Pride and Humility

March 31, 2014

Pride and Humility

Zephaniah 3:11-13
In that day shalt thou not be ashamed for all thy doings, wherein thou hast transgressed against me: for then I will take away out of the midst of thee them that rejoice in thy pride, and thou shalt no more be haughty because of my holy mountain. I will also leave in the midst of thee an afflicted and poor people, and they shall trust in the name of the LORD. The remnant of Israel shall not do iniquity, nor speak lies; neither shall a deceitful tongue be found in their mouth: for they shall feed and lie down, and none shall make [them] afraid.

Pride is the arrogance of man usurping the place of God. Psalms 10:4 says, “The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek [after God]: God [is] not in all his thoughts.” What is the place of God in our lives? Isn’t it to be in every pattern of thinking, demonstrated in our motives and revealed in our actions? Every place in our lives that we rob and exclude from God becomes a place of pride. Pride is our self -exaltation over the will and mind of God. Sometimes we have taken pride to the other extreme of being self-abasing. Declaring how worthless and evil we are and how we don’t deserve God for He could never love someone like me. We have declared God a liar because we have taken upon ourselves such condemnation that we refuse the goodness, forgiveness and reconciliation through Christ.
Humility and meekness, the counter parts of pride, simply places our heavenly Father in the place of Lordship in all areas of our lives. If we are gifted or blessed above others in areas it is a place where God is to be exalted, not us. I think of Jesus and the potential power He had resident within Him. How destructive He could have been if He had ever let pride have place in His life. In His meekness, He was strength under control and in submission to His Father. He never had to exalt Himself for the Father affirmed and exalted Him. In His greatness He became lowly and showed himself to be the servant of men. He was not lofty and condescending even to sinners, but gently got underneath them and lifted them up in His love and truth.
The “afflicted and poor people” referred to in this scripture from Zephaniah carries the connotation that these were people who constantly saw their need and weakness outside of the Lord. They were people not so much outwardly poor and afflicted, but it spoke more of the condition of their hearts, much like Jesus addressed in the beatitudes of Matthew 5. It is an attitude that the Lord you are everything: every provision, every strength, every direction and purpose, every ability I have or can have is found in You. Without you Lord I am poor and afflicted in my own state of being.
Pride will always turn away the face of God, but humility and meekness are an open invitation to His presence. It is the condition of our heart that allows Him to be God in us and to be all that we need to be in Him. It allows Him to have His expression of love and grace through us, because we are not in the way to mire it up. This is the state of the God’s true flock and the sheep of His pasture. They know the Shepherd and are totally reliant upon Him. Thus He cares for them and makes them to lie down in His green pastures of rest. Their confidence is in their God and in Him alone.

Blessings,
#kent

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The Thunder of My Presence

October 7, 2013

The Thunder of My Presence

Job 26
1 Then Job replied: 2 “How you have helped the powerless! How you have saved the arm that is feeble!
3 What advice you have offered to one without wisdom! And what great insight you have displayed! 4 Who has helped you utter these words? And whose spirit spoke from your mouth? 5 “The dead are in deep anguish, those beneath the waters and all that live in them. 6 Death is naked before God; Destruction lies uncovered. 7 He spreads out the northern skies over empty space; he suspends the earth over nothing. 8He wraps up the waters in his clouds, yet the clouds do not burst under their weight. 9 He covers the face of the full moon, spreading his clouds over it. 10 He marks out the horizon on the face of the waters for a boundary between light and darkness. 11 The pillars of the heavens quake, aghast at his rebuke. 12 By his power he churned up the sea; by his wisdom he cut Rahab to pieces. 13 By his breath the skies became fair;
his hand pierced the gliding serpent. 14 And these are but the outer fringe of his works; how faint the whisper we hear of him!
Who then can understand the thunder of his power?”

