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Friday, September 16, 2016
Thursday, July 21, 2016
Initially when I thought of someone as prideful, I imagined an arrogant, boastful person whose ego was the size of Texas. That is until I read this definition of pride:
Pride is thinking too highly or too lowly of yourself, just thinking too much about yourself and not enough about God.
Wait a minute. Thinking too lowly of yourself is also prideful? Oh no. I was definitely guilty of that. I didn’t struggle with thinking I was the best, I struggled with thinking I was failure, that I wasn’t good enough. I didn’t realize that this was also prideful thinking because it took my focus off of God and onto myself.
We can see pride evident right from the beginning in the garden of Eden with Eve's deception in Genesis 3:1-6. My pastor, Jim Samra, wrote a paper on pride and humility. He says this about Eve
“Of course Eve’s pride is ultimately arrogance. She is in effect saying that she knows better than God what is good for her. But the arrogant aspects of pride are beneath the surface. Eve doesn’t think of herself as more powerful than God. She shows no signs of what we would consider a haughty, arrogant and boastful person. Yet it is still pride. She has no room for God in her thoughts.”
How often do our thoughts drift from God onto ourselves? It happens more often than I would like to admit. This drifting away from God brings us to a prideful place allowing other sins to manifest themselves from this root of pride. It can manifest itself in many different forms like
comparisons, competition, mocking, blaming, ingratitude, bitterness, complaining, manipulation, outbursts of anger, revenge, defensiveness, lack of concern for others, despising authority, selfish ambition, harshness, impatience, perfectionism, and judgementalism.
That is some kind of list. I don't know about you but I unfortunately found myself struggling with more categories than I want to admit. So if pride is thinking too much about yourself, what is humility then if it’s not thinking lowly of yourself?
If pride is thinking too much about ourselves and not enough about God, then humility is thinking about God and ourselves only in relatioin to God. Therefore, the ultimate expression of humility is “not my will but yours be done”. -Samra
When Jesus wants to teach His disciples about humility he shares this parable. Let’s look at this passage through the lens of humility and see what we discover.
7 When he noticed how the guests picked the places of honor at the table, he told them this parable: 8 “When someone invites you to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor, for a person more distinguished than you may have been invited. 9 If so, the host who invited both of you will come and say to you, ‘Give this person your seat.’ Then, humiliated, you will have to take the least important place. 10 But when you are invited, take the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he will say to you, ‘Friend, move up to a better place.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all the other guests. 11 For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
In other words, humility is taking the seat assigned to you whether it’s the best seat or the worst seat. It’s accepting the seat which God, in His infinite wisdom, has chosen for you. Therefore, to be humble is to be content in God’s arms, to know that God’s will is better than ours.
I struggled a lot with failure. But I was measuring my success and failure based on the worlds standards, not on God’s. When my path has taken unexpected twists and turns resulting in trials I didn’t want, I was challenged to ask not “God why is this happening to me” but instead “God, what do you want me to teach me in and through this situation?” By asking this question, I discovered that my success or failure in life was not based on how well someone else thought I did or how well I thought I did, but rather on whether or not I was faithful to the assignment God had given me. Even when that assignment meant walking through the trials and suffering of an eating disorder.
Beloved, our God is a good God who has your best interest in mind. He longs to heal you and set you free which often requires trials and suffering in order to cleanse us from the sin in which we are so easily entangled. Put your hope and trust in Him. He is faithful to complete the work He starts. All He needs is a willing spirit that is focused on God instead of self. Are you willing to surrender yourself to Him today?
Tuesday, July 5, 2016
Tuesday, May 10, 2016
When I think of someone who struggles with discontentment, I think of that person in my life who complains about everything? Nothing seems to please them and they see the world in a glass half empty kind of way? Just being around that person can suck the joy out of life.
But discontentment stretches beyond someone who complains. It also describes someone who has a restless desire for something they do not have and those matters are often hidden deep in their heart. Maybe they long for their body to look differently. Maybe they long for a better marriage. Maybe they long for a better boss or a better job. Maybe they long to feel appreciated and accepted.
Whatever it may be, they aren't content with the way things are. Therefore they struggle to live in the present because they are either longing for the way things were or longing for things to be a certain way in the future. They argue that if things were different, then they would be able to find contentment.
Friends, discontentment HARBORS things and contentment UNLOCKS things. When we continue to be dissatisfied with our lives, we leave the door open for satan to infect us with things like fear, anxiety, worry, unforgiveness, and bitterness. Whereas when we CHOOSE to be content in "all circumstances" (1 Thessalonians 5:18) (and it is a choice) we open the door to allow GOD to bring joy, hope, peace, faith, trust, and forgiveness into our lives.
Matthew 6:25-26 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns and yet your heavenly Father feed them. Are you not much more valuable than they?”
I don't know about you but being content in all circumstances seems like a pretty tall order. How can we switch our focus? PRAISE. When you praise God and thank Him despite of what you are going through, something shifts inside of you. You can remain negative and praise the LORD at the same time.
No matter what each day brings, we have a choice: we can focus on how hard things are and how we wish they were different leaving us filled with anxiety and despair. OR we can focus on who God is and what He promises us because regardless of our circumstances, our God doesn't change. He is who He say He is and He will do what He says He will do.
What if we took a radical approach in our prayer life when we are faced with a difficult situations. Instead of complaining about all the parts we wish God would change. What if we asked God what He wanted to teach us in our situation? What if God has something for us to learn or way for us to grow closer to Him? What if this is an opportunity for us to grow our faith and trust in Him?
I challenge you with whatever you are facing today, to surrender it to the LORD
Further Reading: Dwarfed by Discontentment by Vickie Kraft https://bible.org/seriespage/lesson-15-dwarfed-discontentment