The Idolatry of Pride

As I begin to ponder the issue of idolatry, the issue of control keeps coming up again and again.


God is in control of all things … this is a critical truth and unfortunately, it is often uttered in clichéd tones in which it loses any real substance. However, it is perhaps the most centering, humbling reality in the journey of following Christ.


I was struck once again by how much I believe I am in control of my life. While the ability to make choices (the question of man’s freedom to act) is very real, it is set within the context of God’s sovereign goodness. My ability to make choices has its origin in God and the desire to make good choices comes from him as well.


In a conversation with a friend over the weekend, I was able to delve a bit deeper into the reality that what I worship is very connected to the issue of control. Fundamentally, if I believe I have control over my life and can alter the course of events through “good decision making” and “right living,” then I have set myself upon a course of prideful interactions in which I am functionally the god of my own little moralistic universe.


This damages my relationship with God because he becomes simply an instrument to help me keep things under control (ah, the arrogance). This damages my relationships with others because rather than living interdependently and allowing others to affect me – I keep my distance, expecting others to function as gods of their universes as I do mine.


However, when I choose rest in God’s sovereignty and surrender to that reality – I am free to love. Love God – because I enjoy his sovereign goodness – not trying to earn it or be something I am not. Love others – because I can simply seek to share Christ – not because I want to show them how well I make choices but because I am in love with the God who controls all things!


All the energy spent in trying keep things under control can be redirected to seeking to know others and love them right where they are. The idolatry of pride is quite expensive.


“If God contains the fullness of all good things in himself like an inexhaustable fountain, nothing beyond him is to be sought by those who strike after the highest good and all the elements of happiness.”
–John Calvin


~ by Ted Wueste on May 13, 2008.

2 Responses to “The Idolatry of Pride”

  1. This is exactly what I have been working through and trying to put into words, and you said it so well. Thanks! As you mentioned, our efforts to control are in direct opposition to our desire to experience and live in freedom. It’s a hard thing to grasp, but worth going after. Thanks for the encouragement.

  2. I hate to think of how much living I miss because I am so consumed in myself. Some much of my actions are done thinking that I’m in control. It’s crazy because the one thing that I think I have-control-is the one thing that I wasn’t made to have and because of my thinking that I have it-keeps me from truly living. It’s funny that the one thing we don’t have is the one thing we have trouble giving up-control. Sad not funny I guess.

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