Is Pride Killing You?

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Pride goes before destruction, and haughtiness before a fall. Better to live humbly with the poor than to share plunder with the proud. (Proverbs 16:18-19 NLT)

Pride is one of those funny things. When a person wears it, they believe they’re attractive to others, but fact is, it’s just the opposite. We disdain them, and the silly smirk on their face, or the chip on the shoulder only furthers our dislike for them. The truly amazing thing is however, they are convinced we can’t help but be completely jealous of their accomplishments, their possessions, or their looks.

I have to say though, while these types of pride are ridiculous and easily spotted, there is a far worse type of pride that is much more serious and far more damaging, the pride of self-assurance. Self-assurance doesn’t need God’s permission on decisions because it comes from self, and when we are convinced within ourselves, there is very little God can do. While you read this post don’t let your mind drift to friends or family, but instead, ask yourself, is this me? Here are three areas where we need to do some self-examination.

1. Leaning on your own understanding

This is the MOST dangerous place to be! We get a thought, it takes root, we become convinced, and eventually, it becomes our actions. We don’t even realize, because our pride won’t allow us to see, that these actions are slowly destroying us and those around us. Our pride, our arrogant self-assured pride, is blinding us from seeing the truth of the matter. The truth is, we haven’t really searched the scriptures for an answer, we’ve let our hearts decide for us. Sure, we may have one or possibly even two scriptures were waving around as a banner of excuse, but something is screaming, “you’re wrong!”  The results should be proof enough, but again pride comes into the equation and we find ourselves saying, “I can’t truly be wrong on this one and everyone else right.”

 Only one truth will conquer pride and the destruction it brings. “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the Lord, and depart from evil. It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones. (Proverbs 3:5-8 KJV)

2. Following your heart

“Follow your heart” is the mantra of this world but is never found in God’s Word. “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings” (Jeremiah 17:9-10 KJV). Go ahead and follow your heart, use your anger, your hurt, your fear, or maybe even your compassion for someone to make your decision, but in the end, how does God feel about the issue? While the heart may say one thing, God is more than likely saying another.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself to see if the heart is in control. Does pride have me convinced I’m the one who’s right? Are others now suffering because I just can’t let go? Am I twisting scripture and ignoring what the Word is really speaking to me? Have I been quenching the Spirit until I no longer feel Him calling me to a place of repentance? How long will I allow pride to rob me blind while I become a spiritual pauper? These are questions you must honestly answer! But beware in the end that you don’t trade the good things of God for the conclusions you reach.

3. Lay aside the weights

Only we can “lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and run with patience the race that is set before us”. (Hebrews 12:1) No one can do it for us. We are the ones who allowed the deception to take root, now we must be the ones to pluck it up. We must desire truth, and the hope to please God, more than the desire to be right. Don’t let the weight of pride and self-assurance be what keeps you from the will of God, it’s not worth it, nor is it too late to repent.

Get Some Confidence

I would like to share with you three truths concerning Confidence. These truths may not be what you are accustomed to hearing from your friends or coworkers, but I can assure you, confidence is something easily obtained, you just need to know where to place it. Read on and you will understand what I am talking about.

Truth 1Self-confidence and self-image are never spoken of, or encouraged in the Bible

Our confidence should be in the Lord not in ourselves. Look at these words David wrote about hope and confidence;  “For you have been my hope, Sovereign Lord, my confidence since my youth. From birth I have relied on you; you brought me forth from my mother’s womb. I will ever praise you. I have become a sign to many; you are my strong refuge.” (Psalm 71:5-7 NIV) Notice how David said that when he had confidence in God it became a sign to many. This was seen in David when he was at a critical time in his life and he needed confidence. “And David was greatly distressed; for the people spoke of stoning him,… but David encouraged himself in the Lord his God” (1 Samuel 30:6 KJV). When he was at his lowest and everything was against him, God became his confidence, and the people regained their confidence in David!

Truth 2. Self-confidence breeds Arrogance

This is why we are never told by God’s word to gain more self-confidence. When a person searches for reasons to be confident in themselves, one of two things happens. Either they find what they were looking for and they become proud of themselves, or they are left disappointed by the fact that what it takes just wasn’t there. Sure, we can tell ourselves that we only want to gain more self-confidence so that we can better perform, but we are only fooling ourselves. What happens when you find that inner strength or goodness and begin to build on it, only to have it taken from you by a tragedy, a lie, or a harsh word? You quickly spin out of control and become easy prey for the devil. This is what happened to King Saul. Self-confidence is always unstable. 

