Friday, December 03, 2004


Pride Goes With Living

I was feeling pretty good during the Life Group meeting last night, and the
feeling persisted on the way home. I'd been able to contribute! More than
that, I'd had some important things to say, thoughts that hadn't occurred
to others there, all of whom I'd always thought of as being far more
experienced in following Jesus than I am. I know the Holy Spirit!

Why? Because He taught me about Himself. Why did He choose me? His own
reasons. There does seem to be purpose in His actions; as Carl read from
Tozer's book, people are today very far from the Holy Spirit.

Is this anything to be proud of? David wrote that he was "fearfully and
wonderfully made." He was all God's handiwork. David had his share of
pride, and yet was a man beloved of God.

"Pride goes before a fall." Pride is always near the top of the list of
worst sins. Well, I wonder if it's not like anger. The Bible says to be
angry but don't sin. Jesus certainly exhibited anger, but the emotion never
ran away with Him.

So, the Holy Spirit gets ahold of a wreck and transforms him into a living
human being. And that human being, thanks to years of encouragement and an
internal fascination with the written word, just happens to know how to
write. The Holy Spirit is, quite naturally, a fascinating topic, so I write
about Him.

It takes a certain amount of... something... to be able to write. Any
writer is subjected to people's opinions, so there is some fear attendant
upon releasing the children of thought into the larger world. What if these
gentle missives are beaten and chased away? Who's wrong? Me, or the reader?
I have to have a certain amount of confidence in what I do, enough that
other people's disapproval doesn't dissuade me from doing.

Maybe that's a general principle. We've all known people who are afraid to
step out of the trench other people have placed them in. The woman caught
in adultery was one. I wonder what happened to her after her encounter with
Jesus. Did she change her life? Was she able, or did the Holy Spirit
quietly help her to change the course of her doings?

Pride can be a defense. When all the world hammers away at your very self,
pride shrink-wraps the whole fragile edifice and keeps it from being
dissolved. Those who don't have pride get pushed around and eventually
ground to powder. I've seen it.

I've also seen the opposite, where pride holds a person so firmly in its
grip that he can't see reality any more. So convinced of their own
rightness that they don't need to listen to anyone else. Do you see my hand
raised? Yes, your honor, guilty as charged, but Jesus keeps me out of jail.

Now, with the Holy Spirit defending me, I no longer need to care that much
what anyone else thinks of me. It's an odd kind of pride. Freeing. The Holy
Spirit is weightless. Pride is very heavy. I can move better.

I expected that pride, like sand sculpture, would have to be uprooted from
my soul. What little was left, anyway. That didn't happen. What I have
instead is a new problem that, like some others, has come from that
transformation from stone to flesh. Pride rears its ugly head... except
that it's not always ugly. Paul boasted in the Lord. I don't know how that
works but like many other concepts Jesus hands us this one is too subtle
for words. At least the words I know.

Carl talked a lot last night about experience. How the only way to learn
what the Holy Spirit is like is to experience Him. Live with Him. Try

I expected fences and walls. What I've gotten instead is a wide country
with some pitfalls. When I fall in, God lifts me out and then lets me
repeat the experience if necessary to make sure I learn what's really
there. Not the phony, superficial lesson that would be taught in a
one-size-fits-all Sunday school, but in a carefully orchestrated,
unique-to-Larry, let's make sure he GETS IT way. Tireless, He is. Very

We all have unique views on our worlds. That we can share these is a
miracle, and we can gain meta-knowledge from what other people are doing. I
take great encouragement from Lu's Blog, as she writes about her
frustrations with standard Christianity and goes about trying to pull down
the walls. I'm encouraged by Debbie and Nate because they don't quit trying
to live creative lives, with each other no less than with God. There are
many others who have helped me learn what I needed to in order to be here,

Is this a cause for pride? In a way, I think it is. I am, after all, still
here. It takes... something... to survive fifty-odd years in a hostile
world. My victory was Pyrrhic, but it was all under God's control. Maybe He
gave me the pride to get through those years without just folding up and

The easy way is what I did. Remove the source of the problem. God's way is
more difficult. Turn the problem area into part of the person. Learning to
live with pride. Who'd have thought it. Now you know why this sort of story
is called "Weird Email." And I give here my thanks to Eric for encouraging
my wanderings when I took the first few wobbly steps. He could have judged
me. He could have laughed. He could have just ignored me. With a very light
touch he acted as a mentor when I needed one. A touchstone.

I hope that I can be such to others. Let pride not get in the way of
helping people to walk through the torn veil into God's country.

Though the Lord is on high, he looks upon the lowly,
but the proud he knows from afar.
Though I walk in the midst of trouble,
you preserve my life;
you stretch our your hand against the anger of my foes,
with your right hand you save me.
The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me;
your love, O Lord, endures forever--
do not abandon the works of your hands. (Psalm 138:6-8 NIV)

2004 December 3 (to Blog and WEML)

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