How often do we stop and really meditate on the awesomeness of our God, how great His ways and how marvelous His acts? I marvel at God’s seemingly infinite patience with man and even myself, as I think how such a mighty and wonderful creator endures the insolence, arrogance and foolishness of man. Especially when we see how God sees mankind in Genesis 6:5 when is says, “And GOD saw that the wickedness of man [was] great in the earth, and [that] every imagination of the thoughts of his heart [was] only evil continually.” The fact that mankind still exist is a testimony to God’s incredible loving-kindness and long-suffering. How many times He must have been grieved that the creatures that he created in His own image and honored with dominion and authority over the earth would turn from Him and despise Him through their actions and their deeds. If our God had not had a plan and a vision wherein He saw the end product of what He was bringing His creation too, surely He could not have endured us.
It is incomprehensible that the very God who created the immeasurable vastness of the universe with all of its wonders, stars, constellations, planets and all that is contained therein, could care about you and me. We, who in His sight, would be less than microscopic dust in light of His great creation. Yet, He tells us that He loves us and His thoughts toward us are more than we could even recount. Psalms 40:5 tells us, “Many, O LORD my God, are the wonders you have done. The things you planned for us no one can recount to you; were I to speak and tell of them, they would be too many to declare.” Jeremiah 29:11 tells us, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” If God showed Himself to us as He did to the Children of Israel we would become as dead men in the fear and dread of His Almighty presence. Exodus 20:18 tells us about when the people had gathered before the mountain of God and He revealed His holy presence, “When the people saw the thunder and lightning and heard the trumpet and saw the mountain in smoke, they trembled with fear. They stayed at a distance.” After that, they didn’t want God speaking to them, they wanted Moses to speak to them on His behalf for the fear of Him. When we get an inkling of the Holiness of God it will make us quake and fear Him. God doesn’t want us to be afraid of Him, for He has not given us a spirit of fear, but we do need to greatly reverence and hold Him in the utmost respect. Because God’s grace has been so rich toward us many of us have in our minds and hearts reduced God to someone on our level or who is simply there for our benefit. We treat God as common and regard Him lightly. We must realize what an insult and offense this is to the Holy God that has given His all for us.
Leviticus 10 reveals how God feels about that kind of an attitude when we see what happened when the two sons of Aaron, offered up strange fire before the Lord. They decided they would do things their way, instead of His. They lost their fear of God and counted His holiness as common. It says, “Aaron’s sons Nadab and Abihu took their censers, put fire in them and added incense; and they offered unauthorized fire before the LORD, contrary to his command. 2 So fire came out from the presence of the LORD and consumed them, and they died before the LORD. 3 Moses then said to Aaron, “This is what the LORD spoke of when he said: ” ‘Among those who approach me I will show myself holy; in the sight of all the people I will be honored.’ ” Aaron remained silent.” We see a similar incident in the New Testament church in Acts 5 with Ananias with Sapphira when they lied to the Holy Spirit.
What we must realize as the people of God is that we have been called apart unto holiness and we must take very seriously the responsibility we have to sanctify ourselves before the Lord. Why? Ezekiel 39:27 tells us, “When I have brought them back from the nations and have gathered them from the countries of their enemies, I will show myself holy through them in the sight of many nations.” God has purposed us to the expression of His holiness. We can not be what He has purposed us to be until we truly see and reverence Him for who He is in the fear of the Lord. The Word tells us that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. We can be like the children of Israel and know God from a distance through the revelation of others, but if we want to know Him intimately and personally we must approach in the fear of His holiness with boldness, confidence and full assurance of faith. Jesus tells us in John 14:21 to whom He and the Father will reveal themselves, “Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.”

blessings,
kent

Clarity in the Mist

December 13, 2012

James 4:13-17
Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” 14Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” 16As it is, you boast and brag. All such boasting is evil. 17Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.

Clarity in the Mist

Like a foggy mist before the autumn trees,
It mutes the colors that I should clearly see.
As I look down the path of life and destiny,
I can only fully walk in what is revealed in front of me.

Why presumptuous mind do you rush to plan my way?
How do you know what will even happen in this day?
It is boastful and arrogant for me to declare my steps,
Only as God wills my life, so why should I worry or fret?

I will walk with You, oh Lord, day by day,
I will trust in You to order my steps and ways,
My plans must always be subject to Your mind and will.
As I walk in faith Your Spirit leads me into the real.

