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Friday, August 19, 2011

Peacocks Beware

18 First pride, then the crash—the bigger the ego, the harder the fall.
(Proverbs 16:18)

12 Pride first, then the crash, but humility is precursor to honor.
(Proverbs 18:12)

16 Going through the motions doesn't please you, a flawless performance is nothing to you. I learned God-worship when my pride was shattered. Heart-shattered lives ready for love don't for a moment escape God's notice.
(Psalm 51:16)

Ever notice just how many times the Bible speaks about pride?  I put only three passages here, but you get the gist.  God takes our attitude about our self and others quite seriously.  He knows the danger of being too big for our own good!

Pride is pretty much having an opinion of your importance, merit, or superiority that is not always in proportion to our true importance, merit, or superiority!  We think more of ourselves than we do others.  The fact is, we all struggle with pride in one way or another.  It may not be as evident in some circumstances, but it is pretty blatant in others.

When pride is at the center of our decisions, we want things done a certain way because of what we feel is "due".  When someone does not "do" what we expected we were "due", we get our undies in a wad!  So, now to our issue of "pride" we have added the issues of anger, bitterness, selfishness, and the list goes on.  No wonder God wants us to pay attention to our attitude - taking frequent inventory of what we are thinking, feeling, and expecting!

The pastor said something this weekend that stuck with me - people who struggle with pride cannot really love another person.  I had not really thought about pride that way before.  He contrasted love with pride.  He is right!  These two are at opposite ends of the spectrum.  One looks out for self - the other looks out for the needs of the other person.

When I think of pride, I envision the peacock - tail feathers spread in full display.  Why?  Pride likes to "put out" what it thinks should be displayed as signs that you have something no one else does, or should be treated differently because of who you are.  The peacock spreads his back or tail feathers because he wants to put himself out there - hoping to attract the mate of his choosing.  The spreading of feathers comes complete with a strutting dance that is meant to attract the ladies!

Amazingly, the peacock actually molts his feathers every season.  Now, imagine the look of that same male peafowl without any glamorous display of feathers!  Not so appealing, right?  Yet, he only does it AFTER he has used them for his own gain!  That is kind of like what it is to use any attitude of pride in our lives - we put it on display, hoping to get things for our own gain.  So, why are we surprised when we begin to "molt" and have nothing to display in the end???

All the while, the female peafowl remains consistent - she displays what she is in a genuine manner - no show, no strut, no special attention getters.  I am not implying that women have it all together when it comes to pride!  Women have just as much issue with pride as men do.  I am using the two birds as illustrations of genuine character vs. prideful character.  One attracts attention immediately - the other might take a while to realize the beauty of being genuine!

We used to hear a saying a whole lot more in the past - "He/She's the genuine article."  We don't hear that so much anymore.  I wonder if it is because we have lost sight of the fact that authenticity is not a thing that "repels" people, but a thing that actually draws them in.  Think of the female peafowl for a moment.  She is who she is - no fluff, no special features.  The peacock has no problem being attracted to her "genuineness" - it is the genuine article that he is putting himself out there to get!   

So, why not let genuineness be our hallmark today?  Stop "strutting your stuff" and see how attractive God finds the "real thing"!  With our genuineness, he can do so much.  After all, it was our genuine need for a Savior that brought him to us in the first place!