Every sin is deadly, but pride is the one at the root of them all. It’s not always clear if someone struggles with pride, yet we all have it. If you don’t think this applies to you, it might be exactly what you need to hear. In this message, we look at Philippians 2 to see what pride is, what it leads to, and how we can cure it.
All right. Well, we are continuing the series, but I wanted to start by just addressing clearly everything going on. I hate that what I'm about to do is going to fall so short of communicating and expressing how tremendously grieved, hurt, sad, confused, shocked, and just really heartbroken over not just the death of George Floyd but the pain that is rippling through so many people but especially inside the church and our black and brown brothers and sisters in Christ.
I have been sick all day and this weekend thinking, praying, and fasting about how to use the moments we have here tonight. I want you to know that we are standing with you, that we are praying with you, and that I see you as more family and more blood than members of my own family who don't know Jesus.
There's a saying that blood is thicker than water, which means that family runs deeper than friendships. While blood is thicker than water, the cross is thicker and stronger than them both. You are our brothers and our sisters. We mourn and are just really grieved alongside of you and are listening. When you hurt, we are hurting with you. We are so grateful that we get to be in a family that has all of the different spectrums of ethnicity and race. You matter. All the pain that you're feeling, we are heartbroken over. Let me pray, and we'll dive in.
Father, I do thank you that because of the cross of Christ, every person, red, yellow, black, and white, who trusts in you is connected, bonded, sealed, and kindred spirits for all of eternity because they have the Holy Spirit. I pray that you would continue to eradicate and expose and remove injustice, racism, police brutality, and all kinds of evil from our land.
Would you help us as the church to cling to you, to love one another, and to look like you did when you walked this earth? Help us, God. Would you fill any gaps with your grace? I know there are no words and no things that can be said that in a message can heal so much of the pain that's being felt, but you can. So help us. In Christ's name, amen.
Well, if you're listening and joining us online, there are a handful of friends and volunteers who are here. I thought I'd start by asking just a question that will give us some direction for where we're going tonight. "If there was one sin that you could remove from the earth, what would it be?" One that you are most angry, opposed to? What would you say? What would you say?
David: Pride? Yeah. What would you say?
David: Murder. Other ones?
David: Jealousy. Those are great ones to remove. I think if you look at Scripture and you ask that question, "Which sin is God most opposed to?" There's one that he seems to highlight over and over and over. It is the sin of pride. He says in Proverbs, chapter 8, verse 13, "…I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech."
He says in Isaiah, chapter 57, verse 15, "The high and lofty one _ [God] _ who lives in eternity, the Holy One, says this: 'I live in the high and holy place with those whose spirits are contrite and humble.'" Then he says "Hey, I dwell, not only in eternity in heavens of heavens, in the highest place, but also only with the humble." Over and over and over the Scriptures say, "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble."
The image is like, "Hey, you're in a boxing ring. You have you over here if you're proud and God over here." That's how he feels toward pride. What's crazy about pride is, I think honestly, it's one of the more acceptable sins in most of our lives or in my life. If I was up here and I was like, "Hey, I've been struggling with a lot of the ones that you just named."
Like, "I've been struggling with abuse or I've been struggling with having sex outside of marriage, with someone other than my wife." Most of you would be like, "Dude, what? You just lost the right to talk up here." But if I was to say, "Man, I've been struggling with pride," most of us would be like, "Ah, who isn't, right?" It's one of the more acceptable ones that we feel, we are almost so accustomed to.
Yet you read the Bible over and over and over, God is so clear. "I am opposed to pride." Partially because so many of the other sins we're going to talk about in this series of seven deadly sins, which is a funny title because every sin is by definition deadly. "For the wages of sin is death…" the Bible says.
We're just grabbing these huge pillars of sins that our generation can wrestle with. Tonight, it is on pride. One of the reasons God is opposed to it is because, as many theologians have said for a long time, you can trace the root of so many other sins back to pride. C.S. Lewis put it this way. "Unchastity, anger, greed, drunkenness, and all that, are mere flea bites in comparison: it was through Pride that the devil became the devil."
In other words, Satan was cast out of heaven because he wanted to be God, which was pride. "Pride leads to every other vice: it is the complete anti-God state of mind…" God hates pride because it kills relationships. Pride will keep you out of heaven, because it will not allow you to say, "I need a Savior."
