I know it’s a lame play on words, but the title’s homonyms help me remember what I must — about pride in its different manifestations. Could we put them in two simple categories: “Pride in the Peaks” and “Pride in the Piques”? I think so.
Pride in the Peaks:
Dinner cleared away, we haul out our Bibles — dragging a little — to look some more into Ezekiel.
It’s one ponderous, mysterious book, and long…
We’ve made it to Ezekiel 28:1-19, where Tyre’s king morphs into Satan. Here God’s light penetrates with such strength, we can’t miss the hideous face of Pride hiding behind its veil of beauty.
Inner ugliness fills both the earthly king and the fallen angel. Oh, outwardly they’re splendorific, both. Gorgeous! But inside, ew! “…filled with violence… corrupted… defiled… multitude of… iniquities…”
In both cases, the root of all this gross diseased filth — pride — has budded and grown by feeding on several blessed gifts, which these two creatures did not form in themselves, but received from… guess Whom?
1) the high state of “perfection” with which their Creator endowed them
2) their beauty (bestowed by their Designer)
3) their wisdom, which the All-Wise gave them, but which they perverted to advance and glorify themselves.
4) the abundance of their trading: high end possessions, “personal” wealth. But Who really owns all the silver, gold, seas, lands, and animals? Both made personal boast in the gracious bounty God provided!
5) their prestige (the high place in which the Ruler of all had placed them, which led each to think of himself as a god)
These characters deserved all the contempt God could load on them. But what about me? Us?
Do I get smitten with my “own” occasional good appearance, achievement, ability, or abundance?
How can I know when I do?
The best way I know is to test this in the moments rather than in vague generalizations. Here the idea of “peak” helps me, with a simple question:
How high do I inwardly soar in a split second at someone’s flattery, or “honest compliment”? (It doesn’t matter which. The important issue is my response.)
That quick rise to the peak is one big red-flag signal, cluing me in to pride inside.
Then there’s “Pride in the Piques”…
that sudden inner (even if hidden) anger that shoots up like an instant fever when someone has the nerve to…
evaluate me negatively
order me around, telling me how I ought to behave
nab a prize or opportunity (s)he “doesn’t deserve” but “I do”Dear God, Keep me sensitive to these sudden surges Make me horrified right in the moment of peak or pique. Reveal the pride at their root for what it is. And work in me to slap it down to the ground like lightning! Give me the healthy fear that otherwise I may become thick-skinned, insensitive to the infectious character of those surges that suddenly place me way too high in my own estimation, and rightly beneath contempt in Yours! Amen.
…Do you ever experience either the peaks or piques of pride? How do you deal with either?