Lent Week 1: Pride

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03/08 – 03/12/2017 Lent Week 1: Pride.

Update: As we begin the season of Lent we enter into a consideration of the 7 Deadly Sins. Today we begin with Pride. During Lent, our focus is different. In this season, we meditate on the depth of our sin as we prepare to consider Good Friday and the death of God that we might be forgiven. We also consider how much sin cripples us in order that we might appreciate and long for the fruit of the resurrection in our own lives. In Lent, Pride is a good place to begin. Pride is deep and pernicious. There is no fault that makes a man more unpopular than pride. And yet, and there is no fault like pride in which we are more unconscious of it in ourselves. And the more we prideful we are ourselves, the more we dislike it in others. Of all of the 7 Deadly Sins, Pride is the one which we are more likely to hate in others but be blind to ourselves.
Song for this weekOut of My Bondage (http://tinyurl.com/q7r4lvw)
Where possible we will use songs that are live recordings of our worship singing at Church of the Redeemer. You should be able to access them by clicking the link. You can also download them to your computer, phone, etc. (Please copy & paste rather than drag & drop).
Some Recommendations

The goal of the study/reflection questions is to help you get into the text and meet Christ in it, i.e., to worship and meet with God. Avoid engaging with these questions as if it’s a “quiz” where the goal is to get the “correct answer” and then move onto the next question. My prayer, goal, and hope is that the questions will help open up the Word of God – what it means and what it is saying – in order that you might meet God, experience Christ, and hear from the Holy Spirit.
1) I do recommend the full liturgy for each day.

2) The “Bible Study” reflection questions for each day of the week are inserted towards the end of this document. Most often the questions will require time of reflection and pondering in order to find answers or to let the answers sink in to our souls. Be prepared to not rush through them. The goal is to experience/hear from God.

3) Sing the song! (Really) Each week we focus on two songs. Download them to your phone or iPod so you can listen repeatedly during the day. When we sing, our mind, body, heart, emotions, and will are all engaged in worship! If this week’s songs do not appeal to you, substitute a personal favorite.

Confession (Philippians 2:3-4)

Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.
Father I confess to you my sins of pride. Have mercy on me. For I know I have sinned.

Gracious Father, I also ask that you open my eyes. Show me where pride has crept in.

Pride has created a critical spirit in my soul. Forgive me.

Pride has led me to hide, pretend, and deceive. Heal me.

Pride has fostered a competitive spirit in me. Free me.

Pride has made me lonely. Rescue me.

Pride has made me unforgiving. Save me.

Holy God, hear my confession now. Also, speak to me now. Open my eyes to see the sins that are hidden from me, even the sins that I have renamed as righteous.
Absolution (2 Corinthians 5:17, 21)

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.  21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 

Pray this week for your own self, your community, church, city, and this world to know the resurrection of Jesus in accepting the good news of the gospel. Pray by name those you want God to bring into his kingdom.
Scripture Readings & Reflection

N.B. There is a Closing Prayer after the lyrics of this week’s song. Even if you don’t participate in this song this week, don’t miss the closing prayer (after the song).

  1. Read CS Lewis on Pride (see below):

    1. Highlight/underline the parts that stand out to you most.

    2. Because of how pride affects us, when we read or consider the sin of pride, it’s easy for us to think, “Well, I’m not as bad as . . .” How does Lewis’ description convict you about pride in your own life.

  2. Read & Luke 18:9-14

    1. It’s all too easy for us to turn up our noses and look down on that terrible Pharisee, but we have to consider:

      1. Which person do I most resemble in my public persona and/or private thoughts?

      2. Do I think of myself as “a good person” or at least as someone “who’s not as bad as ‘those people’”?

  3. One of the main roots of pride is spelled out for us in Luke 18:9. Consider the ways you trust in your own righteousness, i.e.,

    1. What are the things I do and think that makes me “better” than other people?

    2. What are the things I don’t do and don’t participate in that make me “better” than other people?

  4. Ask God to speak to you about how pride operates in your life and to show you the impact and negative effects of it. Be prepared to be surprised. Consider entering into this week’s song as preparation for this (a time of silence and waiting).

