Tag Archives: pride

July 10 – Pride Isn’t Just About Feeling Proud

2 Kings 15, 2 Chronicles 26

Uzziah was feeling pretty good about himself. As king of Judah, he did a lot of good. He won wars, built towers, and dug wells. He became famous and strong. He did right in the sight of the Lord and God blessed him, and the nation of Judah.

Then, just when things were going well, Uzziah let pride get the best of him. He marched right into the temple and began to do the work of a priest. Scripture says he acted corruptibly and was unfaithful to God. When the priests called him on his sin, he was furious with the priests. How dare they tell him what he can and cannot do. He’s the great King Uzziah after all.

During his fit of anger, Uzziah broke out with leprosy. He lived the rest of his life shut up in a room by himself while his son ruled Judah in his place.

Pride. That weapon of Satan’s that’s pretty hard to fight against. And I don’t mean just the boastful, attention seeking attitude of some. Uzziah’s pride led him to believe he could re-write God’s law. It made him believe he could go to God on his own terms and not face consequences.

Pride can tell us our sin is too unique, too big for God to forgive. Pride can make us believe God sent Jesus to die for everyone but me (aren’t I special?) Pride can tell us we can face God on our own, or can handle hell, or because we choose to believe there is no God, that it’s true.

Pride can make us believe we are God’s equals. Pride says, “God and I have an agreement,” like you are telling God what is acceptable.

King Uzziah’s story reminds me that God hates pride. God prunes pride out of His children. And pride, left unchecked, has devastating consequences.

June 27 – When Faced With Sin

I Kings 15:1-24, 2 Chronicles 13-16

Baasha, king of Israel, was at war with Asa, king of Judah. King Asa heard that the Israeli army was going to cut them off, preventing anyone from coming in our going out of Judah. So Asa sent silver and gold to Ben-hadad, king of Aram, asking him to break his treaty with Israel, and help the people of Judah.

Here’s the thing. Asa had been doing some pretty good things in Judah. He led his people in worship of God, and removed the idols from the land. But when Asa’s true colors were seen when went he to Ben-hadad for help instead of going to God, the seer Hanani got a word from God to deliver to Asa. The message went something like this:

You blew it, Asa. You didn’t trust God to help you against the Israelites, but you trusted a mere man. So God wants you to know that from here on out, your nation will surely have wars. (16:7-9)

I’d like to tell you that Asa repented when faced with his sin. But he didn’t. In fact, he got mad at Hanani and threw the seer in jail.

I get it. Nobody  enjoys hearing they’re wrong. Nobody likes having their sins thrown in their faces. But when we are wrong, and we will be, how we handle the correction is very important.

Asa’s stubbornness led to an illness . Even in this, Asa didn’t turn to God. He turned to the doctors and just tried to side-step the Lord. Not a smart move.

I need to remember that when God points out sin in my life, whether through reading His Word, through a Sunday sermon, or through the voice of a friend, my reaction is crucial. May I not react harshly toward the messenger, but rather repent of that sin.

And may my worship of God come from a heart that wants to please Him, even in those times I have to swallow my pride and admit I’m wrong.

Do You Need A Lift?

In chapter 4 of his book, James is pretty clear about what being a Christian looks like. He reminds us God resists the proud, and gives strength to the humble. Then he makes a life list:

  • submit to God
  • resist the devil
  • draw near to God
  • cleanse your hands
  • purify your hearts
  • weep, mourn
  • humble yourselves
  • don’t speak evil
  • don’t assume you have tomorrow
  • do good

(the last three are implied)

I believe a person who follows these will represent Jesus. And will do so intentionally.

It takes an act of will to submit to God, to die to self, and be honest enough to admit our helplessness before a Holy God. There is effort involved in drawing near to God through prayer and reading His Word every day. It takes discipline to turn away from sin and determine to use our abilities to further God’s kingdom, and to do it from a pure heart with no thought of anything other than honoring God.

It takes a purposeful look at our lives, our sin, our lostness, and when we do our response can only be complete devastation, sadness, mourning, over the fact that you and I sent Jesus to the cross. We’ll look at sin differently from that moment on.

And it takes a little courage to let go of “self”, like jumping out of an airplane without a parachute, and trusting God with the outcome, recognizing our hopelessness apart from Him.

The rest will come as a natural outpouring from God’s grace. We won’t speak evil, we won’t take today for granted, and we won’t tire of doing what needs to be done for the good of others and for the glory of God.

Because, as James so beautifully puts it, when we humble ourselves, when we give ourselves to God to break us down…

He will lift (us) up!

A Common Thread

For some time I have read through the Bible each year with a chronological plan. I love reading the Bible that way. But this year I decided to mix it up a bit, rebel that I am. I’m reading the New King James Version with a plan that includes some Old Testament, a Psalm or two, some Proverbs, and a passage from the New Testament each day for a year.

Not sure how I feel about that yet. But I’m excited to see what God has in store for me as I read His Word. What has occurred to me this first week of 2015, is how the Bible isn’t just a book of one thought after another, once account after another. It is an incredible piece of literature, inspired by God Himself, and it has a message that is consistent from Genesis to Revelation. Like what I read today.

The book of Genesis tells us that several years after the flood, people were beginning to feel pretty powerful. They began to build the Tower of Babel (11:1-9) and with each brick they laid. they felt more prideful. They were going to build their way to God.

Solomon tells us there are seven things God hates: pride, lies, murder, wickedness, choosing evil, slander, and troublemakers. (Proverbs 6:16-19) Pride heads Solomon’s list. Jesus tells us not to give, fast or pray in order to receive praise. (Matthew 6:2,5,16)

One of the biggest stumbling blocks in our walk with the Lord just might be pride. Receiving Christ as our Savior involves humbling ourselves, pouring our “selves” out, relinquishing control, and admitting our worthlessness.

