The Bigger the Ego, the Harder the Fall (Prayer Devotional for the week of May 11, 2014)

My brother and I used to love to play on the Slip & Slide in the summer (which, growing up in Houston, means all but a few weeks out of the year). The most important thing to remember about setting up the tarp was to clear the area of pinecones. If you’ve never had the misfortune of sliding across a hidden pine cone while careening down a Slip & Slide, then consider yourself lucky. The second most important thing to remember was never touch the water as soon as you turn on the hose, because it will scald you.

We would take turns running and sliding, over and over, and not think twice about diving headlong into the grass. We’d fly down the tarp Superman-style and feet-first, forwards and backwards. We even tried surfing and doing all kinds of “stupid human tricks” on that thing.

Nowadays? No way, José. You couldn’t bribe me with enough money to take a running start and throw myself onto the ground, Slip & Slide or not. A few decades and more than a few extra pounds and aching joints have transpired since my slipping and sliding days. The harder the fall, the longer the physical therapy … or something like that.

Actually, you’ve probably heard the saying, “Pride comes before the fall.” The Bible has quite a lot to say about taking a fall, and it’s not the Slip & Slide kind. That saying actually comes from Proverbs 16:18, and I love how The Message paraphrase tweaks it to read, “… the bigger the ego, the harder the fall.”

God isn’t interested in our tricks and stunts. He knows when we are being disingenuous in our day-to-day lives, even if we’ve managed to fool everyone else around us. He sees right through it when we play church, too. Take a look at what God spoke to his people through the prophet Amos (5:23-24, MSG): “I’ve had all I can take of your noisy ego-music. When was the last time you sang to me? Do you know what I want? I want justice—oceans of it. I want fairness—rivers of it. That’s what I want. That’s all I want.”

God wants the “you” behind the façade, the “you” with all the bumps & bruises of life, to come kneel at his throne and give up the games. Give up the tricks, the stunts, the show. Come to him with your raw ego in hand, knowing that even if it means bringing you down a few notches, it’s better to hand it over to God than fall flat on your face.

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