Even a sower sows his seed on various ground,
Your seed in me depends upon the conditions found.
The more I yield my heart to listen and pray,
The more clearly I will see how You order my life and day.
Kent Stuck

Blessings,
kent

The Folly of Pride

November 13, 2012

Deuteronomy 8:10-20
When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you. 11Be careful that you do not forget the Lord your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees that I am giving you this day. 12Otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied, when you build fine houses and settle down, 13and when your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied, 14then your heart will become proud and you will forget the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. 15He led you through the vast and dreadful desert, that thirsty and waterless land, with its venomous snakes and scorpions. He brought you water out of hard rock. 16He gave you manna to eat in the desert, something your fathers had never known, to humble and to test you so that in the end it might go well with you. 17You may say to yourself, “My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.” 18But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your forefathers, as it is today.
*19If you ever forget the Lord your God and follow other gods and worship and bow down to them, I testify against you today that you will surely be destroyed. 20Like the nations the Lord destroyed before you, so you will be destroyed for not obeying the Lord your God.

The Folly of Pride

Moses is giving us a key principle that we don’t want to forget in the light our victories, blessings, prosperity and success. All through the Old Testament we saw the people of God continually failing to keep this principle which ultimately led them to the consequences God promised them if they did in verses 19 and 20.
We are not so unlike the Israelites. Most of us have grown up with prosperity and blessing. We may not acknowledge ourselves as being rich, but in comparison to about 80 to 90 percent of the rest of the world we are considered rich and very prosperous.
Whether it is what we have inherited or the successes that we have gained through life, pride is an ever subtle enemy that we need to be mindful of. It is same subtle sin that attracted Eve in the garden, because it takes our eyes off of God and puts it upon ourselves. The things we used pray and ask God for, we now take credit for having accomplished. Suddenly and surely God is swept to the side as we step into our limousine of self glory, admiring all that “we have done and accomplished.” Now that we have arrived, we are in control and what may have started in humility is now lost in arrogance. God is lost in the background of our self-glorifying shadow.
Often our greatest danger is not in the midst of our battles, it is when we have arrived at success, having obtained our goal. Suddenly our defenses lower, our prayer and faith drop off, we’re on top of the mountain and we think we are invincible. When in truth, we are now most vulnerable, because God will no longer support and sustain us in that prideful attitude of arrogance. How quickly we can forget that without God we are nothing but weakness, frailty, poverty and failure.
Some of us have fought other kind of battles, like addictions, character flaws, poor choices and so on. We might ask the alcoholic, “Why do you still go to AA meetings since you have quit drinking and have been sober?” It because they recognize the inclination to drink and know that if they don’t remain vigilant, in a moment of weakness they can so quickly return to that cesspool of misery. That is why we must ever maintain our vigilant relationship, praise and reliance upon Father, no matter how greatly He blesses or how successful we are. If you don’t believe me ask some of the tele-evangelist of the 80’s or many a great man of God who fell into sin.
Our protection and our covering is in our abiding relationship with Jesus that doesn’t compartmentalize our life into different areas, but it all belongs to Him. We ever walk in humility and utter reliance and faith in Christ. When we step out of the identity of who we are in Christ Jesus then we become vulnerable to identity theft and the enemy is always looking for opportunity to rob it from us. His mission is to bring us down and to do so, all he has to do bring separation between us and our Lord.
Most of are quite familiar with the testing, trials and tribulations of life, but know that satan still works on the other end; in our success, triumphs and victories. That is where we are most vulnerable to folly of pride.

Blessings,
kent

Proverbs 8:13
The fear of the LORD [is] to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate.