The challenge of a message like this, just to let you know in the preaching world, is pride is a weird topic because people who are proud are not going to listen to a message on pride because they don't think they need it. It's a frustrating thing because the people who actually need to hear it are the ones who are least likely to.
So if you're listening right now and you're going, "Oh man, pride. That really doesn't apply to me. I'm not really a prideful person." You are exactly the person I'm talking about. Pride, to any degree that it creeps into our life, is always toxic and poisonous, especially to relationships. What we're about to discuss, if the church will do…
It won't heal every problem that's taking place overnight. It won't remove and eradicate racism overnight. But what we're about to talk about for the next 25 minutes will move the church in the direction of unifying together and bringing healing into our world. So I just want to walk through Philippians, chapter 2, where Paul talks about pride and humility.
I'm going to incorporate some other Scriptures that will inform it. I just want to talk about how pride presents (what it looks like), what pride prevents in our lives, and then where pride ends. If you're taking notes, those are the three ideas I just want to talk through from Philippians, chapter 2.
Paul wrote Philippians to the church in Philippi. It is a letter that he wrote from a jail cell. Today we call it the letter of Philippians. Here's what he says in verse 3 of chapter 2. "Don't be selfish; don't try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don't look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too."
As we launch into a conversation about pride and humility, one of the challenges is that pride masquerades, or wears different faces, when it surfaces in our lives. Pride inside of all of our lives looks different in different ways. It can come up and pop up. It's not always overtly… Sometimes it's easy to spot the guy who is overly cocky.
He is still talking about his high school football days and how great he was. He is all about himself. That person, it's clear like, "Man, that guy is arrogant. He struggles with pride." But pride, this obsession with self and self-focus, which is what pride is, can pop up in a lot of different ways. It can pop up as self-love, but it also pops up as self-hate.
Because at the center of your thoughts and your focus and all those is still self. Both of those can be pride. Pride can pop up as insecurity where, "I'm afraid to talk, and I'm afraid of what other people think about me," because at the center of your thought is still you. I'm constantly looking. There are people who are tremendously quiet who struggle with incredible pride because they're just afraid.
There are times the Bible commands us to speak, and they're afraid to speak because they're afraid of, "Oh no, what are people going to think?" That's pride. It's not always overtly clear if somebody is struggling with pride. It can also look like being judgmental toward other people who struggle with sins, sexual attractions, who have challenges or struggles in their lives that you don't, and you or I look down on them because of it.
Pride also looks like taking credit for things that you didn't earn, you didn't deserve. Everything that you have been given, the Bible says, is all a gift of God's grace in your life. Paul, in 1 Corinthians, chapter 4, verse 7, says this. "What do you have that you did not receive?" The way that you look, the mind that you have, the job that you have, the family you were born into, the city that you live in.
Everything, Paul says, is something that's foolish to be proud about because all of it was a gift that you can't take credit for. You're not responsible for being born into whatever family that you were. You may be thinking, "No, but I work hard at my job." You're not responsible for having the mind that God gave you that allowed you to work, for having legs that allow you get up and move around every day.
Paul says everything has been a gift from God. It's foolish. Pride looks like, "Hey man, I'm taking credit because I worked really hard. I earned this." Pride looks like entitlement instead of gratitude. "I'm focused on what I don't have that other people have." Again, at the center of that is self.
Pride looks defensive. Man, I hate this one because I am this one. A lot of times in my life, defensiveness can pop up where I will dismiss or defend or I don't want to listen. At the center of that is a pridefulness that thinks that I'm right. Pride can look in all these different ways inside of our lives.
Pride can look like shame. You may be going, "Pride? Shame? Guilt?" For a Christian who has trusted in Jesus, pride can look like shame because any time that I rehearse that and I just get covered in shame, I am saying that my sin is more powerful than the grace of God or my sin is more powerful than what Christ did. My actions are more powerful than the actions Jesus took on the cross.
Pride can pop up in all kinds of forms in our lives. It can look like being stressed out because I'm so worried and I feel like the entire world rests on me, which is a lie. That's pride. It still has me at the center of it. Pride can look like being easily offended. Somebody who is prideful is often easily offended because "Hey, you hit self, and the most important thing in the universe is myself. You offended me."
