Tag Archives: pride

A Reason for Humility

25 Oct

A Reason for Humility (a repost of something I wrote last year!)

Jeremiah 17:9:  “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked:  who can know it?”

 

I John 2:27:  “But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you:  but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.” 

 

It is a startling feature of God’s grace that in many cases where we have gained a victory in our lives, He will remain anonymously at the sidelines, having done 98% of the work, and let us take credit for all of it.

 

This is one of the most naive things we do in our grace walk with Him. It is absolutely invisible to us, when we are doing it, but it is one of the things that angers us most when other people do it, because it is, by definition, something we can never see in ourselves but can often surmise in others.

 

When we take credit for God’s work in our lives, the process is much larger in scale, and much more naive in belief, than watching a young child pick up a toy stethoscope and believe he is a real doctor or build a bridge of Legos and believe she is a real structural engineer. Unless God grants us the gift of true humility, we may never see that there are vast parts of our own hearts we don’t yet know.  We may never know until someday, when we see ourselves through heavenly glasses, that we have been quite  capable of claiming credit for the things God did in our lives.

 

The above two Scriptures are what can be termed “balancing Scriptures.”  Our hearts are deceitful.  We are given an anointing from God (at salvation) that teaches us all things.  These two things do not contradict each other, nor even cancel each other out.  They are both true, but must be looked at in balance, within the entire weight of Scripture.

 

From my experience of 53 years of life thus far, I would say we tend to err on the side of overestimating our own ability to live within God’s anointing, thinking we are free of self-delusion.  We also overestimate the deceitfulness of the hearts of others, minimizing their ability to hear from God and to live within His anointing. 

 

So we think ourselves to be free of delusion, but we find those around us to be full of delusion.  And they think the same about us, and the other people surrounding them.  Pretty much demonstrates the inconsistency of the human heart, doesn’t it?

 

Our lack of ability to harmonize and balance those two verses tells me that we are not finished products yet.  The fact is that we all live within the reality of those two verses.  We are not very different from each other, as we go through this journey of becoming more like Christ. 

 

The very fact that I always give myself credit for good motives, even when my actions go astray, shows my self-interest.

 

The fact that I can easily condemn someone else based on external observation alone,   shows me that I, like most Christians around me, am a very bad judge of anything.  We can’t see anyone’s heart nor their motives, yet we constantly write a backstory for others that portrays them in the worst light imaginable.

 

I can’t accurately judge the wickedness of my own heart.  I can’t accurately judge the sincere attempts of others to grow in grace.  I can’t accurately balance between self-interest and the interests of others, as God tells me to do throughout the Scriptures. 

 

Truth is, I will stand in heaven someday, with my self-delusion finally and totally removed, and realize there were times that I naively gave myself credit for great Christian growth and spirituality when all that happened was I got out of the way and partnered a little bit with a very great God! 

 

I will realize that, just as I gazed with compassion on my son and other little children who built bridges of Legos, then beamed in pleasure as I called them great structural engineers, so I stood before a holy God clutching my works made of wood and beaming as He covered them in His own precious metals and turned them into works that would not burn up on that great Judgment Day.  For even the works I present to Him then will be His works in me, not of my own righteousness, however much credit I give myself for them now.

 

There is no reason to stand before our Holy God in anything other than abject humility.  However, the good news is that He loves us; He loves it when we realize our limitations before Him.  He will gaze on us with the same compassion we use with those children playing at their childish games with Legos.  He knows we are but dust.  And He cares for us anyway.

 

He will cheer our merest efforts to grow toward Him.  He will impart His greatness in our smallness.  He is our very great cause for rejoicing.  Thank You, Lord Jesus!     

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Proud . . . (And Inconsistent) . . .

1 Jul

Ever noticed how easily we humans become inconsistent?

Like the people who quote verses on pride at other people.  Do they ever think about the statement they are making with that?  “If I think I have the right to quote a verse about pride at you, I must think I am better than you are, eh???”

Or the people who, in their initial stages of joining a group, go on and on about cliques and unfriendliness in that group until they reach a position of leadership in it themselves, at which point they only hang out with their peers in leadership.  I have been told that that move is called “wanting the ladder to be lowered to let you in the boat, but pulling it up after you get in!”  Very inconsistent stuff!

If it is in a church setting, the person will initially go on and on about visitors not feeling welcome, but, once appointed to leadership, you will never again see that person talking to a visitor!

I am on a roll with this topic but there is method to my madness.

We are all inconsistent, wildly so at times.  A bit of self-awareness goes a long way, especially in someone who is trying to maintain a Christian witness.

In general, we will never “guilt” someone into doing the right thing.  That is a shortcut that we wish would work but it does not.  The harder thing to do is to provide an example to others of how to do things correctly.  That takes more time, but it actually works, at least with some people.  Not everyone in life will be our student.  Nor should they be.  We are all inconsistent at times.  None of us is in a position to be a good example of everything for everybody.

