Whenever my children do something wrong, they go into hiding. I have been guilty of having the same response with my heavenly father. When I allow my anger to get the best of me and I snap on those I love and speak hurtful words, I am left feeling ashamed and condemned. My hiding sometimes comes in the form of an avoidance of prayer. However, I am so thankful for the truth of 1 John 1:9, that reminds me that when I come out of hiding and come with a repentant heart, God is willing to forgive and cleanse me.
As I read through Genesis 3, I realize that this hiding game started with my first parents, Adam and Eve. When they ate of the forbidden fruit, they hid from the Lord and attempted to cover their nakedness with fig leaves, an itchy choice (Genesis 3:7-9). Their attempts at covering themselves was futile. But how often do we respond in the same way when we have sinned? We may try to cover ourselves after sinning by performing outward acts such as giving more, or listening to gospel music. These acts do not deal with the sin that is in our hearts and our need to repent. Genesis 3:21 mentions that God covered Adam and Eve with animal skin. In order for them to have the proper covering, an innocent animal was killed and it’s blood was shed. This is a foreshadowing of what Jesus; the spotless lamb of God did for you and I on the cross so that our sins could be forgiven. Hebrews 9:22 reminds us, that without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin.
My question to you is, have you sinned and instead of coming clean, you have gone into hiding? Have you been hiding by lying to make yourself appear in an innocent light? Perhaps you are trying to avoid the people of God. The enemy knows that if he isolates us, he can devour us. Sometimes when we sin we avoid going to church because we do not like the idea of being accountable to anyone. While accountability is not always comfortable, it helps to keep us on the straight and narrow. Hebrews 10:25 reminds us that we are not to forsake coming together with the saints of God. No matter what you have done, if you come out of hiding and come to God with a repentant heart, He will forgive you! The choice is yours. Make the right one while there is still time.
Get off the throne and get on the altar! Oftentimes in our lives we make the choice to become our own boss and we struggle with relinquishing control to God. Our lust for control makes us allergic to surrender and submission to Him. We are our own kings and queens, our own Lords, we sit on the throne. But for us to succeed we must do otherwise. We must get off the throne and throw ourselves on the altar. On the altar we become living sacrifices and the fire of God burns away all of the impurities. Holiness is then embraced and seen as a privilege and not a burden. On the altar, our prayer, even in seasons of difficulty is, “not my will but your will be done.” A body that remains on the altar is one that has been spiritually conditioned to carry the weight of their cross daily and follow Jesus, no matter the distance, no matter the sacrifice. When we remain on the altar, we can find joy in tribulation as opposed to snuggling up with the devil and having a pity party. Failure is always guaranteed when we try to reverse roles. The created is to remain on the altar looking up to the loving creator who is seated on His throne. Which place have you been occupying, throne or the altar?
Please visit this page to read part one of my sermon notes on pride. Today I would like to share part two on how to break free from the chain of pride by operating in humility.
Combat Pride by Operating in humility.
Humility is not about being a doormat. It is also not about the outward appearance or saying the right words to make you appear humble. It cannot be fabricated. Humility is a posture of the heart. You are confident in who you are in Christ and can operate in boldness. However you are aware that you are totally inadequate without God.
I must be willing to imitate Christ’s humility and not think of myself as better than others, or think of myself too much.
I can’t imitate Jesus unless I have spent time with Him in prayer and studied Him through His word. I must also incorporate fasting to bring my flesh under subjection to the will and ways of God.
Praying: In prayer, Jesus shines the light on areas of pride in my life and the transformation process can begin as I surrender. The more I come to the light the more the darkness of my heart is revealed. This is not meant to turn me away or make me feel bad. It is intended to make me cry out to the Lord in prayer asking to be cleansed. Lack of a prayer life is a sign of pride. When I don’t take the time to pray or don’t think it is important, I am indirectly saying I don’t see a need for God. “I can do life all by myself, I don’t need His guidance, His protection, His wisdom, I GOT THIS!”
STUDYING THE WORD OF GOD: the word is a template of how we should be, it shows us ourselves. It shows us how we should respond. Reading the word gives us examples of how to operate in humility. Read the story of John the Baptist in John chapter 3. Read of how he (John the Baptist) tells his jealous disciples that his joy is made full because the spotlight is taken off of Him and put on Jesus, which was the entire point of his existence…a forerunner for Jesus. Read of John’s humility and his willingness to decrease that Jesus could increase. When I read this, I am challenged to cry out for my flesh to be put to death so that Jesus can increase in me.
