The Germ of Pridefulness

The instructions of the LORD are perfect,
   reviving the soul.
The decrees of the LORD are trustworthy,
   making wise the simple.
The commandments of the LORD are right,
   bringing joy to the heart.
The commands of the LORD are clear,
   giving insight for living.
Reverence for the LORD is pure,
   lasting forever.
The laws of the LORD are true;
   each one is fair.
They are more desirable than gold,
   even the finest gold.
They are sweeter than honey,
   even honey dripping from the comb.
They are a warning to your servant,
   a great reward for those who obey them.

How can I know all the sins lurking in my heart?
   Cleanse me from these hidden faults.
Keep your servant from deliberate sins!
   Don’t let them control me.
Then I will be free of guilt
   and innocent of great sin.

May the words of my mouth
   and the meditation of my heart
be pleasing to you,
   O LORD, my rock and my redeemer. (Psalm 19:7–14 NLT)

Near the beginning of the 1994 Disney film The Lion King, Mufasa shows his son, Simba, the extent of their kingdom. When Simba asks about an area outside of their kingdom, Mufasa tells him, “You must never go there.” It is that very same day that Simba disregards his father’s warning and he and his friend are ambushed by a trio of hyenas. They are only saved when Mufasa finds them and scares off the hyenas. It was Simba’s pride that he could handle himself and lack of trust in his father that was nearly his downfall.

This is not a new story. Adam and Eve similarly disobeyed God when they disregarded his instructions and ate of the fruit from the one tree that was off limits to them. At the root of that disobedience was the germ of an idea, that God wasn’t to be trusted, that Adam and Eve knew better than God, that they were better judges of right and wrong.

This same germ of pridefulness resides in all of us still. God always knows best, and he can always be trusted, but since humanity’s earliest days, we’ve struggled with those truths because we cannot grasp the goodness of God and the perfection of his wisdom. It would be so much easier if we could simply tell Jesus to take the wheel of the car while we took a nap in the backseat, but that’s not how God operates. Instead, Jesus is the trustworthy navigator telling us when to turn, what potholes to look out for, and when we need to hit the brakes. We can rely upon his instructions in all things, but it is still up to us to implement them. We are still in the driver’s seat.

Think back to the last time you disobeyed God, regardless of what he was instructing you to do. Invite the Spirit to help you discern what was at the root of that disobedience. Was it pride? Selfishness? Laziness? Fear? Confess it to God, then pray this prayer that sums up Psalm 19:7–14, “The words from your lips are altogether pure, and as it is with you, so let it be with me.”