The wide open landscape stretched for miles—lit only by the few stars dotting the night sky. On the horizon, the silhouette of two people and a donkey provided a backdrop against the darkness. Silence echoed against silence until the whispers of bleating sheep added their chorus—a sure indication a shepherd was close by.
Before the break of day, silence was shattered by the cries of a newborn. The sound seemed to emanate from the rough-hewn timbers of a stable. Drawing closer, a donkey stomped its feet impatiently in the corner and a man and woman sat shoulder to shoulder admiring the baby the woman cradled in her arms.
Behold, the King of the Jews! The Messiah promised to save the world. He has arrived!
While the world waited in wonder and hope, another man demanded three wise men search for the child. King Herod proudly claimed the title, King of the Jews. The thought of a babe somewhere in Bethlehem claiming the same title put a dent in his ego.
This humble birth marked a time of intense conflict between man’s pride and the humility of our Savior.
Max Lucado, in his book, ‘Because of Bethlehem’, shares the story of how he watched a group of kids playing King of the Mountain. I remember doing the same with my brothers on a mound of dirt piled up in a construction zone for new houses. The object of the game is to be the last one standing at the top of the mountain or in our case the mound of dirt.
But as with any game, there are sacrifices made in order to reach the top and proclaim yourself the winner. King Herod wanted nothing more than to find this newborn Messiah because in his mind there was only one King of the Jews—himself. Herod couldn’t see beyond his own power and authority. Pride blocked his view of the grace and love that entered the world that night in the form of a baby. Instead, his haughty view of himself led him to become one of the most destructive kings of all time.
Max Lucado puts the game of King of the Mountain into perspective with these words:
King of the Mountain is not just a kid’s game. Versions are played in every dormitory, classroom, boardroom, and bedroom. And since mountaintop real estate is limited, people get shoved around. Mark it down: if you want to be king, someone is going to suffer. Pride comes at a high price.
What is pride blocking from your view? What is the posture of your heart when pride enters in? Will you allow yourself to put aside your pride in order to gain the gift of redemption that Jesus brought?
[Tweet “When I choose pride over humility, I lose sight of Jesus. @joyfullifemag”]
Read more of how we lose sight when we take our eyes off of Jesus, but gain a beautiful gift when our hearts align with His. Follow me to Joyful Life Magazine to read the rest. Click HERE.
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Love this! He truly is born as humility! I think people forget that!
Thank you, Tara! People do forget how Jesus was born as a human but he was clothed in humility.
Focusing on humility is a very important topic for each of us. Thanks for bringing it to the forefront of our minds here, Mary. I KNOW I need it most of all.
Thank you for stopping by! May we see God first and ourselves second as we maneuver through this life. Blessings on your week!
This is a great illustration. laurensparks.net
Thanks, Lauren! Blessings on your week!
I have never thought King on the Mountain so easily compares to our lives, Mary. But it truly is a great example. Pride can be so sneaky, can’t it? May God root it out of our hearts! I’m so grateful for the humility Jesus embraced to set us free! Blessings of His love to you!
Who knew a child’s game could teach us such a big lesson. Pride is sneaky and tends to linger unless we recognize it for what it is and let it go. May we all turn to God to show us the path to Him. Blessings to you my friend!
Heading over to read more, Mary! But what a breath-taking start to your post! Pinned!
Thank you, Beth! I appreciated you leaving a comment over at Joyful Life Magazine too.
The vivid details in your story of Jesus birth brought me right there. Wonderful writing. Pride comes in the form of trying to portray an image of myself to others. God’s working on that….:)
Thank you, Lynn! That means so much. And your definition of pride is spot on. Blessed to have you here!
Mary, such a great question that packs a punch too. If we are all honest, we can admit that we have pride that needs dealt with, the question is, will we face it and deal with it? Thank you for such a beautiful reminder of humility and congratulations at being featured over at Joyful Life! Woo Hoo
Thank you for being such a sweet encourager. I agree that admitting we are prideful and actually doing something about it are two different things. I pray we all find the courage to face our pride and deal with it. Love you friend!
Thanks very much for this reminder, Mary. God help us guard our hearts! Blessings to you!
