Stop Looking Within Yourself
“But He gives more grace. Therefore it says, ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.’ Submit yourselves therefore to God. . . . Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.” James 4:6-8 ESV
While I don’t always agree with the theology of C.S. Lewis, I think he got it right when he said in Mere Christianity, “As long as you are proud you cannot know God. A proud man is always looking down on things and people: and, of course, as long as you are looking down you cannot see something that is above you.”
Over the past several months, I have been dealing with an insane amount of doubt. I began by doubting my church and denomination, then I doubted my salvation, and eventually I threw my hands up altogether and said, “I don’t know if I ever really believed in God to begin with.” It had never been anything more than a beautiful legend. A practical metaphor. I thought I cherished the Bible and Christianity, but deep down I didn’t think I could apply it to “ultimate reality.” I was my own god all along.
Every painful experience in my life has paled in comparison to the one I’ve had with doubt and unbelief – and things only began to make sense when I recognized that my pride was at the root of all of it. Deep rooted, intricately threaded, heavy seated pride that acted as the lens that colored and distorted every single thing I looked at. Pride is why I’m selfish and reluctant to change. Pride is why I refuse to forgive. Pride is why I doubt the existence and love of the God to Whom I’ve surrendered the entirety of my life.
My pride deceives me with the subtle and subconscious thought that I need not pay any mind to someone or something outside of me – because as Lewis recognized, if there is something or someone above you, chances are you’ll be held accountable to it in one way or another. So we have to ask God to constantly humble us and be willing to submit to His correction. We have no hope of rightly perceiving Him, other people, or even reality itself if we are stuck in introspection mode. The world revolves around neither you nor me. And if we think we get to decide what does and should happen on it, we are deceived by pride and must beg to be humbled. Only God can ever be God.
Father, humble me where pride reigns in my heart and mind. Help me recognize when it is the driving force behind my decisions, judgements, and other vices. Cleanse me from this sin and reveal Your power and glory to me as I look from within myself to the Truth outside of me. Give me new eyes. Help me reject the subtle, strong lie from my culture that I can decide what does and should happen in this life based on my wants and preferences. Your will, not mine.
Write out and meditate on the following verses: Psalm 10:4, Ezekiel 16:49, Proverbs 29:23, and 1 John 2:16.