  5. Ask God to help you remain open today to seeing pride and hearing from his Spirit.

  6. Close with this week’s Song and Prayer (below).


  1. Read Matthew 6:1-8 & Luke 21:1-4

  2. Pride drives us to want to be seen and thought of as “good,” as well as “better than other people.” Consider the good and virtuous things you have done in your life.

    1. How do they factor into your argument/case for “I’m a good person”?

    2. How does pride affect you when it comes to praying out loud in a group setting?

  3. How would it change things if you served and gave in secret/expecting nothing back/without fan-fare?

  4. If you have children, consider how “serving” operates in their lives. Is serving more about them and how it makes them feel? And/or is it more of a resume requirement than “this is just what Christians do and it’s who we are”?

  5. Close with this week’s Song and Prayer (below).


  1. Read Revelation 3:14-22

    1. What has this church become proud about? (What are they trusting in?)

    2. What have they forgotten about/what are they neglecting? And what might that mean?

    3. What is the (threatened) consequence of their sinful pride?

    4. Do you believe God could/would do this to a church/person?

  2. Read also Hebrews 3:7-19

    1. Why would someone (who is one of the “people of God”) harden their heart to God’s voice?

    2. Can you think of people or churches who might have done this, i.e., put their fingers in their ears and closed their eyes to what the Word of God was calling them to?

  3. Ask God to speak to you about places/ways where you might have hardened your heart to him or closed your ears to his Word.

  4. Enter into this week’s Song as an act of faith, repentance, and commitment.

  5. Close with this Prayer (below).


  1. Read Mark 10:35-45.

    1. Typically, we cringe at just how bad/awkward passages or requests like this are. But consider:

      1. The celebrity/fame dynamic in Christianity in North America today. How does it parallel with James and John’s thinking?

      2. What kind of promises/requests have you made to God that are:

  • Similar to how James and John are thinking about success/recognition?

  • The opposite of Jesus words about the greatness of serving.

  1. Read Philippians 2:1-11.

    1. v3-4 How is this the true opposite of prideful living/thinking?

    2. v5-8 Consider the insane realty of Jesus’ humility and love.

    3. v1-2 The humility this passage calls us to is beyond us. It can only happen through Jesus in us: our union with him and his life, death, and resurrection taking root and bearing fruit in us.

  2. Ask God to speak to you about Jesus and the Holy Spirit being not just “with you” but also “in you.”

    1. Where do you need to know more of his indwelling today?

    2. How would it change things if you operated today with the mindset that you need to “let him shine through” more that “I need to try to be good?”


  1. Read Matthew 10:38-39

    1. What is required of those who follow Christ?

    2. Those who refuse these requirements, how does God regard them?

    3. How does this passage impact you?

      1. What are you feeling? (Talk to God about this).

      2. How are your feelings connected to your Deep Desires (see below in yellow)

      3. What is God calling you to choose?

  2. Read John 13:1-17

    1. Take some time to reflect on just how crazy/insane Jesus’ actions are!

    2. How is Jesus’ fulfilling Matthew 10:38-39 even before he goes to the cross?

      1. How is God calling you to serve?

      2. Who is he calling you to serve?

      3. How will this require that you die to yourself?

  3. If possible, enter into this week’s Song with hope and joy focusing on the “into” parts more than the “out of” parts.

Song of Confession & Commitment - Out of My Bondage (http://tinyurl.com/q7r4lvw)