The Stumbling Block of Pride

Pride has been the foundation stone and building block of every rebellion against the Almighty. From the rebellion of satan forward it has been the seed that has exalted itself against God and boasted in its own self. The fear of the Lord is to hate evil and much of evil derives its strength, power and presence from the pride and arrogance of self. One of the dangers of being gifted and blessed with special attributes and abilities is how easy it is to get caught in this ugly snare of pride.
I wonder how many men have approached God, but have heard nothing and received nothing because of the unrepented pride that was in their hearts. If we think that we can approach God on our terms and expect Him to respond to us then we are not only prideful, but foolish as well. How many of us have had children or seen children who approached their parents in this manner? Instead of humbling themselves in obedience and respect to their parents they came with the attitude of usurping their authority and leadership in the home. A wise parent wouldn’t give place to this kind of arrogance and manipulation on the part of child and certainly God won’t meet with us on those terms. We are to come to God on His terms, not our own. His terms are humility, a broken, contrite and repentant heart. This is the attitude of heart that God will respond too. When we are willing to take off this garment of selfishness and lay it down at the altar, then we are in a place where He can meet with us and clothe us with Himself and His vesture of righteousness. Pride is a major stumbling block to those who would desire to know God. Pride focuses our attention away from the Lord and onto us. Thus it robs us of His resources while making us dependent upon the weakness of our own strength and ablility. Many feel they are sufficient within themselves and indeed, in this world, may do well for themselves, but their faith and hope are built upon sand. Sand is a shifting and unstable foundation that will eventually give way to failure. We see Jesus as the rock of our foundation, steadfast and unmovable. He is what anchors us to the Almighty and brings us through every adversity and trial.
Sometimes we are tempted to envy the wicked, because it may seem they are enjoying the entire blessing of this life while we have inherited all of the struggles. Psalms 73 addresses these very feelings and perceptions. “1 Truly God is good to Israel, to those whose hearts are pure.2 But as for me, I almost lost my footing. My feet were slipping, and I was almost gone .3 For I envied the proud
when I saw them prosper despite their wickedness.4 They seem to live such painless lives; their bodies are so healthy and strong. 5 They don’t have troubles like other people; they’re not plagued with problems like everyone else. 6 They wear pride like a jeweled necklaceand clothe themselves with cruelty. 7 These fat cats have everythingtheir hearts could ever wish for! 8 They scoff and speak only evil;in their pride they seek to crush others. 9 They boast against the very heavens, and their words strut throughout the earth. 10 And so the people are dismayed and confused, drinking in all their words. 11 “What does God know?” they ask. “Does the Most High even know what’s happening?” 12 Look at these wicked people—enjoying a life of ease while their riches multiply. 13 Did I keep my heart pure for nothing? Did I keep myself innocent for no reason? 14 I get nothing but trouble all day long;every morning brings me pain. 15 If I had really spoken this way to others, I would have been a traitor to your people. 16 So I tried to understand why the wicked prosper. But what a difficult task it is! 17 Then I went into your sanctuary, O God, and I finally understood the destiny of the wicked. 18 Truly, you put them on a slippery path and send them sliding over the cliff to destruction. 19 In an instant they are destroyed, completely swept away by terrors. 20 When you arise, O Lord, you will laugh at their silly ideas as a person laughs at dreams in the morning. 21 Then I realized that my heart was bitter, and I was all torn up inside.22 I was so foolish and ignorant—I must have seemed like a senseless animal to you. 23 Yet I still belong to you; you hold my right hand. 24 You guide me with your counsel, leading me to a glorious destiny. 25 Whom have I in heaven but you? I desire you more than anything on earth. 26 My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever. 27 Those who desert him will perish, for you destroy those who abandon you. 28 But as for me, how good it is to be near God! I have made the Sovereign Lord my shelter, and I will tell everyone about the wonderful things you do.”
Even when God blesses us and gives good success, we must be very mindful of this crafty evil called pride. It can as easily wear a spiritual face, as it can a natural one. Pride builds us up in a false sense of security. It makes us believe we are something rather than giving the glory and the honor to the Lord who has blessed us. God is the author of every good and perfect gift, be sure that the honor and praise always returns to Him. Pride is the balloon that lifts you to ruin. Humility is branch that hangs low, laden with the fruit of God’s Spirit and life. The mountains will be brought low, but the valleys will be lifted up and the meek shall inherit the earth. If you want to find Him, lose yourself and lay down your pride.

Blessings,
kent

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