11 October 2014

walK with THE Wise ~ Teach

Ever wonder, sometimes, how to teach some of the principles found in this proverb to your children (or other young people with whom you have influence)?

How do you teach children his principle of God's truth

"When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom" 

in a world or in a culture that screams:

"Love yourself!" 

"Be who you are!" 
"Do what's right for you!"
"Embrace your identity!"
"You can be anything you decide you want to be!"
"Don't let anyone else define you!"
"Don't let anyone limit you!"
"No one ever has the right to shame you!"
"You are worthy!"

It is a time when every man does what is right in his own eyes, when self is most important... when self has, in many minds, become the only absolute.

On the contrary, some who choose not to celebrate or promote self are ostracized, ridiculed... even identified then labeled as having an imbalance or as sick and defective. The biblical idea of "making yourself of no reputation" is as foreign as speaking some obscure language from some tiny island lost in the South Pacific.

So how do I teach that arrogance-insolence-presumptuousness all equal pride. That pride makes inroads first... but also that it doesn't have to make inroads because in our sinful and natural state, we all contain a fatal dose. Once it "attains, abides, begins to apply, besieges, befalls or strikes an individual", then the Lord allows consequences to also "attain, abide, begin to apply, besiege, befall or strike" that same individual. As the prophets warned God's people (on more than one occasion, but this warning comes from Obadiah 1:3): "The pride of your heart has deceived you, you who live in the clefts of the rocks and make your home on the heights, you who say to yourself, 'Who can bring me down to the ground?" Even in the midst of consequences, pride continues to blind and deceive. Those blinded by pride can't see their own disgrace, their own dishonor, their own ignominy. I've seen that so clearly, by God's grace, even as I've been studying through the book of John and looking at Jesus' encounters with the Pharisees. How do we fight pride? It almost seems hopeless.

The second part, a corollary-of-sorts to the first statement, extends an offer of hope. "But for the grace of God..." When I teach my children to look for God, to seek His presence, to encounter Him - in His Creation, in His Word, in His people, in all circumstances, in His Sovereignty, in His sufficiency, in His sustaining - then they have an opportunity to see God. Just as Isaiah was horrified by his own sinfulness when he stood before God, my children... I... really, we all are humbled when His light shines on our absolute inability and inadequacy and insufficiency. Pride flees. Humility and modesty can enter the picture, and we become teachable and have access to the wisdom of God. Hand-in-hand with the teachableness that characterizes humbleness is an "attaining, abiding, beginning application, besieging, befalling or striking" of wisdom.

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