For some, that’s too much to ask. Some would rather climb a mountain or fight a giant instead of falling on their knees in repentance. Even some who know Christ still battle pride, and want their walk or their sacrifice to be noticed by others. God hates that. God cannot bless that. And I believe unsaved people label that attitude in a believer hypocrisy.

God is asking me about my motives. Am I doing something in Jesus name in order to get to him on my own terms, like the Jews at Babel? Am I volunteering at church so that people will tell me how great it is that I do? Do my public prayers consist of flowery words meant to impress those in attendance, my weekly offering in the collection plate given so someone will comment about my sacrifice?

I love how the different passages I read today all share the same message. This Bible I have in front of me is truly amazing. May I read it, learn from it, and be the woman God would have me be for Jesus’ sake, not mine.

So what is the common thread I’ve seen as I read from the entire Bible? Put simply: this life isn’t about me. It’s all about Jesus. All of it.

Dear God, thank you for your Word. Thank you that it is relevant, powerful, and true. I pray that your children will spend time in these precious pages, that we will think on it, learn from it, and use it to lead others to the Savior. I also pray that in all we do, the sin of pride will not have a foothold. May we look to you and not ourselves. And may you find us faithful, in Jesus’ name.

December 3

2 Corinthians 11:16-13:14; Romans 1:1-32

I was watching a competition show the other day and a young contestant was thanking her mentor for helping her learn to believe in herself. That’s a popular attitude these days. Believe in yourself. Be confident in yourself, Be strong, powerful, fearless. 

That all sounds well and good. Until life happens and you face a situation that breaks you. Who do you depend on then?

Paul talked to the Corinthians about his weaknesses. He, who had worldly reason to boast and to stand on his own accomplishments, had a “thorn in (his) flesh”. I don’t know what that was, exactly, but it was a constant reminder of his dependance on God. He shared that God said, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness”.

Paul goes on to say he delights in his own weakness, in hardship and difficulty because when he is weak, God is strong. As Christians who recognize how weak we are in ourselves, we know we have the strength of the Creator God within us.

If you are depending on your own strength, good luck. You are headed for a mighty fall. If you remember, that was what happened to the angel we know as Satan. And if you are believing Satan’s lie that we need to be building ourselves up, standing on our own, finding our own self-worth, then you are headed down the same path he walked. And he wins.

Instead, I would encourage you to give up trying to manufacture those feelings. You are weak. You are flawed. You are powerless. So let God be your strength. Trust me when I say, he’ll take care of you so much better than you can take care of yourself.

There’s a great old hymn I love to sing:

My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness… On Christ the solid Rock I stand. All other ground is sinking sand. ALL other ground is sinking sand.

Father, I pray that we will stand on that solid Rock instead of the sinking sand of self. May we, like Paul recognize that you are strong when we are weak. And we are weak! Forgive us when we try to do anything on our own power. Help us to confess pride as sin and to allow you to be exactly what we need in every situation. Defeat Satan in our lives today, Lord, and may we depend upon you.

June 4

Proverbs 24:23-27:27

Some of the proverbs make me laugh outloud. Especially the ones about the quarrelsome wife. I’m sure old Solomon had his share of quarrelsome wives.

Some of the proverbs are puzzles to me. I find myself reading and re-reading those and even then I’m not sure what they mean.

Others grab me by the throat. They convict me and drive me to my knees.

And sometimes a proverb will stop me in my tracks. It’s like I’ve never seen it before or thought about God’s truth in that light. Like today.

I know we are tested every day. Things happen and our reaction to those things measure our faith in the Lord. They measure our commitment, our belief. But I guess I pictured those tests as the bad things that happen. The big things like illness, loss of job, infidelity, death. Or smaller things like gossip, my reaction to the slow driver on the road ahead.

In Proverbs 27:21 Solomon says… The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold, but man is tested by the praise he receives.

Did I misread that? We are tested by praise? What?

Is it hard for you to accept a compliment? Sometimes I think Christians believe it’s a sin, or prideful to admit when we are able to do something well. Maybe we fail the test if we deny what God has gifted us with.

I don’t think Solomon means we are to deny our God-given gifts. But I also know God doesn’t want us bragging about them, either. 27:2 says… Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; someone else, and not your own lips.

It says LET another praise you. People tell my nephew all the time that he is a good baseball player. My sister is often complimented for being a good nurse’s aide. Are they to deny those gifts because they are Christians? I used to receive praise for my ability to play the clarinet. Was I wrong to say, thank you?

There is a difference between being prideful and arrogant, and being humbly aware of the blessing God has given us. Maybe passing the test isn’t always minimizing our gifts or denying them. Maybe passing the test is acknowledging God’s hand in our accomplishments. Just maybe we can actually pass this test without letting praise go to our heads.

Remember, God didn’t gift you with an ability because you are so special. He gifted you with that gift so he can use it to reveal himself to those who benefit from your gift. 

Can you sing? Then get out there and sing for the Lord. Can you make friends easily? Then do it and give God the glory. Are you a good policeman, speaker, lawn mower, artist, parent, teacher, cook, mechanic, writer… whatever! Do it for the Lord. 

And when someone says you’ve done a good job or recognizes your talent, accept the praise humbly, graciously, and thankfully. And point them to your Savior, the giver of gifts. That’s what he had in mind all along when he gave you that gift, anyway.

God, I pray that your people will be aware of the tests that come our way today. Whether trials by fire or by praise I pray that you will find us faithful, that we would pass the test with flying colors and that others will see you in what we do and say. Thank you for gifting each of us with something special. Help us to use those things with confidence and for your glory.