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Summary: Pride keeps us from recognizing our weaknesses, confessing our need and receiving God's blessing.

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Title: Blinded by Pride

Text: Psalm 32 and James 1:2-4

Thesis: Pride keeps us from recognizing our weaknesses, confessing our need and receiving God’s blessing.

Lenten Series: Reflecting, Repenting and Returning to God

The Lenten Season is a time for reflection, repenting of our sin and returning to God. During Lent we confront the presence of evil in the world, the reality of temptation and human sinfulness. However, it is in acknowledging human sinfulness and the need for repentance that we find our way to return to God who is merciful and gracious.

Introduction

A DEA officer stopped at a ranch in Texas. He told the rancher who met him at the gate, “I need to inspect your ranch for illegally grown drugs.” The rancher said, “Okay, but don’t go in that field over there,” as he pointed in that direction.

The DEA officer immediately took exception, flashed his badge and said, “Sir, I have the authority of the United States Government and this badge says I am allowed to go wherever I wish.”

The rancher politely apologized and went about doing his chores.

A short time later he heard a terrorizing scream and looking up he saw the DEA officer running for his life in an attempt to outrun the rancher’s massive Texas Longhorn bull. The rancher hurried over to the fence and at the top of his lungs he shouted, “Show him your badge.”

Sometimes people in authority tend to be a bit self-assertive and proud and we get a fair amount of pleasure from seeing them humbled, broken and admitting that they could use a little help.

I have just begun reading John Grisham’s book The Confession and already I can’t wait for Drew Kerber, the corrupt cop and Paul Koffee, the prosecutor to get their come-up-in’s. They are both so proud that they would rather see an innocent person executed for murder than admit their own error.

Pride is a devastating thing and it is particularly destructive to the nurture of one’s spiritual life. It is only in recognizing and acknowledging our own humanity, our own mortality, our own frailty, our own short-comings and sinfulness that we can experience God’s sufficiency for our weaknesses and grace for our sinfulness.

In Psalm 32 David tells a story of how he refused to acknowledge his weaknesses and he describes his experience like this: “When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer.”

David was planning to take his guilt to his grave. David was planning to be self-sufficient. David was too proud to own his own stuff. He spoke of how he was like a stubborn mule that has to be forcefully reigned in and brought under control.

When we are blinded by pride the Season of Lent is a good time to face up to our stubbornness and pride and come clean. It is a good time to admit that we struggle with the temptations and trials of life and that sometimes we succumb to sin. It is a good time to turn our hearts to God.

Our text today is about what we do when we encounter trials and temptations in life. We know that Jesus faced trials and temptations just as we face them. The story of his own testing is recorded in the gospels and in Hebrews we read that Jesus is not someone who cannot sympathize with us, because he has been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet without sin. And because of that we may turn to God assured that God understands and God will be merciful and gracious toward us. Hebrews 4:15-16

So the first thing we learn today about the trials of life is this:

I. Temptations and Trials Lead to Maturity

Consider it pure joy, my brothers whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4

The bible tells us that our demeanor in the face of the trials of life is to be one of joy.

A. Joy is the attitude we should reflect in the face of trials.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds… James 1:2

Why does James need to tell us that joy is the appropriate attitudinal response to the trials in our lives? It’s because joy is not normally the first response we have when we face a challenging circumstance in life.

I try to get up early enough to miss the School Zone Speed Limit on 64th Avenue near Secrest School. If I get up early enough I can miss it both ways. It is important to obey the speed limit in a school zone, not only because we do not wish to injure a child but we also do not want a speeding ticket. Speeding tickets in school zones are intended to teach you a significant enough lesson that you do not do it a second time.

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