Misplaced pride

The other night, I was able to watch part of a documentary about Adoniram Judson. That’s a tough name (he was probably 8 before he could spell it!), but he was truly an incredible man. For those of you who may not know who he was, he was one of the first people to go overseas to the Far East to share the gospel of Christ. He married his young bride (17 years old) before he left, and at the ceremony, the pastor essentially threw in their eulogy since everyone knew they probably would never see them again. Just, wow. Can you even imagine?

This man was offered a position at a big church in Boston and could have had a successful career, close to his family. He could have easily rationalized that he would be doing a lot of good for the people here in the United States. And no doubt, that could have been the case. However, he decided he wanted to obey God’s call for those who have never heard the gospel halfway around the world (literally) to Burma (now known as Myanmar). He wanted to share with them the hope we all have in Christ. He wanted to share with others the glory of His Father.

He knew it was going to be a difficult journey. He even wrote his young bride’s parents when asking for her hand that they would have to let go of their daughter to a potentially awful death in the name of Christ. That doesn’t sound very fun. Who jumps at the chance of dying a violent death for the sake of their God? What makes someone do that?

Pride. But not the pride with a negative connotation that most of us are familiar with. The technical definition of pride (from Wikepedia) is: “an emotional state deriving positive affect from the perceived value of a person or thing with which the subject has an intimate connection. It may be inwardly or outwardly directed.” Pride in our LORD, Who came to save us from our own stupid choices and our own sin is definitely a beautiful and wonderful thing. We do not deserve His grace. We deserve His wrath. He has no obligation whatsoever to have mercy on any one of us. But instead of justifiably condemning us to eternal damnation (this is not hyperbole, although I know it sounds sensationalist!), He sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sin so that we can be reconciled to Him (1 John 4:10). That is unbelievable. That is amazing. Now that is a God Who deserves to be worshipped and glorified. We should be so thankful for His incredible grace. You wrap that all up, and we are PROUD to serve Him. This is the same pride that caused Paul to say, “I am not ashamed of the gospel…” (Rom 1:16).

Adinoram understood and embraced that. He wasn’t interested in filling himself up with pride for his own achievements or his own successes. He was only interested in proudly serving the LORD Jesus. At whatever the cost. And cost him, it sure did. His first wife had a miscarriage, lost their next baby at 8 months, and the following one at 6 months. She actually died when she had that 3rd baby, at only 36. He married again, his second wife having 8 children, with 5 surviving to adulthood. She died, and he married a third time, having one surviving child. Adinoram later died from a lung disease while on a doctor-recommended sailing trip in the Bay of Bengal at the age of 61.

His work among the Burmese people was very slow, having only 18 converts to speak of after spending 12 years in the country. Wars, disease, and loneliness were only a few of the obstacles he and his family had to face. As I was learning about this man, I realized how much deeper this man’s relationship with Jesus was than mine. He knew what he was getting himself into. He understood the sacrifice and he still proudly set out to do the work the LORD had called him to do. He was full of the Holy Spirit, full of pride in His LORD and Savior. There just wasn’t room for him and his own pride.

What an incredible testimony. He knew Who God was and it didn’t take him long to decide he would unreservedly and proudly serve Him wherever He led. Do I know God that well? Do you?

I think there is going to be inevitable persecution coming our way in the near future. Are we prepared to empty ourselves of our own pride and fill ourselves instead with pride for our LORD Whom we have been blessed to serve? No matter the cost?

Adoniram gave us an incredible example of a God-fearing and proud Believer in Christ. I pray we can all continue to walk humbly before the LORD and proudly of Him wherever He may call us.


Comments are closed.

  1. film 4 years ago

    Im thankful for the post. Really looking forward to read more. Really Great. Jessi Brant Iveson

    • Author
      Michelle Lazor 4 years ago

      Thank you!

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