Pride can pop up in lots of different ways. Pride looks like unwillingness to apologize until someone else owns their part. I know Josiah has been there before. I'm totally kidding. We all have. Pride looks like I'm unable to see anything other than the issues and the reasons why I'm justified in not doing something else. I don't have to move toward that person. That's pride.
Pride, even in this moment for me, is more concerned about what you think of what I'm going to teach tonight than what God thinks about what I'm teaching tonight. Pride can pop up in lots of different ways. One exercise that would be helpful, you should consider doing, because pride is a little bit like bad breath…if you have it, you can't really tell that you have it…is to ask people in your life, "How do you think pride manifests itself in my life?"
My guess is they're going to have an answer. You probably won't like the answer because you're prideful, just like I am. But knowing, "How does pride pop up in my life?" This week, I did that practice with several different people and asked, "Hey, how do you think pride pops up in my life?"
The answer, multiple times, was, "You have a bent and a default. You think that you are always right. That makes you less quick to listen and less quick to be empathetic." I hate it. They're right. I'm prideful. There are areas where I need God to come in and expose and kill. I don't know what areas you have, but you need to know, "How does pride pop itself up in my life?"
If you don't think it does, you have deceived yourself, and you are prideful. Having other believers in your life who can help you go, "Hey, this is how pride is going to pop up." Or "This is how I've seen it pop up in your life." Ask them that question this week. If you take nothing else away from this message, if you just get that, you will be on the step toward not allowing pride to kill relationships and kill your faith.
Paul, in defining humility, also gives us a look into what pride prevents us having in our own lives. The second idea from this text is here is what pride prevents. Specifically, relationships. Pride is the enemy of relationships. Paul is saying, "Hey, in humility, look to other people. Care and be concerned about the needs of other people. Be less concerned about yourself, and more concerned about others."
Pride comes in, and it says, "Don't care about them. You need to focus on you. They're all wrong." It begins to turn your focus inward, and it creates a prison where I begin to lock other people out. I lock God out and myself in where I'm not willing to listen to others. Pride, right now, looks like a white person saying, "I didn't do anything wrong or I didn't do anything racist; let's move on," without first listening.
Pride can look like a black person saying, "Man, this is never going to change. I'm over it. I'm done." Both of those things can be anchored in pride. Anytime pride is present, the Enemy or Satan is working and winning and wants to take that and drive a wedge and division as deep as he can, because he hates relationships.
Pride is the enemy of relationships. It kills them every single time. Pride will prevent and shut you out from true greatness in your life. Because in order to be truly great, Jesus said in Mark, chapter 10, that involves you serving other people, not focusing on yourself. In Mark, chapter 10, verse 43, he said, "Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant…"
He redefines what greatness is. This is what greatness is. This is why pride prevents you from ever having true greatness. Because you're unwilling to be a servant. "…and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man _ [God] _ did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." Serving requires humility.
Pride also prevents you from growing. Proverbs chapter 12, verse 15 says, "The way of fools seems right to them, but the wise listen to advice." Do you know what's interesting about that verse? I think everybody thinks, for the most part, what's right to them is right to them. Most of us are not like, "You know, this is what I believe, but I'm pretty sure I'm wrong."
Most of us think, "I'm right." The difference in the verse is that one is willing to listen to others and receive instruction and one is not. The fool is just saying, "I know I'm right. I'll always be right. There's nothing I'm missing here." The wise person, it's not that they don't still think they're right; they're just willing to listen.
Pride prevents you from growing because it prevents you from listening, from growing, from receiving feedback from other people in your life and in your world. The degree that you are unwilling to listen to others is the degree to which you are not going to grow in your faith, in maturity, and overall.
Finally, pride prevents you from a relationship with God. Pride prevents you from coming to a place where you say, "Man, I need a Savior. I don't need just another chance. I'm not a good enough person." It prevents you from seeing God as perfect and holy and you not being worthy of it. Jesus, in Matthew, chapter 5, in one of the first words that we're told he taught people, he said, "Blessed are the poor in spirit _ [spiritually poor]_ , for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."
