Icarus is a Greek Mythological character who escapes imprisonment by the king through his father’s successful attempt to create wings of feathers and wax and fly away. Before they fly to freedom, the father warns Icarus not to fly too high nor too low so the sun cannot melt the wax nor the ocean dampen the feathers. But once free from captivity, Icarus soars on his wings, not heeding his father’s advice and flies too close to the sun. The heat melts the wax and Icarus falls to the ocean and drowns.
The second chunk of lyrics in my series on the Jars of Clay song, Worlds Apart, are this:
Soaring on the wings of selfish pride, I flew too high and like Icarus I collide
Most people think pride is synonymous with arrogance. They think of the guy who’s always bragging on his bankroll or the lady who’s got her face in the mirror all the time. Although pride may manifest that way, that’s not the whole deal. I’ve splashed a couple scriptures through this post to build a better picture of what God says it is. They rocked me off my rocker when I was first convicted of it…
Here’s the first:
Psalm 10:4: In his pride the wicked man does not seek him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God
Ok, so basically, not thinking about God means there is pride. It means when there is a problem, we are not looking to our Father for advice on how to fix it. We should expect the wax on our feathers to be getting a bit gooey if we’re not in His word looking for the solution.
Proverbs 13:10: Where there is strife, there is pride, but wisdom is found in those who take advice
Who has strife in their relationship with their husband, wife, mother, father, sister, brother, friend, child, co-worker? OK, seriously, who doesn’t? I sought plenty of advice, as the scripture directs, before my marriage splintered… and I made darn sure my husband knew about it every time. And that he knew everything HE wasn’t taking advice on. Strife is pride; it has a sneaky way of getting masked as “helping”. I had to get over trying to “help” my husband.
Proverbs 14:3: A fool’s mouth lashes out with pride, but the lips of the wise protect them.
Lashing out at somebody, accusing them, is prideful and foolish. A world of hurt results from inaccurate interpretations of the other person’s motives as assessed by their behaviors. This is my soapbox, so I’m going to cut it short here before I write a novel. I had to learn to seek knowledge about my husband’s behaviors instead of accusing him. Asking questions (real, legitimate questions, not accusatory, directed questions) creates the shift to overcome this highly destructive behavior. “You always” and “you never” type statements are your red flags that you’re floundering in foolish folly.
So, here I am, back in my car listening to Worlds Apart (see post 1), tears streaming down my face, with God showing me how prideful I’d been in my marriage, breaking down, shredding, that perception of myself that I was the one doing all the work and the entitlement I felt about that. Here is the little litmus test I devised for myself to check whether I’m backsliding into the pit of pride:
If I am spending more of my time thinking and talking about what the other person is doing wrong than I am searching for how to change my attitude and behaviors, I am stuck in pride.
And I’m just going to go ahead and restate that so you can experience it at a more personal level:
If you are spending more of your time thinking and talking about what the other person is doing wrong than you are searching for how to change your attitude and behaviors, you are stuck in pride.
If you are currently feeling low, consider this powerful scripture:
Proverbs 29:23: Pride brings a person low, but the lowly in spirit gain honor.
It is your pride that makes you feel low. Kind of a shocking revelation, isn’t it?
Are we at risk of melting our wings? We need to stop and assess whether we are flying too high. If so, we need to step back and take the advice of our Father and behave according to His word. We should not expect anything more than to crash and burn should we choose to fly too high.