It was a simple little thing. But I had a better idea, as usual. We found ourselves without the songsheets to several hymns we would be singing at a gathering. The introduction to the first song was climaxing and Mama whispered, “Would you go get copies of the words from the back?”
Cue my “better” idea.
“Yes, I’ll go get them right after we’re done,” I whispered back. We were in the very front, and as I glanced back at all the people behind us, I just knew that it would unseemly for me to walk past all of them while they were singing a hymn. Why, that would be a positive distraction!
Mama said nothing and did not even frown, but my conscience instantly smote me as I realized what I had just done. Yet I was still slow on the uptake as I guiltily whispered during the first verse of the song, “Did you want those words now?”
“That would be nice,” was her reply. So I rose and fetched the words—a simple task, which happily proved not to be a spiritual hindrance to anyone present. I even arrived back in time for the third verse.
Ironically, it was during the singing of another song the next day that the Lord hit me with the full measure of what He had wanted to teach me through that little interchange with my mother. I was lilting happily through “All Creatures of Our God and King,” but when I got to the fifth verse, the words stuck in my throat: “Let all things their Creator bless, and worship Him in humbleness…”
The music faded in my ears and, like a waterfall, the realization tumbled upon me that it had been pride yesterday that had refused a simple opportunity to bless Mama. It had been pride that had made me care what everyone sitting behind me would think. It had been pride that carried me to the back of the building to get the songsheets when I finally did do the right thing. And it was pride that was now preventing me from worshipping my first love. My pride of yesterday with such a simple little thing had been but the symptom of a deeper big thing: replacing my first love with self-love.
A thunderclap of conviction followed the waterfall of realization, and I knew that this pride was why I had been unable to worship the Lord with my whole heart in recent weeks. That song service, however, when I confessed my pride to the Lord, was filled with blessing and joy and sweet rain to a thirsty heart.
You know how once you started loving salted caramel treats you began to see salted caramel everything everywhere? Or how after you first heard about kombucha you started being bombarded by kombucha from all directions? It was the same way with pride: once the Lord showed me my problem, I started to find it in myself everywhere I turned! I would be reflecting on a past conversation, hoping that I had come across as brilliant and sparkling, only to realize that it was pride that was dwelling on that hope. I would be thinking about future interactions, planning how I would impress and astound, only to realize that there again was the ugly weed of pride. I soon discovered that one of the most righteous kings in the Old Testament had the same problem that I have.
“But Hezekiah did not repay according to the favor shown him, for his heart was lifted up; therefore wrath was looming over him and over
Judahand . Then Hezekiah humbled himself for the pride of his heart, he and the inhabitants of Jerusalem , so that the wrath of the LORD did not come upon them in the days of Hezekiah.” -2 Chronicles 32:25-26 Jerusalem
So instead of pride, I have a better idea…er, I mean, that is, God has a better idea! To humble myself. To look for little ways to die to self and bless others. To focus on being God’s instrument rather than on impressing other people. To refuse to be led by what others think and instead to be led by what God commands. To be willing to say, “God, I want You to humble me as low as You desire.” It really is such a simple little thing, but the results are simply huge.
Photo Credit: Victor Bezrukov
Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.