot think ourselves as worthy of sinful indulgence. We would use our time wisely, for others and God. Humbled, we would be awed by God’s sheer existence, and deeply gratified by His flood of grace. Humbled, we could never think of displeasing Someone greater than ourselves. With true humility, all the outgrowths of pride would never be.

But true humility is difficult; it is unnatural. That is why only through God can we achieve any hope of meekness. Only through Jesus Christ can we grow in selfless love and kindness, because it was He Who performed the greatest work of humility – He laid down His life for creatures below Him; He died for man and brought the shining gift of salvation to those who did not deserve it. Only through Jesus Christ can we defeat the decaying force of arrogance. And so it is only through Him must we place our sinful hearts so that we might achieve true humility in the eyes of God.

1. Ezekiel 28:12b

2. Ezekiel 28:17a

3. Isaiah 14:14

4. John 8:44

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