I was nearing the end of a four-mile run as I came upon a young man running in front of me. I would say he was in his late twenties or maybe early thirties. His cadence was easy and he had yet to break a sweat. The competitive nature in me said ‘come on you can beat him.’ Mind you, we are going up a hill, he is at least 25 years younger than me, and while I don’t have a clue what mile he is in, I have completed four with speed work. I’m a hot, sweaty mess, and tired from the eight 400’s I did for my “speedwork”. Oh, and did I mention, I am not naturally fast anyway.
So I pour on the “speed”. And do you know what? I passed him. I was in front of him for one whole block when I turned right because it was that or fall on my face. Thankfully he kept going straight. So yes, I beat a young man possibly in his twenties. Do you know what I did then? I vomited. Yep, pride is fabulous, isn’t it?
Do you want to know the funniest part? I am willing to bet that this young man had no clue I even existed, let alone that he was racing. He was just doing his thing, probably having his morning run without the added benefit of pride and foolishness.
I was pretty wrapped up in my ego at that moment. Yes, I beat him, for ONE block. But there was no race, I can assure you, had there been, I would have lost. But some piece of me said I need to beat this kid, and so, I did. . . . sort of.
For a fleeting moment, doubled over trying to breathe, I basked in the fruit of my victory. And then, I threw up.
“A bad day for your ego is a good day for your soul.” Jillian Michaels
Once I recovered from my foolishness, I was well aware of my stupidity.
Have you ever done anything like this? It doesn’t have to include running or vomiting. Have you ever done something that was purely from pride with no thought to the consequence or wisdom of the act?
I yearn to be holy, I know that God wants me to be holy. This particular action shows just how far I am from Holy.
What do you think it takes to make us holy? One important quality has to be wisdom. Proverbs is full of verses touting the importance of wisdom. Proverbs 8:22-31 links wisdom to the very character of God, even before He created the world. These verses provide a glimpse into the “depths before they were formed,” showing wisdom already existed.
“When he assigned to the sea it’s limit so that the waters might not transgress his command when he marked out the foundations for the earth, then I was beside him, like a master workman, and I was daily his delight, rejoicing before him always.” Proverbs 8:29-31
Before the world was even considered there was wisdom. You know who else was there? Jesus, the very embodiment of humility, was connecting with that wisdom too.
“Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:28
Jesus lived his life with complete humility and service, also characteristics of holiness. His wisdom comes from before the world was even formed. And can we just add his amazing love for us? A sacrificial love with a depth that we, in our human capacity, can only dip our fingers in.
“For pride is spiritual cancer: it eats up the very possibility of love, or contentment or even common sense.” C.S. Lewis
I know that on this side of heaven I will never reach complete holiness. I also know my pride and foolishness keep me from even coming close to being sanctified the way I cherish on this earth. If I want to reach that level of sanctity I need to know the difference between what feeds my pride and what feeds my soul.
Every day I strive to feed my soul. And I pray that through Bible study and intentional time with my Savior, I will find the wisdom I need to feed my soul and starve my ego.
Have you ever done anything embarrassing due to pride or some kind of foolishness? I would love to hear your story. Please share what caused you to feed your soul!