Truth 3. God desires Brokenness   

Why would God tell us in his Word, “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise”, and then encourage us to get self-confidence? Our own self-will, our need to find the goodness from within, and the need to make others see us in a certain light must be broken so that we can do the work before us. When we are broken before Him, He can remake us into what he desires, and in turn, He will become our confidence. When we find our confidence in Him nothing can convince us we are not good enough or equipped enough to do the work of God. There will be no self-will or arrogance in the way to blind us with pride.

Paul said this about his flesh and why it needs to be broken, “And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t.” (Romans 7:18 NLT) This is why we need to find our confidence and image in Christ rather than ourselves.

“He must increase, but I must decrease”. (John 3:30 KJV) 

Fear, Can I Trust It?

In a world slowly being dominated and controlled by fear, fear has become a subject we must address. There are so many things happening around us that cause us to have fears. Wars and talks of new wars, uncontrolled devastating weather happening in places we’ve never seen before, foolishness in politics; not to mention the fact that there are things happening in our personal lives we have no control over. Fear can be, and in most cases is, lurking around in the dark places of our lives. The real question becomes then, with all this chaos how do we rid ourselves of these dark places and live free from fear? How do we find hope in the midst of hopelessness?

Not all fear is bad. There are two types of fear we deal with. The first type is what I will refer to as “false fear” the other, “respect.”

False Fear

When I was a child, I believed there were monsters living under my bed and in my closet at night. It didn’t matter how much my mom or dad tried to convince me they were only in my mind. Nor did it matter how many times we would look under the bed or in the closet together. When Mom or Dad left the room and the lights went out, the monsters were real, and they were there waiting for me. Because of these fears, I took certain precautions to keep myself safe, and most importantly, alive. If I didn’t run and take a flying jump to get to my bed, the monster living there would surely grab my legs, drag me under the bed, and of course, kill me. If I didn’t keep the covers wrapped tightly around me, keep the nightlight on, or keep the closet door shut tight, the monster in my closet would most definitely creep from behind the slightly open door, and while I was sleeping, kill me.

While most of us have grown out of our childhood fears of the bogeyman under the bed or in the closet, many of us have gown into new and much more real fears. These fears are born from the fact that we understand many things happen in life that are beyond our control, and just like when we were children, we are desperately trying to come up with ways to protect ourselves. But in these moments of fear, doubt begins to take from us the one thing that is most precious in life, and that is hope. Without hope, we are barely living! As hope slips away we begin to question everything. “Why am I alive? What’s my purpose in life? Will things ever get any better than this? Why am I praying, and is God even real?” Hope is what helps us take in the next breath of air, keeps us putting nourishing food into our bellies, getting out of bed and putting on our clothes, going to our jobs, raising our children, making new friends, and most importantly, keeps us living for God. There is only one way to conquer fear, Truth! “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:32)

Respect

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding. (Proverbs 9:10) Another humorous story from my childhood was when my brother and I would misbehave. My mom and dad had devised a plan to deal with us. If we were good, when my dad got home he would give us a candy bar he had picked up on his way from work. If we were bad, it was a spanking. Funny thing is, Dad didn’t even have to come in and ask Mom if we were good or bad that day. My brother and I would kneel on the couch and look out the picture window and watch for Dad to come home. If we were good, we ran to the door to collect our prize. If not, we would run upstairs to put on extra undies for the spanking. This fear my brother and I had of our father wasn’t due to his anger, it was due to his loving discipline which required following the rules. By following the rules, we learned respect!

There’s many of us out there today that want a big, loving teddy bear of a God, but don’t want to be taught respect. When we allow God to lovingly teach us respect for his Word, we learn to trust Him and His ways. When we apply His ways to our lives, we are set free from all fear and doubt. “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.“(John 8:36) If we are living with false fears, it’s because we lack respect or understanding of God’s Word. We need to allow God’s Word to take root in our hearts, but this is dependent upon us.But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholds himself, and goes his way, and straightway forgets what manner of man he was. (James 1:22-24) God wants to give us a life free from fear, but he needs us to trust Him. Trust for Him is born out of an understanding that God loves us and wants what’s best for us. We grow to this understanding through our love and respect for His word.

Ask Him to help you to fall in love with His word, if you will do this, you will finally experience the peace that passes all understanding.

I’m including a link to a book written by a christian author named Christina Li. Her book is entitled, “Defeat Fear Forever.”  It was written from her own personal experiences causing her to live with fear. She finally came to a place in her life where she was able to face those fears, and best of all, hand them over to God. She has a wonderful testimony that will bless and equip you in your fight against fear. You can order her book from many different sources in a variety of formats:

http://christinacli.wordpress.com/bookstore/  It’s also available on Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, Pentecostal Publishing House, etc.