Posts Tagged ‘Pride’

If you happen to be taking a stroll through my neighborhood on any given summer morning, you will probably see me working in the garden.  (This Montana-grown, transplanted-to-the-south gal has to have her hands in the dirt!)  While I’m working, God often takes the opportunity to teach me.  This summer, I thought it might be fun to pass on some of what I’m learning, à la mini-Bible study, from the garden.  Grab a shovel or a cup of coffee and join me in my garden!



Ladies and gentlemen, let the record reflect that I am mean with a cultivator.  It’s a good thing, too, because besides being a rigorous tricep workout, cultivating is one of the most important tasks in the garden.  I am by no means a gardening expert, but here are the two main benefits, as far as I can tell:

  1. It keeps weeds and grass (which rob plants of water and nutrients) out of the garden bed.  Clawing at the dirt with a cultivator will reveal weeds and grass that you didn’t even know were growing.  By the time a blade of Bermuda grass shows above ground, its root system is already established.  For a healthy garden, cultivate frequently so that weeds and grass don’t get a foothold.
  2. It aerates the soil.  I like to keep my garden soil fluffy.  Cultivating keeps the ground from getting packed.  Fluffy soil can accept water and fertilizer, and the plant roots don’t have to work so hard to push through the dirt.

One morning as I was whacking away at the dirt, God was showing me a parallel between cultivating a garden and cultivating a life.

I don’t know about yours, but my life is fertile ground for weeds and grass.  Resentments, grudges, irritations, pride – all of these rob me of the abundant life I am meant to have in Christ. They threaten the health of my relationships.  They rob me of joy.    

I need to be vigilant so that these crummy weeds don’t get a foothold.  If I neglect to uproot them, they will get bigger and suffocate my growth.

Metaphorically speaking, frequently cultivating my life also keeps me from becoming so hardened that I cannot accept the watering and fertilizing – the good things – with which God might bless me.

What about you?  What are the weeds in your life?  Is there something you need to release?  What is robbing you of joy?

Digging deeper:  Locate your Bible.  Blow off any dust which may have accumulated there.  Go to where there are things growing in some dirt, either in your yard, or in a pot on the windowsill.  Read Matthew 13:1-23.  Now reflect for as long as you like upon the soil of your life.  What is growing there?  Are you satisfied with this?

Let’s pray:  Dear God, there are so many weeds in my life!  I name them silently now…  Help me to uproot them so that nothing will hinder my walk with you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.



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Pride is something we all must guard against.  It is an attribute that we hate in others, but often don’t recognize in ourselves.  Some people have such trouble with pride that God has to do crazy things to address it – like stick them in a karate class.  Yup, I’m talking about me.

Karate has given me repeated lessons in humility, but the harshest one came shortly after I became an apprentice black belt.  (At this point, a person is considered an instructor, and is given the title “sensei.”)

I admired the “Instructor” patches on the karate uniform of one of my mentors, Sensei Joanna.  I figured I should strive for that decoration on my uniform, too. 

I shared this desire with her and my sensei.  Big mistake.  The two exchanged a look which told me immediately that I had crossed a line, a look that said, “Oh, dear.  The baby black belt has just stepped in a big pile of doo-doo.”

After they enjoyed some good-natured chuckling at my expense, Sensei Joanna gently took me aside, and explained, by way of story, what I had done.

“In my dojo,” she said, “there were things displayed which we could buy.  I saw these ‘Instructor’ patches, and I coveted them.  I asked my sensei what rank I would have to be before I was allowed to wear them.  He said, ‘Oh!  You can wear them now!’

“So the next class, I walked in, proudly displaying those patches on my sleeves.  The other black belts laughed at me and said, ‘What’s with the patches?’  

“I asked my sensei if I could take them off.  He said, ‘Oh, no.  You will keep those.  You wanted them, so you will wear them.’  Because of my pride, they became my badges of shame.”

My eyes bugged as I realized that my own pride had slipped out and was hanging around my ankles.  Wearing a black belt hadn’t been enough.  I wanted more distinction, more bling on my uniform.  After all, I was an instructor.

And my sensei, chuckling and shaking his head, was watching the whole ugly scene… 

The jokes went on for weeks.  And just when I thought (rather, hoped) he had forgotten my prideful display, my sensei gave me an “Instructor” patch of my very own.  Mercifully, he didn’t make me wear it. 

God (THE Instructor) has forgiven me, so I don’t need a badge of shame.  But that patch sits in my desk drawer as a strong reminder of the day that my pride got out and did a little dance for all to see.

 my badge of shame

“When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.” (Prov. 11:2 NIV)

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