We too, too often, forget that he is God, and beside him there is none else. - Charles Spurgeon
Pride is a prison. It certainly does not seem that way for in our pride we seem to be puffed up and strong and unbeatable. However, pride is a deceiver, it is a lie to our souls for while it may make us feel that the glory is due us; in our pride we lose sight of the fact that all glory is due to God.
Soli Deo gloria meaning "All Glory to God" is not something that just serves as a oft forgotten creed or rally cry, it is something that should be the fuel of our Christian life. In everything we do we should be looking to bring not just the most glory to God, while keeping back a little for ourselves; but we should be looking to bring all glory to God!
God is the only being in existence that is deserving of having all glory for He is the only One who is eternal and is not created but is eternally existent. He also is the only God in existence. All other gods or idols are only as good as the created man or woman that fashioned them.
The book of Isaiah has a lot to say about this subject:
I am the Lord, that is My name; I will not give My glory to another, Nor my praise to graven images. (42:8)
This is just a small taste of the full scope of what Isaiah has to say on the subject. There is far more that could be said or could have been quoted. Suffice it to say that the totality of Scripture has one goal in view and that is to bring all glory to God and that there is only One God, and He is the only One deserving of all glory.
When we attempt in our pride to keep back some of the glory due to God we are making a futile attempt to rob God of what is rightfully His. Why is this important? Why must we guard our hearts and minds so strongly against pride?
The reason is because of all sins it is the one that forms the root of most every other sin. It also is the great sin of Satan himself, so he is well aware of it and he wastes no opportunities to get us to attempt to keep back or take some glory for ourselves.
Pride is one of those sins that festers. It is never satisfied. This is why biblical contentment is so vitally important to the Christian. I have written about this and preached on it elsewhere. You can find info on that subject here. You can also find my sermon series on the subject here.
Why now? Why write about this subject now? Well, the answer to that can be found in the material I was reading in my personal devotion time this morning. Someone graciously gave me a copy of the collection of volumes containing Charles Spurgeon's sermons and right off the bat, starting in volume 1, he hit me right straight between the eyes.
All Christians can struggle with pride, but it seems to me that the more you step out and attempt to live for God, the more Satan attacks you. Satan loves to go after those who are active in serving God and active in bringing glory to God, and he loves to get Christians and specifically preachers to attempt to keep back glory for themselves.
Let a man, for instance, be called to the great work of preaching the gospel. He is successful; God helped him, thousands wait at his feet, and multitudes hang upon his lips; as truly as that man is a man, he will have a tendency to be exalted above measure, and too much will he begin to look to himself, and too little to his God.
We are made to see that the Lord is God, and that beside him there is none else. Very frequently God teaches this to the minister, by leading him to see his own sinful nature. He will have such an insight into his own wicked and abominable heart, that he will feel as he comes up the pulpit stairs that he does not deserve so much as to sit in his pew, much less to preach to his fellows. (Spurgeon, 2004. Vol. 1, p. 12)
Charles Haddon Spurgeon really has a way of putting it to you straight. He certainly succeeded here in reminding me of what I often have said myself, "I am not worthy to stand here and proclaim such truth!"
Some will say, "Oh! You should not say such things about yourself." However, I disagree, for to say such things will demonstrate a humble heart towards God. To have this knowledge of myself in comparison to the great Creator God will keep me from exalting myself to the place where only He deserves to be.
Even in the book of Revelation there is a question of, "Who is worthy?"
And I saw in the right hand of Him who sat on the throne a scroll written inside and on the back, sealed with seven seals. Then I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, "Who is worthy to open the scroll and to loose its seals?" And no one in heaven or on the earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll, or to look at it.
What begins as a very depressing and sad scene turns into a moment of great praise and worship to Jesus Christ who alone is worthy! John records for us in the book of Revelation that no one was found worthy except Christ, the Lamb!
This should serve as a constant reminder for all of us that only Christ is worthy of our praise. Only God is worthy of all glory, and since Jesus Christ is God, the 2nd Person of the Trinity, He alone is worthy of all praise, honor and glory.
Anything we would attempt to keep for ourselves will end in failure and misery for we are attempting to keep something for ourselves that was never meant for us.
Spurgeon makes a strong point that ministers are in a way in greater danger of the sin of pride. I agree mostly because of the fact that I have seen too often preachers and pastors put on pedestals that they were never meant to be put on. What is sad is that many of these preachers gladly accept such pedestals and even glory in their pedestal.
No preacher of the gospel of Christ need be put on a pedestal, and no preacher should seek such pedestal. We serve the risen Lord, and He alone is worthy of all glory. This does not mean that there is not a time and place to appreciate our ministers and I certainly do appreciate all the kind words I receive from those who want to encourage me in my preaching.
Please do not misunderstand. This does not mean that there is not a place for encouraging words or even a place for a preacher to sit back and feel happy about what he has accomplished in his preaching or in his ministry.
However, even in the joy of a job well done the fact remains that all glory belongs to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ! None belongs to me for I am a sinner, saved by grace.
If I think that I can stand on my own glory before God, I am deceived and will most certainly fall, but if I bow in humble adoration to the Almighty God and serve Him and put Him in His rightful place in my life then I can serve with confidence and know that all glory is going to Him and Him alone.
Is Soli Deo Gloria a part of your mission as a Christian? Do you aim to bring all glory to God and God alone? Or do you in your pride seek to keep back a portion for yourself?
There have been times in my life where pride certainly was the order of the day. Pride is a very seductive sin for it puffs us up and builds a false sense of confidence that is placed in sinful man instead of a righteous and holy God.
Pride clouds our judgment, and it distorts our thinking. Pride will lead you down paths you never intended to go, and once you are there, your pride will make you want to take up permanent residence and never leave.
My friends, don't let pride take root in your life. Allow God to eradicate it from your heart through His Holy Spirit and then live a life that only seeks to bring glory to God and to Him alone!
Spurgeon, Charles Haddon. Spurgeon's Sermons. Volumes 1-2.Grand Rapids, Michigan. Baker Books. 2004.