Here are the final steps. The darkest ones. The ones that will steal a soul.
A quick look back on Bernard of Clairvaux’s Steps of Pride – really, just because I need them. I forget the important stuff too easily. I really despise these steps. I hate more that not a single one is unfamiliar to me.
1. Curiosity – eyes always looking for something better, the asking of “why not” instead of “why” (here)
2. Frivolity – being careless with the important things of God (here)
3. Foolish Mirth – consistently choosing the way, because of ease, not worth (here)
4. Boastfulness – me me me and also me, interrupting others, never wanting to be interrupted.(here for 4&5)
5. Singularity – “I’m better than that person, and that one over there, and, oh yeah, that one too”
6. Conceit – knowing my personal flaws and ignoring them (here for 6&7)
7. Audacity – “I’m really too good for this aren’t I?”
8. Excusing sins – because no sin is not my fault (here)
9. Hypocritical Confession – knowing there’s no justification, intercepting the judgment, with oh so much, overt, dramatic, and well acted sorrow. (here)
10. Defiance – a two edged sword to be handled with care. (here)
Which brings me face to face with the two darkest steps, the last two potentially fatal ones of Bernard of Clairvaux’s Steps of Pride.
Freedom to Sin
“And now he enters the ways which seem good to men but which (unless God shall hedge them in for him) will plunge him at last into the depths of hell, that is, contempt for God…no longer seeing a master to fear or brother to respect, he is allured into satisfying his own desires…he has not yet lost all fear of God…he commits the first offenses with considerable hesitation; but…is drawn into the whirlpool…not all at once but little by little.”
Oh how it hurts to read these words. Having been in that whirlpool, having found excuses to sin, and defied Him, and stumbled down all the steps it took to get to the whirlpool of the pit – I never, ever, ever, want to be there again.
and the last step…
Bernard writes, “…drawn into the world of sin…forgetting …the fear of God..The last step of pride is that habitual sinning which has no consciousness of sin…Now in sight is the end of pride which…is always a reason for withdrawal of grace.”
I know the “withdrawl of grace” is a touchy subject. But Hebrews 10:26-31 has always been clear to me:
If we sin deliberately after receiving knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains sacrifice for sins, but a fearful prospect of judgment and a flaming fire that is going to consume the adversaries. Anyone who rejects the law of Moses is put to death without pity on the testimony of two or three witnesses. Do you not think that a much worse punishment is due the one who has contempt for the Son of God, considers unclean the covenant-blood by which he was consecrated, and insults the spirit of grace? We know the one who said: “Vengeance is mine; I will repay,” and again: “The Lord will judge his people. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
There is security though.
God doesn’t allow that which is in his hand to be grasped away.
If I give my life and my heart to him…
and get to the point where I am about to leap from his safe hand…
well there’s a little lesson he gave me…
in desert in California…
where nature itself put on a show…
please come back tomorrow to read about it.
I’m sorry, that was mean…
but kinda fun.