Sunday, March 06, 2005

Pernicious Pride

I wrote in yesterday's post about how I've noticed that the root of much of my sin is pride. Here's the latest example that's been chewing on me:

We had preaching class this weekend. I'm not the best preacher out there. I know this, and it doesn't bother me. But I'm still pretty dog-gone good, at least as far as I can tell. I'm not a 10, but maybe a 7.

In the second installment of our weekend preaching class with Mark Love, he had us all preach sermons. After every single sermon, he remarked, "All right, good job [fill-in-the-blank]." He did this for everyone except me. He told me my theology was good and that I read the text well. He critiqued (not harshly, mind you) my momentum, the design of my outline, and my use of an image that wasn't in the text.

Now I'm not sure how to read this. At first, I think that perhaps he realizes my skill, and he doesn't want to puff me up. In this case, I can really appreciate how he handled me. Even afterward, he came up to me and asked, "Did I discourage you?" I told him he didn't. But then, the next day, he used me as an example of someone who would do well to pay attention to Buttrick's idea of moves & structures. That did knock me down a few notches.

And isn't that exactly what I've been asking for. I mean, maybe I'm not as slick as I think I am. Or if I am that slick, it's certainly not healthy for me to think I'm that slick ... or maybe not? Here is how I'm confused.

And then I come to think about why this bothers me so much. And when I'm honest, I think I care what Mark Love thinks because he is the lectureship director. And if I impress the lectureship director, then I'll get noticed. Wow ... how poor am I.

But it's not all bad. I'm one who feeds off of affirmation. But even something morally neutral can be twisted by Satan so that he might hold me in his clutches. So I assured myself today saying, "I do it pretty good, and I do it right. The words of God spoken through me change lives and directions. I'm doing it good, and it doesn't matter if Mark Love gets picky."

Jack Reece was right. What he told me is true. Pride will root me out if I let it. This is a battle that won't go away, isn't it ...

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