Today’s Quote: “When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.”- Proverbs 11:2
Today’s Song: “Who am I?”- Casting Crowns
Today we are going to begin looking at the second part of our key verse:
“….Don’t use your freedom to satisfy your own sinful nature…”
The first thing that I think of when I read this is pride.
If I could use one word to sum up the condition of the human heart, it would be pride.
“..each person’s ego in competition with everyone else’s ego.” (CS Lewis)
Have you noticed it?
Have you noticed that most people are so bond up with pride that they can not even talk about their own weaknesses and struggles?
Worst of all about pride is that it keeps people from coming to know Jesus.
Because knowing Jesus requires your face hitting the ground and acknowledging that you are weak and pathetic and can’t do life on your own, and that HE is almighty, all-powerful, and all-knowing.
Jesus brings us down off our high horse, but most people aren’t willing to get down.
Have you noticed?
Now before we go patting ourselves on the back for being humble, we need to realize that we are more prone to pride than anyone.
Because there’s nothing like a dramatic change for the good in our lives to get us thinking that we’ve got it going on.
Oh but girlfriend I pray that you would open your spiritual ears and hear this message loud and clear today.
Because I truly believe that genuine humility is one of God’s biggest and most important callings on our life.
Particularly because it’s what will set us apart from the rest of the world.
Regular old people are not dealing with these things on a personal level.
I never hear anyone besides a Christian talking about how they struggle with pride. Sometimes I even wonder if God blinds unbelievers to their own pride, because it sure looks that way a lot of the time.
But if a Christian is going to be a shining beacon of hope and humility to a lost and prideful world, they must first recognize and let God deal with pride in their own life.
Tomorrow we are going to be talking about individual callings. I truly believe that genuine humility is a prerequisite to every calling.
Because we cannot genuinely love and serve people so long as we are still in competition with them.
And unfortunately a lot of Christians have never taken the steps to deal with those things.
Well I think that the simple answer is that pride comes much more easily and naturally than we think.
Pride is wide!
Wide meaning that it is everywhere, it takes on a lot of different forms, and it seems to find an avenue into almost every area of our life.
Think about the situation you’re in now for example.
When someone has hurt you, or shamed you, it is a most natural reaction to want to be “above that”.
But there is a good way of being “above it” and a bad way.
The good way deals with getting on your face and allowing yourself to be broken before Jesus.
This is hopefully what you are doing.
Admitting that you are weak and cannot do it without him, and then allowing Him to do with you what He wills.
You then become “above” your past circumstances because you no longer deal inside of those arenas. You now care more what God thinks, not people.
The bad way of trying to be “above” what happened to you is by buying into that old mantra that we girls always feed each other: “you’re too good for that.”
Yes, in a lot of ways you are too good for it. But not necessarily because you in your flesh nature deserve better; but because God has better plans for his children than that.
Do you see the difference?
What our pride can do is escalate us to a place where we think that we are better than some person or situation, so we start acting in accordance with that belief.
We might even clean up our act a whole lot and drop some things that we dislike most about ourselves.
“The devil laughs. He is perfectly content to see you becoming chaste and brave and self-controlled provided, all the time, he is setting up in you the Dictatorship of Pride- just as he would be quite content to see your chilblains cured if he was allowed, in return, to give you cancer. For pride is spiritual cancer: it eats up the very possibility of love, or contentment, or even common sense.” –C.S. Lewis
You see, a lot of times what the world will tell you is growth is actually just you becoming more hard-hearted and prideful.
Do you see it?
Sure, the change and the empowerment will feel good at first.
But all we’ve actually done is reposition the weight of our problems onto a different plane. One that will eventually begin to crack under that pressure once again.
And the sad thing is that for most people, the pride that kept them from dealing with the pain in the right way in the first place, will be the very same pride that keeps them from crying out openly about the same issue that resurfaces and resurfaces, because they feel like they already should have dealt with it.
Is this making sense? I hope so!
Pride has an ever-increasing nature, again, like cancer.
It holds you back from being honest for the sake of looking strong, and then it threatens you with the exposure of people finding out that you’re not really who they think you are.
