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The Root of the Problem

I love gardening — it’s one of my favorite hobbies. It’s relaxing to plant things and see them grow throughout the year. Over the years I have developed a very nice garden, but I have a small problem.

A few years ago, my husband wanted a mint plant, and against my better judgment I planted it in my main garden space. For the first year it was barely noticeable — a tiny little plant, in fact. The next year, it was a bit bigger.

During that year it did something I initially didn’t notice — it began to put down a massive root system. What started as something small has become an enormous problem. I’m still struggling to this day to get rid of that “small” mint plant.

Before our world was even created, Scripture tells us something rather small began to slither into the mind of a perfect angel in heaven. He began to feel God was unfair and unjust. Why should God alone be worthy of worship? 

Lucifer felt he knew better than God. Pride began to creep into his heart and began to put down some very deep roots. At first the angels in heaven were appalled at this idea, but over time a number of them began to side with Lucifer.

Pride — the desire for your own will and way — took hold in the hearts of Lucifer and a third of the angels in heaven. This ultimately resulted in Lucifer and his followers being cast out of heaven, because pride has no place in God’s presence. So began the Great Controversy. 

The desire to do whatever makes us feel good and the desire to create our own “truth” is motivated by pride. Pride from a biblical perspective is never a positive thing; rather, we are called in Scripture to surrender our goals and sinful desires, and take hold of Jesus. We are to give up self!

In the 21st century, pride is being exalted as a virtue. Entire movements have arisen which argue whatever feels good and whatever your heart desires should not only be acceptable but celebrated. 

The advocates of this unbiblical and anti-Christian philosophy argue that anyone who opposes or critiques their movement is hateful and bigoted. What began as something small has become deeply rooted in every aspect of our American culture and life.

“And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good” (Gen. 1:31). The teachings of positive pride go against the teachings of scripture. It was pride which drove our original parents to sin. Their desire to do their own thing drove them to forsake God’s instructions and warnings.

Lucifer, now called Satan, was more than happy to help lead them down the path of joyous pride, and the choice to follow self above God resulted in the fall of humanity. Over all of earth’s history the destructive nature of pride can be seen. What God made perfect, Satan continues to work to destroy. 

​The prince of darkness disguises himself as an angel of light, and the accuser and tempter remains just as clever today as he was in the garden of Eden. He seeks to employ pride as a deceptive tool. He encourages humanity to redefine and re-imagine sin. What once was clearly understood as sinful and immoral is now celebrated.

In her book Education, Ellen White writes, “The greatest want of the world is the want of men — men who will not be bought or sold, men who in their inmost souls are true and honest, men who do not fear to call sin by its right name” (pg. 57).

​How can modern Seventh-day Adventists seek to uphold God’s high standard? How might we effectively proclaim God’s law of love is normative for all humanity?

1. Do not give in to the world’s agenda of pride. Stand up for truth — the truth that Jesus is Lord and is calling you to surrender your whole being to Him; physically, mentally and spiritually. It is time to give up your own way of life and surrender to Jesus as the true Way. “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life…’” (John 14:6).

2. Guard your homes, your families and your children from the alluring prideful ways of the world. As a compassionate global citizen — especially one who calls themselves "Christian" — it is your duty to protect the innocent and vulnerable. In today’s world this is becoming more and more important. Don’t surrender your families to the world’s ideas of pride. 

3. Surrender each day to the leading of God in your life. Let Him transform you into His likeness. Give up self; take hold of God!

But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matt. 6:33).

Featured in: September/October 2023