1. Out of my bondage, sorrow and night,
Jesus, I come; Jesus I come.
Into Thy freedom, gladness and light,
Jesus, I come to Thee.
Out of my sickness into Thy health,
Out of my wanting and into Thy wealth,
Out of my sin and into Thyself,
Jesus, I come to Thee.
2. Out of my shameful failure and loss,
Jesus, I come; Jesus, I come.
Into the glorious gain of Thy cross,
Jesus, I come to Thee.
Out of earth’s sorrows into Thy balm,
Out of life’s storms and into Thy calm,
Out of distress into jubilant psalm,
Jesus, I come to Thee.
3. Out of unrest and arrogant pride,
Jesus, I come; Jesus, I come.
Into Thy blessed will to abide,
Jesus, I come to Thee.
Out of myself to dwell in Thy love,
Out of despair into raptures above,
Upward forever on wings like a dove,
Jesus, I come to Thee.
4. Out of the fear and dread of the tomb,
Jesus, I come; Jesus, I come.
Into the joy and light of Thy home,
Jesus, I come to Thee.
Out of the depths of ruin untold,
Into the peace of Thy sheltering fold,
Ever Thy glorious face to behold,
Jesus, I come to Thee.

Closing Prayer

O God, Eternal King and Father of all mercies,

whose light divides the day from the night

and turns the shadow of death into the morning:

Show me this day what pride looks like in my life:

that I might be freed from its ugliness and loneliness,

that I might grow in appreciation for the Cross of Christ.

Guide my feet in the way of humility so that:

forgetting about myself I may serve others,

owning your grace, I might be more gracious,

entering into the resurrected life you secured for me, I might more fully alive.
The following is from CS Lewis’ Mere Christianity. In Mere Christianity Lewis compares and contrasts Christianity with other world religions. This explains the comparative references about pride and religions in the quote below. Lewis is NOT saying that Christians aren’t guilty of the sin of pride!

Yes, the quote is a long one. But it’s a quick read.

Today I come to that part of Christian morals where they differ most sharply from all other morals. There is one vice of which no man in the world is free; which everyone loathes when he sees it in someone else; and of which hardly any people, except Christians, ever imagine that they are guilty themselves. I have heard people admit that they are bad-tempered, or that they cannot keep their heads about girls or drink, or even that they are cowards. I do not think I have ever heard anyone who was not a Christian accuse himself of this vice. And at the same time I have very seldom met anyone, who was not a Christian, who showed the slightest mercy to it in others. There is no fault that makes a man more unpopular, and no fault which we are more unconscious of in ourselves. And the more we have it ourselves, the more we dislike it in others.

The vice I am talking of is Pride or Self-Conceit: and the virtue opposite to it, in Christian morals, is called Humility. You may remember, when I was talking about sexual morality, I warned you that the center of Christian morals did not lie there. Well, now, we have come to the center. According to Christian teachers, the essential vice, the utmost evil, is Pride. Unchastity, anger, greed, drunkenness, and all that, are mere fleabites in comparison: it was through Pride that the devil became the devil: Pride leads to every other vice: it is the complete anti-God state of mind.

Does this seem to you exaggerated? If so, think it over. I pointed out a moment ago that the more pride one had, the more one disliked pride in others. In fact, if you want to find out how proud you are the easiest way is to ask yourself, “How much do I dislike it when other people snub me, or refuse to take any notice of me, or shove their oar in, or patronize me, or show off?” The point is that each person’s pride is in competition with everyone else’s pride. It is because I wanted to be the big noise at the party that I am so annoyed at someone else being the big noise. Now what you want to get clear is the Pride is essentially competitive – is competitive by its very nature – while the other vices are competitive only, so to speak, by accident. Pride gets no pleasure out of having something, only out of having more of it than the next man. We say that people are proud of being rich, or clever, or good-looking, but they are not. They are proud of being richer, or cleverer, or better looking than others. If everyone else became equally rich, or clever, or good-looking there would be nothing to be proud about. It is the comparison that makes you proud, the pleasure of being above the rest. Once the element of competition has gone, pride has gone. That is why I say that Pride is essentially competitive in a way the other vices are not. Greed may drive men into competition if there is not enough to go round; but the proud man, even when he has got more than he can possibly want, will try to get still more just to assert his power. Nearly all those evils in the world that people put down to greed or selfishness are really far more the result of Pride.

