For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
–1 John 2:16
We are born dying. When babies are hungry they scream their heads off because they are afraid of dying. Someone needs to give them food, they can’t get it themselves, and they will annoy you until they get their food.
This same fear of death drives our lives. Most of our ambition and motivation in life is centered in fearing death.
Now, you probably don’t actually think, “I’m going to buy me some more ice cream cuz I’m afraid to die.” Motives are rarely that obvious.
But you are wired from birth to fight for your life. To view your life as the most important life out there. You are, in your own mind, the center of the universe.
Part of the job of a parent is to teach their kid that she isn’t the only person in the universe. (I believe this is the downfall of the self-esteem movement, which actually teaches kids to view themselves even more so as the center of the universe. This will continue to have disastrous effects.)
We go through life thinking about ourselves and doing whatever we have to do to get ahead, and if that means stepping on others; so be it.
We then go about demonstrating our awesomeness with showy displays. Sometimes it’s as simple as lying about and exaggerating the stories of our life. Sometimes it’s shown with possessions and a demonstration of our wealth we attained with our skillz.
This display of our awesome we selfishly gained, is the pride of life.
Satan was a beautiful angel. He was proud of himself and determined to get his own power. This led to his downfall. Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall.
Satan thinks what he did was pretty cool. He thinks you should follow him. Satan even tempted Christ to go his way.
Jesus Christ showed He was no normal human because He rejected Satan’s temptations. Jesus Christ was immune to the pride of life.
When Jesus Christ was ministering on this earth, He did not bother with educational degrees, letters of recommendation, signs of wealth or status, and in fact, He had no place to lay His head.
One of the signs of the Messiah is that He talked to poor people (Matthew 11:5)! Rich, famous, highly esteemed people have no time for poor people. Jesus did.
Jesus Christ lived a life completely devoid of the pride of life. It was free of living for human approval or applause. Jesus Christ did not come to keep people happy and impress them; Jesus Christ came to do the will of His Father.
As followers of Christ, the same temptation is laid out for us. Will we live for this world or for the world to come? Will we live for human approval or for God’s approval? Will we hoard the things of this world or lay up treasure in heaven? Will we follow our will or the will of our Lord and Creator? Will we live for what man esteems or for what God esteems? Will we serve ourselves or by love serve others?
The pride of life will keep you from eternal life. It, in fact, fights against everything eternal life stands for.
Set your affections on things above, not on things of this earth. The things of this earth are temporal, the things that are not seen are eternal.
Choose you this day which life is most important to you: this temporal one or the eternal one to come. All decisions are based on that simple choice.