Think About This Quote
I read a quote the other day, that I didn’t understand at first. But then after I thought about it a while, I believe that the meaning occurred to me. And I think that we can make application of it, in regards to our own spiritual lives.
Let me read to you the quote; “Pride is the first shirt that you put on, and the last shirt that you take off.” What do you think, do you have an idea of what the author had in mind? “Pride”.. the first shirt you put on, and the last shirt you take off.
The author is comparing pride, with a piece of clothing.. A shirt that you put on, and a shirt that you take off. Of course that’s a figurative statement, just like a lot of statements that Jesus made, when He was preaching, and teaching.
Like the statement He made in John 15, verse 5, when He said; “I am the vine, you are the branches.” And Jesus gives the explanation of that, in the same verse, when He says; “He who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.”
Just like a physical vine gives life to the various branches, which grow out from the vine, Jesus also gives life to us a Christians, as we abide in Him, and as we grow out from Jesus. And in the same way that those branches of the vine bear fruit, because of the life that they receive from the vine, we also, as Christians can bear fruit, because of the life that Christ gives to us.
But if we separate ourselves from Christ, we die, just like one of those branches will die, if it’s separated from the vine. Because it’s the vine, that supplies the life to the branch. I suppose that it must be true, that there’s an awful lot of Christians who don’t realize that fact, that if you separate yourself from Christ, you’ll die! But that’s exactly what Jesus said in John 15, verse 6; “If anyone does not abide in Me, (in other words, if you separate yourself from Christ) he is thrown away, like the branch, and dries up, and they gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.”
Pride vs Obedience
So there you go; If you separate yourself from Christ, you’ll wither, and you’ll dry up spiritually, and you’ll die. And eventually, you’ll be cast into the fire. But yet so many Christians seem to be content, or maybe we could say, satisfied, with having separated themselves from Christ. They’ve separated themselves from assembling together, and from partaking of the Lord’s supper, and yet they seem to be satisfied with that.
Why would anyone be satisfied with that? Well, it’s because they’ve been deceived. They’ve been deceived into believing that God’s commands to assemble ourselves together, somehow don’t apply to them. For some reason, their circumstances, put them in a special category, so that they’re exempt from those commands. And when you think that you’re in some special category, and that you get an exemption, from God, so as to not have to obey those commands, that’s pride.
Consider the Lord’s Supper
Consider the subject of the Lord’s supper. When we partake of the Lord’s supper, are we not, figuratively, eating the Lord’s body, and drinking His blood? Did Jesus not say; “Take, eat; This is my body..” And then, in offering His disciples the cup, containing the fruit of the vine, did Jesus not say; “Drink ye all of it; For this is MY blood, of the covenant..” Mathew 26:26 thru 28.
And did Jesus not say, in John 6, verse 53; “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you.” But on the other hand, He did say, in verse 56; “He who eats My flesh, and drinks My blood, abides in Me, and I in him.”
How can anyone, NOT, think of the Lord’s supper, when they hear those words of Jesus; “He who eats My flesh, and drinks My blood, abides in Me, and I in him.” You cannot talk about the body and the blood of Jesus Christ, without thinking of the Lord’s supper. And therefore, you can not rationally conclude anything other, than the fact, that if you stop partaking of the Lord’s supper, if you stop eating the flesh of Jesus, and if you stop drinking His blood, then you have stopped abiding in Jesus. And consequently, as Jesus said; “..you have no life in you.”
Pride Separates, Humility Joins
I began with a statement about pride, and I wonder if pride, might be somehow connected, with separating yourself from Christ? Think about it from this viewpoint; To abide in Christ, don’t we have to humble ourselves, to the point of obeying every command that He gave us?
Didn’t Jesus have to humble Himself, in order to be obedient to the Father? Philippians 2, verse 8 says; “And being found in fashion as a man, He humbled himself, becoming obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”
In order to become obedient, it required that Jesus humble Himself. Are we any different? Does becoming obedient require anything different from us, than it required from Jesus? Now we may blame disobedience on a lot of different things. For example, the bible equates disobedience with unbelief. (Hebrews 3, verses 16 thru 19) And so we can rightfully say, that someone’s disobedience is the result of their unbelief.
But what is their unbelief the result of? Well, I suggest to you that unbelief is the result of pride! In reality, there is only one reason for not believing God’s word.. And that reason is pride. Pride is going to be at the core, of all unbelief. In order to not believe something that the bible says, then by necessity, you must be putting your views, ahead of the bible. In essence, that’s the same as saying.. I’m smarter than that; I’m wiser than that; I know better than the bible; And that’s pride.
And so we’ve got to humble ourselves, even to believe, in the first place! And then we’ve got to humble ourselves further, in order to obey! And so if pride is at the heart of all unbelief, and of all disobedience, then what’s at the heart of all faith, and of all obedience? Humility, is at the heart of it all.
Pride Feels So Good
But let’s get back to that statement that “Pride is the first shirt that you put on, and the last shirt that you take off.” What is a shirt symbolic of? Whatever it is, it must be something that feels pretty comfortable. It must feel more comfortable than anything else we put on, because we put it on first, and then we leave it on as long as we possibly can, and then, if we ever do take it off, it’s the last thing we take off.
