Archives For pride

I heard Pastor Craig Groeschel say in a recent message, “When emotions are high, wisdom is low.” How true. When we let our emotions rule the day, we are destined to say or do something we will regret. Nowhere is this more evident than in our conversations with other people. Too often we find ourselves being criticized for something or we are the ones doing the criticizing. Criticism is a cancer that should be eradicated from the life of every follower of Jesus. Our default interaction with anyone should be that of encouragement (Ephesians 4:29-32).

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Humans, as a rule, love to criticize. Whether from a place of pride or as an act of defense, criticism spills from our lips easily and without warning. Scripture contains many warnings against using criticism, but we have either forgotten or perhaps choose to ignore those parts of God’s Word.

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Jeremy Camp has written a song titled, “The Same Power”. It reminds us the same power that raised Jesus from the grave lives in us. How often do we live as if this is true? We spend our days trying to solve problems in our own strength. We never want to be seen as incapable or weak. Our image often seems to be our primary concern. Jesus said He is glorified through our weakness. Indeed, it is only when we humble ourselves enough to say we can’t do it on our own that His power is allowed to manifest itself in our lives.

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He longs to fill and equip us with His strength but gives us the option to accept it or not. He leaves it up to us to decide if we will call upon the power residing within us through His Spirit, or choose to attempt to conquer this world on our own.

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We are not, by nature, a humble people. We desire to be praised and honored. At times, we even seek it. At the very least, we maintain a deep and sometimes hidden desire to be recognized and known. Our tendency to pursue selfish pleasures over the needs of others is rampant. God forgive us for having our focus on ourselves instead of others. Forgive us for not keeping our eyes on You.

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Our preoccupation with self is destroying our lives, our purpose, and our sense of peace. If we would put Jesus first in our lives, if we would live lives looking like Him, we would be fulfilled and joyful. Alas, we are not a humble people. Humility seems to always lay just beyond our grasp.

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Each of our lives is telling a story. There’s the one we think we are telling, and the one actually being told. No matter what story we have led ourselves to believe we are telling, the way we live will tell the truth about who we are. God is the Author and Creator of all life, but He has given us the freedom to write our own story. What story we tell is up to us.

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We can’t dictate every circumstance, but we can decide how we respond to whatever comes our way. The trouble is, we tend to not be able to see the forest for the trees. We tell ourselves our life is telling one story, when in truth, it is saying nothing of the sort.

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Why do we sin? Perhaps if we could understand why we sin, we could begin to limit how often we do it. My experience has shown me all sin can be traced back to either selfishness or pride. We want what we want and we want it now. We want what we want regardless of whether it is pleasing to God or beneficial to our spiritual walk. What’s going on here is indicative of both selfishness and pride.

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We determine our personal desires are more important than God’s plans for us. This is the height of arrogance and pride. In essence, we are telling God we know better than He does. Our selfishness causes us to focus on ourselves instead of on God.

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We are prideful people. Each of us, even if we don’t want to admit it. Every sin proves our pride. Every time we sin, we had the choice not to sin. We knew what was God’s way, what was right, but we decided to do what we wanted to do anyway. In effect we are saying we know what is better for us than God does. And in that moment we have made ourselves to be God.

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We have exalted our will above His. We’ve all done it, and often every day. It’s how I know we are all prideful people because I know we all sin. Before you get too down on yourself, know there is hope for our predicament. There is a cure for pride.

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What does it mean to love God? The question may seem too obvious or simple to people who consider themselves to be Christians. Of course we love God; it’s the entire point of being a Christian, right? While that’s true, I’ve observed many who simply pay lip service to the notion of loving God. What does it mean to love God and what does it look like as we live it out in our day to day lives?

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To love God means we have no other desire for our lives than to do His will. We no longer have any desire outside of Him. It can sound a bit over the top or impossible to achieve, but if our lives are truly devoted to Him, this is what it means to love God.

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A.W. Tozer once said that “The proud man cannot worship God any more than the proud devil can worship God.” Pride is a relationship killer. When we love someone, we make everything about them. Pride makes everything about us. The only relationship that thrives in the midst of pride is the narcissistic one we have with ourselves.  If we would follow Christ with all of our hearts then we must love as He did (John 15:12). We must be humble as He was. There is no room for pride in our relationship with God. We’ve got to let go of every feeling of self-sufficiency and rely fully on His character and promise of provision (Matthew 6:25-34).

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I have been neglecting Jesus in areas of my life. My own selfishness has been getting in the way. These are not joyful realizations or comfortable words to share, but they are the truth. It is so easy to be self-absorbed within our own lives. Seeking Jesus first is more than getting up early to read the Bible and pray. It’s a life- long commitment to the way we live every second of every minute of our lives. Everything we think, say, and do must be done within the framework of serving and honoring Jesus. There is nothing we possess – be it material goods or personal skills – that did not come from God. He gave us everything. The only way to honor such immense blessings is to give them all back to Him.

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