Take it with money. Greed will certainly make a man want money, for the sake of a better house, better holidays, better things to eat and drink. But only up to a point. What is it that makes a man with 10,000 pounds a year anxious to get 20,000 a year? It is not the greed for more pleasure. 10,000 pounds will give all the luxuries that any man can really enjoy. It is Pride – the wish to be richer than some other rich man, and (still more) the wish for power. For, of course, power is what Pride really enjoys: there is nothing makes a man feel so superior to others as being able to move them about like toy soldiers. Pride is competitive by its very nature: that is why it goes on and on. If I am a proud man, then, as long as there is one man in the whole world more powerful, or richer, or cleverer than I, he is my rival and my enemy.

The Christians are right: it is Pride which has been the chief cause of misery in every nation and every family since the world began. Other vices may sometimes bring people together: you may find good fellowship and jokes and friendliness among drunken people or unchaste people. But Pride always means enmity – it is enmity. And not only enmity between man and man, but enmity to God.

In God you come up against something that is in every respect immeasurably superior to yourself. Unless you know God as that – and, therefore, know your-self as nothing in comparison – you do not know God at all. As long as you are proud you cannot know God. A proud man is always looking down on things and people: and, of course, as long as you are looking down, you cannot see something that is above you.

That raises a terrible question. How is it that people who are quite obviously eaten up with Pride can say they believe in God and appear to themselves very religious? I am afraid it means they are worshiping an imaginary God. They theoretically admit themselves to be nothing in the presence of this phantom God, but are really all the time imagining how He approves of them and thinks they are far better than ordinary people. They pay a pennyworth of imaginary humility to Him and get out of it a pound’s worth of Pride towards their fellowmen. I suppose it was of those people Christ was thinking when He said that some would preach about Him and cast out devils in His name, only to be told at the end of the world that He had never known them. And any of us may at any moment be in this death trap. Luckily, we have a test. Whenever we find that our religious life is making us feel that we are good – above all, that we are better than someone else – I think we may be sure that we are being acted on, not by God, but by the devil. The real test of being in the presence of God is that you either forget about yourself altogether or see yourself as a small, dirty object. It is better to forget about yourself altogether. It is a terrible thing that the worst of all the vices can smuggle itself into the very center of our religious life. But you can see why. The other, and less bad, vices come from the devil working on us through our animal nature. But this does not come through our animal nature at all. It comes direct from Hell. It is purely spiritual: consequently, it is far more subtle and deadly. For the same reason, Pride can often be used to beat down the simpler vices. Teachers, in fact, often appeal to a boy’s Pride, or, as they call it, his self-respect, to make him behave decently: many a man has overcome cowardice, or lust, or ill-temper by learning to think that they are beneath his dignity–that is, by Pride.

Before leaving this subject I must guard against some possible misunderstandings:

(1) Pleasure in being praised is not Pride. The child who is patted on the back for doing a lesson well, the woman whose beauty is praised by her lover, the saved soul to whom Christ says “Well done,” are pleased and ought to be. For here the pleasure lies not in what you are but in the fact that you have pleased someone you wanted (and rightly wanted) to please. The trouble begins when you pass from thinking, “I have pleased him; all is well,” to thinking, “What a fine person I must be to have done it.” The more you delight in yourself and the less you delight in the praise, the worse you are becoming. When you delight wholly in yourself and do not care about the praise at all, you have reached the bottom. That is why vanity, though it is the sort of Pride which shows most on the surface, is really the least bad and most pardonable sort. The vain person wants praise, applause, admiration, too much and is always angling for it. It is a fault, but a childlike and even (in an odd way) a humble fault. It shows that you are not yet completely contented with your own admiration. You value other people enough to want them to look at you. You are, in fact, still human. The real black, diabolical Pride comes when you look down on others so much that you do not care what they think of you. Of course, it is very right, and often our duty, not to care what people think of us, if we do so for the right reason; namely, because we care so incomparably more what God thinks. But the Proud man has a different reason for not caring. He says “Why should I care for the applause of that rabble as if their opinion were of value, am I the sort of man to blush with pleasure at a compliment like a young girl at her first dance? No, I am an integrated, adult personality. All I have done has been done to satisfy my own ideals – or my artistic conscience – or the traditions of my family – or, in a word, because I’m That Kind of Chap. If the mob like it, let them. They’re nothing to me.” In this way really thoroughgoing Pride may act as a check on vanity; for, as I said a moment ago, the devil loves “curing” a small fault by giving you a great one. We must try not to be vain, but we must never call in our Pride to cure our vanity; better the frying pan than the fire.

