Leprosy of the heart

The story of Naaman in 2 Kings 5 is one of my favorite bible stories. It reminds me of God’s ability to heal and the dangers of walking in pride! The passage opens by telling us that Naaman was favored by the King of Syria. He had a great position and great victories BUT he was a leper.

As the story of Naaman unfolds, we see that he not only had leprosy of the skin but leprosy of the heart. What on earth am I talking about? Naaman was angry when the Prophet Elisha didn’t come out to see him and by way of his servant, told him to go dip seven times in the Jordan River. Naaman was furious because being a man with such authority, he was expecting a more honorable greeting followed by special instructions for His healing. He received neither!

Given the severity of his situation, I would think that Naaman would have immediately obeyed instead of protesting. After all, leprosy was fatal! However, the pride in His heart made Him forget about his desperate situation. Pride has a way of blinding us from what we really need. Pride can be a deliverance snatcher! Thankfully Naaman had a wise officer who encouraged him to take heed to the instruction given by the man of God and he was healed.

What is the BUT in your life, that exception, that thorn? In other words, what is the thing that is hanging over your head that seems to overshadow all the other great things that you have going on in your life? Sometimes God allows the outward “leprosy” in our life to highlight the most fatal leprosy of all…the one in our hearts. God knows how to present scenarios in our life that brings the ugliness in our hearts to the surface so that we can be healed, delivered, and freed from pride. Have you been protesting, or have you yielded to the process so that you can be healed of spiritual leprosy?

 

PRIDE: ME, MYSELF, AND I (PART 1)

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.
  • I am not thinking of others.

Where did it all begin?

  • Pride started with the devil. He wanted to be God.
  • 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.

 

Detriments of Pride.  Pride Results in the following:

  • Actively resisted by God as stated in James 4:6.
  • Read the story of Pharaoh and King Nebuchadnezzar to see what being resisted by God can look like. YIKES!
  • Being prideful can sometimes result in physical sicknesses in our bodies.
  • Never seeing a harvest from the seeds you sow.
  • I feel stuck, nothing I do seem to prosper.

Did you see yourself in any of the above description?  Click here for part two on how to combat pride by operating in humility.

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Pride: Some Symptoms and the Cure

I have a confession to make.  I don’t do well with correction, I am easily offended and I have held on to offenses a lot longer than I should. The more I go with God, the more this becomes highlighted.  I can give you many reasons and excuses as to why I am like this but the beginning and end of the story is PRIDE. Pride is great at hiding itself and has many symptoms.  However it is my desire to go deeper with God and I have been crying out for the fire of God to purge me…to cure me from this pride thing. 

As my Pastor said in one of his sermons, I struggle with being corrected when I think too much of myself.  I assume I have it all figured out.  It is also quite prideful for me to hold on to offenses when Christ has freely forgiven me.  The words of Philippians 2 has been shining the light on some dark areas in my heart.  It reminds me that I am to imitate Christ’s humility…the cure for pride.  He did not cling to His rights as God.  He emptied Himself of all His divine privileges. And how did He handle those who offended Him?  He freely gave His life so that they could be forgiven.  So that I can be forgiven. As I strife to imitate Christ I am believing that not only will I quickly release offenses but that I won’t be so easily offended.  I desire to come to a place of having “thicker skin.”  When I am more like Him, it becomes less about me so I am not always wrapped up in how they made ME feel.  I desire to have the kind of love that covers a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8). True love, true humility.

James 4:6 tells me that God resist the proud but He gives favor to the humble.  I am not at all interested in being resisted by the one who is in control.  That is a scary place to be. If I am resisted by God, all my efforts will fail.  EVERY SINGLE ONE!   So yielding to His spirit and asking to be transformed into His likeness is a no brainer for me…eternal failure is just not that appealing.

The more I spend time in God’s presence the more I see myself.  I get a different view of me, I see the real me.  His fire brings the impurities to the surface.  And while this process is humbling, it is also liberating to know that I am being transformed.  As my husband preached on yesterday, I am not interested in being a modified or stagnant Christian. I want to be TOTALLY TRANSFORMED!  I want to become a house of prayer!  So today, I am asking the Lord to deliver me from pride and all its symptoms.  How about you?

 


 

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BEING NEEDY IS NOT ALWAYS A BAD THING

 

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!