Giving Up Superiority

Posted by on Oct 3, 2013 in Faith Words |

Words of Faith

Rev. Rita S. Platt

March 3, 2013

“Giving Up Superiority”

Corrie Ten Boom used to tell the story about a proud woodpecker who was tapping away at a dead tree when the sky unexpectedly turned black and the thunder began to roll. Undaunted, he went right on working.  Suddenly a bolt of lightning struck the old tree, splintering it into hundreds of pieces.  Startled but unhurt, the haughty bird flew off, screeching to his feathered friends, “Hey, everyone, look what I did! Look what I did!”

As we look forward to Easter and the new life that Christ gives us, we have been spending these weeks examining the things that might be holding us back from experiencing that new life. We began by examining the idea of control.  We took time to look inward and see if we have really given God control of our life or are we trying to control God.  And we ask – Are there times we try to control other people?

Last week we looked at our expectations.   Are there times we expect God to act in a certain way? And what happens when God doesn’t behave the way we think God should?

What happens when others do not meet our expectations?

This week our focus is superiority.

Superiority is simply thinking we are better than another person.  It is rooted pride.  It can show up in the most unexpected places, even in our prayer.

In   Luke 18:11 the Pharisee prayed, God, I thank you that I am not like other men!”

 One of the easiest things to do is to be self-righteous.  We can always find someone we consider not as well behaved as we are.  We then compare ourselves to that person, and feel that compared to that person, we are doing pretty good.  The problem is, when we do this we are blind to our reality!

Let’s examine the Pharisee  to give us a concrete example of how this works:
                When he focused all his attention on    comparing himself to other people he was blind to the fact that there was                 anything wrong in his life.

We all know people that, by their actions, we would nominate as prideful people.  But let us be careful because pride shows up even in the lives of every person – sometimes without us even recognizing it.

Pride is very competitive by nature.  Competitive in the sense that you’ll stop at nothing to make sure you are always on the winning side because you don’t want to look inferior.

Pride promotes self-sufficiency rather than God-sufficiency.  Attitudes like, “I can do it myself, I do not need anyone else” are common with prideful people.  Another attitude is “I want it my way.”  Our culture screams this at us all the time. Unfortunately, our self-centered society influences us more than we think.

Pride….   It has the capability of destroying our lives. Pride is a ticking time-bomb.

Proverbs 16:18 says, “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.”

The story is told of a turtle who wanted to spend the winter in Florida, but he knew he could never walk that far.  He convinced a couple of geese to help him, each taking one end of a piece of rope, while he clamped his vise-like jaws in the center. The flight went fine until someone on the ground looked up in admiration and asked, “Who in the world thought of that?”  Unable to resist the chance to take credit, the turtle opened his mouth to shout, “I di…..d!”

When you turn to Proverbs 16:18 in the Message Translation it reads  : “First pride—then the crash—the bigger the ego, the harder the fall.”

How do I recognize pride in me?

Here are some indications pride is creeping up in your life:

     Spotty prayer life – -suggests I am not actively                            relying on God, nor aware of my need for God.
     Weariness — is often the result of trying to do more than God intends, which means I am not letting God order my day.
     Anger — can mean I am not trusting God’s sovereign plan.
      A critical spirit — the sorry act of bringing others down in order to lift up myself often points to an inflated sense of self.
     A defensive reaction to criticism, despondency after failure and the inability to laugh at my mistakes all suggest that I am taking myself too seriously and thinking of myself too highly.
     Taking responsibility for success, accomplishment, or financial prosperity may mean I have lost sight of God’s gracious and undeserved provision.
     Impatience about having to listen, wait, serve, be anonymous, or be led by someone else all hint at an overdeveloped sense of importance.

      Unwillingness to associate or get to know a certain person or people who do not live up to your standards.

It is so subtle.

A woman looked out of her window every morning and commented on the dirty laundry on her neighbor’s line. One day she noticed it was sparkling clean: “Maybe she’s using a new detergent,” she said. “No,” said her husband, “I got up early and cleaned our windows.”

How do you deal with this air of superiority?

     1). Recognize it. This is the first step!
     2). Repent of it. Ask God to help you give it   up.

     3). Ready yourself to fight it every day!

Let’s all watch our prideful spirit. Let’s not be caught lifting ourselves higher than we should.
It’s a wonderful thing to know that God created us in such a way that it is nearly impossible to pat ourselves on the back.