Lucia's Blog: THE PERILS OF PRIDE
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Isaiah 55:8-9

Isaiah 55:8-9

Monday, February 10, 2020

THE PERILS OF PRIDE

"When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom."
Proverbs 11:2


Few things break your heart more quickly than pride. Someone that you love is going to walk into a disastrous situation because their pride has been inflamed, and there is nothing that you can do about it. Jesus came to a proud world bent on self-destruction. Even the righteous disciples were easily provoked individually by their pride. Jesus, the meek and lowly, showed them a better way. Let us see what we can learn from our Lord about pride and the healing remedies that He offers.


 I.   THE DESTRUCTIVE NATURE AND DANGERS OF PRIDE:
  • The Root of Pride:
"11 But Naaman was angry and went away, saying, 'Behold, I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call upon the name of the Lord his God, and wave his hand over the place and cure the leper. 12 Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them and be clean?' So he turned and went away in a rage'"  (2 Kings 5:11-12).
Anger and pride are a pair of sins that go hand in hand.  The source of pride is ego.  It is one of those works of the flesh (Gal. 5:19-21).  It is deceitful and dangerous.  Pride deceives many by rationalizing their behavior and justifying themselves.  A big problem with pride is that it reduces us to nothing, causing us to lose our love for God and others.  Pride sows to the flesh and not to the Spirit (Gal. 6:7-8).  It will eventually destroy us if it goes unchecked.

The word "pride" is found six times in the book of Proverbs.  Likewise, the word “proud” is found seven times in the same book.  For instance, we find the word “haughty” three times in the same book.  The word “arrogance” is found once.  The word “conceit” is found five times.  Several passages speak of pride without mentioning the above terms.

Consider how the proud and haughty in heart (spirit) can destroy his soul:   
  • Pride Destroys Self:
Pride is an overestimation, elevation of self.  It overestimates one's worth.  It is a conceited sense of one's superiority.  A proud man is truly a legend in his own mind!

“Do you see a man who is wise in his own eyes?  There is more hope for a fool than for him”  (Proverbs 26:12).  Now stop for a moment and reflect on this Scripture.  What is man?  He is the work of God.  “Know that the Lord, he is God!  It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture”  (Psalm 100:3).  God created us from the dust of the earth (Gen. 3:19; Eccl. 12:7).  We are not as smart as we think we are (Matt. 10:30).  We are not as strong as we think we are (Job 38:34-35).  Ultimately, it is appointed for every man to die, and after that comes judgment (Eccl. 12:7; Heb. 9:27).
"42 When the Philistine looked and saw David, he disdained him; for he was but a youth, and ruddy, with a handsome appearance. 43 The Philistine said to David, “Am I a dog, that you come to me with sticks?” And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. 44 The Philistine also said to David, 'Come to me, and I will give your flesh to the birds of the sky and the beasts of the field'"  (1 Samuel 17:47).
Here we see Goliath as a champion on the battlefield.  His pride was as huge as his physical appearance.  He could have destroyed David on any other battlefield, but this one was not ordinary. You see, God gave the victory to the one that was humble and who trusted in Him rather than himself. Goliath's problem was his fatal pride (Proverbs 16:18).

Pride causes man to ignore or counteract the above facts.  The Humanist Manifesto II of 1973 asserts the following under a section entitled “Religion.”
“But we can discover no divine purpose for the human species.  While there is much we do not know, humans are responsible for what we are or will become.  No deity will save us; we must save ourselves.”
Sixty-Nine men endorsed this Manifesto.  The names of four of these men began with the letter “A.” Three of them are now dead.  And though we' re not like these men who endorsed this Manifesto II and do not reject deity, our problem with pride is commonly twofold.  Why?  Because we tend to think more highly of ourselves than what we ought to think (Rom. 12:3).  At times we obey God partially.  We ignore God's commands in our life and do what we believe is right in our own eyes.  We start complaining because God's rules are not fair, so we reject His Word (1 Sam. 15:3, 9, 17, 22-23).  Those who revel in self, face destruction.  Consider three Scriptures that affirm this:
  1. “When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom”  (Prov. 11:2).
  2. “Everyone who is arrogant in heart is an abomination to the LORD; be assured, he will not go unpunished”  (Prov. 16:5).
  3. “One's pride will bring him low, but he who is lowly in spirit will obtain honor”  (Prov. 29:23).
  • Pride Leads to Forgetting God:
“The pride of your heart has deceived you, you who live in the clefts of the rock, in your lofty dwelling, who say in your heart, 'Who will bring me down to the ground?'”  (Obadiah 3-9)

