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Listen to Correction 

Let the godly strike me!
It will be a kindness!  If they correct me, it is soothing medicine.  Don’t let me refuse it.  (Psalm 141:5)

In the previous verse we learn that the natural tendency for all humans is to “drift towards evil” like a log drifting towards Niagara Falls. David tells us that as humans we find ourselves prefering the “delicacies of sin”. We devour the chocolate cake before us, refusing to consider that it is laced with poison. This is why David is rejoicing when other godly men and women have the courage to smack him in the mouth and say “don’t eat that cake!” Christianity was never meant to be private or solitary. We are a community of faith that supports each other in our efforts to live lives pleasing to God. Instead of being filled with resentment when concerned family members within the community call us to repentance we should celebrate. It is only pride that keeps us from listening to the corrections of another and that’s the worst poison of all!

The Problem of Power & Pride

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16 But when he had become powerful, he also became proud, which led to his downfall. (II Chronicles 26:16

In the Biblical record of Jewish kings we see leader after leader succumbing to self absorption and then ruining all things good. Power corrupts.  Power turns itself into pride which results in problems for everyone. This isn’t just a localized problem that ancient Jewish kings experienced. This is every humans problem. It’s the story of human history! As I have read The History of the Medival World by Susan Wise Bauer and now GJ Meyers book on World War 1, this truth is the one constant! What is the cycle of human life?  Gain power — Develop inflated view of self — Hurt others — Repeat.

What protections do I have against the corrupting nature of power?

1) Embrace  A worldview that demands humility  — I believe that I am the one who is broken. I am forever in need of a Saviour. I am the one who needs mercy, grace, and forgiveness.

2) Embrace a lifestyle that seeks service as the greatest form of leadership  – “I am amoung you as one who serves” says Jesus, this “be great by serving others” model of living is exactly what Jesus attempted to instill in his followers.

3) Embrace a worship that exalts what is truly glorious. For the Christian, God is the creator and redeemer, the one who truly helps us and the one who will ultimately restore all the broken things in our lives and in this world. This God alone is worthy of the greatest praise. To celebrate the goodness of God in all things is of tremendous assistance when wanting to avoid the all to natural tendency towards self inflation.

 

The Goodness of Depravity


As in the days of Bastille, the gates are being stormed again. What is to be set free this time? The notion of sin. Unlock it, let it fly away, let it be gone from us forever.The concept of human depravity, the archaic belief that we are somehow systemically sinful needs to suffer an extinction.

The human is good we are told, based on what? We don’t know, we are just supposed to believe it’s true, bad things that happen all have reasonable explanations.
Environment, illness, and unfortunate circumstances are all much more civilized explanations for bad behaviour then this black heart theory.

David knew better. He looked into his own heart and he saw the blackness that was there.

What did the acknowledgment of his own depravity do?

It made him humble — in this passage there’s not a trace of pride or arrogance, he was painfully aware of his sin

It made him grateful — God had chosen to bless him in spite of his depravity. Everything he had was more than he deserved

It made him worshipful — his heart overflowed in love for God because of his good fortune
. He was unworthy, but loved anyway. 

Without human depravity the natural tendency would be for

  • Humility to become pride  
  • Gratitude to become a demanding of my rights 
  • Worship to become self exaltation 

Human flourishing does not occur when these trade offs happen

“What more can I say to you about the way you have honored me? You know what your servant is really like.”

I Chronicles 17:18

     

Avoiding the pitfalls of self inflation

  
In the Biblical record of Jewish kings we see leader after leader succumbing to self absorption and then ruining all things good. Power invariably inflates our view of self, which results in human suffering. This isn’t just a localized problem that ancient Jewish kings experienced. This is every humans problem. It’s the story of human history! As I have read The History of the Medival World by Susan Wise Bauer this truth is the one constant.

What protections do I have against the corrupting nature of power?

1) Embrace  A worldview that demands humility  — I believe that I am one who is broken, in need of a Saviour, I am the recipient of mercy, grace, and forgiveness.

2) Embrace a lifestyle that seeks service as the greatest form of leadership  – “I am amoung you as one who serves” says Jesus, this “be great by serving others” model of living is exactly what Jesus attempted to instill in his followers.

3) Embrace a worship that exalts what is truly glorious. For the Christian, God is the creator and redeemer, the one who truly helps us and the one who will ultimately restore all the broken things in our lives and in this world. This God alone is worthy of the greatest praise. To celebrate the goodness of God in all things is of tremendous assistance when wanting to avoid the all to natural tendency towards self inflation.

The Devils Wisdom

It sneaks in quietly through an unlocked back door. A tiny little thought, a tinge of resentment and a pinch of disgust. He seems to be more successful than I. He is better than me at something, I don’t like him for this fact. I need to be number one. I need to be the one that people talk about. I need to be the one that people are the most impressed with. I need to restore my preeminence, but I need to do it in subtle ways or I might be unmasked and shamed. What’s the plan? At first nearly imperceptible boasts about myself followed by subtle, soft & gentle lies about my competitor. Slowly I build myself up and tear him down. I am the champion again. This is the devil’s wisdom that destroys our world. God’s wisdom pursues peace and rejoices in the successes of others with a pure heart. God preserve me from this devilish darkness and give me that pure heart.
James 3:14 & 16 – But if you are bitterly jealous and there is selfish ambition in your heart, don’t cover up this truth with boasting and lying…For wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and evil of every kind. IMG_1069.JPG