Proverbs 16:18-20 (Message)
First pride, then the crash—the bigger the ego, the harder the fall. It’s better to live humbly among the poor than to live it up among the rich and famous. It pays to take life seriously; things work out when you trust in God.
Just when I think I have a handle on my flesh and about the time I feel that I have dominated my sinful nature, something happens that makes me realize it’s still in there. Not only is it still in me but alive and well in its battle against the Spirit-woman that God is making. I take pride in my work. I strive to work as unto the Lord but sometimes I catch myself glorying in my own successes. First pride and then the crash. It’s like sugar shock. You get all amped up on candy or some other sugar-filled treat and then it drops you like an old flame. Your head hurts and the burst of sudden energy gone. I have found that over the last few years as I have tried to eliminate overly sweet and sugar-filled foods opting for more healthy choices that it takes less sugar to send me soaring and the decent is much more aggressive. A couple small bags of candy a couple weeks ago with maybe ten tiny rounds of sugar made my hyper until my system was through processing it and then my head was pounding with just two single servings. What happen to the metabolism that would eat candy throughout stressful days chased down by soft drinks? I am a new creation. I have been making better nutritional choices while incorporating exercise in my new lifestyle. Now when my body encounters those bad choices from my past, it is quicker to respond to them. My spirit self should be the same way. As I grow in Christ and develop a lifestyle of righteousness, when I do fall down or become subject to my sinful nature it should produce a response. I want to be proactive. I want to stay on top of the sin in my life to effectively deal with it and send it flowing in the Blood of Christ far from my everyday existence. This week I was slighted at work which in the past would have sent me into a tirade, but this time only a mini fit. I became frustrated and indignant at the “gross” misconduct of another that looking back may or may not have been an oversight on this person’s part. However, my flesh rose up within me with the usual gasp followed by “how-dare-they” deep inside and then it happened. Pride rose its ugly head overtaking my Spirit-woman to give way to the “flesh-monster” inside. It was not pretty. I am shocked that it was still in there.
Growing in Jesus Christ is just that a growth and maturation process. A life that is not constantly evolving and changing to be more like the Lord is dying on the vine. (John 15:5-8) Apart from Christ we can do nothing. Our sinful nature will always be hostile toward God. He is the reason for its death. Even the strongest Christian will struggle with pride from time to time, but we must not allow it to live in our life or it becomes our destruction. I must choose to allow my flesh to die day by day and assist in the process.
Isaiah 2:11-17 (Message)
People with a big head are headed for a fall, pretentious egos brought down a peg. It’s God alone at front-and-center on the Day we’re talking about, The Day that God-of-the-Angel-Armies is matched against all big-talking rivals, against all swaggering big names; against all giant sequoias hugely towering, and against the expansive chestnut; against Kilimanjaro and Annapurna, against the ranges of Alps and Andes; against every soaring skyscraper, against all proud obelisks and statues; against ocean-going luxury liners, against elegant three-masted schooners. The swelled big heads will be punctured bladders, the pretentious egos brought down to earth, leaving God alone at front-and-center on the Day we’re talking about.
In God’s Great Generosity, He has allowed humanity to choose the “god” they will serve. Who have we chosen to serve? Is it God who we cannot see, feel, or touch in our present state according to natural senses? Or is it the god of man who is self? Even those who have called on the Name of Jesus Christ and verbally committed to serving Him with all the body, heart and mind struggle in this area? Why? The sinful nature is real and credible. It is the driving force of every basic drive that we have until we crucify the flesh to follow Jesus Christ straight to God the Father. With this as our only defense, we do not see the enormity of God and His Power so we do identify God as the driving force of our life. He is God. Big Deal! I know, I know – I am the only one who ever loses sight at just how big and powerful God is. Indulge me in this moment of solitude as I admit that I forget sometimes that God is sovereign and my opinion doesn’t really matter when it comes to God’s Will for me. God is always good. His Plan is always better than my own. It’s a little thing called pride that gets the best of us and we forget just how awesome our God is. We do not focus our life on Him. Out of sight. Out of mind.
