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By Feyisayo Anjorin.
One of the best things that happened to me as a child was the discovery of the treasures that could be found in books. My Dad, a lover of knowledge and learning, had a shelf full of books and he bought new books almost every weekend, so I would gain from his frequent visits to the bookshops. For me there was always a new book to read.
The bible, however, was the only book I could not read like the others, because of the volume and the illumination it gave me on things pertaining to God and to human relationships.
From childhood to my teenage years I had been exposed to insightful teachings on chastity and dangers of sexual immorality, so much that if anyone had asked me what was most displeasing to God, I would have said ‘Sexual Immorality’.
But one day as I was reading the scriptures I came across a passage in the book of James, chapter 4 verse 6, ‘God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble’. James was quoting from the book of Proverbs chapter 3 verse 34.
So I wondered: Why is God resisting the proud? Why would he leave the adulterers and fornicators and killers and rapists and the worst of humanity? What about corrupt politicians? Common! It’s just simple pride.
Who are the proud? That guy in the office who walks around with his shoulders unnaturally high? That beautiful woman that would shake another’s hand and immediately bring out her hand sanitizer? The boss that wants everybody to jump on his or her feet and shiver anytime he or she steps into the office?
Why is God so hard on the proud? This question got me searching the scriptures and I was gladdened by the answers I got.
In the book of Isaiah, chapter 14 verse 13, which talks about the King of Babylon, a sort of symbolism for the devil, it says, “You said in your heart, I will ascend to heaven, I will raise my throne above the stars of God, I will sit enthroned on the mount of the assembly, on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain…”
From the above passage we see that pride is a thing of the heart, the subject of the passage said in his heart, so the fact that someone greets you with a bow or walks around with sagging shoulders does not mean that person is humble. Then we see that the subject of this passage wanted to ‘raise my throne above the stars of God’ !
That is why God resists the proud. Pride is attempting to take yourself higher than God. Since we do not see God as we see our police officers or our pastors, the only way reveal our regard for God is in our attitude to his word.
The only right response to the word of God is obedience and faith; but pride is when – in response to God – we think we have a better idea, an alternative way, a workable modification, something else that works. We think God’s word is hard, it is not practical, it is against our nature, since we are weak. God seems old-fashioned, we want God to respect our rights and be a bit flexible.
Pride is the foundation of every sin, because God’s opinion on everything is written in the scriptures.
Now, the scriptures may not be so clear or may even seem contradictory for those who have not been given the revelation of the gospel, but for us who name the name of Christ, if we really search the scriptures we can be sure of God’s opinion on most issues of life.
God knows our weaknesses, so he does not expect sinless perfection; but he knows those who hunger and thirst for godliness and those who see their weaknesses as a license to be free from Godly influence. God will not just resist a man or a woman for an act of pride, God resists the hardened heart of pride.
The danger of pride is the fact that we are not usually aware when of it in ourselves; when we assert our personality in a way that is clearly against the known truth we may not see it as raising our throne above the stars of God.
We may not even be aware of pride in the heart of those who seem outwardly humble.
Yet God sees beyond externals, he says ‘your ways are not my ways’. We judge based on what we see, sometimes we gain some insight and judge based on God’s revelation. Thing is, God does not reveal everything to us so that we would not become puffed up by knowledge.
He knows the foundation of every deed, he sees the heart, he knows that every deviation from the ways of God begins with a challenge on the authority of his word and his ways.
That’s why he resists the proud; that is why he takes pride seriously.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Feyisayo Anjorin is a writer and a filmmaker; he is the author of novel “Kasali’s Africa” and novella “The Night My Dead Girlfriend Called”. His writings have appeared in Bella Naija, Brittle Paper, Kalahari Review, Litro, and Bakwa Magazine.