A Legend In Your Own Mind

by Joseph Franks

The donkey awakened, his mind still savoring the afterglow of the most exciting day of his life. Never before had he felt such a rush of pleasure and pride. He walked into town and found a group of people by the well. “I’ll show myself to them” he thought. But they didn’t notice him. They went on drawing their water and paid him no mind. “Throw your garments down,” he said crossly. “Don’t you know who I am?” They just looked at him in amazement. Someone slapped him across the tail and ordered him to move. “Miserable heathens!” he muttered to himself. “I’ll just go to the market where the good people are. They will remember me.” But the same thing happened. No one paid any attention to the donkey as he strutted down the main street in front of the market place. “The palm branches! Where are the palm branches?” he shouted. “Yesterday, you threw palm branches!” Hurt and confused, the donkey returned home to his mother. “Foolish child,” she said gently. “Don’t you realize that without him, you are just an ordinary donkey?” She then continued, “But when you take the focus off yourself and lift up Christ, you are no longer an ordinary individual but one who is incredibly pleasurable and profitable to the King.”

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Lucifer thinks so much of himself. He considers himself to be pretty grand. Yes, he is a legend in his own mind. However, in reality, he is not a hero but a zero. His pride is leading to his destruction; because of his arrogance, he is set to experience a massive fall. The Lord is in the process of destroying him.

The followers of Lucifer also think to much of themselves. One-third of the angels think like him. Additionally, three- thirds of mankind share his evil conceitedness. The proud heart of Satan is multiplied in Adam and Eve, and all their children share in this dastardly family trait. All of us think we are special. All of us estimate our value to be off the charts. As unashamed narcissists, we believe we are worthy of the praises of God and of men. However, the sad truth is, we are just ordinary donkeys apart from person of Jesus Christ.

Friends, God witnesses our proud actions and words, and he sees our proud hearts. He hates our “haughty eyes” and arrogance with a holy passion. (Proverbs 6:16)  However, God does not only hate pride; he damns it:

Proverbs 3:34     Toward the scorners he is scornful, but to the humble he gives favor.

Proverbs 15:25     The LORD tears down the house of the proud ….

Proverbs 16:5     Everyone who is arrogant in heart is an abomination to the Lord; be assured, he will not go unpunished.

Proverbs 16:18     Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.

Consider the testimony of Scripture. The arrogant in the Garden of Eden were booted from paradise; those in Babel were scattered abroad. The haughty, who heeded not the preaching of Noah, were drowned in the waters of God’s flood, while the brazen men of Sodom were doomed by God’s fire. Pharaoh lost his produce, popularity, son, army, and life. Nebuchadnezzar lost his sanity. Proud Pharisees were cursed by Jesus; unless they repented they would suffer with “their father the devil” in the Lake of Fire to come. God hates pride, arrogance, and the evil way. It is nauseous to him. He can’t stand donkeys who think the parade is about them and their magnificence. Therefore, with all of his holy might and power, “God opposes the proud!” (James 4:6

But now, let’s finish the verse:

James 4:6     God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.

God looked with love upon arrogant men and determined to save them from themselves. He would their hero. Therefore, Jesus humbled himself and became a man; he further humbled himself by obeying men; he ultimately humbled himself by submitting to the cross and being humiliated by his own Heavenly Father. The wrath of God, towards many who were arrogant, proud, and haughty, was poured out upon Jesus. He was treated like the arrogant donkey that we might be treated like the Humble Son. Through his life-work and his cross-work, Jesus earned the merit we needed and paid the demerit we earned. Through his gracious substitution, we are who incessantly arrogant can find the grace of justification which we have neither earned nor deserved.

However, he gives even more grace. Not only does God declare his children to be humble and meek, but he makes them so. Listen to the promise presented by the Apostle Paul:

Galatians 5:22-23     The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, and self-control.

All those in Christ Jesus are being made to look like him. Daily, we are being molded into his image, and because we have new hearts, there is nothing else we desire more. So, let us go to work with the Spirit and enjoy the process of practicing humility.

Let us practice humility by getting on our knees. Let us realize we are nothing without him. We need his conviction, his teaching, his prompting, and his persistent power of sanctification. It is the arrogant man who prays sparingly. The humble man sings with the church, “Lord, I need you; every hour I need you!”

Let us practice humility by opening the Word of God. Let us realize how foolishly prone to wander we are. With the church, let us sing, “Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.”

Let us practice humility by obeying the Word of God. It is the height of arrogance to hear what God says, know what God says, and then respond with a conceited indifference. Let us worship him according to his stated desires. Let us love and obey him. Let us prefer his will to our own. Let us sing, “All to Jesus I surrender, humbly at his feet I bow.”

Let us practice humility by obeying those whom God has placed in authority. Let us not overvalue personal liberty, for a declaration of independence can proceed from the mouth of the devil.

Let us practice humility by confessing our transgressions to our neighbor and seeking their forgiveness.

Let us practice humility by our own forgiving of our neighbor who has terribly wronged us. After we pray according the Lord’s Prayer, let us prove we are humbled by Christ by granting Christlike mercy to our offenders.

Let us practice humility by faithfully communing with brothers and sisters in our local church. We are not intended to walk with Christ by ourselves. We are commanded by our Lord not to forsake such assemblies. We need wisdom, prayers, accountability, and encouragement from our friends. We need their spiritual gifts, and they need ours. Let us recognize that “Christ Alone” who saves, commands us not to journey down the Christian road as an arrogant and isolated loner.

Let us practice humility by exalting our neighbors. Let us seek to make him or her first; let us enjoy the process of becoming last like Jesus. Let’s strive to get on our knees and wash the feet of our friends and foes. Let’s seek to spend so much time focusing on the needs of others that we have less time to navel-gaze and glorify ourselves.

Finally, let us all practice humility by focusing on Jesus Christ. Ultimately, this is the most important of the appellation points. For as we stare at Christ’s incarnation, submission, execution, resurrection, and glorification, as he becomes more glorious in our eyes and the spiritual affections within us begin to burn, we will find ourselves singing with the hymnist, “Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in his wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of his glory and grace.” Yes, as we focus on Christ, and he becomes our vision, the words of Isaac Watts will make more sense to us, “When I survey the wondrous cross, on which the Prince of Glory died, my richest gain I count but loss, and pour contempt on all my pride.”

Brothers and sisters, let’s forsake our devilish pride. We are not that sharp. We are not to be legends in your own mind. Let us not trust our own press releases. How much longer will we be over-inflated donkeys? Without an exalted Christ, we are nothing. However, with an exalted and elevated Christ in our view, we are humble ministers of the King who happened to have been promised a less-than-humble future.

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