Precious Jesus

"Afresh, precious, precious Jesus, I resign this body to You, for doing or suffering, for living or dying. Will You accept it? Will You use me for Your glory more than heretofore, that You may have some little return for all the benefits You have done to me? Oh, do grant this request; my heart longs for it, my spirit pleads for it; and "if You will, You can." You know the hot temptation of which I am the subject. Bring Your glory out of it, and keep me from the evil, and it shall be well." - Ruth Bryan

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Pride

There are many movements, some in the name of religion, that stem from pride. These movements may tell you that you must home-school, or that your adolescent child cannot date before marriage. They may tell you that you must bow down to your husband as a supreme type authority {although they fail to tell you the husband is to submit to his wife, to love her and care for her as Christ does His church}. They tell you the father must pick, or assist in the picking of a husband for his daughter. They tell you it is sinful to use any method of birth control.
This type of thinking can be found among some of the Puritans and the English settlement known as the 'Massachusetts Bay Colony'. You can read their views on 'marriage and family life' here.
Those same views are alive and well in our day, and appear to be gaining momentum.
Pride also drives men to exalt themselves, promoting themselves and their ministry 'for the sake of Christ', but is it? This is why you must not be so quick to embrace every man who claims to be a man of God; oftentimes there are underlying and disturbing things you may not see on the surface. When aggression, provoking to anger, name-calling, and being judgmental are involved, is that really of Christ, who is meek and lowly, or is it from man's own pride? I have read some great articles sent to me on this subject of a deadly sin...pride.