FASTING-kills the flesh. We must incorporate fasting into our lives. Perhaps you are not able to fast for an entire week or a day. How about starting with just one meal?
Humility in Action
Humility is being ok with the spotlight being on someone else. I don’t have to be the center of attention.
I am confident in who God has called me to be so I can encourage you to move forward in your gifts. I don’t feel the need to compete with anyone.
I am able to build others up from a sincere heart.
I am thinking about others, looking out for their best interest. I am willing to serve my brothers and sisters in Christ, not EXPECTING ANYTHING IN RETURN!
I am actively looking for ways to use my gift to build up the body of Christ and not my name. I spend time to perfect the gifts that God has given me and I use them with great confidence and boldness. My number one mission is to bring glory to God.
I am freed from people pleasing. I am able to say NO when necessary without feeling bad about it or worrying about what you think of me. With humility, my focus is on pleasing Jesus, not man.
I don’t make others feel bad about saying no to my requests. I respect the boundaries of others.
I am willing to sincerely apologize when I know I am wrong, regardless of who I have offended.
I do not show partiality. I treat the homeless and the rich with the same amount of love and respect.
Benefits of Operating in Humility
The scripture tells us that God gives grace to the humble. Grace is simply favor that I don’t deserve or didn’t earn.
Grace to have a peace of mind in the midst of chaos
Grace for provisions that goes above what you need
Grace to receive forgiveness when you are willing to acknowledge your wrong.. Read the story of the thief on the cross.
Grace for your life to be turned around from being an enemy of God to be used mightily by Him. Read the story of the Apostle Paul.
Closing Thoughts: The victory over pride is not as easy as saying a prayer once and being done with it. It is a continuous battle, pride is always a temptation because of our human frailty. Don’t try to fight pride on your own. There is a great level of humility required to admit and expose pride. That’s the starting point.
If you are struggling in a particular area, pray and ask the Lord to connect you with a brother or sister in the Lord that you can share your struggle with. The scriptures tells us that we are to confess our faults to one another and it also tells us that we are to pray for each other (James 5:16). Be willing to let your guards down and be held accountable by someone that loves the Lord.
BREAK FREE FROM THE PRISON OF PRIDE AND WALK THE ROAD TO HUMILITY, GRACE AWAITS YOU AS YOU TAKE THE JOURNEY!
I was blessed to be the speaker at my church yesterday. 2015 has been a great year for me. No I didn’t receive a million dollars but I received some MAJOR DELIVERANCE (and yes I am still a work in progress). The Lord opened my eyes to the MANY ways I struggled with pride and He then showed me ways to walk in humility. Below are part 1 of my sermon notes, I pray it blesses you.
What is pride?
Consumed with myself.
I am always looking out for my best interest.
Pride often asks, what’s in it for me?
All roads must lead back to ME! It’s all about me, myself and I.
I become my own “god.” I am more confident in myself than I am in God, so I take matters in my own hands.
He got Eve in the same way in Genesis 3..”eat of this fruit, and you will be like God knowing both good and evil. He appealed to her pride.
It is always easier to see pride in others. We often struggle with seeing it in ourselves.
I KNOW I AM PRIDEFUL IF:
I don’t receive correction from others. I scoff at wise counsel and don’t think much of prophetic words that bring correction. A prideful person will often make comments, “God can speak to me directly, I don’t need to hear from you!” While it is true that God speaks to His people directly, He also speaks to us through others.
I am often correcting others but I do not like to be corrected. A prideful person is always the teacher but never the student.
If you show me my faults, I become overly sensitive and offended because I think I am exempt from being corrected.
I often have a rebuttal. A prideful person will often listen to what you have to say and after you are done talking she may say, “I hear what you are saying BUT…” My pride convinces me that I have all the correct answers. Sometimes it is wise to just listen and not always have a response. When I am quiet long enough I can learn a thing or two.
It is always everyone else fault, I am never guilty.
I am overly critical of others and I am self-righteous. I often point out what others are doing wrong and how I can do it better.