I John 2:15-17 (Message)
Don’t love the world’s ways. Don’t love the world’s goods. Love of the world squeezes out love for the Father. Practically everything that goes on in the world—wanting your own way, wanting everything for yourself, wanting to appear important—has nothing to do with the Father. It just isolates you from him. The world and all its wanting, wanting, wanting is on the way out—but whoever does what God wants is set for eternity.
Pride causes the need for the Law. Humility comes in the revelation that we are incapable of maintaining God’s Glorious Standard of Living. (Romans 3:23) But our sinful flesh tries to tell us that we don’t have to do what God says because of grace. His Spirit living inside me reminds me that it is because of His Grace I am free to follow Him including His Word that tells me how to live. Pride is a natural reaction. Humility is a supernatural response to the magnitude of God and His Proximity in our life. My best intentions never seem to turn out for the best. (Romans 7:17-20) I struggle to do the right thing and represent the Lord effectively. But the more I try to do the right thing, the less successful that I seem to be. Paul and I are partners in this quest. But when I take my eyes off Jesus and begin to focus on myself, I lose my way just like the other day. Suddenly, my job became more important than submission, servanthood and humility. My pride was bruised and I reacted to the insult. I took offense. Offense is a pride response always! It means that we have disconnected our expectation from Christ alone and given it to someone else. Ouch! Ouch! Ouch! My aching toes…
Mark 7:21-23 (Message)
He went on: “It’s what comes out of a person that pollutes: obscenities, lusts, thefts, murders, adulteries, greed, depravity, deceptive dealings, carousing, mean looks, slander, arrogance, foolishness—all these are vomit from the heart. There is the source of your pollution.”
Pride and arrogance is considered “vomit from the heart.” Oh my word… from the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. God help me not to harbor pride and arrogance in my heart today. I give my life to you. I want the desires of my heart to align with your promises not the people and problems around me. I take back my expectation from them and lay it all at your feet where I lay face down from this fall! Pride always lands us flat on our face – but humility prepare us for honors. (Proverbs 29:23) We must listen to our words today and every day. They should reflect our Savior and Lord – Jesus Christ. If we talk more about us than Jesus, our heart is vomiting arrogance and pride again. When we are more concerned with being honored than honoring the One who is worthy – it is time to clean up our act.
Galatians 5:16-18 (Message)
My counsel is this: Live freely, animated and motivated by God’s Spirit. Then you won’t feed the compulsions of selfishness. For there is a root of sinful self-interest in us that is at odds with a free spirit, just as the free spirit is incompatible with selfishness. These two ways of life are antithetical, so that you cannot live at times one way and at times another way according to how you feel on any given day. Why don’t you choose to be led by the Spirit and so escape the erratic compulsions of a law-dominated existence?
Are you thankful for His Grace today? I am. I need it more and more each day as I come to realize no matter how far I have come in my walk with Jesus, there is so much further to go. I have been set free from being held captive by my flesh to become a new creation. From time to time my flesh will wage a war in its defense, the Spirit and Truth must deal harshly with it in order for me to remain free! Self-interest and personal agendas are not the fruits of God’s Sprit but personal investments that yield no real gain. God’s Spirit will produce in us that which makes us fruitful in this life and ready for Eternity. (Galatians 5:22-23) Lord, help me to focus on the Fruit of the Spirit today as my flesh lay slowly dying. Fortify my faith in your provision, protection, promotion, productivity and prosperity for my life. Guard my hope so it remains secure in You and only You never looking to self for any kind of future. Lord forgive me for my sinful nature as it is always hostile towards you. Less of me and more of you today God until I am all gone and only you remain!
Ephesians 2:1-6 (Message)
It wasn’t so long ago that you were mired in that old stagnant life of sin. You let the world, which doesn’t know the first thing about living, tell you how to live. You filled your lungs with polluted unbelief, and then exhaled disobedience. We all did it, all of us doing what we felt like doing, when we felt like doing it, all of us in the same boat. It’s a wonder God didn’t lose his temper and do away with the whole lot of us. Instead, immense in mercy and with an incredible love, he embraced us. He took our sin-dead lives and made us alive in Christ. He did all this on his own, with no help from us! Then he picked us up and set us down in highest heaven in company with Jesus, our Messiah.