Summary: How then do we not let self-sufficiency and pride take root in our lives and in our church?
One of the most frequent headlines the past several months has been the Firestone tire safety issue on certain Ford Sport Utility Vehicles. However, not only have these two companies been linked together by business deals, they have also been linked together by marriage.
In 1947 Harvey Firestone, Jr.’s daughter Martha married the grandson of Henry Ford, William Clay Ford, who I believe still owns the Detroit Lions football team.
The Ford party traveled to Akron for the wedding in brand new Lincolns that were dutifully parked in the Firestone executive garage.
It was called to Mr. Firestone’s attention by the garage manager that all of the Lincolns had Goodyear tires and would Mr. Firestone like to kid Mr. Ford’s father, Edsel Ford, about this?
"No," was the reply with a big grin. "Just jack up all of the Lincolns, take off the Goodyear’s, and put on ours!"
As the manager went off to do that, Firestone turned to the reporter of this story and said with a twinkle, "I’m not going to have a daughter of mine married on Goodyear tires."
A case of ego, perhaps?
Or how about the young minister who often boasted in public that all the time he needed to prepare his Sunday sermon was the few minutes it took him to walk to the church from the parsonage next door. After a few weeks of hearing his sermons, the congregation bought a new parsonage - five miles away!
Pride - one of the seven deadly sins. It creates walls between friends, lovers, family members, spouses, and co-workers. It alienates persons because no one likes to be around a person who is so self-centered.
We have finished looking at ways of improving our spiritual vision and hearing so that we can see and hear God more clearly than ever before. However, we also need to understand how Satan, our spiritual enemy, tries to get us to see and hear the wrong things and keep us from walking closely with God.
So for the next five weeks we are going to look at five ways that Satan will work to keep us from becoming both persons of God as well as the people of God.
This morning, we begin by looking at the trap of self-sufficiency or, as I call it, pride.
If there is one symbol of history and culture that represents the strength that pride has it is the mirror. Think about it.
How many people, including yourself, do you notice or see primp in front of the mirror?
Last week I was driving up route 3 and I notice a young woman putting makeup on as she drove down the road.
Then there is the Disney classic - Snow White that contains the memorable wicked witch who barks at the mirror, "Mirror, Mirror, on the wall, who’s the fairest one of all?"
When the mirror gives the wrong answer, the witch flies into a fit of rage and Snow White becomes the target of her resentment and pride.
God wants us to grow and be all that we can be in Him. He wants The Church, our church to do the same. Satan knows this and so he will use pride as a way of bringing us down by encouraging us to be self-sufficient instead of humble.
There is a story in the book of Luke, chapter 18:9-14 that illustrates this reality. But, before we read that passage together I want to briefly speak about Satan.
There tends to be are two responses to Satan. The one response is to minimize his power and place. The other response is to over state his power and place. The truth is in between.
The one leaves out the reality of the battle of good verses evil. It is going on. It is for real.
The other creates an undue fear that often turns paranoid.
Satan is not as powerful as God. An historic view of Satan is that he is a fallen angel who attempted to overthrow God and failed. And while he does have power, and we must accept that truth, he is not as powerful as God though he has influence in our lives.
Flip Wilson the black comedian who had a variety show in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s, had a phrase spoken by one of his characters that has become a well used phrased, ’the Devil made me do it.’
The reality is that Devil does not make us do things. He suggests, he tempts, us, to do things. Remember the Garden of Eden in Genesis 3 and the temptation of Jesus in Matthew 4. Satan did not make Eve eat the fruit nor did Satan make Jesus do what he wanted Him to do.
WE make the choice to either do what is right (good) or what is wrong (evil). Satan tempts us to do what is wrong.