What does it mean to be spiritually poor? It means, "I see myself as not worthy. That if I'm going to have a relationship with the God who is there, it's not because I earned it or I deserve it. It's because God is going to initiate, and God has provided a way for that to happen." If you can't come… And I think, candidly, this is the issue that sends more people to hell than any other issue.
They never arrive at a place where they see themselves as, "Look, I'm not a good enough person. I'm not ever going to be deserving of a relationship with God. I try to pay my taxes. I try to be nice. I give to the poor every once in a while and five bucks to the guy on the corner, but I'm not a good enough person."
Most people hide behind, "No, I'm really, at the end of the day… I'm a good person, God. I'm sure he's going to accept good people." The Bible says there are no good people. Only those who recognize that they bring nothing to the table and are willing to accept the free gift that God has given are going to experience eternity with God.
Pride doesn't just kill relationships here. It will end or keep you out of heaven. It's the thing that is through Satan, as I mentioned earlier. So pride is satanic in many ways. As I mentioned earlier, pride also puts you in the opposition of God. Over and over, three times in the New Testament, it says the same phrase. It's really interesting.
If you're God and you're inspiring the writers… Over and over he includes this phrase: "God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble," "God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble," "God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble." It's as though he is defining, or helping you see, what people who God is along with or on the same team as and those who he is opposed to or playing in opposition against.
"Hey, these people who are on my team? They're clothed in humility. Those who are not on my team? They're clothed in pride." I mean, think about that. You guys remember when we had sports? RIP. When that was a thing? You could tell a team by…what? You could tell who was on what team. By the jersey that they were wearing, right?
From the biblical perspective, pride is the jersey of the opposing team. God says, "If that is what you are wearing, you are in opposition to me." Anytime that is the attitude or the posture or the way that you are operating, you and I place ourselves in the opposition of the thing that God wants to bless and that God does bless.
God hates pride because it kills relationships and it kills people's ability to have a relationship with him. Pride is the thing that is killing our country right now. Pride was the original sin that was introduced when white superiority and white pride was introduced that there could be inferior races.
Pride continues to plague and be a part of dismantling and dividing and creating division, an unwillingness to come together and say, "Man, I want to listen. I want to listen to you. I want to hear." Both sides doing that will continue to perpetuate division. It is killing our country. This obsessiveness of self is killing society. It'll kill our faith and it'll kill relationships. Do you guys know how many selfies a day are taken in the world? Take a guess.
Woman: A million.
David: That's not a bad guess.
Man: Two million.
David: Two million? Hundred million? That's close. Ninety-three million! That's what I read this week. Ninety-three million selfies. The selfie apparently came on the scene in 2011. Who knows if before that people were turning around a Kodak camera that they wind up and take it? At least then with the smartphone and all those things, that terminology got launched on the scene.
Since then, people have been taking selfies. It's kind of a picture really of how society has moved further more and more toward the focus on self. There's something called death by selfie. It's pretty tragic, honestly. Death by selfie is what they would term the hundreds of people, who in effort to get the best selfie possible, ended up dying because they fell off some cliff in Machu Picchu or they got attacked by a walrus (that actually happened) or…
In order to get the best possible picture of themselves in the place where they were, they ended up losing their life. Their selfie and self-focus cost them their life. It is costing… Self-focused pride. Anytime it enters any of our hearts it will cost you relationships, it will cost you your future marriage, it will cost you your life and your eternal life if you're not willing to, through humility, accept you are unworthy and undeserving of a relationship with God.
It's killing and will kill our country, but it doesn't have to. Paul says humility should mark the people of God, which brings us to our third point, which is where pride ends. He lays out what humility is and then he says this. "You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had." Or the same mindset.
"Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal's death on a cross."
Paul lays out and gives us the greatest picture of humility that there could ever be. He says Jesus, not only had a mindset of humility, it led him to actions and moved him to act in humility by humbling himself. To such a great extent that I'm confident no illustration I could possibly give would put into words what it just said.
The passage just said, "Though he was God…" Period. Anything that it follows up with after that that doesn't include, "He decided to destroy anybody who opposed him." Or, "He decided, 'I'm just going to start this whole universe over.'" Or "I'm going to make up some…" Anything that would involve him saying, "I'm going to go to the world I created to become like one of the humans that I created and to die in the place of all people everywhere and for all people everywhere."