A vision came to Obadiah to deliver the nation of Edom.  The LORD was stirring the nations for battle against Edom.  God's message to Edom is that He is going to bring them down (“I will make you small among the nations; you shall be utterly despised).  He is going to destroy them and shame them.  Why would a loving God do this?  Why is He stirring the other nations to act against Edom? Why does Edom need to be cut down to size?  Because the pride of their heart had deceived them.  The prophecy of Obadiah is the problem and danger of pride.  Notice how proud they were in their heart:  “Who will bring me down to the ground?”  You see, Edom's biggest problem was that they deceived themselves, thinking that no other nation could defeat them.  No nation could rise against them.  So, where did this pride come from?  Well, verse 3 tells us that their cities sat high in the rocks.  Some of Edom's cities lay at least 5,500 feet in elevation.  As a result of this, they thought they could never fall or be defeated.  Wait, they forgot to take something into consideration.  They forgot God, the only One who can ride in the clouds of heaven and can bring them down.  They deceived themselves, ignoring that God was the source of all of their blessings and that His will is what governs all the nations regardless of what they might plan.  They looked around on the earth, thinking that they were the most amazing and most powerful.  But guess what?  They forgot to put God in the picture!

Forgetting God, our Creator, is the foundation of pride.  Pride believes and deceives us with a lie, that we do not need God; that we can depend on ourselves and our own strength.  We think that because we have our own abilities, resources, abundance, prosperity, and worth: that we are self-sufficient, we do not need God.  What a lie!!  The saddest part of all this is that our culture glorifies pride!  Pride is glorified when one is independent and self-assured to the point of harming others.  

As I read Obadiah, I notice that the Edomites took pride in the same things that we take pride in as individuals, as a society and as a country.  The people of Edom took pride in their wisdom (verse 8). Teman, a city in Edom, was well known for its wisdom and knowledge.  Isn't it something how often we deceive ourselves into thinking that we are so knowledgeable and evolved because of our predecessors?!  We simply believe that we know much more, thinking that those who were before us were either Neanderthals or buffoons.  And since we are so smart, we definitely will succeed where others failed.  Isn't that amazing!

Another thing the Edomites took pride in was their military might and their allies (verses 7, 9).  But God Almighty declared that the mighty men would be dismayed (verse 9).  They pridefully thought that their might was going to save them from any attack.  Today is no different.  Many nations today believe that they will continue to stand because of their military success and might.  How about that?!  But the biggest problem they have is that in their sinful pride, they forget that God is in the picture.  They forget to acknowledge that a nation is not powerful and strong because of its military might but because God gave them strength.  In the history of Israel in the Old Testament, we see that Israel did not need fortified cities since God was going to defeat their enemies.  When Israel turned from the LORD, went astray, and built strong cities, those fortified cities were destroyed.  God judges pride, and we see that throughout the Bible.  Our education and human knowledge: our wisdom will not save us from God's judgment.  Our strength and might will not save us from His judgment.

God repeatedly warned the nation of Israel about forgetting Him because of their pride.  Do you remember what God told Israel in Deuteronomy 8:11-20 before they entered the Promised Land of Canaan, the land that He was about to give them?  They forgot God's commandments, rules, and statutes.  They forgot God.  They thought their prosperity and success were by their own might, so they forgot God.  They forgot that their wealth was from the hand of God, so they forgot Him.  But what did God say?  He was going to judge them for doing that.  He will judge us also if we do not repent.  

Jeremiah 49:14-16 quotes the first four verses of Obadiah.  God's judgment was coming because He had already prophesied against Edom because of their pride.  They refused to listen and repent. Therefore, God's judgment was going to destroy everything and leave nothing (verse 5).  The nation of Edom was to be stripped bare and destroyed completely.  
  • Pride Leads to Evil:
As in the case of Edom, their pride led them to sinful actions.  Pride was the basis for their sins.  The Edomites committed all kinds of violence against Israel (verse 10).  When God allowed the Babylonians to invade Jerusalem (three times), the Israelites were trying to escape it.  But, did the Edomites help them against the Babylonians?  They refused to help them, and instead, they killed those who were trying to flee.  It is amazing to see how pride and hatred had taken away their compassion for others!!  You see, when one elevates self, he no longer cares or has compassion for other people.  The proud will hurt others because pride dictates who is the most worthy and valuable one.  And we wonder why in our society people break the law and hurt others!  We wonder why violence is rising.  We wonder why everything has progressed for the worse, the way we have it today.  Guess what the answer is?  Yes, pride!! And where does it come from?  From forgetting God and His righteousness.  The problem with forgetting God is that we think we're the most important creatures, so others must suffer.  As a result of this, we have violence and genocide (mass murder).