     Pride In The Body Of Christ (Church)
The comments in this section are directed to the Christian believer.  It would seem strange that since Jesus Christ is the Head of the Church and that He was the ultimate example of humility, that pride could exist to such a large degree in the living organism called the church.  Jesus says to all who desire to be His disciples or followers, “Come to Me all who are weary (worked to exhaustion) and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle (meek) and humble (lowly) in heart, and you shall find rest for your souls.  For My yoke is easy (kindly and pleasant) and My load (burden) is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30 Amp Ver).
Since I have brought up the subject of activities or busyness, let me present to you a wide spread manifestation of pride that exists today in the church.  Remember one of the definitions of pride (self-exaltation) was to enhance or intensify one’s activity.”  Many Christians find themselves “worn out” trying to do the works of God, but this is contrary to the will of the Lord and His instruction according to the above Bible passage.  In recent years I have heard this expression in Christian circles: “It is better to wear out than rust out.”  What scripture verse from God’s Word does that come from? Of course, you must be willing to give your lives to be spent for the Gospel, to lose your life, daily denying yourself; but God wants you to be daily renewed, refreshed, and strengthened as His vessel.  It should be apparent to you that activities that feed a misconception of the fact that the busier you are the more spiritual you are is false.  There is the constant pressure from ego (pride) that compels God’s people to feed restless, vain impulses. Another deception in this area exists today.  The deception is that if we take a lowly place daily, a negative reflection on our ability or calling may result.   Many Christian workers are wondering why they are so unfulfilled inside after such a great display of activity.  “A man’s pride will bring him low.” (Proverbs 29:23).  “The Lord will tear down the house of the proud.” (Proverbs 15:25).  Please meditate on these truths.
There was a struggle between the disciples of Jesus even as He walked here on earth during His earthly ministry.  On more than one occasion Jesus’ disciples contested with one another.  “And an argument arose among them as to which of them might be the greatest.” (Luke 9:46).  “And there arose also a dispute among them as to which one of them was regarded to be greatest.” (Luke 22:24).
There is a struggle today of the same sort between God’s servants.  Remember the definition of self-exaltation?  It was to raise or elevate one’sself for a higher position or title?  “Knowledge alone puffeth up (makes arrogant) but love edifies.”(1 Corinthians 8:1 Amp Vers.).  I have noticed many Christians who are proud and boastful as to their association with a certain denomination, Bible school, or ministry.  We are to boast only in Christ Jesus in whom we have been made into His likeness because He has made us wisdom from God.  (See 1 Corinthians 1:30-31).
I will use the word “spiritual pride,” which sounds almost like a paradox, because we know that the Holy Spirit in a believer does not manifestpride, but meekness and humility.  I am, however, referring to one’s own opinion of one’s spirituality in relation to others.  “For through the grace given to me I say to every man among you not to think more highly of himself that he ought to think. (Romans 12:3).  This warning came from a servant of God, we all know, by the name of Paul.  Paul had a wealth of knowledge (Biblical and otherwise) but chose not to use it as his credentials.  “More than that I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus, my Lord…And count them but rubbish (dung-heaps) in order that I may gain Christ” (Philippians 3:8). Emphasis mine. Are you trying to compare your self-image with your fellow believers?  Are you striving to be recognized as a more effective, efficient, or profitable servant? Is this causing you to leap up, exultantly, to be noticed as a great minister?  I must warn you, dearly beloved brethren, “From out of the heart proceeds ……pride….” (Mark 7:21-22).  “He has scattered those who were proud in the thoughts of their hearts.” (Luke 1:51).
I notice also among Christians today a desire to insist that others conform to certain doctrines or legalisms of one particular sect or group.  Do you feel your group has all the answers?  Could this be pride?  “If anyone advocates a different doctrine and does not agree with sound words, those of the Lord Jesus Christ and with the doctrine conforming to godliness, he is conceited and understands nothing (self-deceived)…”  (I Timothy 6:3-4 Amp Vers).  Are you abstaining from someone’s presence, refusing fellowship with someone, being scornful, or even despising someone because of their conviction of the pure Word of God?
I would like to continue with the above passage of scripture, “…But he has a morbid interest in controversial questions and disputes about words, out of which arise envy, strife, abusive language, evil suspicions, and constant friction between men of depraved mind and deprived of the Truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain (self-gain).” (I Timothy 6:4-5 Amp Vers). Remember, “Through presumption (pride) comes nothing but strife.” (Proverbs 28:25).  Are you striving with your brethren?  What do you expect to gain?  “It is better to be of humble spirit with the lowly than to divide the spoil with the proud.” (Proverbs 16:19).  To experience the abundant life of Jesus, our Lord, is to live free of pride.  Glory to God.
If you are a young Christian (not only in physical age) or a young minister trying to answer the call of God on your life, you are a prime target of the devil.  Satan will come against you with all of his tactics.  Some of these tactics are more noticeable than others.  An overt attack on your spiritual life, mental capacities, physical bodies, family affairs, or material needs are very common areas of diabolical aggression.  Thank God, you have the Name of Jesus and the precious promises of the Lord to hold fast to and overcome your adversary, the devil.  If then satan can’t defeat you by tearing you down, he will most assuredly come from a different direction to puff you up with pride.  What is your attitude about the Christian life?  The Lord is no respecter of persons.  He requires all of His followers to obey His Word.  Are you looking for some formula or short cut to “the successful Christian life”?  “Churchanity” has devised many alternate routes for you.  Beware!  There is no substitute for submission to the Word of God, the Holy Spirit, and the authority of the true church.  Many Christians today would choose to ignore the gifts (in the form of godly men) that Jesus has given to the church for its development and maturity so that she can accomplish her mission on the earth.  Many would choose to bypass the lengthy but necessary seasons of preparation and to choose the route of self-promotion, or even worse, promotion by pride-rooted, man-made religious systems.
Don’t place yourself in this position.  Don’t allow pride to push you into a “slot” before your season.  “…not a new convert lest he be conceitedand fall into condemnation incurred by the devil.” (I Timothy 3:6).
Are you receiving flattering words from others about your great “anointing”?  Be on the alert!  “Now I urge you brethren, keep your eye on those who cause dissensions and hindrances (occasions of stumbling) contrary to the teaching which you learned, and turn away from them.  For such are slaves not of our Lord Christ but of their own appetites and by their smooth and flattering speech they deceive the hearts of the unsuspecting.” (Romans 16:17-18 Amp Vers).  “…they (their mouth speaks) arrogantly, flattering people for the sake of gaining an advantage.” (Jude 16 Amp Vers). These passages of scripture were written to believers.
You may ask, “Are these the only areas that pride manifests itself or has an effect in the Body of Christ?  I wish I could say yes to that question. The fact is, as I previously expressed, I am not an expert.  These are only a few observations that I want you to consider.  Quite frankly, as grievous as it may be, I also see all of the ugly manifestations of pride mentioned in the section on “Pride in the People of the World”.  You may review these if you wish.
What you think about the seriousness of pride in the church doesn’t matter.  It remains an abomination unto God.  “Seven things the Lord hates and are abominations, haughty eyes…”  (Proverbs 6:16-17).  Note here that the first abomination that God mentions is haughtiness (pride).  “Pride and arrogance and the evil way and the perverted way, I hate, says the Lord.” (Proverbs 8:13).  Many Christians are feeling in their spirit, that the last days are upon us.  Do you feel that you are living in the last days?  Listen to the Word of God spoken again to the Church.  “But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come.  For men (including professing Christians) will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God; holding to a form of godliness (religion), although they have denied its power; andavoid such men as these.” (II Timothy 3:1-5) Emphasis mine.
How effective is your religion and self-righteousness?  Are you acknowledging your continued need for the Lord Jesus?  If not, let me warn you God is removing His hand and withdrawing His presence from a proud and obstinate people.  “And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind…arrogant, boastful…” (Romans 1:28-30).
By now, if you are acknowledge being guilty, I hope you are not falling into one of pride’s most fatal traps.  What is that?  It is self-pity.  Don’t feel sorry for yourself because you have been robbed of some of your glory.  To receive man’s glory is far short of your heavenly reward from your Father.  Read Matthew 6:2-4.  Jesus said, “I do not receive glory from men……How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another, and you do not seek glory that is from the one and only God?” (John 5:41-44).  Jesus also said, “He who speaks from himself seeks his own glory;…” (John 7:18).  “Nor is it glory to seek out one’s own glory.” (Proverbs 25:27).  Self-pity is an open door to discouragement, depression, and despondency (lack of hope).  You have encouragement in you through Christ. “Christ in you the hope of glory.” (Colossians 1:27).  Hallelujah!
Let me deal now with the manifestation of self-justification. The word, justification, as you know it as a Christian, means: (A) to be made righteous before God through Jesus Christ; (B) to be freed from guilt, set free, or vindicated likewise.  Praise God for this precious benefit that the Lord has given us by grace through faith.  This form of justification is not what I am referring to.   The perverted form of self-justification is the manifestation of pride I speak of now.  Remember self-justification was one of pride’s manifestations in the Biblical definitions given in the chapter, “Pride Defined”.  Let me give you a definition of this justification that man offers for himself.  (A) to show a satisfactory reason or excuse of something done (said, thought, etc.).  (B) to be clear of blame or fault.  (C) to defend or uphold or exonerate one’s self.  This is what Webster’s Dictionary states about the word “to justify
I waited until the last of this chapter to discuss this problem with you.  Why?  Because even right now you may be making excuses for yourprideful attitudes or actions that have been revealed to you by the Word of God.
Dear brother or sister in Christ, if you are on the defensive about your daily decisions that are contrary to the life-style of Jesus, it will be necessary for you to repent.  Until you have a meek and lowly spirit, you will be a victim of this form of pride.  What form?  Self-justification; always trying to convince first, God, second, yourself; and last, your fellow man that you are right.  Are you convinced that the Holy Spirit with His convicting and revealing power could be unaware of or be misunderstanding your intentions? Don’t be self-deceived.  Self-justification is pride and God is opposed to it.  “And He (Jesus) said, you are those who justify yourselves in the sight of men, but God knows your hearts; for that which is highly esteemed among men is detestable in the sight of God.” (Luke 16:15) Emphasis mine.
My friends and brethren, I have one final statement in this chapter.  Pride is sin against the Lord God Almighty!  “Haughty eyes and a proud heart, the lamp of the wicked is sin.” (Proverbs 21:4).
You need to always acknowledge God and your need for His liberating power in your life.  Amen!  So be it!  

