We live, and seemingly thrive, in a fast-paced, technological society. Historically, the development of technology was pursued as a means to make life more productive with less manpower, supposedly so that there was more time for man to enjoy his life outside of work. However, it seems that technology has only empowered us to produce more. Instead of using it to lessen our load, we have become obsessed with expanding it. This is presented as progress, but at its core, I fear that it is rooted more deeply in greed and even more so in pride. We have become gods of our worlds, creating and demanding and building materialistic empires for ourselves to dwell in and rule. We think we are humble, but we are plagued with drive and anxieties. We want, we own, we hoard until our storehouses are overflowing. It doesn’t matter if it is all meaningless junk; it declares to us of our own distorted value.
“…THE ABSENCE OF HUMILITY”
Alistair Begg made a statement that has drastically changed my perspective. He said that “anxiety is the absence of humility”. Of course, my immediate reaction to this was to contend that my humility is enough and that my anxiety is not my fault! But in raw honesty, if I take one moment to inspect these responses, they are inundated with pride. Who do I think I am? What exactly do I think I deserve? That is a sobering self-confrontation! If my answer is anything other than death and eternal punishment, I have become too haughty to claim any sort of humility at all.
When I am anxious, I am ultimately saying that I do not deserve the struggles that I am facing, even though any difficulty that I may encounter will be less than the eternal damnation that I deserve. My anxiety demands better for myself, it protests that I am owed something more than what I have. But I am not! Already, I have been saved from the death that my sin has earned! Already, I am mercifully showered with grace! That is beyond enough; in light of which, I only have room for humility and absolutely nothing else!
However, I forget my true standing and there are a plethora of worries that constantly violate my peace and confidence. Finances cause me anxiety, but to live outside of my means proves my pride (I deserve to have more than I can afford); or to fret over my needs reveals my pride (I should have everything provided for me without want, I deserve to lack nothing). The chaos of children causes me anxiety. My house is a mess; their demands cost me a lot! But here again, my pride rears its ugly head (I should be able to have everything I want without personal sacrifice. I deserve sleep. I deserve an uninterrupted shower. I deserve to drink hot coffee! I want, I need, I deserve…). Oh how prideful we are. We are so prideful, we do not even recognize our own pride. The world we live in promotes independence and self-care. While neither of those are necessarily bad in and of themselves, they are rooted in pride and it is a sneaky little poison that taints all of us far more deeply than we care to admit!
So what do we do with ourselves? We cannot help our sin; it courses through our veins as automatically as our blood pulses. We cannot reduce our own pridefulness, and even to think that we have enough power to make ourselves do anything is also prideful! So, we are caught in a conundrum. We find ourselves again at the mercy of our Savior (which is honestly where we have been all along; it is just a matter of whether or not we recognize it and live accordingly, humbly). Jesus tells us the cure for anxiety in Matthew 6: 25-34. We have no grounds to worry, for even as God lavishly cares for the lowly beings, how much more will He obviously care for us, whom He has created in His very own image and to whom He has breathed in His very own breath. So all else aside, we must humbly “Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness (v33)” and then far more than we could ever need or want will be granted to us as a merciful consequence! When we humble ourselves and put Jesus first, not just in the casual way we usually speed through understanding this familiar concept, but truly if we apply these things, there is no room left for anxiety. May the Lord grant us this perspective every day!