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Chapter 8 - Legend in Our Own Mind
Pride makes us artificial and humility makes us real. - Thomas Merton
When King David was young, he was on the lamb. King Saul was trying to kill him. Many of the most beautiful psalms were written from the heart of a young fugitive whose survival was only in the hands of the God in whom he trusted.
And when he had removed him, he raised up unto them David to be their king; to whom also he gave testimony, and said, I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfil all my will. - Acts 13:22
However, after years of being king, David had become so narrow in his focus that he had a woman’s husband killed so that he could have her for himself. This was not done in shameful secrecy, but from a perspective having no thought of wrongness. God finally had to send Nathan to penetrate David’s blindness.
And Nathan said to David, Thou art the man. Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, I anointed thee king over Israel, and I delivered thee out of the hand of Saul; And I gave thee thy master's house, and thy master's wives into thy bosom, and gave thee the house of Israel and of Judah; and if that had been too little, I would moreover have given unto thee such and such things. Wherefore hast thou despised the commandment of the LORD, to do evil in his sight? thou hast killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword, and hast taken his wife to be thy wife, and hast slain him with the sword of the children of Ammon. - 2 Samuel 12:7-9
This is another example of how complacency over time can lead us incrementally from a fearful and heartfelt dependence upon the Lord to a point of pride and blindness where we can even murder and think nothing of it. This same process of prideful ossification can be seen with the Scribes (often associated with the Pharisees).
Beware of the scribes, which desire to walk in long robes, and love greetings in the markets, and the highest seats in the synagogues, and the chief rooms at feasts; Which devour widows' houses, and for a shew make long prayers: the same shall receive greater damnation. - Luke 20:46-47
Here these people would even profit in some way with real estate transactions that exploited the vulnerability of widows. We also find the Pharisees cheating by trickery in their business dealings.
Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves. Woe unto you, ye blind guides, which say, Whosoever shall swear by the temple, it is nothing; but whosoever shall swear by the gold of the temple, he is a debtor! - Matthew 23:15-16
Few people are rescued from such a state of blindness. With David we have an example of pride brought low. David was finally able to see truth and reality but at great cost.
To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David, when Nathan the prophet came unto him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba. Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. - Psalm 51:1-3
Consider again the coupling in first John of the blindness of pride contrasted against the restorative acknowledgment of truth;
If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. - 1 John 1:8-9
Since God is truth, it is essential for Satan to construct his social systems such that he can advocate pride as a tactic to insure we remain separated from God. Regardless whether it is called, positive affirmation, self-esteem, confidence, worth, respect, satisfaction, assurance, regard, or even narcissism, we (like a drug addict) are so easily lead away from the discomfort of truth to the more pleasant world of delusion.
The play acting (hypocrisy) of the Pharisees came as a result of “leaven” working its slow way through them facilitated by pride, complacency, and sufficiency.
We can see the blindness created by this deviation from truth.
Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall. - Proverbs 16:18
One of the tactics Satan has been advancing is using the concept of relativism to erase the influence of absolute. Only three things are called truth, the bible, God, and Jesus. It is the absolute that gives us reality. When we lose our connection to or appreciation for truth, we divert from God and his word into a world where we can begin to see ourselves in greatly inflated terms.
And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God. - Luke 16:15
The Christian needs to reject the comfortable path and be actively seeking truth. Even though truth can be uncomfortable, it is essential to eternal life.
Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: - Matthew 7:13
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