Keeping God At Arm's Length

“What a piece of work is a man!” opined Prince Hamlet. “How noble in reason, how infinite in faculty!” etc., etc. Indeed, Shakespeare’s prose illustrates the problem of human pride and the chasm it creates between ourselves and God.

Human arrogance is perhaps the most astoundingly limitless and utterly unwarranted of sinful inclinations with which we keep God at arm’s length. Sure, mankind developed writing systems and civilizations, split the atom, put a man on the moon, made phones “smart,” and so on. But when is the last time any of us created a universe out of nothing, healed sickness or injury with a thought, resurrected the dead, or transcended space-time on a whim?

Our accomplishments are rather dwarfed when compared with God’s miraculous work – and rightly so. Still, we are prideful and arrogant. And such callous self-righteousness keeps God’s true righteousness just out of our reach.

Solomon, the wisest man to ever live, understood God’s disdain for prideful hearts. (Proverbs 16:5) The prophet Jeremiah, in fact, makes it clear just how much God abhors human pride. Our wisdom, strength, wealth: none of it is boast-worthy. (Jeremiah 9:24-24)

Pride in human accomplishment or gain takes attention away from the One who makes any and all achievement possible: God Himself. As Paul reminded the church at Corinth, if we must boast, let it not be in our own accomplishments; let it be in His. (1 Corinthians 1:31)