2014 ~ The Challenge: Day 1

by | Jan 1, 2014

“I am better than Joey, right coach?”

My brother could not believe what I had just said to my hockey coach. But I sure felt I had good reason to demand such audacious confirmation. Hockey You see in the dressing room a couple of the guys had dared to question whether I was the best player on the team, and I needed to settle that kerfuffle posthaste! As a seven year old, I knew – I was the best!

I truly believed I was better than other people. I overlooked the fact that it was my parents who had taught me to skate at a young age. It was my brother who had played countless hours of hockey with me, patiently passing me the puck and encouraging me. I was oblivious to the investments others had made in me, and in ignorance I attributed all the dividends to my own greatness.

HockeyAre you sick of me yet? This attitude of pride is disgusting. It offends people and offends God. God says He hates pride. In looking at my own life I see two reasons why my pride is so wrong. First, my pride was based on a lie and ignored truth. I was not better than other people, and in those areas where I had experienced success, it was most often a result of other people’s investments in my life. Second, my pride locked love out of my life. If people were kind to me, I often didn’t recognize it as love, believing I deserved it. Also, I felt I didn’t need to love other people: they were inferior to me and didn’t deserve it.

My mom would use a phrase that drove me nuts. When a person’s tragic failing was revealed, she would often say, “Well, but for the grace of God, there go I.” I would think to myself, “I would never fall like that. I don’t need the grace of God to keep me from what they did.” I wasn’t even comfortable with my mom admitting that kind of weakness – I mean she was my mom!

But as the Bible states, pride comes before a fall. I was living a lie, not realizing that my view of myself was destroying my life. Believing I was better than other people, I decided I could set my own rules and limits. PrideSure, I believed the Bible’s warnings, but they really applied more to “sinners.” And my parents restrictions, well, they didn’t recognize my superior capabilities. It wasn’t long before I was trapped in sin and still falling lower.

In reality, I had been trapped in the terrible sin of pride all along. But now I could no longer live the lie: the truth of God’s Word was staring me in the face.

I was “dead in trespasses and sins”, following the same course of the world which I thought was so below me. I was living in the lusts of my flesh, fulfilling wicked desires. Finally, I saw the truth: I am not better! I am the same as everyone else. I need God’s grace!

 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;

Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:

Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.

Ephesians is probably my favorite book in the Bible. It is loaded with transforming truths and blessings from God. I Surrender AllBut I can attest to the fact that if we miss the truth of Ephesians 2:1-3, we will miss out on the other blessings in the book. These verses give us a true perspective of ourselves and others, without God. Sin is sin, and the wages of sin is death. And there’s a thing about being dead: you either are or you aren’t! It’s not a question of degrees. There is no room for pride. Without God, we are all dead. But God has come to quicken us, to give us His abundant life! But we can only accept and experience that life as we see ourselves dead without Him.

The perspective of these verses has had a transforming effect in my life. I still cling to far too much pride and arrogance, but there are moments when I realize that without God, there is no difference between me and the guy next to me on the bus, or the two guys in front of me in the San Francisco food line, or all the guys on my hockey team. Without God, we are all dead, in desperate need of God ‘s love and life. The question for me is not “Am I better than them, coach?”, but rather “How can I show them God’s love?”

I am so looking forward to going through Ephesians 2 together and learning more about the nature of our awesome God. For me, it was only after I accepted the truth of Ephesians 2:1-3 that I really began to experience God’s grace, His love, and His life.

And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;

Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:

Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.” Ephesians 2:1-3

~Marty

2 Comments

  1. Matthew

    Thanks Marty, I remember similar situations myself!

    Reply
  2. Esther

    Amen!

    Reply

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