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The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit. A broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise. Psalm 51:17

Greed is the biggest stumbling block to following Christ. But of those who respond to his call to live by faith, very few are able to clear the second hurdle, which is pride.

The world has made pride into a virtue instead of the damnable vice that it is. Sure, it's easier to be able to do things your own way, to come and go as you please, to call all the shots. But what does it do to your spirit?

God isn't so concerned with the normal measures of efficiency. He doesn't care how many tracts we get out, or how many converts we make. What he is interested in is what kind of a spirit do we have? Is it a broken and humble spirit, or is it a proud and arrogant one?

Living in community provides great fellowship; and it certainly improves our effectiveness in many ways. But even when it slows us down, it is filling one of the great spiritual needs we all have, and that is to learn to wait on one another, to sacrifice our own personal freedom for the greater good of the community.

These are areas of spiritual growth which can so easily be ignored in the secular world and the Sunday-go-to-meeting church, where people with enough money rarely have to humble themselves to anyone, and seldom are they called on to account for such pride to church elders. And this is the over-riding reason why most people leave our community.

But the demands made on our pride by living in community seven days a week are really what make us so effective. Where else can you find people who are able to work together the way we do? We have learned this just by being willing to sacrifice our pride day after day for the sake of the larger community.

Dictatorships are the most efficient form of government (because there is no wait for approval and consensus before decisions are made); but they are notoriously bad for the dictators. God prefers for us to sacrifice freedom and efficiency in order to give him the gift that he really desires: a broken spirit and a contrite heart.

(See also Pride Smashing.)

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