Pride causes us to lose our compassion toward others.  We no longer care.  Edom was judged for this attitude of the heart.  Edom rejoiced in watching Judah's misfortune and ruin (verses 12-13).  They looted their wealth.  Pride causes one to take from others, even those who are experiencing adversity or calamity.  We have no right to take from others or rejoice because of their adversities, even when we have been mistreated.  It is evil!  Pride causes one to show no regard for the well-being of others. So Edom was condemned for partaking in Judah's misfortune and ruin.  Notice God's judgment in verse 15 of Obadiah, “For the day of the Lord is near upon all the nations.  As you have done, it shall be done to you; your deeds shall return on your head.”  

What we sow, we will also reap.  What we have done to others, God will bring about full judgment in His wrath.  No one will be able to stand against Him (Isaiah 51:17; Jeremiah 25:16; 28; Habakkuk 2:16).  In the book of Revelation, God ends with the same note.
12 “Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay each one for what he has done"  (Revelation 22:12).
Therefore, knowing that God will repay according to our deeds or works, we must see the judgment that is coming to each one of us for what we have done.  So if you have failed because of pride, lack of compassion, and have forgotten God, now is the time to repent, verse 17.  There is hope in the Lord.  Obadiah's message is:  the humble will be exalted, and the proud will be humiliated.  We rid ourselves of pride when we honor and are thankful to God for all things in all circumstances.   This is our best weapon against pride.
  • Pride is The Greatest Enemy of Repentance:
Indeed, pride is the major stumbling block to repentance.  Why?  Because he who is proud finds it difficult to admit when he is wrong or needs to repent from sin.  Repentance is not only vital to Christians but also to non-Christians (1 John 1:8, Prov. 16:18).

Many Christians have fallen from grace because they have allowed their pride to interfere with their repentance (Gal. 5:4).  So often, when we try to persuade one who is living in sin to repent (change his sinful ways), he resents us.  He says, “Who do you think you are, telling me how to live my life?”  “I have nothing to repent of.”  I know what I'm doing and am in control of it.”  “I make my own decisions.”  

Sadly, this person's pride has blinded him to repentance.  One good example of this is the alcoholic. He often denies that he is an alcoholic.  He may even feel insulted that one would dare to point out his sin and his need to repent.

The Pharisees were very proud.  They often confronted Jesus with arrogance and would not receive His teachings.  When Jesus found them in the Temple selling animals and changing money, He drove them out, overturning the tables (Matt. 21:13).  This apparently enraged them (the scribes and chief priests), and they sought to kill Him.  Pride was their number one problem.  They were too proud to admit that they were wrong in using the Temple in such a shameful way.  Their pride blinded them to accepting that they had sinned against God; that the Temple was desecrated.  So what did they do? They felt rage instead of feeling shame.

