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Once upon a time, there was a foolish farmer. He lay around all winter, then early in the spring, he bought some seeds, scattered them over the ground, and took a plane to Florida saying, "The Lord will provide!"

Once upon a time, there was a practical person. He lived a very self-centered life, went to Church when he felt like it, and never had a real relationship with the Living Christ; he took a plane to Florida saying, "The Lord will provide!"

A farm left to itself will grow up in weeds! A life left to itself will produce little good, and will eventually become a mass and mess of confusion!

The church speaks about the "Seven Deadly Weeds or Sins" and one is PRIDE. So, what does the Plant-of-Pride look like?

1) The Plant-of-Pride has a large, round stalk. On the outside, it looks big and strong; on the inside, it is hollow and weak. We try to be somebody we're not. We try to make others believe we're somebody when in reality we're nobody. Martin Luther said, "Pride is our refusal to see ourselves as sinners and God as our Judge." Pride is our refusal to accept our human limits and weaknesses; the fact that we are human and not God!

2) The Plant-of-Pride has a beautiful flower at the end of the stalk. The flower looks like a huge balloon. The Apostle Paul put it like this:

"Pride is being all puffed up, like a balloon full of hot air." We get all puffed up over how good we are -- "I'm a moral person. I've never done anything really bad. Plus, I'm just as good as those people who go to church." To which God replies, "I hate your goodness! Your goodness stinks! Your goodness is tainted with your sin, and it stands between you and me!"

We get all puffed up over what we have done. We point with pride at our accomplishments: "Look what I've done! I'm independent. I did this all by myself. See, I don't need anybody, not even God." To which God replies: If you believe that, you really are full of hot air! You're not independent -- and you never will be! Everything you have and everything you are depends on Me!"

Finally, we get puffed up over our possessions. With great pride, we say, "That's my house, my car, my land, my air, my family, my life." To which God replies, "Bull! You're wrong again! All the things you've mentioned belong to Me! I have merely loaned them to you for a short time!" So, you see, we have nothing in this world to boast about!

3) The Plant-of-Pride has no roots! Each time we deny our sinfulness, affirm our independence from God and get all puffed up about our goodness, we are cutting ourselves off from the Source of Life! When life is rooted in us, instead of God, we have no lasting foundation; a plant without roots soon dies -- so does a life without God! How do we get rid of this Plant-of-Pride? That should be one of our goals during Lent.

a) Admit that we are sinners! Through our pride in ourselves, and our refusal to accept God's authority over our lives, we sin against God; and we sin against our neighbors.

b) Accept our human limitations! We are dependent on God for everything; nothing we have is truly "ours." As human beings, we should stop trying to play God!

c) Confess our sins! My life is hollow; I'm full of hot air; I brag on myself too much; my life is empty and has no roots. Lord, have mercy on me.

d) Rely on the power of God to overcome Pride! Worship God regularly. Study His holy Word; let the Word shape our lives. Pray every day, pray for guidance, for comfort, and for strength. Look for ways to serve God, and ways to do good to others. Praise God with every breath. And thank God at all times, in all places, and in every situation.

These are the best means of weed or sin control! These ways have been tested and tried by the Church for centuries -- and have been found to be most effective in controlling all sins!

Don Kuehle is a retired United Methodist minister who lives in Jackson. Opinions expressed are those of the author.

Religion on 03/12/2020

Print Headline: The Plant Of Pride

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