We all have struggles.  Things that we wish that we were better at than we are, and even perhaps sins that get in the way of us living and loving God in a deserving manner.  One of the consistent struggles that I deal with and many students that I have ministered to and still minster among struggle with is the sin of pride.

Pride is a root sin.  It forms subtly under the surface of the person and can even bear some attractive fruit for a season.  It disguises itself as any number of things, but ultimately when it is fully formed in the life of a person pride shows itself to be something quite unlovely.  Proud people boast in their hearts.  Proud people are envious of others.  Proud people set themselves above the huddled masses believing themselves to be superior, and in the process hurt relationships with friends and family.

The ultimate fruit of pride is an inability to properly recognize the greatness of God.   If a person is constantly looking down on other people, how can they at the same time, look up to the great God of heaven?  Eventually the proud are humbled, but not before substantial damage is done.

We looked at Nebuchadnezzar’s pride as revealed in Daniel 4.  He was humbled by the Lord.  Proverbs says that pride and haughtiness lead to a fall.   As believers we must be humble as Jesus Christ was.  He did not seek to have proper adulation for his greatness, he did not look down on the sinners of the day, he was humble.  If you diagnose pride in your life, you need to root it out, and the best way I know to root our pride is to constantly be looking up to the greatness of God.  This gives me the proper perspective of how ungreat I am in the grand scheme of creation.

I hope this helps.  If you have a teen who struggles with pride the solution is the same, don’t beat them down, build God up to where he truly belongs.  Keep up the hard work!

Have you struggled with pride?  How do you cope?  How do you respond to loved ones who are proud?

The Greatness of Love

Of all the things that believers and non-believers alike admire about Jesus Christ, his teaching on love stands out as being uniquely amazing.  God demonstrated through the teaching of Jesus Christ that love is to be given to all people regardless of their desire to return that love.  While preaching the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus gives the extent of love to his hearers when he said in Matthew 5:43-45 (ESV):

You have heard that it was said “You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.” But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven.

Jesus turned conventional wisdom of love upside down when he instructed his followers to be people of love, even to those people who are persecuting you.  This is in direct contrast to what we are naturally inclined to do.  If I were to know that if I knocked on your door that you would punch me in the face, would I choose to knock on your door?  Would I willingly subject myself to persecution?  The obvious answer is, no.  However, Jesus claims that we should be willing to suffer, even a nose punch, to demonstrate love and kindness to an enemy.

I challenged our students to think of who the person in their life is that they have been unloving toward.  It doesn’t matter whose fault it was that hate is in the relationship, I challenged them to begin to show kindness to that person.  The goal is not to make some kind of a friend with them, but rather to demonstrate the love of Jesus Christ (which he demonstrated on the cross for our sins) to another person.  Perhaps as a parent you should do the same.  Who is your enemy?  How can you show God’s love, which you received graciously, to that person?