(2) We say in English that a man is “proud” of his son, or his father, or his school, or regiment, and it may be asked whether “pride” in this sense is a sin. I think it depends on what, exactly, we mean by “proud of.” Very often, in such sentences, the phrase “is proud of” means “has admiration for.” Such admiration is, of course, very far from being a sin. But it might, perhaps, mean that the person gives himself airs on the ground of his distinguished father, or because he belongs to a famous regiment. This would clearly be a fault; but even then, it would be better than being proud simply of himself. To love and admire anything outside yourself is to take one step away from utter spiritual ruin; though we shall not be well so long as we love and admire anything more than we love and admire God.

(3) We must not think Pride is something God forbids because He is offended at it, or that humility is something He demands as due to His own dignity – as if God Himself was proud. He is not in the least worried about His dignity. The point is, He wants you to know Him: wants to give you Himself. And He and you are two things of such a kind that if you really get into any kind of touch with Him you will, in fact, be humble – delightedly humble, feeling the infinite relief of having for once got rid of all the silly nonsense about your own dignity which has made you restless and unhappy all your life. He is trying to make you humble in order to make this moment possible: trying to take off a lot of silly, ugly, fancy-dress in which we have all got ourselves up and are strutting about like the little idiots we are. I wish I had got a bit further with humility myself. If I had, I could probably tell you more about the relief and comfort of taking the fancy-dress off–getting rid of the false self, with all its “Look at me” and “Aren’t I a good boy?” and all its posing and posturing. To get even near it, even for a moment, is like a drink of cold water to a man in the desert.

(4) Do not imagine that if you meet a really humble man he will be what most people call “humble” nowadays: he will not be a sort of greasy, smarmy person, who is always telling you that, of course, he is nobody. Probably all you will think about him is that he seemed a cheerful, intelligent chap who took a real interest in what you said to him. If you do dislike him it will be because you feel a little envious of anyone who seems to enjoy life so easily. He will not be thinking about humility: he will not be thinking about himself at all.

If anyone would like to acquire humility, I can, I think, tell him the first step. The first step is to realize that one is proud. And a biggish step, too. At least, nothing can be done before it. If you think you are not conceited, it means you are very conceited indeed.

List of Deep Desires

Distorted/Deceptive Desires

  • Distorted desire: you long for impact and you take control or manipulate to get it or you long for intimacy and you look to pornography

  • Deceitful desire: when you look to any material, experiential, positional, or relational desire to satisfy a deep desire. 

  • Only God can truly satisfy a deep desire.

Godly Deep Desires

  • Purpose, to be part of something larger, transcendence

  • Relationship: to love and be loved, to pursue and be pursued, community, family

  • Impact, significance

  • Honor, respect, valued, understood

  • To protect and provide, to be protected and provided for, security

  • To come through: duty, to hear “well done”

  • Beauty and creativity

  • Justice and freedom

  • Peace, wholeness, completion, home

To be transformed by God's mercy and grace into a community of priests engaged in his redeeming work in Atlanta and the world.

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