The analogy has been used that it would be like if you had an ant farm and you were like, "Man, I want to save this ant farm." So you decided, because you were God, you could become an ant. You became an ant, and then the ant farm rallied around, and it was like, "Get rid of him!" And they decided to crucify and kill you.
But even that would fall incredibly short of the eternal, perfect, holy God who came into this earth, reflected perfection, did nothing wrong, and was completely wronged, though he was completely right himself. Yet he made the move, and sought to reconcile, to such a length that it wasn't just that he initiated the apology conversation.
He was willing to move to such a degree that even if it cost him being crucified for people who didn't respect him, didn't want him, and didn't care about him, he was willing to do it. Paul instructs that, as a church, what should mark us is the mindset and the movements of humility. It's been said that humility is not thinking less of yourself; it's thinking about others more or thinking about yourself less.
It's moving toward people in the conversation. It's moving toward and owning your part, even before they've ever said they're sorry. Humility is a thing that allows you to do things like this. (Picture of a black police officer and a white police officer holding a sign that says, 'End police brutality.') Some of you may have seen pictures of police officers and people protesting.
Here's another one. (Picture titled Black Men Shielded An Officer Who Was Separated From The Rest Of The Unit.) You can't have that without humility. Here's another one, the last one. (Picture of a white police officer hugging a black man.) That's something that doesn't take place unless one person… "Hey, I'm not here to choose sides or decide who is wrong or who is right. I'm here to move toward unity and healing and coming together." You cannot do that without humility.
Peter says in 1 Peter, chapter 5, "All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, 'God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.' Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time." He uses the analogy of wearing humility continually. It's like clothes that you wear. Just like you get up, and every day you put on clothes to go to your job. You would never go to your job without wearing clothes.
Peter says, "That's the way you're to think about humility." Which makes sense, because the moment that… Humility is something that I'm like, "Oh man, I feel like I'm being humble right now." Five minutes later, I'm angry. I'm defensive. I'm dismissive. I'm prideful. He says, "You have to constantly be putting this thing on like something that you wear." What's further interesting is humility is one of those things that it just looks good on everybody. Unlike pride that looks good on nobody.
Like the guy who is like, "I want to talk about me, myself, and I. Let me tell you how great I am." That guy or that girl is repulsive, am I right? If you're listening and you want to be more attractive overnight, I'm about to give you the key. If you were hit by the ugly stick when you were born, this will make you more attractive by the time this message is over. Just be humble.
Am I wrong, ladies? Am I right? The guy who is like, "I'm not here to take credit. I'm here to give credit. I'm here to serve. I care about you." They're going out of their way. They're like, "I'm so sorry. Was that over the line?" You're like, "Why are you even apologizing right now?" They are overly humble. It's unbelievably attractive.
The same thing is how unattractive pride is in our lives. It's, at the same time, not always very comfortable to put on humility. In other words, it's like this thing that is so attractive when you wear it, but it's also uncomfortable when you wear it. I think sometimes we think, "Oh, when I'm humble, it'll feel comfortable."
I don't think it feels comfortable all the time. I think there are times when I have to be like, "Look, I don't want to move forward in this conversation and own my part, but that's because I'm prideful. So I'm making the decision. I'm pushing through it. I'm not letting pride own me. I'm going to decide, 'Hey, will you please forgive me?' I'm going to make the phone call. I'm going to initiate and take the first step."
It's not always comfortable, but it's the thing that I'm supposed to wear. It's like anything that our ladies probably can relate to. There are items of clothing that you're like, "Yeah, hey, it's not the most comfortable, but it's my favorite item. I feel like I like how I look the best in it." This is just a dangerous ground that I'm walking on right now, but it's like that.
It's that item that it's not always comfortable. It's always attractive and it's always the thing that brings healing and allows relationships to flourish. Peter says, and the Bible affirms, it's something that you and me are to put on every single day. I have a friend who thinks of his day in the morning.
He begins to think through all the different ways he needs to put on humility, as he anticipates, "I'm going to go into that meeting. I'm going to be tempted to be prideful or defensive or angry or hurt or… I need to put on humility. I want to think through the lens of the other person. I want to think through how to care for them."