Did you ever have an old shirt, or maybe some other piece of clothing, that was so comfortable, that you couldn’t wait to put it on, and then once you had it on, you never wanted to take it off?
Jesus likened Himself to a life-giving vine, but I think we can be sure that pride, isn’t being likened to anything “life-giving”. I imagine it’s quite the opposite. As a matter of fact, I think we all know, that rather than giving life, pride takes life away. Isn’t that exactly what the bible says?
Proverbs 16, verse 18 says; “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.” Pride takes life away; It goes before, and leads to, destruction!
“When pride comes, then comes dishonor..” Proverbs 11, verse 2
“A man’s pride will bring him low..” Proverbs 29:23
“God is opposed to the proud..” James 4:6
“Everyone who is proud in heart, is an abomination to the Lord!” Proverbs 16, verse 5
Pride Brings Death
Jesus gives life, but pride might be one of the foremost things, that takes life away. Remember the example of Simon the sorcerer, from Acts chapter 8? Simon must have been a proud man. Because we’re told in verse 9, that Simon, “..used sorcery, and amazed the people of Samaria, claiming himself to be some great one!” And verse 10 says; “..and they all, from smallest to greatest, were giving attention to him, saying; “This is the one that is called the Great Power of God!” You can be sure that Simon was proud!
But Simon supposedly “put off the old man”, like the bible says that we all should do. It says in Ephesians 4, verse 22; “That you are to have put off, concerning the former way of life, the old man, which is being corrupted, according to the deceit of it’s desires.”
The desires that come from our former, fleshly way of life, are deceitful. We tend to think that the fleshly desires, which come naturally to a fleshly life, are acceptable to God. But they’re not acceptable to God. Those desires may very well be “natural” to a fleshly life style; But being “natural” to that type of life-style, doesn’t mean that they’re good and acceptable to God.Those are the very things that God wants us to “put off”!
And Simon supposedly did “put off” those things, because verse 13 tells us that Simon believed, and was baptized. Simon had just received spiritual life, but yet, when Simon saw the power that the apostles possessed, as they laid their hands on various other Christians, and imparted miraculous gifts to them, from the Holy Spirit, Simon’s pride resurfaced, and he said, in verse 19; “Give me this power also, that whomever “I”, lay “MY” hands on, may receive the Holy Spirit.”
In other words, I want to be the one who can do that! Simon had put on Christ, in baptism, but evidently, he hadn’t succeeded completely, in “putting off” his pride. It must have been awfully easy, to put that pride back on. I suppose that he was so used to the “feel” of it, and it felt so comfortable to him, that even after Simon had become a Christian, pride was “the first shirt” that he put back on.
Like I said before, from what the scriptures tell us about Simon, he had been a pretty proud man. And maybe that pride was the very last thing that he “took off”, in putting that old man to death. Now I won’t tell you that I know that for a fact, but it sure makes you wonder.
Pride.. The First Sin
Let’s go to a different bible example. I’m sure you remember the very first sin ever committed, by Eve, in the garden of Eden. Satan tempted Eve; And what was the first thing that he tempted her with? He tempted her with her own pride. Remember what the bible says in James 1, verse 14? “But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.”
So then Eve was tempted by her own desires, her own lust. Satan said to Eve, in Genesis 3, verse 1; “Yea, hath God said, You shall not eat of every tree of the garden?” And Eve said in verse 2; “We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden.” And then she said in verse 3; “But from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said; You shall not eat from it, or touch it, or you will die.'”
And here comes the temptation; Satan said to Eve, in verses 4 & 5; “You surely will not die! (So, first satan lies, but then he tempts her) For God knows, that in the day you eat from it, your eyes will be opened, and you will be, like God, knowing good and evil.” I think it’s obvious, Eve thought to herself; Wow, I can be like God! Well, that’s pure pride, plain and simple. Eve lusted, to have that feeling of pride!
And she probably felt proud, for a while. And maybe she told Adam the same thing, that they both would “be like God”. And they both probably felt that pride. for a while. Until they heard the sound of the Lord walking in the cool of the day, in the garden.
Pride, along with all sins, is deceitful. Remember that verse I read from Ephesians 4:22; “Concerning the former way of life, you are to have put off, the old man, which is being corrupted, according to the deceit of it’s desires.” The deceit of your own lusts.
So, Eve thought that she’d end up enjoying that feeling of pride, but what she really ended up “enjoying”, is the feeling of shame!
The Shirt of Sin
But what was the first “shirt” so to speak, that both Adam and Eve “put on” as they were enjoying all of God’s rich blessings? It seems like “right off the bat”, what they both put on, was pride. But the word “shirt” is just a figure of speech. the real word that it represents, is sin.
“Pride is the first sin that you put on, and the last sin that you take off.” And I guess that’s because pride, just feels so comfortable, that once you feel it, you never want to take it off.
Do you think that we might be able to apply that to our lives? I think we probably all can, and so I hope that we do, so that we can take off our pride, before it causes us to be destroyed.
As the proverb says; “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.” Proverbs 16:18.