When people hear the Lord's invitation to come to Him to find rest from their labor and heavy burden, many refuse to accept it and repent because of pride.  It is so difficult for them to admit that they are wrong and need to repent!  It is man's ego that prevents him from admitting that he has sinned.  Sadly, many die in that state.  Their inflated ego prevents them from acknowledging their sins, faults, and shortcomings (James 5:16).  Pride also steps in the way of the “one another” part of admonition.  Why is it so hard to humbly admit that you have sinned or done wrong and need to repent and ask forgiveness of God and the one you have wronged?!  We must be at peace with God and all men, but that demands that you be humble and not proud.  God abhors the proud. Who wants to be around a proud and arrogant person?  Do you?  I don't!!  Your salvation depends on it!
  • Proud In Our Speech:
In James 4:10, we have been admonished to humble ourselves before God that He may exalt us. James is speaking concerning pride.  Pride is the root of many of our failings and weaknesses.  Pride is the cause of failing to live a godly life.
“11 Do not speak against one another, brethren. He who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks against the law and judges the law; but if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge of it. 12 There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the One who is able to save and to destroy; but who are you who judge your neighbor?”  (James 4:11-12)  
James is saying that when we speak evil or judge another (not with righteous judgment), we are indeed speaking evil against the law and judging the law.  To speak evil against one another is to speak evil against God's Law!  Why?  Because with that negative attitude of heart, we are choosing to ignore God's commands or laws. Like the law to love our neighbor.  James calls this “the royal law.”  When one loves his neighbor as himself, he is doing well (James 2:8).  It is impossible to love someone and, at the same time, slander him.  In doing this, we are breaking the royal law, the Law of God.  We are in the place of God and sitting in the judgment seat of God's Law!  When we break God's Law, we're refusing to be under the laws of God.  Bear in mind that there is only One Lawgiver and Judge.  And it is not you or me! He is God!  He is the only One who can dictate law and stand in judgment of the law.  Take heed!
“12 There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the One who is able to save and to destroy; but who are you who judge your neighbor?”  (James 4:12)  
Often we have the nerve to judge God's Law and question His commands (laws) rather than to humbly submit to them.  So, who are you to judge your neighbor?  Who do you think you are?  What makes you better or greater than others?  Who gives you the right to judge or criticize someone else?  It is easier to criticize others than to be a doer of the Law.  It is easier to throw stones at others who are doing the Lord's work.  Often we delude ourselves thinking we are the doers, and the others are just the hearers Do you suppose you are a doer of God's Law when you speak evil of another?!  Right?  Do you think that when you slander someone, you are keeping God's Law?  You are not a doer!  You are not the Judge!  You are usurping the Lawgiver and Judge.  You are not keeping quiet and obeying God's laws or commands.  You are proud and foolish when you speak evil of others, forgetting your place before the Judge of all.  Take heed and stop being proud!
  • Proud In Our Goals and Plans:
“14 Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.   15 Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.” 16 But as it is, you boast in your arrogance; all such boasting is evil"  (James 4:14-15).
When we think that we have total control of our lives, we are exhibiting pride.  Why?  Because we are behaving as if we have control over everything that happens to us.  We don't even know what tomorrow may bring.  We don't know what lies ahead of us.  So, why boast about tomorrow, making ambitious plans about your life?  You don't know the future; only God knows!  So, stop acting like you have control!  We seem to forget this truth!  We are arrogant to think so.  You don't know what your life will be like tomorrow.  Your life is nothing more than a mist!  Why not say if the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that?!  Such boasting is evil!  
  • Proud in Pride:
"15 Instead, you ought to say, 'If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.16 But as it is, you boast in your arrogance; all such boasting is evil. 17 Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin'"  (James 4:16-17).
This point is similar to my prior one about being proud in our plans.  It is complete arrogance to boast about what we are doing or planning on doing.  We should humbly say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.”  When we say, “If the Lord wills,” we need to mean what we are saying.  Notice that James says, “you ought to say, 'If the Lord wills, we will live.'"  What do you suppose that means?  It means that God is in control and not us.  It is God's will and not mine.  So, stop assuming that we will live and have health.  God is the only One who knows the future and is in control of the same.  We don't know if we will live tomorrow.  Our lives are in God's hands, and we must accept it.  Therefore, do not be proud in your pride as if we have total control over today and tomorrow.  Stop acting as if you were in charge of everything and humbly put your life in God's hands if it is His will.  Start appreciating all of God's goodness and the life He is giving you today!
  • Pride Delights In Boasting:
An excellent example of boasting is the Pharisee, who stood at the Temple and prayed saying, “God, I thank You that I am not like other people: swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I pay tithes of all that I get'”  (Matt. 18:11-12).  He was so blindly proud that he could only see the tax collector's wrongs and failings but not his own.  Notice what Jesus said of the Pharisees“5 But they do all their deeds to be noticed (seen) by men; for they broaden their phylacteries and lengthen the tassels of their garments. 6 They love the place of honor at banquets and the chief seats in the synagogues,7 and respectful greetings in the market places, and being called Rabbi by men”  (Matt. 23:5-7).  You see, pride destroys humility!

A person who is full of pride thinks highly of himself and boasts in his achievements.  He wants to be noticed and is self-absorbed in his pride.  He ignores what Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount.  Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven.  2 'So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full'"  (Matt. 6:1-2).  The key phrase here is "to be noticed by them (men)."  Pride delights in being in the spotlight and being the star of the show!  We cannot be of any use to the Lord until we willfully surrender our pride and proudful ways.

