Where was I again? Ah yes! I was reveling in one of my weeks of pride. Soaking in the sun as it pours down from a clear blue sky. These are days of my life when I’m at the mountain top of victory, having vanquished the fiercest of foes that could be dug out of the pit of hell.
But there are also days when I – allow myself to – wallow in the shadow of defeat, and made to eat dirt, having failed to live up to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.
These latter days are particularly very painful. For a million minions of wickedness make mockery of my claim to membership in the chosen generation, lineage of a royal priesthood, and citizenship of the holy nation. As I sit there shrunken, nursing the wounds of my licking, and feeling sorry for myself, the pity party seems to send the enemies of my soul into a frenzy of schadenfreude. I hear them, intoxicated and euphoric, whisper gleefully into my ears,
“……Go up, thou bald head; go up, thou bald head!!!!!!…..” (2Kings 2:23)
Indeed days such as this one are like a baldness of the soul to me. It feels that way because the areas of my Christian life where I’m most easily defeated are the very same areas where I seem to claim invincibility: a haughty spirit that comes just before a fall.
“Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” (1Corithians 10:12)
This is the story about my second battle.
It is a battle fought on the Hills of Haughtiness; on the heights of blatant and disdainful pride. It is a clash between my id and ego on one side, and the new man in me on the other side.
You see I’ve come to know something about myself that scares the living daylight out of me. It is that I am a hard man. And I don’t mean in the complimentary sense at all. I’m a pain in the “you know what”; a mean, manipulative, controlling son-of-a-gun.
According to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary, “hard”, “difficult,”and “arduous” are all synonymous and they mean:
“Demanding great exertion or effort. Hard implies the opposite of all that is easy
All these are what I am, and probably much worse. You wouldn’t know this at all by looking at my calm and unassuming demeanor. I must have fooled a lot of folks into thinking I’m some kind of a holy man cloaked in a garment of pious righteousness. To you I’m probably that nice, easy going fella, who doesn’t have a whole lot to say. Well do not be fooled at all.
“The heart – of man – is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” Jeremiah 17:9.
You’re probably reading this and going, “How could he say such nasty things about himself? How could he be so negative?” Actually, what’s the point of not saying these things, if they are true? Let every man examine himself, the scriptures say. And I’m sure you all are also familiar with the saying,
“You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time.”
Well I’m sick and tired of fooling around. As a matter of fact there’s one person I’ve not fooled at all. And that person is my beloved wife.
You see I’m married to the sweetest – and cutest – woman alive today. The best thing that’s ever happened to me, apart from my salvation, is being married to this Godly and God-fearing woman. She is God’s grace personified in my life; I don’t deserve her for sure.
This gentle-souled woman has borne the brunt of my nastiness. She’s been at the receiving end of my id and ego. I’ve hurt her feelings, crushed her emotions, and have trampled on her pride several times I can’t even begin to count. She has seen and experienced it all. She’s an eyewitness – God’s witness – to my blame and shame.
Yet through it all she has put up with me, and stood by me. Her resilience, and her willingness to accept me the way I am, makes me ashamed of the man I see staring back at me from the mirror.
For that reason alone, I’ve vowed to win this battle over pride and its destructive influence. In this war against haughtiness, there is no retreat and there is no surrender for me. I will put up supernatural effort, and put on all of God’s armor, to win the battle over the super-ego in me. I will not give up, I will not give in. When I fall, I shall rise. When I fall again, I shall yet rise up one more time. I owe this to my Lord and Savior. And I owe it to the kind-hearted woman He has blessed me with.