One of the sins that we must continually fight against is the sin of pride. This is especially true for those of us who love doctrine. Even in such a glorious endeavor as studying and pondering the truths of God’s Word, pride can too easily find its way into our thinking and taint our efforts.
If we are not careful, we can handle truth and communicate truth in ways that render it unprofitable to our own souls and to the souls of those around us. This happens when:
We become satisfied with knowing truth and talking about truth, but not living truth.
We become more critical of the sins and errors of others than of our own sins and failings.
We find greater delight in being right concerning the truth of the Bible than seeing that truth impact hearts and change lives.
We love the explanations and nuances of God’s plan of redemption more than the souls it is intended to reach.
Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 13 that even if we could understand all doctrine and had faith strong enough to move mountains, if we don’t have love, we are nothing. Our words, even if they are well-informed and well-spoken are like “a noisy gong and a clanging cymbal.”
Truth that is adored in the mind and not woven into life can sour the soul. May God protect us from simply admiring the truth of His Word, or worse, admiring our own intellectual grasp of truth. If the profound realities of God’s grace, mercy and love don’t humble us and cause us to love Christ more, and love those around us more, then we haven’t yet really grasped truth.
This hymn is a prayer for all of us who struggle against pride, that God would humble us and that we would learn to speak truth in love.
How Prone We Are to Vanity
How prone we are to vanity
Even in the noblest things.
We study doctrine with great zeal,
Yet miss the grace it brings.
Though we might know all mysteries,
Deep truths explore and find,
There is no profit without love
In filling up our minds.
For if we speak but have not love,
We’re like a sounding brass,
And are but nothing even if
All knowledge we amass.
We give our gifts to help the poor,
To serve and clothe and feed,
And proudly think that we’ve done well
When we’re the ones in need.
We pray for others in their sins,
Exulting in our skill
At plucking specks from others’ eyes,
While beams obstruct ours still.
Now Father, bring us to our knees,
Our hearts before You bowed.
Come humble us with truth and grace,
Cast down the great and proud.
Protect us from the deadly path
Of holding truth in pride.
Fill us with faith and hope and love,
In these help us abide.
Words ©2004 Kenneth A Puls
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