Symptoms of Pride
God offers a benevolence that blankets the universe and radiates across time and space. It encircles infinity yet is inherent in every human cell. God bestows His favors in this world on both the faithful servant and arrogant rejecter.
But, it is the humble soul that reaps God’s eternal reward while the remorseless spirit and the unrepentant heart earn despair and reap wretchedness. Pride blinds them, and possessions become their snare. Darkness surrounds them and ultimately, what they earned consumes them.
God can never entrust His Kingdom to anyone who has not been broken of pride, for pride is the armor of darkness itself. [Francis Frangipane???].
Taming the Ego
We must cultivate humility, for pride and arrogance can quickly and easily overwhelm us.
When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom. [Proverbs 11:2 (NIV)].
Sincere fasting prunes our pride. It uproots egotistical illusion and plows under vain desires. It opens the gates of mercy to fertilize our soul and water our spirit.
Fasting stills our ego. As we stand naked before our Lord, the feats that made us proud fade into feeble, silent memories. The ephemeral raiments that adorned our facade are shed. We have prepared our soul for God’s benevolence. We have dressed our spirit for His forgiveness.
. . . my clothing was sackcloth: I humbled my soul with fasting; and my prayer returned into mine own bosom. [Psalms 35:13 (KJV)].
When we fast, we approach a dimension that resembles old age. Devoid of physical energy, we can no longer rely on our vitality. The vanity produced by physical strength disappears. The schemes and contrivances of mundane thoughts evaporate into their inconsequential reality.
Fasting MELLOWS a man and enhances his character, giving jolt to the human instincts of ‘PRIDE, HAUGHTINESS, ENVY and AMBITION, for when fasting, a man’s energies are too sapped to follow these instincts which are the chief causes of discord and conflict among men. [Ahmed, Eighteen Reasons For Fasting].
Our passions and lusts are dampened by the encompassing lethargy of fasting. We have little desire to oppose the natural order, passively allowing the days events to proceed, no longer commanding the sun to rise, the wind to blow, the rain to fall.
When we complete our fast, our resolutions to amend, reform and improve are given a stage on which to perform. With the resumption of our mundane existence, pride again circles our convictions, and our resolutions are put to the test.
Who returns from old age with a boastful heart? Who is not altered by a personal glance into decrepitude? Who can resume their frivolous endeavors with the same zest after recognizing their mortality? Who can glimpse into the depths of eternity and still wallow in the shallows of daily events?
Still, the tempting attractions of modern society are potent enemies. Without remembrance of God there is little chance that the light gained by fasting will last. Our fasting moves us a step toward our Lord. Yet, we can easily step backward, revert to being passionate lovers of our transient self.
Not until we have become humble and teachable, standing in awe of God’s holiness and sovereignty . . . acknowledging our own littleness, distrusting our own thoughts, and willing to have our minds turned upside down, can divine wisdom become ours. [James I (J. I.) Packer, Knowing God Devotional Journal].
May God strengthen our resolve to do His will. May He keep us focused on what is lasting and of true value. May we never lose sight of His blessings, being ever thankful, remembering Him, trusting in Him, ever keeping Him in our thoughts.