You’re welcome, Boma! Praying with you for God to guard our hearts. Blessings on your week!
Wow, Mary. What a powerful post. Your images and insights are vivid reminders of what the Main Thing is. We can be like Simeon who looked for Jesus and celebrated when he met Him. Or, we can be like Herod, blinded by pride, and missing out on the things God has for us . . . both in this season and in the coming year.
You’ve given me goo things to ponder.
The age old battle of humility and pride is one we still fight today. Simeon is another example of how humility led Him to Jesus. Thank you for sharing this wisdom. May we all see beyond ourselves to the feet of Jesus as we live out our lives. Praying you find sweet blessings under your tree this Christmas!
Thank you for this beautiful post here and for your words over at The Joyful LIfe. I think this post fits so well with your thoughts about surrender that you have shared here with us this year. That pride is what the Lord asks me to lay down before Him so that I can surrender to Him. He is so good to bring HIS humility in that place, even when my pride says nothing good will come from that surrender. Oh thank the Lord for His grace and goodness. I have so much more to learn and receive from Him there. Praying for a Blessed and Merry Christmas for you, Dear Friend!
Thank you for making the connection to surrender. It is pride that gets in the way of us letting go many times. We get in the way of ourselves because we believe we can do more on our own than with help. We lose sight of God in this process because of our focus on self. I appreciate your wisdom in seeing another layer to this journey of surrender that I am on. Praying sweet blessings for you and your family this Christmas season.
We do “end up” a the manger but we can’t hang out there! There is much more! I want to be a dweller in the resurrection because it is there we are redeemed. Your posts always stir something up in me to ponder. xo
There is always so much more with Christ, isn’t there? Thank you for pointing us to the resurrection in your comment. And if my posts stir up something to ponder, all praise and glory to God for providing these words.
This is a great post, Mary! I like how you highlight the contrast between Herod’s pride and Jesus’ humility, and it’s an important reminder to all of us to be alert to when we’re tempted to let pride sneak in.
Thank you, Lesley! It seems logical to show the contrast between Herod and Jesus, but honestly God showed me the way on this one. May we all stay alert to temptations and open to God’s grace.
Following you over there, Mary. Such an important topic: pride.
Thanks, Betsy! I appreciate you!
Oh, Mary, such a good question: What is pride blocking from my view? You always ask the tough questions that start me thinking. Thank you!
I ask hard questions because they are ones that I need to figure out for myself. I pray you find answers and God in the middle of those answers. Thank you for being here.
Pride can be so tricky. And sometimes it feels so justified. But God always has something better. I’m learning that no matter what I think I am or know (PRIDE), God sees something even better in me.
Thank you for reminding us that God always has something better. God sees us as we are and He loves all the little details. May we recognize pride for what it is, but more importantly may we see God in everything first.
Pride is so insidious, lurking behind our every motive and desire. May we look to Jesus, and, beholding Him, become more like Him.
Standing with you by looking to Jesus first in the journey of walking in humility. May we know the gift of humility and how it leads us to a deeper relationship with God.
Great wisdom here, Mary, because we’ve got no business engaging in that child’s game when there is real work to be done in the low places.
Amen. King of the Mountain is the perfect example to use with the thoughts about pride and humility. Thanks for joining in the conversation.
Mary, this is a beautiful post. I am also reading Max Lucado’s “Because of Bethlehem” and loving the devotional. Joining you in praying … “we all choose Jesus and end up at the manger.” Blessings!
I read “Because of Bethlehem” several years ago and find that there is so much relevancy to what I am reflecting on today. It’s beautiful to think that when we choose Jesus we end up at the manger. Thanks for being here!
Pride so easily slips in the door, settles in, and makes himself at home. And many of us never even realized the damage he would do …
I like how you describe the stealthiness of pride. It is true that it enters when we least expect it. Praying we recognize pride when it enters our life so we can turn to Jesus for the strength we need.
A humble presentation of the age-old battle inside each of us. Thank you Mary, and God bless you today.
Pride is an ongoing battle. Praying we each reach for Jesus in our moments of weakness to find all the strength we need. Blessings friend!