Thursday, May 27, 2010

Nose in the air

During this year’s Atlanta auditions for the hit show American Idol, a 63-year-old gentleman named General Larry Platt amazed and amused the judges and the audience with his performance of a song he called “Pants on the Ground.” If you’re not familiar with the song, surely you’re aware of the trend that had young men wearing pants multiple sizes too large for them, which resulted in the pants hanging … well below their beltline. And yes, I have seen at least one instance where a boy’s pants fell down to his ankles, and I thought, Don’t you realize how foolish you look?

There always have been and always will be fads – some good, some not so good – for people to follow, but in his letter to Titus, the apostle Paul encourages his young mentee not to get caught up in a tendency that’s still prevalent to this day.

You see, once we’re saved and our lives are changed by the work of the Holy Spirit (not by our own efforts), it’s easy to start thinking of ourselves as “very good” people while looking down our noses at others. But Paul says to remember, “For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another. But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit” (Titus 3:3–5).

This is an important reminder to keep us in our place when we become too “pious.” It’s God’s kindness, love and mercy that has set us apart, not our goodness! How is our pride ever going to attract a lost world? We may not have our “pants on the ground,” but we look just as foolish walking around with our noses the air. And just as everybody waits to see if those baggy pants are going to fall to the ground, when we elevate ourselves above others, they’re eagerly waiting to see us fall – which will happen eventually, because “First pride, then the crash— the bigger the ego, the harder the fall” (Prov. 16:18 MSG).

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