I make comments such as, “oh I am a private person that’s why I don’t share my business with people. I was taught to keep my dirty laundry in the house.” I am very vague when I ask for prayer. I rarely give details because I don’t want you to know my business. Sometimes this is being overly concerned with projecting a good image to others. Prideful people don’t like the idea of being accountable to others so they don’t share areas of struggle.
I can connect with God by myself I don’t need the body of Christ. Again this is putting more confidence in myself; I have this all figured out. I DON’T NEED ANYONE’S HELP…not even God. This is faulty and unbiblical thinking. God created us for community, not to be an island. Jesus the son of God did not do life on His own, He had twelve disciples.
If I minister to someone, I want her to mention my name when she gives her testimony. I want her to acknowledge how I helped her. IT’S ABOUT ME, NOT GOD!
I am always looking for how I fit into the story that is being told. If someone is being honored, promoted, or doing well, do you I look for ways to get the credit? I want the person getting the attention to make mention of how I helped, how I gave and all I sacrificed so that she can be where she is today. For the prideful person, it’s not about the individual being honored or about what God has done in her, it is about ME! I have had to be very mindful of this as a parent. The Lord has shown me how I try to get recognition for my children’s success as opposed to giving Him the glory. Am I focused on making a name for myself, or am I focused on making God’s name famous?
I hesitate to speak well of others who are excelling in the same gifts I have because I am afraid they may steal my thunder.
I am often looking for feedback telling me how wonderful I am when I minister and get mad when I don’t receive it.
I am a people pleaser. When I am focused on pleasing others, it is because I want them to have a great impression of me. I say yes when the answer should be no because I want you to think highly of me. It is not about having a heart of service or being a blessing to others, it’s about MY IMAGE. I want you to think highly of me, so I aim to please.
I am jealous. If I see God promoting and blessing someone with the same gift I have I struggle with rejoicing with them. Why? I am secretly thinking, I pray better, I serve better, I cook better, I sing better, I am a better teacher, I have more revelation than they do…how did they get there before me? I don’t embrace 1 Corinthians 12:2626 :if one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored, all the parts are glad.
I am impatient. I want what I want when I want it. I often whine asking God, “Why haven’t you answered this prayer, do you know who I am God, I shouldn’t have to wait for anything? As a matter of fact, I got it all figured out and there is no need for me to go through a waiting process. I will run ahead of you God…we all know how that story ends, don’t we?
I am unwilling to get over the past. I am angry at God because of what I went through. I am constantly rehearsing how I was done wrong, and all I did not deserve. Pride blinds me and causes me to focus on the injustice instead of magnifying how God has redeemed my life from destruction.
I am unwilling to forgive. It’s ok for me to be forgiven but I don’t think too much of you so you are not worthy of my forgiveness. ”
Jesus is moved by our humility. We all have needs but pride can hinder us from coming to God to meet those needs. I was so blessed when I reread the story of Blind Bartimaes from Mark 10:46-52. There are many lessons we can learn from this blind beggar. Take a listen and I pray this blesses you.
Some days I am tempted to nominate, second, and approve myself as wife and mother of the year. On these days my activities go as planned, the new recipe I tried for dinner was a winner and all is well and I think, “I GOT THIS.” BUT these days are few and far between. Recently an older cousin stayed with me for a few days. She was such a blessing and she helped me to realize how much I needed help. Being needy in this case is not a bad thing. The old adage no man is an island is so true. God did not design us to go at it alone. On his earthly tour, Jesus, the son of God had 12 disciples. What makes me think that God is expecting me to do this alone? I am slowly recognizing that I don’t have to be supermom and that it is ok to ask for and receive help. This admittance takes a great level of vulnerability and humility. Pride tries to convince me that being needy is for the weak. It whispers, “you are smart enough, strong enough, no one can do it like you can.” But it is true, God does resist the proud but gives grace to the humble (James 4:6). And believe me when I say I am in desperate need of God’s grace.
This mindset of asking for help also applies to our walk with God. None of us have to fight the devil by ourselves. Perhaps you are struggling in a certain area but don’t want to admit it to anyone. Purpose in your heart that you will not let pride cause you to carry the same baggage into 2014. Build relationships with godly people, ask for prayer, let down your guards and confess your sins to another (James 5:16.). It brings healing and liberation!