Thursday, December 3, 2009

Inside Pride

Since I've been working hard on Christmas messages lately, I've been spending lots of time in the first couple of chapters of Matthew and Luke. After Mary finds out from Gabriel that she will give birth to the Son of God, she visits her cousin Elizabeth and while there begins to talk about the greatness of God. Her words are found in Luke 1:46-55. Some refer to this as Mary's Song (of course it doesn't say whether she sung it or not) and the traditional name for this section of scripture is the Magnificat. You can read those verses here.

As I was reading those verses today I was struck by the theme of humility that runs all through the passage. Mary begins by praising God for being aware of her although she is just a humble servant. Then she talks about how God humbles the proud even those who are proud only in their "inmost thoughts". That got me to thinking, none of us like to be around someone who is outwardly proud or cocky. I mean who really likes to hear a know-it-all talk other than the know-it-all himself? While the problems with being prideful on the outside are well known, this passage talks about how God will deal with those of us who are proud on the inside. Evidently, even well concealed pride is something God takes seriously. I think that might be because any pride we have detracts from our ability to completely trust God. Pride is a form of trusting in ourselves which is dangerous. I don't think it's a coincidence that Jesus was born in a barn, in an out of the way town, to a working class parents. By the way He arrived on the earth He was sending the message of how we should live on the inside and out, with humility.