I quoted Dr. Keller in my sermon on Wednesday, and a few people asked me for that quote, so I typed it out, but didn’t really think about capitalization at the time. A few people asked me for it after I taught, so here it is with a link to the sermon itself from Keller’s Esther series! I also may have skipped a few sentences here and there that he said. He says it at the end of the sermon, but I’d suggest listening to the whole thing!
“Pride is the hellish spiritual petri dish that grows all kind of stuff in your life. let me show you: bitterness. some of us, many of us struggle a great deal with bitterness and anger towards things that people have done or that people have done to us or classes of people or individuals. There’s many people whose lives are being distorted by anger but remember this: you can’t stay angry at someone, you can’t stay resentful toward someone unless you feel superior to someone. There’s no bitterness without pride, because you are saying, “I would never do anything like that”. and if your life is distorted by anger, it’s because pride is at the root of it. Or what about paralyzing fear? Some people are paralyzed by worry. You know where that comes from? You know exactly how things have to go. You’re sure you know what’s best to happen in history, and it’s gotta be this, and if this doesn’t happen, it will be a disaster, and you’re freaking out about it. Why? Because you know exactly how things have to go. How can you know? You just know. That takes arrogance.
Listen, you can’t be horribly worried without being proud. You can’t be terribly bitter without being proud. Pride leads to being opinionated. Pride also leads to being indecisive because that’s the inferiority form; you’re just afraid of making a wrong move and how you are going to look. Pride makes you too shy, that’s the inferiority form, pride makes you too abrasive, and that’s the superiority form. That’s just the personal stuff… Pride is the one sin that hides itself, killing you without you knowing anything is happening to you; it’s odorless…
You can only hate snobs if you feel superior to them, which is a form of snobbery…
Let me go one step further. Honestly now, haven’t you been thinking about a couple of other people during this sermon? Doesn’t that sound like him or her?
Pride makes you a fool, it makes you evil, it hides itself, and the worst thing of all: If you get someone really religious, someone who comes to church and studies the Bible, and they start to be really good, and they try really hard to pray and obey God; religiosity will kill off lust to a great degree, and religiosity will kill off materialism to a great degree, but it just makes pride worse. There is no pride like religious pride. There is no proud people like pharisees. Either you will try to live up to that God-standard and become a self-righteous pharisee or you will feel like you can’t live up to that God-standard and you will be crushed, and that still makes you self-absorbed. It’s either superiority or inferiority.”
Those are the famous last words of countless people every day, right before getting sucked into several hours of watching cat videos, commenting on Instagrammed sushi lunches, and Googling to find out what ever happened to Dolph Lundgren.
So in light of the weaknesses we know we are so prone to, we need to really start learning to deny ourselves even to what seems a small thing to do; the art of self-discipline. These verses come to mind at the moment:
Galatians 5:13, 24 “For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. … And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.”
This month, one of my favorite sermon series is on sale for $20.00! That’s 30% less than what I bought it for, so you guys should definitely pick it up! It’s worldview-shifting, soundly founded on the words of Scripture. This is the Marriage series by Dr. Tim Keller, one of my favorite preachers. I used his material and book, The Meaning of Marriage: Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God, for a couple I did premarital counseling for and whose wedding I officiated. I connected with them again last week over dinner and they have been living it well thus far and have had a great first year of marriage! The secret is to surrender fully to the loving truths of Scripture [:
“When you and I lie, we’re doing something demonic. And a lie is where we don’t tell the truth or we only tell part of the truth, but we don’t tell the whole truth.
Satan is going to lie to you. Satan is going to lie to us. Satan lies all the time. And something need not be true to be powerful. Have you noticed that? If I told you right now—let’s say you’re absolutely healthy, but I told you, “You have cancer. You have two weeks to live. You’re going to die.” True or false, that would affect the next two weeks of your life? You say, “It’s not true.” It doesn’t need to be true. I need to get you to believe that it’s true. If I walk up to a woman and say, “You know, your husband has a girlfriend. He’s been unfaithful to you the entirety of your marriage.” And it’s not true, but she believes it true. Does it affect their relationship? Yes.
See, Satan knows that something doesn’t need to be true; it just needs to be believed. So he’s going to lie. He’s going to tell you lies, he’s going to send false teachers, he’s going to send bad counselors, he’s going to try to stack and pack your life with things that aren’t true. And if you believe them—now, he’s responsible for lying, but you’re responsible for believing. This could be lies about God, this could be lies about yourself, this could be lies about people in our church, this could be lies about leaders in our church, this could be lies about the word of God. It doesn’t really matter.
Some of you are really governed by lies. Satan has got a deep, deep, deep foothold in your life. Let me give you an assignment that I’ve been giving people now for seventeen years at Mars Hill. And people who believe lies, and they struggle with lies—those lies lead them into dark places and bondage. Jesus says, “You’ll know the truth, and the truth will”—what? “Set you free.” So, the truth gets you out of your captivity.” – Pastor Mark Driscoll
“For the atheist, this is no great problem. Life is a cosmic accident, morality is an arbitrary game by which we order our lives, and meaning is non-existent. As Oxford University’s Professor Richard Dawkins explains, human life is nothing more than a way for selfish genes to multiply and reproduce. There is no meaning or dignity to humanity.” – Al Mohler on the Oklahoma Tornado