He says he goes through, and every single day, he starts part of his day by thinking through, "How do I put on humility in everything I'm going to face and experience today? What does that look like?" Peter says, "Every day you wake up, you put it on. You put it on." Two ways that Scripture just pointed out is humility towardGod and toward other people. Humility toward God and that I trust God's timing.
"Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time." I trust his timing over the circumstances, and the story he is writing in my life. I trust his timing over when I'm going to get married. I trust his timing over the opportunities or lack of opportunities that I have at work. I trust God in the midst of all of it. I'm humbling myself and trusting. He is sovereign over everything that I'm experiencing, facing. I trust him.
Then it's also acting toward others and serving other people. It's seeking to serve. It's being humble toward other people. It's seeking to be quick to listen and put on humility through my actions. I don't know what Jesus would call you in your life right now to do in terms of being humble, but I know that that mindset is supposed to lead to actions in all of us.
Some of us may need to leave this message, and you have to go pick up the phone. You have to make a phone call. Whatever length he would call you to, I know it's not as far as he went: by humbling himself to such a point that he would even die a criminal's death on the cross. I don't know where pride manifests itself in your life.
I don't know where you need to move through the uncomfortable action of humility, but to all of us, Jesus says, "This is the thing that brings healing. No one is being asked to go anywhere or to any place that is farther than the lengths that I went for you." And for me. Humility really is like habits, these humble habits.
So as we kind of wrap up, here's what I hope you hear from me. I want you to pick a fight with your pride. I want you pick a fight and say, "Hey, I'm not going to let you control my life anymore. You don't get to control my relationships anymore, pride. You, for the last 22 years, you have decided whether or not I'm going to keep being friends with somebody, because once I get hurt, I'm out of there. Once I accidentally hurt somebody, I'm like, 'Oh, they're offended so easily.' So I'm out of here. We're not even friends anymore."
How long are you going to live that way? How long are you going to let pride decide and determine your relationships? How long are you going to let pride not allow you to have a relationship with your sister or your parent or your old roommate or that friend? How long are you going to hide behind your pride and blame other people or point the finger, be unwilling to own your part?
Whatever it is and whatever conflict there is, how long? I just want you to answer honestly to yourself. "I think I'm going to do it for the rest of my life." Just own it. Just say it. Just live in that, and embrace it. But for the rest of us, the Scripture clearly calls us, "Hey, I want you to pick a fight with your pride. It doesn't have to control you."
The way that you decide, "It's not controlling me," is by pushing through, even when it's uncomfortable. "I'm not going to allow my feelings, my pride, to determine my life." Tragically, most people never do that. They go through, and that's why our world is so dysfunctional. Our world runs on pride. Our world loves pride, feeds pride. There's nothing God hates more because it's killing people and it's killing relationships. He says for the church, it shouldn't be this way.
In conclusion, how does pride manifest itself in your life? What is pride preventing you from?_ What relationships right now? If somebody was going to sit down with you and be like, "Hey, Jesus called all of us to follow him with our lives." How would we begin to say, "I want you to follow me and act like I act and be humble even when other people are not?"
It's a really painful, really uncomfortable experience, but it's one that as believers, we've been invited to. When we do, it brings healing to the church. This is something, man, I don't know if it discourages or encourages people who are listening. I am prideful. We do something called re:generation here at Watermark. It's like a recovery thing.
One of the three reasons that I entered into it is because I have pride in my life, and I hate it. It's through deciding and moving toward people and not having to be right, which is not always easy. Or being okay with not getting the last word in or being okay with those things. When those are marking my life, typically it means I'm doing better with the battle of pride.
What's tragically happened, and I'll close here. Our world is so fed this narrative to put you in the middle. "You're the focus and I'm the focus of life and I'm the center. I should be the center. Life is about me. Anyone who hurt me or anything that happened to me, I need to focus on me. Focus on me. Me, me, me, me, me."
Life is not found there. It's depressing. Narcissism leads to anxiety. Narcissism is the obsession and focus of the world revolves around me. It leads to me cutting off relationships. It comes naturally, but it leads to a place where I'm all alone. I'm cut off from God, my intimacy with other friends, or intimacy with God. It cuts me off from my wife.
Any time that I buy the lie that, "Hey, man, life is about you." Or you buy the lie that life is about you, you lose. There was an astronomer in the 1500s named Nicholas Copernicus. Do you guys know who that is? Anybody heard of him? I see a couple of heads shaking. Somebody paid attention in science class.
