The Journal Entries of Jonathan Edwards – Pride

The following is a Journal Entry from “Wednesday, Jan. 9. at Night.”

Decayed. I am sometimes apt to think, I have a great deal more of Holiness than I have. I find now and then, that abominable Corruption which is directly contrary to what I read of eminent Christians. How deceitful is my Heart! I take up a strong Resolution, but how soon does it weaken!

We have all had journals like this one (that is if you do journal.) Sometimes I start out with some expletive describe my personal state. I feel like ___________ fill in the blank. Its no surprise Edwards starts off like this. “Decayed.” But the feeling of “decay” doesn’t come because he feels so sinful. No it comes because he feels so prideful. He thinks that he is living way more holy than he actually is. He sees himself as a spiritual superman. I’ve been there. You’ve been there. We have all have those days where we feel like we are the greatest thing since sliced bread (I actually prefer whole loaves…) PRIDE. It’ll get ya.

Edwards recalls all the stories of other “eminent Christians” and sees that his pride is contrary to their ways. He is absolutely correct. Most people we admire for their faith were deeply humble people. We don’t look up to prideful people. It’s the humble ones that catch our attention (maybe not while they are around but after they have died). To tell you the truth, reading through Edwards I don’t see a ton of humility. He struggled with pride his whole life. But who doesn’t? At least he has the guts to admit it. I often don’t.

So there is this book… its fantastic, it’s called Rescuing Ambition by Dave Harvey. In it he argues that ambition is not necessarily prideful. Humility and ambition can go hand in hand. This is a very valuable thing to learn. The one caveat is that humility and Godly ambition go hand in hand. One cannot be ambitious to make a name for oneself or else one has fallen into the trap of pride. However one CAN be ambitious to make a name for God… or better yet to make God’s name famous. This is Christian ambition.

Dave Harvey’s book has helped me out a ton, because I will be the first to admit, I STRUGGLE with pride. Thinking back to when I first read the book I realized what the key to checking one’s pride is. Its remembering the Gospel.

Do you want to stay humble? Remember the Gospel.

Dwelling on the gospel you can’t remain proud. You are a jacked up sinner. You are unworthy. You don’t deserve anything you have. Yet God loved you enough to send his son to die to rescue you. Jesus suffered for your sake. The King of the universe gave his life for you. Without him you were toast…you deserved to walk around in your own filth. It sounds harsh but the beautiful reality is that He loves you even when you didn’t deserve it. If that fact that you are more sinful and broken than you could ever imagine but way more loved and way more accepted and way more valued than you can ever begin to fathom doesn’t keep you humble, then I don’t know what will.


Published by cwoznicki

Chris Woznicki is an Assistant Adjunct Professor of Theology at Fuller Theological Seminary. He works as the regional training associate for the Los Angeles region of Young Life.

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