by David Buffaloe
"Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you" (1 Pet. 5:5-7).
You have all heard stories of people who took dangerous animals into their homes when those animals were mere babes-and who lived to regret their decision when those animals grew up. I heard of a man who took a boa constrictor into his house as a pet. This man loved this snake, fed it, and often played with the snake before he went to bed at night. When the man went missing from his job for a few days, authorities visited his house and found the man dead in his own bed. What killed him? It was believed that he decided to sleep with the snake that night and, while he slept, that creature coiled around his chest, killing him.
A baby porcupine may look cute in the woods, but beware of clutching it to your heart. A baby bear may look like the stuffed kind you find in your department stores, but it's best to remember that baby critters grow up to be big bears.
Two of the greatest killers of man are not wild animals, but they are just as terrible. Two of our greatest killers are pride and worry. These two critters are carried home every day in the hearts of people, nursed, raised up, and eventually they lead to death.
The sin of Satan was pride. He was one of the most beautiful and powerful angels that God had ever created. One day Satan began to look at himself pridefully, and he forgot Who made him. Satan said: "I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High" (Isa. 14:13-15).
"Oh, how beautiful I am! How powerful I am! I can be like God!" These are the thoughts and words of the one who would, in the words of Isaiah, "be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit" (v. 15). The chief of angels became the chief of the cursed. Pride stands in its own power, saying to God "You are not God-I am God!" How foolish! "Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall" (Prov. 16:18).
Closely related to pride is another critter of the soul we call "worry." How do we know these two are related? Because the Lord relates the two in 1 Peter 5:7: "Casting all your care upon Him, for He careth for you." Pride says "I can do this without God," whereas worry says "I must do this without God." Pride says "I am as good and able as God," whereas worry says "I am not able-but no one else is able either." Pride wraps its hand around a thing and holds it up under its own power. Worry wraps its hand around a thing and refuses to surrender it to the greater power of God.
Both attitudes are not only sinful, they are also destructive. Pride causes the young person to experiment with drugs and sex, and generally leads to terrible destruction. Worry robs the life-even the Christian life-of joy and peace.
How do we avoid these destructive twins? We submit ourselves unto the Lord. We trust Him and Him alone with our lives. We turn unto Jesus, and keep our eyes on Him. We do as the Scripture says: "Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God" (Heb. 12:2).
Jesus is our example. He did not focus on the shiny bauble that Satan offered nor on the trial that was set before Him. He looked to God, who loves with an infinite love, the Father who never ceases caring for His own. Jesus depended on the relationship that He had with His Father-and we would all do well to follow His example. The things of this life will pass away. The things we pridefully desire will tomorrow lie in the dust. The worries that suck the joy from our lives will one day be but a memory. Look unto Jesus-and live by faith in Him!
David Buffaloe pastors Rock Hill Baptist Church in Lexington, Tennessee.