Did you know that one of Peter's major failures was boasting?  He boasted too much.  The night before our Lord's crucifixion, He instituted the Lord's Supper as a memorial.  He then told His disciples in John 13:36, “Where I am going you cannot follow me now, but you will follow afterward.”  Peter then asked and boasted saying, “37 Lord, why can I not follow you now? I will lay down my life for you." Our Lord's response was this, “30 Truly, I tell you, this very night, before the rooster crows twice, you will deny me three times”  (Mark 14:30).  According to Luke 22:33, Peter made another grand request “Lord, I am ready to go with you both to prison and to death.”   Moreover, in Matthew 26:33, Peter said, “33 Peter answered him, 'Though they all fall away because of you, I will never fall away.'"  Isn't it crystal clear that Peter liked to boast?  He claimed he was willing to go to prison for Jesus.  He bragged about dying with Christ before he would deny Him.  Just a few hours later, before the crucifixion of Jesus, Peter denied the Lord three times.  He swore he didn't know Jesus though he boasted earlier that he would never deny the Son of God.  

So, why did Peter fail?  Pride is part of it (Prov. 16:18).  This scenario is repeated many times in the Bible.  Remember the older brother who boasted of his own righteousness and then failed to show compassion to his younger brother, who had repented (Luke 15).  Yes, pride goes before destruction! We must take heed to Paul's admonition in Gal. 6:1-5, when trying to restore one who has been overtaken in sin.  We must consider ourselves lest we also are tempted.  Tempted to do what? To become self-righteous and full of pride when seeing the faults and failings of others.  Humility is what overcomes pride.  So, if we have the tendency to exalt ourselves, we will be humbled by God one way or another.  On the other hand, if we humble ourselves before the Lord, He will exalt us.  Peter failed because he was boastful and full of pride.  So, let us work hard at being more humble so that we may not sin against our God and then find ourselves judged by Him.
  • Pride Causes us to Look Down on Others:
In the Old Testament, Moses asked Pharaoh, the great ruler of Egypt, to let the children of Israel go that they might hold a religious feast to Him in the wilderness.  Pharaoh's response was, “Who is the LORD that I should obey His voice to let Israel go?  I do not know the LORD, nor will I let Israel go.”  Here we see a man full of pride.  Pharaoh looked down on Moses and even God Himself.  He would not humble or submit to God because of his pride.  Each time Moses appeared before him, he showed contempt, insolence, and arrogance.  Not even the plagues that God brought on the Egyptians changed his arrogant heart.  He was a proud and arrogant man who preferred to suffer rather than to submit to God's command.
  • Pride Destroys Relationships With Others:
“By insolence comes nothing but strife, but with those who take advice is wisdom”  (Prov. 13:10).
“25 He that is of a proud heart stirreth up strife: but he that putteth his trust in the Lord shall be made fat”  (Prov. 28:25).
As followers of Christ, we strive for unity, peace, and happiness in our relationships.  Unfortunately, pride destroys all these things.  Why?  Because pride prevents an honest discussion of the issues of disagreement between two persons.  Pride attacks the character of others rather than focusing on their problems and differences.  Pride's primary goal is to divide people into hostility.  Pride will not allow anyone to say the words:  “I am wrong, or I was wrong.”  “I am sorry, please forgive me for what I have done.”  “I forgive you.”  

In the New Testament, we read of at least two examples of relationships where pride caused problems.  James and John requested that they might sit at the right hand and left hand of Jesus (Mark 10:35-41).  Notice the request:  “35 And James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came up to him and said to him, 'Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.   36 And he said to them, 'What do you want me to do for you?'  37 And they said to him, 'Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory”' (Mark 10:35-37).  Now notice the response, “41 And when the ten heard it, they began to be indignant at James and John”  (Mark 10:41).
The ten were greatly afflicted and moved with indignation.  Had Jesus not intervened at the moment, there would have been major trouble among the apostles.  In 3 John 9, we come to know Diotrephes, who loved to put himself above others.  There was a division between him and John.  Diotrephes' major problem was that he loved to have the preeminence among men.  Pride is a grave sin, and one must repent of it to be right with God and have fellowship with Him.
  • Pride Destroys One's Relationship (Fellowship) With God:
“A haughty look, a proud heart, And the plowing of the wicked are sin”  (Prov. 21:4).
“These six things the Lord hates, Yes, seven are an abomination to Him:  17 A proud look... “  (Prov. 6:16-17)
Pride is an abomination to God.  Why?  Because its motives and actions are lawless, and lawlessness is a sin against the Word of God (1 John 3:4).  God demands humility, and that we walk humbly with Him.  To be the greatest in the kingdom of heaven, one must be humble.  For God to exalt us, we must be humble before Him.  God demands that His children clothe themselves with humility toward Him and one another because"God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble” (Mic. 6:8; Matt. 18:4; James 4:10; 1 Peter 5:5-6).  He demands that we not think of ourselves more highly than we ought to think, “but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned” (Rom. 12:3).  The Word of God also exhorts us to have the mind of Christ“Who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross”  (Phil. 2:5-8).  Pride is of Satan, and we must be careful not to fall under condemnation (1 Tim. 3:6).

