Monday, April 14, 2008

When I See the Stars on a Country Night

Pride is the most insidious and universal of sins. It actually is the original sin, the one that led Eve to try the forbidden fruit through the attitude, "I have a right to be everything God is." Whenever we think we know better than God--whether we express this idea through blatant disobedience or through silent despair over His not giving us our own way--we reenact the Fall on a smaller scale.

Few of us fully appreciate how evil pride is. We even speak of it positively: "You've got to take some pride in your work." "Don't you have any pride?" Perhaps the general idea of self-respect, for which "pride" is often used as a synonym, isn't entirely bad; it has kept many people from violating their consciences. But when our reasoning progresses from "I couldn't stoop so low" to "I am incapable of ever doing that" to "I am too good for certain work/people/circumstances," we quickly start sliding toward serious trouble.

The best way to avoid disaster is to get in the habit of chopping down prideful thoughts before they get the chance to take over our heads. And the best "ax" for the job is forged by constantly reminding ourselves how great God is.

And how He, Who actually was too good for us, was never too proud to give His best in the face of our worst.

When I see the stars on a country night,
Or look on in awe at a swallow's flight,
Or see wildflowers bright with a hundred hues,
Or a rainbow's gleam in the airy dews,
Let me ask myself: Who am I, that He
Who made all of this, gives a thought to me?

When I start to feel that I know it all,
And that I am great and all others small,
And I have a right to some selfish whim,
Let me ask myself: Who am I, to Him
Who knows every thought in each human soul,
And sees all of time in one seamless whole?

When I start to feel pride in doing well,
Let me see how sin paints me black as hell,
How my purest deeds bear the taint of wrong,
And then ask myself: Where do I belong,
And what have I done to deserve His grace,
He in Whom no sin ever found a place?

What am I, O God, that You care for me?
Who am I, my Lord, that You stooped to see
Just how lost I was; and You found me worth
Bearing all the guilt that my sin gave birth?
I am nothing, Lord; You are pure and true:
Crush my pride, O Lord; keep my eyes on You.

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