Girls, we need Jesus. We’ve never gone too far for Him to fix us.
Our wounds are way deeper than we ourselves can understand, and no matter how many times we shift that weight around or how good we become at looking like we can handle it, we will continue to be pressed down upon until we give it to Jesus.
Pride, girlfriend, pride. It causes women to lose so much of their feminine softness and vulnerability for the sake of being strong.
Think of the older women of our culture who have been through a bit of life.
Most of them have slowly and subtly become hard and cold.
Priding themselves on being strong and refusing to show their weakness.
Look around and it’s not hard to see that we’re surrounded by a culture of women who are stuffed up with pride.
Oh Jesus, help that not be us!
Let us be women who are healed, fixed, and filled with your light because we are willing to be broken and humble.
Because we go to the right source; the creator of feminine beauty and softness.
The one who can bring us to that beautiful place of balance where we are able to be both secure and strong, soft and real. The way that is right and good for a women to be.
Thank you Jesus.
Another way that pride can cause us to stumble in the love/relationship area is when we start to become proud of ourselves for what we’re becoming, and we want to show it off.
“Believers sometimes stop short of a God-glorifying life because we want to share in God’s glory.”- Beth Moore
We start to see that we’ve actually gotten good at some things; started to conquer some things. I did this.
After starting my Christian journey I went back to my #9 on the basis of feeling confident and desirable again because Jesus really did change me in some important ways and I wanted to flaunt my growth and changes.
I wanted to share in the glory.
But He didn’t work it out for me and He never will when we do that.
We might get to sit pretty for a minute, but an ungodly relationship will always fall back into the consequences of an ungodly relationship.
“I am the Lord, that is My name; And My glory I will not give to another..”
We don’t get to be the “it” person, and that’s exactly what I was trying to do.
I was trying to take God’s glory, what He had done, and use it to boost myself up in other people’s eyes. Particularly my boyfriend.
Watch out girls! This is such a natural thing for us to do.
“In fact, few things are more contrary to our human natures than desiring anyone’s fame above our own.”- Beth Moore
Girls, lets get honest with ourselves here, and see this for what it is. Pride!
There’s one last thing that I want to say about pride with our love relationship and it is this:
Pride can prevent forgiveness, which can prevent God from restoring a relationship that He could possibly want to restore in our future.
Dare I say that’s usually what stands in the way.
It’s what causes a guy and a girl to come back into communication with accusations rather than apologies.
Now I’m not saying that that is necessarily your situation or that you should go apologizing to #9. You need to use wisdom for your own situation. (And you know that I think that it is never a good idea to try to reconcile with a guy when you are still too emotionally vulnerable to him.)
All I’m saying is that so much of the time pride is what keeps two people who were meant to be together apart.
They will say that too much has happened, there is too much there now for them to reconcile.
But in reality it is because neither person has learned to forgive the other and put their focus on fixing their own mistakes.
Pride is where we struggle most, girls.
In my opinion, it is the biggest thing that keeps us distant from God, and therefore from being able to accomplish his will for our life.
God wants to….
*Get to our hearts. Pride covers our hearts.
*Free us from hindrances in our past. Pride refuses to look back.
*Treat us with His word. Pride doesn’t like to be told what to do.
*Set us completely free. Pride thinks it’s free enough.
*Bring us out of dark closets. Pride says secrets are nobody’s business.
*Help us with constraining problems. Pride denies there is a problem.
*Make us strong in Him. Pride won’t admit it’s weakness.
Lastly, I want to look at how pride can keep us from our God-given calling, by showing you how it almost kept me from mine.
Maybe you’ll be able to relate....
Look at these words.
NOT GOOD ENOUGH
Do these words describe feelings of a certain time period of your life, maybe even a little now?
Yes, we’ve grown up and out of a lot of things, but can we also admit that we’ve also just gotten really good at faking and denying some things.
I was willing to lay a lot of stuff on the table before people, but certainly not some things. Some things were just too weird or scary to talk about. For example, my sexual past: masturbation, experimenting sexually with friends at a young age, having an abortion, all things that I have done.
But nobody wants to admit to things like that, and that’s why nobody’s talking about them!