Satan led Adam and Eve to sin by appealing to their pride. Satan told them that they would be like God, knowing good and evil.  When Eve “saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate”  (Gen. 3:4-6).  Today, Satan is still appealing to man's pride when he tempts man with the desires of the flesh, the desires of the eyes, and the pride of life.  

God hates pride.  He is disgusted when He sees pride in men.  When a man sets himself above God, it is idolatry (Exo. 20:3).  A proud and arrogant man appeals to his own worldly wisdom rather than fearing and honoring God (Romans 1:21-22).  A proud man thinks he knows better than the all-wise God of heaven (1 Cor. 1:20).  A proud man believes he is self-sufficient and does not need God (Luke 12:16-21).  Pride is the soil in which all other sins grow and flourish.  God will punish the proud, and His wrath will go against them.  He will not allow anything unclean (sin) to enter the gates of heaven (Rev. 21:27).  


CONCLUSION:

God gives grace to the humble and resists the proud (James 4:6).  The proud and self-centered person is primarily concerned with themselves and their own desires.  They are not willing to humbly submit to God and resist the snares of the devil (James 4:7). God will indeed resist them and will not forgive them until they humble themselves.  Meekness and humility (submission to God) is the path to God's grace.  It is the remedy for pride!  It is the solution for selfishness, self-centeredness, worldliness, and ungodliness.  It does the will of God rather than what one desires.  It is vital to keep in mind that submission to God is also the remedy to all bickering, verbal conflicts, and spiritual unfaithfulness.  Submitting to God is a quality of humility.  The humble recognizes that God is greater and above ourselves.  He esteems others as better than himself (Phil. 2:3).  The humble and meek will put himself under God's rule.  He will live by the Word of God.  He will do those things which please God.  We must learn to train ourselves to be humble toward God, His Word, and toward one another. Humility and meekness demand the renewing and transformation of our minds.  It is the only way to stand right before God.  Meekness and humility will lead to serving one another, knowing one another and honoring one another as God has commanded.

The meek and humble person puts God first, others second, and himself last.  Pride leads to destruction.  Be careful of pride, haughtiness, and arrogance!  It is a dangerous little fox that can kill our souls and rob us of heaven and our reward.  It always leads us to fall away from God.  Pride is among those sins that God hates (Prov. 6:16-19).  It is destructive to self, our relationships with others, and mainly to our relationship with God.  Pride delights in boasting and is the greatest enemy of repentance.  It causes us to look down on others.  Pride spoils meekness and humility.

So if you are struggling with pride or even arrogance, beware that there is more hope for a fool than for you.  Start diligently humbling yourself under the mighty hands of God, that He may exalt you.   Remember that “It is better to be humble in spirit with the lowly than to divide the spoil with the proud”  (Prov. 16:19).   So, where do you stand before God?  Are you living in pride or arrogance, thinking that there will be no Judgment Day?  Are you too proud to admit your faults or sins?  Are you too proud to humbly ask forgiveness?   Are you too proud to say “I am sorry” when you are wrong?  Are you too proud to speak and associate with certain brethren?  Are you too proud to associate with those who are below you?  Are you too proud to forgive those who sin against you?  Are you too proud to teach the Gospel to the lost, the homosexual, the alcoholic, the prostitute, in a few words those who practice lawlessness? Is pride taking control over your life? Be honest and answer those questions and repent accordingly!

May we cultivate meekness and exercise humility rather than pride and arrogance.  May we humble ourselves before God and others that He may exalt us.  May we serve, honor, respect, and learn from one another with humility and meekness of heart.  May we never under any circumstances allow pride to cause us to sin against God and others.  May we have a humble and meek heart to admit our weaknesses, sinfulness, and unprofitableness and repent of them.

Luci


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