Formations Lesson for July 4- The Original Sin- Pride
June 25 2010 by Ed Beddingfield, pastor, First Baptist Church, Fayetteville

Focal Passage: Proverbs 11:2; 16:5, 18-19; 27:1-6

God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened,” the serpent said to the woman, talking about the forbidden tree in the garden of Eden. “You will be like God, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:5).

Who wouldn’t want to be like God?

The serpent appealed to her pride, and she and her husband ate. Hence our lesson title: “The Original Sin.”

According to 1 Timothy 6:10, “the love of money is the root of all evil.”

In Genesis, the problem is pride.

One might argue that all six of the other deadly sins have their origins in an all-about-me attitude of superiority and self-indulgence: pride. Even figuratively, pride is at the center.

Remember WASPLEG, that mnemonic device used by the teenager in our church to memorize the Seven Deadly Sins?

The “P” is in the middle: Wrath (anger), Avarice (greed), Sloth, Pride, Lust, Envy, and Gluttony. Pride is the linchpin, the keystone, with three sins before and three after.

Yet Jesus, quoting Leviticus 19:18, said that the second commandment, after loving God with your whole being, is this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:28-31). His statement implies at least some measure of self-love. Pride can’t be all bad.

Tim Cannon, writing on today’s lesson in the May issue of Baptists Today, distinguishes between “an undue sense of one’s own superiority or a proper sense of one’s own dignity and worth,” between “self-infatuation and self-respect,” between “a healthy self-esteem or a smug arrogance.”

The key lies in a right understanding of where our worth comes from. If I think it’s because of my intelligence, my looks, my possessions or my achievements, then a superior and arrogant attitude is not far off. Or, imagining that I lack such things, I might consider myself to be less-than, not quite good enough.

On the other hand, knowing that I have value simply because God made me and Jesus died for me rules out any sense of prideful arrogance or quavering inferiority. I can love myself, in all my failures and achievements, with humility, acceptance, and even grace. And I can love others the same way, just like Jesus said.

A verse worth memorizing is Proverbs 16:18: “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” And how can we keep from being prideful? Try Romans 5:8: “But God shows His love for us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

That levels the field.
6/25/2010 2:09:00 AM by Ed Beddingfield, pastor, First Baptist Church, Fayetteville | with 0 comments

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