“Pride cometh before the Fall”
Now I have heard preached not long ago that the teachings of the apostle Paul as to eternal rewards were not to be taken as such. Or if one was to push after a crown in heaven he would, upon reaching the holy city of God, fall down and lay those crowns at the feet of Christ Jesus. Therefore the giving of rewards is a sort of dog treat to get us to come upon which we will realize the glory of God in full. Thus the real spiritual truth is not one of striving for ourselves but for Jesus. Now, certainly we are not about ourselves or should live for our self enjoyment but for our risen Lord. However to then nullify the just and promised rewards that Christ has offered is a rash conclusion. Further this very nearly calls into every man’s heart (excuse the christianesse) a most hideous temptress. She who knocks at the core of our desires to go and taste the delights of dominion, house, fields, manors, vineyards, palaces; she who calls us to take a position. For what has a man to pride himself in, but position, within this soiled world? Position means all, but all is vanity.
Nothing you know or do will remain, all of your toil with which you labored under the sun will given to another. The place that you make will come to nothing and you shall die. And so what has that royal philosopher to offer us as young men but to, “walk in the ways of your heart and the sight of your eyes” and to “know that for all these things God will bring you into judgment”. It follows that we then find our toil that meets our desires and, if wise, avoid the pits of folly. The fear of God keeps our path strait, our toil joyous, and the step of our gait light. But for the Christian is this it, is that all? Reading Ephesians, with Saint Paul exhorting you to put on the armor and, if you are a man, a deep Norse cry fills your silent tongue followed by a swinging battle axe and rallying grunts exclaiming that now is the time for all demon head. When those thoughts fill the lofty regions of our cerebral tubing, it makes you consider. How does the correspondence work between the two; Christ and working Joe, Paul and Solomon, for it just doesn’t seem to come together.
Now let us consider Paul’s appraisal of himself. He certainly thought something of himself. How else would Christians want to imitate him as he imitated Christ if he did not have something of substance? He thought himself worthy of praise, but he did not value himself by the worlds standards, he was a pilgrim, and prided himself according to heaven. He prided himself according to the standing of his heart. As he wanted to be known to the Corinthians conscience’s so he was commending himself, giving “you cause to be proud of us, so that you may be able to answer those who pride themselves on a man’s position and not on his heart” (2 Cor. 12). We should therefore not hold to our futile worldly positions but seek placement of our heart under Christ in eternity so that we may live out our days with peace here on earth. For we are now in the glorious time when a Savior rules all and we will either be dealt the iron rod or a gracious circumcision of heart. What then should a man do but enjoy himself on the few days he has here on earth? Live, Live that which is found in Christ.