Friday, June 1, 2007

Outdoor Devotion - "Before the Fall"

After a successful day of trout fishing at Stone Mountain State Park, including catching my first fish on a self-tied fly, my buddy Jack and I headed home on the gravel road leading to the blacktop. As we approached the park entrance Jack noticed a flock of turkeys feeding at the edge of the woods. A couple days prior to our trip to the mountain I had purchased a diaphragm call and had brought it along to practice and subsequently irritate my fishing buddy. With both windows rolled down, I put the call on top of my tongue and gave her a whirl. Each series of yelps was followed by a thunderous response from the tom. Man, was I feeling good about myself. This turkey calling was easier than I thought. After several minutes of my carrying on Jack had had enough and asked me to stop. “Watch this,” he said and slapped the truck’s horn with his palm. Immediately the gobbler responded to the sound of the horn. Jack’s smirk became raucous laughter as my HS Strut call was bested by his GMC pickup and my humiliation was complete.

Another fly fishing adventure found me casting for Dolly Vardens along Alaska’s Baranof Island. My brother, Eddie and I had taken an excursion from the family cruise and were hoping to hook into some salmon. It turned out we were a couple weeks early for the run but were assured by our outfitter that the Dolly Vardens would provide ample challenge. As we waded into the water and I made my first couple casts I looked over at the other members of our party and couldn’t help but chuckle. Floating lines were flying in all direction and the creek was being whipped into bubbly froth. With plenty of fly fishing experience I was awash with smug satisfaction that surely I looked like a pro to these rookies. That is until my wader boot caught on a large river rock submerged in the chilly waters in front of me and I instantly went from angling premadonna to soaked, bumbling yahoo.
Pride, it’s one of our most common spiritual maladies. It seems most prevalent when we try to compare ourselves to others for the sole purpose of boosting self esteem. In the process we end up thinking more highly of ourselves than we ought to and usually it ends up costing dearly. When pride is involved it’s quite easy to go from hero to zero for as the God’s Word says, “Pride comes before the fall.”
Jesus was our perfect example of how to live a humble, pride-free life. Although He was the only Son of God, He considered it nothing to leave His home in glory and come to live among mankind, eventually dying on the cross, at the very hands of those He came to save. Take Christ’s example at the Last Supper. Jesus, God incarnate, got up from the meal, got down on His hands and feet and washed His disciples’ nasty feet. Sort of puts things into perspective doesn’t it?

“Pride comes before destruction and an arrogant spirit before a fall.” Proverbs 16:18

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