“The wicked in his proud countenance does not seek God; God is in none of his thoughts” (Psalm 10:4).
IF THERE IS ONE QUALITY THAT IS MORE NEEDFUL THAN ANY OTHER FOR SEEKING GOD, IT IS THE QUALITY OF HUMILITY. Pride is the power that lured us away from God in the first place, and it is the power that will, if we let it, keep us from returning to Him. If God must be dealt with on His terms, then proud people simply will not deal with God. “The wicked in his proud countenance does not seek God; God is in none of his thoughts.”
Pride keeps us from enjoying so many good things, it is a pity we don’t reject it any more decisively than we do. It is a heavy, soul-wearying bag of rocks we drag around with us wherever we go. Rather than seeing humility as an unpleasant burden we must somehow learn to bear, we’d do better to see pride as an unnecessary burden we need not bear any longer. Those who have finally let go of their pride always report enjoying such a sense of freedom that they wish they’d made the decision sooner. We pay a high price for holding on to our ego.
Pride can be so subtle, however, that we may not see how much we have been affected by it. Few of us see ourselves as being “proud” people. And yet few of us are as humble as we need to be in our seeking of God. The deep changes that have to be made in our hearts require that we adopt a more receptive, teachable attitude than we’ve had up to now. Whether we call it by its right name or not, it’s pride that prevents our repentance.
God is always appealing to us to lay down our prideful rebellion and come back home to Him. But while we may see some of the good that would come from doing that, we don’t find it an easy thing to do. Reconciliation to God is appealing, but if it means having to humble ourselves, we’re reluctant to go that far. It may have been a long time since we deferred to God on any question that really mattered to us, and the thought of openly admitting how poorly we’ve lived our lives is embarrassing, to say the least. Pride dies a hard death.
“Not irreverently we may say that God has no easy time of it to smash the bridgeheads of our clever self-sufficiency, to break down the fortified walls of our self-defenses, and capture the inner stronghold of our pride” (Paul Stromberg Rees).