Golf immortal Arnold Palmer recalls a lesson about overconfidence:
It was the final hole of the 1961 Masters tournament, and I had a one-stroke lead and had just hit a very satisfying tee shot. I felt I was in pretty good shape. As I approached my ball, I saw an old friend standing at the edge of the gallery. He motioned me over, stuck out his hand and said, Congratulations.” I took his hand and shook it, but as soon as I did, I knew I had lost my focus. On my next two shots, I hit the ball into a sand trap, then put it over the edge of the green. I missed a putt and lost the Masters. You don’t forget a mistake like that; you just learn from it and become determined that you will never do that again. I haven’t in the 30 years since.
Pride – the quality of having an excessively high opinion of oneself or one’s importance. It’s amazing how much we begin to lose when we gain a high opinion of our self. You can see it again and again where an athlete is highly touted after accomplishing so much and the very next game they fail miserably. Pride does many things to us and the old adage, “You are in trouble when you start believing the good things people are saying about you” is really true. It can happen whether you are a great golfer, a great preacher, a great performer, or just a normal person. Pride has been the rock that happens to get under our feet again and again and trip us up. Where is God in this word-pride. Job wrote in 36:7-9, “He never takes His eyes off the righteous; He honors them lavishly, promotes them endlessly. When things go badly, when affliction and suffering descend, God tells them where they’ve gone wrong,, shows them how their pride has caused their trouble.” God is the one who is high and lifted up, not us. He chooses to lift us up when we humble ourselves under His mighty Hand. (1 Peter 5:5-7) You can always tell a person who has a problem with pride when they think they can pull themselves up by their boot straps and solve anything on their own. That person hasn’t learned to rely on God and whatever they get will be much less than what God can give. Our country has always been about pride in good ways and bad. We call on God for His help and then plunder the very things He sends our way by thinking it was acquired by us. Our pride as a country has caused us to think we can go on without God and that we don’t need Him anymore. We have turned our hearts and allegiance to Government and not God. That is a huge mistake and the fallout from that kind of pride will be the downfall of our great country, if we don’t repent and turn back to God today!! You know things are bad when unions fight to keep workers from having a choice about joining a union or not, and yet they promote choice as to whether to kill a baby or not. We think we have a financial cliff to worry about, but the real cliff to worry about is the spiritual cliff our country is now looking at as we drift further and further from God’s Word. His perfect Word. Proverbs 16:18 says, “First pride, then the crash, the bigger the ego, the harder the fall.” We have learned how to grow the opinion we have about ourselves into a huge monster that is devouring all who come in contact with it. Just think about it; our opinion about ourselves is so out of whack that every word that could possibly tell someone that they are less than what they think of themselves is a vehicle for lawsuit and derision. Pride, Pride, Pride…it’s out of control and God’s judgment is perfect and exact in the way He deals with it. Why should Christians stay away from pride? Proverbs 21:4 says, “Arrogance and pride-distinguishing marks of the wicked-are just plain sin.” Pride is wickedness and the world is feeding ours by making us believe all things are possible by us. When in reality all things are possible through Christ and Him only. Our churches have become prideful to the point that the political attitude of our world has crept in and destroyed many good and humble servants. Churches have taken on business models in the name of structure, and the heart and faith has been left outside looking in. How much longer will God let this go on? Here is where the Word of God is fulfilled. God is judging right now and our apathetic hearts and minds are clouded to the fact of that judgment happening. I remember years ago when we lived in Northern California. There was a mountain just outside our town and we would go up on the mountain and hike and look at the valley below. From time to time clouds would block the view of the top of the mountain and it looked like a small plateau from the valley. If I didn’t know there was more to the mountain and the clouds remained, I would have identified it as a plateau. The point is; it was a mountain, but the clouds kept me from seeing it all and I didn’t know any better. That is how we are now. We think that we are seeing everything from God and as we look up, this is pretty much it. But our vision is clouded and the part God wants us to see is further up, but the clouds won’t leave. Here’s what would happen to the clouds around our mountain in California. The winds would pick up and pretty soon the clouds would move on and we could clearly see that it was a mountain, not a plateau. We need the fresh wind of God’s Spirit to move the clouds that have too long been keeping us from drawing near to God and His ways. That wind is not gonna blow if our pride continues to grow. We must humble ourselves before almighty God and pray for deliverance from the cloud over our lives that is kept there by PRIDE!
The prophet Jeremiah speaking for God said in Jeremiah 50:31- 34, “Do you get it, Mister Pride? I’m your enemy! Decree of the Master, God of the Angel Armies. Time’s run out on you; That’s right; It’s Doomsday. Mister Pride will fall flat on his face. No one will offer him a hand. I’ll set his towns on fire. The fire will spread wild through the country. And here’s more from God of the Angel Armies; The people of Israel are beaten down, the people of Judah along with them. Their oppressors have them in a grip of steel. They won’t let go.
But the Rescuer is strong” God of the Angel Armies. Yes, I will take their side, I’ll come to their rescue.”
It’s time for pride to be sent to it’s rightful place….the back row. It’s time for Jehovah God to be lifted back to His rightful place and honored by His people once again. It’s time for pride to fall.
If you have been relying on yourself, let go and let God. If you have turned a deaf ear and blind eye to God’s ways, let go and let God. If you are worldly first and God centered second in your thinking, let go and let God. Just keep in mind this one thing. If you have a pride problem you probably will find every reason in the world to keep from getting things right. God is calling out to you and saying, focus on Me. I’m your Creator. We are in the final stretch and the victory has been won. Don’t get distracted and because of pride and overconfidence start believing in yourself or you’ll miss the putt every time. Let how God takes pride in you be enough. Matthew 6:30 “If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers- most of which are never seen-don’t you think He’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do His best for you?” Of course, He will. Trust God and Trust in God for your focus in life. There is still time to change.
The Pilgrimage continues….