A Sneaky Little Snare {Pride, Humility, and the Enjoyment of God}

Not even a word.

When you write a blog just for “funs,” one would think that writing a paper for a class would be smooth sailing. Not so. I have a paper…a lengthy paper…due in a week. That wouldn’t be a problem, except for that I don’t really have anything to say. Really. Not even a word.

I’ve done all the research. It’s actually a really fascinating topic. I’me exploring the role humility played in the spiritual formation of Jonathan Edwards and C.S. Lewis. Thing is, for both of these men their memoirs record a deep longing from a very young age to experience the affection or joy of God. I suppose we all long for it–the deep desire to ‘enjoy God.’

It seemed to me that it would be a particularly relevant topic in light of the fact that the Church in America has recently experienced an awakening for spiritual experience. Maybe it’s the surge of narcissism, we need our ‘religion’ to make us feel good and happy. However, everyone seems to have a aching hunch that they are still missing something; no matter how much we indulge our lusts, passions, and impulses, they just can’t satisfy. All our failed attempts have convinced us the ache for happiness must lay outside of us.

Never has there been a more self-obsessed culture. I mean, I don’t know if I could support that statement with empirical evidence, but after looking at the cultural context of Edwards (think colonial America) and Lewis (World War I and II England) I have to conclude that we are far more turned in upon ourselves then these men would have guessed possible.

Maybe that makes our ache echo even louder.

I think they both would say it’s true. The more self-obsessed one is, the more that ‘happiness’–that idea of being contentedly satisfied–eludes us. It’s misery to see only oneself.

So where does one look and what ought one to do? Edwards and Lewis would maybe rush each other to the point to say, “seek humility.”

It’s a very anti-American, anti-modern idea to escape thinking much or highly of oneself. We’ve been trained since our youth that we are ‘special,’ and that we ‘deserve’ good things. More so, we aren’t all that bad–all in all, we are pretty good people. To a certain degree we believe our own press. But of course, we have mirrors…and critics…and a conscience.

A word like ‘humility’ has lost its gumption. I know we talk a lot about it. I hear it falling out of my mouth and others on a regular basis. The real reason I can’t write this paper is my awareness that the minute we start to talk about that we really don’t know anything about it. Our ambition, self-deception, and insecurities blind us. Well, in point of fact, pride has dug us a hole of a thousand meters deep.

We dig it with shovels of “I wonder what they thought of me?” “Am I good enough?” “Did I win?” “Am I better than?” “How’s my hair?” “Did they notice me?” Shovels and shovels of ‘I’s’ and ‘me’s’ on the dung pile of self fame.

Edwards called pride the ‘chief inlet of smoke from the bottomless pit,’ and Lewis called it ‘ a cancer; it eats up the very possibility of love, or contentment, or even common sense.’

To enjoy God more requires we enjoy ourselves less.

That’s a heavy sentence. Only the humble can begin to carry the weight of self-forgetfulness in order to dwell on the truth of God and his glory. Only those who have surrendered the notion of self glory will ever catch glimpses of the Great Glory.

And so you see how difficult a subject this is, for the minute we begin to say “I want to see God’s glory” we can slip back into self interest as if though God’s glory is something that we seek for self. The deceitful nature of hearts puts the emphasis on “I want” and forsakes “God’s glory.” It’s a sneaky little snare, this thing called pride.

Might it be we ask far too little for God’s help in eradicating pride out of our lives? A life not intentionally and continually captivated by God will quickly become a life in captivity to a miserable self.

Yeah, I think about this topic and I have not a word, not one little word of true understanding. Not even a word. I don’t know anything of which I speak.

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