As I remind myself constantly (the Puritan writers called it “preaching yourself a sermon”), I have been the recipient of such abundant grace from our Father that I dare not extend anything but grace to my fellow humans, especially my brothers and sisters in Christ.  I will get it wrong.  I will say things clumsily.  I will even lose my temper and say things intentionally that are dead wrong.  I am a sinner and will continue to be one till this life is over.  

But God is worth my service.  So I learn, . . . and grow, . . . and continue . . .

Do We Ever Listen to Ourselves? Concerning Arrogance . . .

18 Mar

Have you ever heard someone say something like this:  “Who does he think he is?  His pride is totally ungodly and out of control.  I am about to cut him down to size.” 

Two problems with that:

1) If we are referring to this person in a Christian context, God is able to take care of his pride without our help.  Think about that!

2) Our willingness to be God’s assistant in humbling others shows a whole lot of pride and arrogance in us.  Maybe more than the original person has.  

Just a thought!    

Is It My Job to Knock Your Pride Down?

8 Mar

It is just me or is there a whole subset of people out there, particularly in the Christian church, who think God has deputized them to go around knocking people off their high horses?

I was thinking about this question with more than casual interest today as I have seen several examples of this recently.  To be honest, my head is still swimming.

First of all, I will say it right up front.  My vote is that God does not deputize us to assist His Holy Spirit as miniature holy spirits to convict others of sin.

The reason I think so?  Because every attempt I have seen to do this is more vicious, more deluded, and more in the flesh than the original person’s sin ever could have been!

It turns out that trying to pull a speck of dust out of someone’s eye while there is a whole plank in our own eye looks really, really awkward to others.  And stupid.  And wicked.

If my choice is between going after someone like a judge, jury, and hangman due to my (possibly incorrect) impression that he is being proud or just leaving him alone, I vote for leaving him alone.  After all, if he really is being proud, is that fact really hurting me?  No, not at all.  More likely hurting him (as people laugh at him).

Nevertheless, I have seen people get all righteous on someone else’s Facebook page and publicly dress him down (whatever happened to a private conversation if you think someone is involved with sin and needs to repent?  A private conversation held with humility, and the awareness that we can all be similarly tempted?).

I have seen people create factions in a church to condemn someone for alleged sin, without bothering to go through the church discipline process God detailed for us in Matthew 18.

I have seen people purposely not read blogs or other things written by specific people.  Apparently just to punish them for being so proud as to believe that they have something worth blogging!

I have seen it with my blog.  There are a couple of friends who have blogged much longer than I have and whose blogs I read and adore.  They have gone out of their way not to read my blog, it seems.  Otherwise, how to explain that I have been writing for nine months and they have never read anything I have written?

I know they are accomplished bloggers.  No argument from me.  But to give the impression that that means a new blogger like me has never had anything worth reading in nine months of writing?  Is that possible?  Or is it more likely that they think of me as a new blogger, puffed up with pride, and purposely miss reading my things so I will acknowledge how unimportant I am after all . . .

Let’s just “walk the dog” on this one, as I am pretty sure neither of the people involved are going to suddenly start reading my blog today <smile>.  And if they were to do so, and were to recognize themselves, it might start a fruitful conversation.  Really!

What are possible things they could say to me (or any friend could say, fellow blogger or not)?

“Mary, I realize this blog is one of the most important things that happened to you in 2012.  I think that might be a problem for you.”  (then would ensue a discussion of how they blog and remain humble, as an example for me, if they are convinced that I blog out of pride).

Or, “Mary, I have actually read several of your blog posts but never told you so because I really don’t think you have the art of writing down just yet.” (then would ensue a very fruitful discussion of how my writing could improve).

Or, “Mary,  I never read any of my friends’ blogs when they are beginners because I consider beginners to be a waste of time.” (at least that would let me know where I stand).

But, let’s face it, when someone who has previously been considered a close friend goes out of their way to avoid encouraging or supporting you in something that is very important to you, that action alone makes a huge statement about the relationship!  Those who are wise heed this.

God certainly wants us to walk in humility, as our Bible study in Proverbs proved tonight.

It is just that there is no one so humble that God can use them to correct others without paying attention to their own level of pride.

A clue for us that I have read (in more than one place) is this:  if you think God is calling you to point out someone’s sin and you are salivating and looking forward to the encounter . . . God isn’t in it.  If you think God is calling you to point out someone’s sin and your heart is failing you for fear of being on such holy ground as such an unworthy vessel . . . maybe God is using that.  Keep praying!

May God bless us all as we grow in Him.  We all need to grow and to give each other grace to grow.

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