“And the LORD said, “You pity the plant, for which you did not labor, nor did you make it grow, which came into being n a night and perished in a night. And should not I pity Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know their right hand from their left, and also much cattle?”
Jonah has always been an interesting character in the Bible, I’m sure he would feel odd sharing his testimony, sharing about being in the belly of a whale, being known mostly for trying to run from God’s will for him. Despite his story, most of us are more Jonah than we would like to admit; I know I am for sure. Jonah struggled with trusting God, loving people, but his main downfall, was pride. Pride, oh pride, I would venture to say that pride is the “gateway” sin that leads to all other sins. Pride is competition, for if everyone were at an equal playing field, there would be nothing to boast in or look lower upon your brother in, it is a constant state of comparison, of thinking one is better than all others. This constant state is not some on/off switch and definitely bleeds over to one’s relationship with God. I would be hard pressed to believe that one that has great pride can ever have a great, or have a, relationship with God. Whether or not it’s easy to realize, not a man has walked on earth that has never struggled with pride, and it’s prideful to think that you’re ever above struggling with pride. So if pride is a disease that eats away at the soul until it is consumed, is there a cure? Absolutely! Standing next to a mountain or roaring sea always seems to put in perspective our stature as mere humans, same as standing next the potter reminds us of the useless piece of clay we are. If we are an axe, how can we boast of the trees we have chopped down? For the minute the woodsman puts us down we turn to another piece of iron. Spending time in worship, the word, and communion with the Savior is the only way to ride oneself of pride. I always feel like a completely new and different person after a worship service. I remember a time when I was having one the hardest days of my life, I was consumed with all the problems around me, and my life was exploding. I went to a worship service, and then went to someone I had been planning to talk with about all the chaos in my life, all that could come out of my mouth was about how much God had just encouraged me through the worship service. Perspective. God is not a God of chaos, which is deeper than order, it’s that he will set us straight and put us back in order when we put ourselves above Him. Unfortunately, and admittingly, it’s not hard for me to write about pride; for it is something I think we all struggle with moment by moment. Paul stated that he was “The chief of all sinners” but I think we could all do the same in realizing pride, let alone all the other vices that one leads us into. Jonah could not truly help the people of Nineveh because pride. Pride, in its very nature led him to think himself far above them, in which he cared more for a plant than the people who could not even figure right from wrong, left from right. Being in ministry, how can I be effective or useful if I struggle with pride? I will without a doubt be 100% less effective if I am prideful. The answer is to moment by moment give it to God, realize I am nothing, He has made me worthy, and to keep on running.