Today’s Scripture: 2 Chronicles 26:16a
But when he was strong his heart was lifted up, to his destruction…
Joe Theismann enjoyed an illustrious 12-year career as quarterback of the Washington Redskins. He led the team to two Super Bowl appearances – winning in 1983 before losing the following year. When a leg injury forced him out of football in 1985, he was in the record books as Washington’s all-time leading passer. However, the tail end of Theismann’s career taught him a bitter lesson: “I got stagnant. I thought the team revolved around me. I should have known it was time to go when I didn’t care whether a pass hit Art Monk in the 8 or the 1 on his uniform. When we went back to the Super Bowl, my approach had changed. I was griping about the weather, my shoes, practice times, everything. Today I wear my two rings – the winner’s ring from Super Bowl XVII and the loser’s ring from Super Bowl XVIII. The difference in those two rings lies in applying oneself and not accepting anything but the best.”
The right attitude must not only be built, it must also be sustained. And few things threaten a good attitude like success. Many, like Joe Theismann, allow pride creep in and contaminate their character. They give in to the seduction of ascending achievements, and begin to lower their guard; they begin to demand less and less of themselves in terms of keeping the right attitude and putting in the best work. They become like Uzziah.
Uzziah ascended the throne of Judah at the tender age of sixteen. The Bible records that he feared the Lord. He kept the right attitude and he prospered. He built fortifications, experienced phenomenal abundance, and conquered his enemies. Then pride crept in and he lowered his guard. Our opening scripture says, “His heart was lifted up, to his destruction.”
The truth is, no better foundation can be laid for developing and sustaining the right attitude than humility. There is nothing we are and that we have that can be traced directly to our individual prowess. We are products of God’s grace. It is He that works in us to will and to do according to His good pleasure. To take our eyes off this truth is to fall into the error of pride, and ultimately into destruction.
No matter how far beneath we think we are or how far above we consider our attainments to be, let us remain humble. Let us keep striving to be the best we can be. Let us keep pressing forward toward the goal for the prize of our high calling in Christ. Let us resist the temptation to lean on our own understanding. Let us acknowledge the Lord in all our ways, and He will direct our paths, even as we strive continually to be all that He has made us to be.
Memorise & Meditate:
“Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:12-14
Prayer & Confession:
Father, I ask You for the grace to eschew pride. Help me to remain small in my own eyes, and help me to keep my eyes on You. Teach me humility today, and always, in Jesus’ name. Amen.