Summary: Pride is more than bragging... it’s seeing ourselves in God’s spot.
CHARACTER UNDER CONSTRUCTION
INTRO: I’M NOT GOD
Vince Lombardi - one of the greatest coaches in NFL history - apparently had an large ego. One day he came home to bed after a great win but wife was already asleep. When his feet touched her legs she said,
God, your feet are cold!
Honey, when we’re in bed, just call me Vince
Ernest Kurtz wrote a book about the history of Alcoholics Anonymous entitled “Not-God” because he says:
the fundamental problem alcoholics have is that way down deep, they refuse to acknowledge limitation, weakness, being finite, being fallen. They tend to live under the delusion that they are in control of everything, when the truth is, they can’t even control ourselves.
Thus to say, “I am not God”, is to say, I have weakness and limitations, I am not in control of everything in my universe, I need help from a power far greater than myself. As obvious as that sounds, friends, this, “I am not God” illusion is not limited to alcoholics. It is a spiritual problem that we all share.
If first showed up in the Bible in the Garden of Eden when spiritual forces of evil embodied in that snake told Eve,
“When you eat this fruit, your eyes will be opened, and you’ll be like God.” That was the first temptation. “You’ll be master of your own universe. You don’t have to submit to somebody else’s ideas, you can make up your own rules, that makes you like God.”
See, this “You’ll be like God.” temptation has been around a long time and it’s at the heart of all sin and spiritual confusion. It defines what we mean by humility and it’s opposite character trait, pride:
PRIDE is not so much bragging as it is this illusion that I am at the center and can manage everything on my own without help. Bragging may be a symptom of pride, but pride itself is much deeper. Even very insecure people who would never be caught dead bragging can demonstrate an amazing amount of pride.
HUMILITY therefore is the opposite of this attitude. It’s not a self deprecating sort of thing, humility is just living in the truth about ourselves… and the truth is I am not God, I’m not the center, I have needs, I have things I can’t control, I am dependant on God. That’s humility.
Now, at recovery meetings the first thing people say when they talk is,
“My name is Rick. I’m an alcoholic.”
Which is to say, “Let’s get real clear on something up front: I’m not God.” It’s a reality check. A way of getting centered in the truth to keep your spiritual sanity.
So let’s all do that right now. Here’s what I want you to do, a little audience participation today – if you have someone next to you that you know their name. Turn to that person, real quick, and say:
“Your name is,” ___________, “and you’re not God.”
Go ahead. Someone once said:
“The biggest difference between you and God is God doesn’t think he’s you.”
You see, pretending we’re God is the core of PRIDE and pride can destroy your life, and your relationship with God. So today we’re going to study a man who’s about to learn this very painful lesson. He’s not God. Then we’re going to talk about a guy who showed humility. And alot of my thoughts today I’ve received from a talk John Ortberg gave about Pride.
The first guy is Pharaoh. He’s the king of Egypt about 3500 years ago and Egypt is a world power. So Pharaoh is the absolute dictator of an empire that reigns with unchallenged authority over the known world. He has strength, wealth, fame and power unparalleled in his world.
He’s the most secure person on the face of the earth. He is a god! That’s how people think of him. But he’s a god with a problem. His empire has enslaved the race of Hebrews for their massive building projects for hundreds of years. They’ve come in very handy building monuments to kings’ vanities, but the problem is:
- they’re reproducing so fast they’re becoming a threat.
- What if Egypt goes to war?
- These Hebrews might join the enemy and revolt and there’s so many, even armed with only sticks and clubs, they could be a real nuisance.
So the very first time we meet Pharaoh, we find him giving the order to kill babies. The midwives were to kill all the male children born to the Jewish slaves. There’s an interesting juxtaposition in the Bible at this point. The very next verse says,
But the Hebrew midwives refused to obey the King because they feared God.