Religion of Saturday, 14 July 2012
Source: Mensah, Richard Obeng
The greatest use of a life is to spend it on something that will outlast it – William James.
Love is the strongest force on earth; it is superior to faith and hope. Unlike faith and hope, love never fails. Nothing on this earth can withstand sustained love. Yet it is one of the most misunderstood subjects among humankind. More pathetically, its application is highly misplaced. Misplaced love becomes lust. Many people for example love this world rather than God and His Word. In other words, many people love the things in this world more than God. All that is in this world are the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life.
Lust of the flesh is satisfying a legitimate need such as hunger in a forbidden way like stealing. The lust of the eyes on the other hand is about making a decision based on external guides-good looks, a pretty package or positions. It is said that many women are deceived by a handsome face, fancy clothes, and expensive sports car. Likewise, the heads of many men turn at the sight of good looks and beauty. Lastly, pride of life is the need to be on the top; the need to be ahead of or superior to others. It may be about being better or thinking you are better than others. It may also be a desire for appreciation (gratitude and worth) or acknowledgement (standing ovation, a pat on the back, and strokes to the ego). Perhaps T.D Jakes said it best when he wrote, “Wanting acknowledgement isn’t bad in and of itself. But when it guides your actions, when it becomes a substitute for acting from the heart, you can make some very wrong decisions. If all you’re after is (acclamation), then anyone can shower you with flattery, lure you with hollow words of praise”. Thus pride of life is obsession with one’s status or importance.
Pride, like a coin, has two sides-good and bad. T.D Jakes argues, “Yet pride isn’t all bad. Taking pride in your work and your appearance is a good thing. No one would hire someone who takes no pride in her work. But pride should be self-generated. Wanting to do your best and congratulating yourself for a job well done are commendable…Wanting to improve yourself and do a good job are virtuous endeavors. Keep up the good work, but be careful that your pride doesn’t make you fall”. Thus pride becomes bad if it causes you to fall. This means that pride becomes evil if it drifts a person from God and His Word. Pride at this stage becomes worldly.
Worldliness comprises both internal and external behaviours. Its external context relates to the people we associate with, the places we go and the activities we enjoy. It is internal if it begins in the heart and is characterized by these attitudes-preoccupations with gratifying physical desires; craving and accumulating things, bowing to the god of materialism; and boasting of what you have or do-obsession with one’s status and importance. Many people take pride in their status, education, beauty, strength, riches, religion and ethnic origin. This attitude becomes evil if a person’s love for them is stronger than that person’s love for God and other persons. For Apostle Paul, human achievements, no matter how impressive, cannot earn a person salvation and eternal life with God. Paul had impressive credentials such as upbringing, nationality, family background, inheritance, orthodoxy, activity, and morality. However, his conversion to the faith in Jesus Christ was not based on what he had done, but on God’s grace. Are you depending on your achievements, background, church and other affiliations, education, status, reputation or just being good to make you right with God? Then you are proud! So repent lest you fall!
Richard Obeng Mensah, author of right your writing.