The above is taken from an article you may read in its entirety by going here.

I also want to share this excerpt...
The Pharisees did all their good deeds, their spiritual obligations in front of people as much as possible. It was the Pharisees who said their prayers publicly (on the street), they made them long and loud. They gave their money publicly (oftentimes having a horn blown when they gave their tithes). They did their good works publicly; they wanted to be seen because they looked for recognition from men. False religion always wants to boast in its own works. True religion, a person who is spiritual will not boast in what he does and use the podium as a platform for his adventures. We should recognize that the perfect medium for this motivation today is TV. Jesus made it clear: “Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven” (Matthew 6:1). Its obvious the preachers of earthly prosperity are not considering this. When you hear people being honored because of how much they gave in front of the world and the church it is exactly what Jesus told us not to do. Announcing that so and so is giving $200 or $1000 is a sales tactic to prompt others to give the same. When you hear them tell you how successful their ministry is, the building they are doing, the amount of staff they have and the money that is coming in they are doing exactly what Jesus said NOT to do.  - Taken from 'beware of the leaven'.

This is also worth noting...
    Churches are rarely destroyed from outside. One of the Devil's most cunning tricks is to put an uncalled and unskilled man in the ministry who often has little or no spiritual discernment. These "hirelings" (John 10) have no call of God but rather seek the ministry as a profession. - taken from bible truth


So what is my point? To WARN! Do not be so quick to embrace every person who professes Christ! How is it the wolves enter in? Disguised as sheep or a shepherd.
When you see and hear of men who toot their own horns, who boast and brag about ALL that they do 'for Christ', be wary. When you have men tell you what you MUST do, be wary. We must follow Christ and Him alone; there are too many who seek to oppress others with their twisted view of God's word, and it all stems from pride as well as the desire to control. Be very careful who you affiliate yourself with, and what you put into your mind. Remember what the Lord warned of as a sign of His coming and of the end of the age, "Take heed that no man lead you astray." Matthew 24:4



2 comments:

Diane said...

Thanks for posting this. Excellent advice and something to consider, especially if one is thinking about donating to or promoting some minister/ministry in some way. It behooves us to do our homework. Not everyone is who they portray themselves to be and to think otherwise is very foolish. False teachers depend upon us not digging too deeply or asking them too many personal questions.

lyn said...

If you were sick you wouldn't call just anybody. You would call a qualified physician to treat you, checking to see if he was reputable and verify his degree.
Why do so many not follow the same procedure concerning those who claim to be men of God?