Maybe you’ve never done any of those things.
The point is that all of us have skeletons in our closets that we DO NOT WANT TO COME OUT at any cost.
Those things are what I’ve heard called “the devil’s playground”, because he can constantly torment you with the risk of exposure.
He will make you feel like you could never admit certain things because it will surly be the end of you, or at least your reputation.
Ladies, the devil is a liar.
There were several times in my walk that God put it on my heart to confront an issue of my past, and every single time it took some serious prayer and humility.
Confessing to my Dad that I had had an abortion, oh my goodness I never thought I could do that.
Or writing a letter to an old boss to confess that I had stolen money, and setting up a payment plan to pay him back. Talk about humility!
Certain things from my past that I am so far from proud of, but do you know what?
The world didn’t end because of my humiliation, like I thought that it might when I let these things out.
And now the beautiful thing is that I’m free to talk about them!
I could never just have written those things or be able to talk openly to girls going through the same struggles, had I put my pride and reputation up on a higher pedestal than the humility that Jesus called me too.
Girls, lets wake up to the notion that the world is not encouraging us to be humble.
Most of us don’t even give a second thought to dealing with that deep and hidden stuff inside of us, but sometimes that might be what we need!
Not that we have to go and make humiliating confessions to every person we’ve ever wronged, but let’s at least be willing to lay these things at God’s feet and ask him forgiveness, and give him the open door to deal with them how He wants us to deal with them. Amen?
I’m not trying to scare you, or make you feel guilty, I hope that you know my heart by now.
I just want to shake us up to the realization of how much pride we have in our lives.
And that maybe we would be brave and give God an open door to work on us.
He wants to use your life to touch other people, the next generation especially.
This world is hungry for female role models- ones who are real and not full of pride.
Who do we have to look up to who is not showcasing… herself?
Our world needs you.
Our little girls need you.
But you need to be willing to let your life be touched, especially on this issue of pride.
Because if you don’t, you won’t be willing to put yourself out there. You need to be willing to talk about some hard things, if you’re going to be influential.
Please, be that one in a million kind of girl (literally) who is willing to lay her pride aside.
Who is willing to lay herself completely at God’s feet and be used by him.
When all of our vision is tied up in God, and in eternity, what does our image matter anyway?
“The closer you live to God, the smaller everything else appears”- Rick Warren
And when you are willing to do that. When you are willing to just lay your reputation down for the call of the Lord on your life, and really just put to death your care for people’s admiration and applause, I think that you will be surprised to find what happens.
“Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor.”- James 4:10
“ ‘God blesses those who are humble, for they will inherit the whole earth.’ (Matthew 5:5) The humble are the laid-low and bowed ones, the surprised ones with hands open to receive whatever He gives.
He hands them the earth.
But is it any wonder? That word humility itself comes from the Latin root humus- the kind of earth that grows good crops. God gives the earth to the humus-people, the humble ones. Humility is that good humus that grows gratitude that yields abundant joy.
In the upside-down kingdom of heaven, down is up and up is down, and those who want to ascend higher must descend lower. And so “anyone who becomes as humble as this little child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.” (Matthew 18:4). Later I read the words of F.B. Meyer. They wring me and I think about the earth and the knees and the things I never knew:
‘I used to think that God’s gifts were on shelves one above the other, and that the taller we grew in Christian character the easier we should reach them. I find now that God’s gifts are on shelves one beneath the other, and that it is not a question of growing taller but of stooping lower, and that we have to go down, always down, to get his best gifts.’” -Ann Voskamp
Thank you Jesus.
Thank you that you were humbled unto death for us.
We marvel at you.
Help us to get over our ego issues and be willing to let you break our pride so that we can be who you want us to be.
Let us be willing to go where you want to take us.
Make it about you, not us.
Today’s Dare: Today, I dare you to confront pride in your life.
Again, not that you need to go spilling all of your dirt to everyone, but just start by confronting it on a private level, in your heart.
Pray that God would help you to recognize pride in yourself, and begin to guide you in humility.
Do one thing today to be a living example of humility to someone, and pray for that person that God would open their eyes to the value in humility.