Pride. Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall. (Proverbs 16:18) When pride cometh, then cometh shame: but with the lowly is wisdom. (Proverbs 11:2) Much of my life has been a struggle with pride, with years spent building it and decades spent tearing it down. Pride was likely not the goal of my parents in raising me, but it was the end result. I was very sick when I was small and was miraculously healed, and I was reminded throughout childhood that God must have preserved me for a particular purpose. While true, that has a way of building grandiose notions in a person, when not carefully moderated by doses of humility and reminders that, indeed, God calls everyone for a particular purpose. As a result, my teen years and young adulthood were spent being puffed up and proud of accomplishments that were only the result of God’s blessing. And my adulthood has been a work at tearing down the layers of pride and seeking humility, yet punctuated by times of looking for “big” things to do.
While some are specially called by God for a big, visible, public, groundbreaking, world-changing purpose (think of Washington, of Wycliffe, of Bunyan, of Luther, and such), for the vast majority of people, our biggest purpose is to be faithful in the sphere where God puts us. The Westminster Catechism states that the chief purpose of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. That speaks of living out His will in a way that directs others to Him, that diverts praise and glory from us to Him, that ensures our eternal destiny to be a life with Him by salvation through Christ. And scripture speaks often of the importance of raising succeeding generations for God, reminding them of His works of providence, and instructing them in His ways. (Deuteronomy 6, Psalm 78) We are called as well to serve others, doing good to all men, especially to those who are of the household of faith. (Galatians 6:10) While it sounds obvious, it has been a progression for me to realize that the world is changed – one life, one family, one community at a time – by preparing the next generation to serve Christ faithfully locally. Truly, I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth. (3 John 1:4) If by the end of my life I can see a fruitful walk in each of my children and preparation for that walk in their children, then I will go to be with the Lord thankful for His blessing of my well-intentioned – yet inadequate – efforts and satisfied that my race was well run. (2 Timothy 4:7)
God has a purpose for each of us, and work for all of us to do, and there is an immense beauty that appears as one begins to understand that our world now has six billion people on it, all created in the image of God, and each with a particular work to do, if only they would repent, come to salvation, and embrace their place in God’s kingdom and the life He wills for them. What a marvelous Creator who could easily fit six billion moving parts – each with his own free will to be conformed over time to the mind of Christ – into a cohesive, integrated whole as His church working for Him here and as the bride of Christ in eternity. There is no need for pride in man when one gets even a tiny glimpse of the glory of God. (Psalm 8)
Copyright © 2013