He basically came up with something called the heliocentric theory. Heliocentric theory at that time introduced the idea that, "Hey, I don't think the universe revolves around the earth. The universe revolves around the sun." People are like, "No, that's crazy. That can't be the case." He was like, "I'm looking through these telescopes, and I'm telling you guys, I think we revolve around the sun."
Then something took place called the Copernican Revolution where people were introduced to the idea that, "Oh, the universe doesn't revolve around us. It revolves around the sun." What needs to take place in the life of every single Christian is embracing on a daily basis, "The world around me does not revolve around me. It revolves around the Son of God."
Anytime that I put myself in the middle or I'm more concerned about me and all of the things in my life than I am about God, pride has invaded in. Having a revolution take place where I put back at the center of my life Jesus. All of life revolves around Jesus. You cannot experience the life that he wants you to have, the life that our world needs, what our church needs to be without putting Jesus at the center of the story. All of it revolves around him.
That response, despite the fact that he is at the center of the universe, whether I believe it or accept it or not. He took that response that he is at the center of the universe, but even though that was true, he became a man and humbled himself to the point of even dying on a cross. Because of that, because of that reverse economy of the way God works, opposite of the world around us, God said, "Hey, that name will be the name that above every other person on the planet earth will be exalted forever and ever and ever. Whoever humbles himself will be exalted."
He went to the greatest length of humility in humbling himself. Because of that, Paul finishes the passage and says this. "Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor and gave him the name above all other names, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."
I don't know how we move forward or what it will look like when we move forward, but I know Scripture indicates that it can only happen if humility marks our lives and we come to the table and we listen. There's so much division, and I hate it. I hate any ways that I'm contributing or have contributed to it or hate even just the pain that people are experiencing.
I want to talk to my friends, who have for so long displayed humility and patience and grace, who make up the black and brown brothers and sisters in Christ. The way that so many of you have pushed through pain, unspeakable pain. Pain that, candidly (I don't know if this is a surprise to you, but I'm a white guy), I'll never actually experience or understand or totally be able to relate to.
Yet despite that, despite all the pain that has marked your life or maybe has been a part of the story that God has written, you patiently continue. You endure suffering in the face of injustice like I may never be able to experience or will probably never experience. You keep going. The way that you patiently come alongside other Christian believers and brothers and sisters in the body of Christ.
You help them. You engage in conversations. You don't shame them. You don't dismiss them. You walk with them, and you look like Jesus. You inspire me. You strengthen our church. You strengthen the body of Christ. I'm so grateful. I, like so many others, when I see the pain and the hurt, my heart breaks.
But the answer and the next step of whatever God is going to do in our church, it will involve us coming together and listening and loving. We are blood because we have been bonded by the blood of Jesus. I'm not going to do it perfectly, I haven't done it perfectly, and I'll never do it perfectly. I need your help. You need our help.
We are the only hope the world has. There's no solution. If the people of God can't unite and be bonded, what other hope do we have? But we can. It involves humility. I don't know what actions you need to take this week. I know some of us need to reach out and we need to make phone calls, need to follow up, need to ask others to help us see our pride in our lives.
All of which are just going to take steps in the direction of what Jesus says is true greatness. Steps in the direction of being marked by the quality that has the potential to heal our world, to heal our hurts, and to unite our church, the body of Christ, all over the world. Let me pray.
Father, I thank you for just the ways that you are greater than the world around us. You are stronger. You restore. You heal. You bring unity. You know well what it was like to experience injustice. I see you in the reflection of many of my black and brown friends because I see the way that they experience injustice. It's not fair. It's not right.
It's not deserved, and yet despite all of that, they look to you, they push through, they respond as you call them to, and they look like you. I pray that you would heal our land, God. You would end the division, at least in the church. We can't be responsible for the division in the world around us, but we can come together as a body of Christ. Will you help us?
I pray right now for every word in every sentence that I just spoke that someone right now is listening to that dismissed every other thing that I said because they held onto that and rightly or wrongly heard something that discouraged them. I pray that you would meet them where they are with grace, you'd help us be your people. Forgive us for the ways we haven't been. Unite us together. Make us like Christ. We worship you now in song, amen.