Many people think of pride as someone who thinks they are better than those around them. People focus on the “chest beating” pride that is the most outwardly evident form. The dangerous kinds of pride are the less obvious types. These are self-reliance and self-focus. All pride drives us away from God and opens up a foot-hold for the deceiver. God opposed the proud, but gives grace to the humble. (James 4:6) Pride is the reason the devil was cast out of heaven and is the source of all sin. The pride of the deceiver is what causes him to oppose God and oppose those who serve God here on earth. Any pride that you hold is a connection to the nature of satan and a barrier to closeness with the Lord.
It is human nature to try and do things for ourselves in our own way. We drift from reliance on God. This sinful nature draws us into a life soiled by pain, frustration, and worry. We feel out of place and unsettled as we try and mask the missing peace with worldly pleasures through more self-reliance. These earthly “band-aides” leave us deeper in despair. Someone who lives in self-reliance builds a house with no foundation. When they fall there is no limit to the depths of that trouble.
On the other hand, we can fight that nature. We can rely on God. He desires us to rely on His provision and designed us to walk in reliance on Him. We were designed for a purpose and God wants us to walk in His light. If we follow the path of God we a fulfilled and at peace in our journey through life. We draw closer to God in reliance on Him and the deceiver loses his ability to draw on the pride that causes self-reliance. God calls us to humility and submission so that He can lead us in the peace and joy found in Him.
Humans are selfish by nature. From birth we think only of ourselves. The dangerous position of self-focus causes many things that create deep turmoil in our live. This kind of pride is the source of anxiety, depression, anger, unforgiveness, etc. It’s sad to see the world turn to medication over God. When we think the world revolves around us or that we deserve more than we do, we fall victim to pride. We are anxious when we think we can control the things around us. We get depressed when we don’t get what we feel we should or feel the way we want. Anger occurs when we feel wronged because we don’t deserve undesired treatment or belong in a certain situation. We have trouble forgiving when we want additional attention for the wrong we perceive. All of those situations find their source in personal opinions on what we think should be true.
We have to turn to God and realize our mission on earth is to serve the growth of His kingdom and to glorify Him as His image bearers. The world owes us nothing. We have no control over the outcomes when God is in control. People are not focused on how we are affected by their actions because their fallenness causes them to be self-focused. It’s not our job to hold anyone accountable for the pride that we can now recognize. We must show them what humility looks like as they continue to walk in pride. Their escape from the prison of pride is between them and God. Focus on God and His plans. Focus on your involvement in His kingdom and turn away from the temptation to make any situation revolve around you.
The most dangerous part of pride is that pride keeps us from seeing the pride in ourselves and others. We cannot admit the existence of our pride because our pride will not allow it. That is the reason why, even in the eyes of defeat, the devil cannot admit to himself that he cannot defeat God. People cannot see their own pride so you cannot call out their flaw. You must be an image bearer of humility and love that draws them to God’s peace that radiates from you. If you read this and find pride in your heart, you can thank God for that revelation and know that He personally is calling you out of the darkness of sin. You cannot see your own pride without the humility God gives you. The cycle of pride requires Godly intervention to break. Thank God for His continued work in and through you. Love others in their fallenness and draw close to God who loves you too much to lose you to pride, the source of all sin.
He (Saul) waited seven days, the time appointed by Samuel. But Samuel did not come …, and the people were scattering from him. So Saul said, “Bring the burnt offering here to me, and the peace offerings.” And he offered the burnt offering. As soon as he had finished offering the burnt offering, behold, Samuel came. And Saul went out to meet him and greet him. Samuel said, “What have you done?” And Saul said, “When I saw that the people were scattering from me, and that you did not come within the days appointed, and that the Philistines had mustered … I said, ‘Now the Philistines will come down against me …, and I have not sought the favor of the Lord.’ So I forced myself, and offered the burnt offering.” And Samuel said to Saul, “You have done foolishly. You have not kept the command of the Lord your God, with which he commanded you. For then the Lord would have established your kingdom over Israel forever. But now your kingdom shall not continue. (1 Samuel 13:8-14a)
Saul falls victim to temptations we all face in our Christian walk. As soon as circumstances developed in a way that he did not like he took matters into his own hands. He was impatient when Samuel didn’t come when expected, he was discouraged when all of his men had scattered, and he lost focus of God’s direction when his focus shifted toward the army mustering against him. He made the decision to trust in his own power over the power of God found through obedience. God had a plan for Saul to rule as long as he was obedient to God’s rule over His chosen people. If you will fear the Lord and serve him and obey his voice and not rebel against the commandment of the Lord, and if both you and the king who reigns over you will follow the Lord your God, it will be well. But if you will not obey the voice of the Lord, but rebel against the commandment of the Lord, then the hand of the Lord will be against you and your king. (1 Samuel 12:14-15) But his self-sufficiency led him away from God and bypassed the plans for his prosperity.
No battle will ever be complete unless it is won through God. Our human efforts leave trouble incomplete. It is why we find ourselves in struggles repeatedly. If we submit our plans and allow God to fight for us He will bring those troubles to completion where we would continually fight and grow weary. Don’t let the circumstances you see pull you away from what God’s will. Don’t let an impatient soul drive you forward while God is setting up the victory for you. Walk with God as He develops a victory that glorifies Him and His provision for you. Let God’s timing lead you and find rest in the anticipation of the upcoming victory. Die to yourself daily and establish Jesus as your Lord. Give control top the Creator and Sustainer of the universe. Let the plan He has for you exceed your wildest dreams and destroy forever your biggest fears.
Let no one disqualify you, insisting on asceticism and worship of angels, going on in detail about visions, puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind, and not holding fast to the Head, from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God. (Colossians 2:18-19)
Asceticism: Self-discipline and personal efforts in understanding Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
Worship of Angels: Using their own understanding to focus on perceived messages
Don’t be misled by the confidence that people put into head knowledge and the elaborate stories they can weave together trying to interpret a God that considers the wise of this earth foolish. For the wisdom of this world is folly with God. For it is written, “He catches the wise in their craftiness,” and again, “The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile.” (1 Corinthians 3:19-20) Don’t let your own passions steer you into the counsel of such people. The deceiver disguises himself as wise counsel and twists the word of God to make crooked the path of those who lose focus on Christ who is the Truth. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. (2 Timothy 4:3-4)
We run a race focused on the finish while Jesus asks us to walk and enjoy the journey with Him. We seek head knowledge and artificial growth which separates us from the body where Christ is the head. Let God be the source of your growth, the way He wants, how He wants, in the time He wants. Find rest in the hands of the Father. His ways are higher than your ways. He sees and understands all. Let Him guide you through the fog where your own understanding will leave you wanting and incomplete. When you resist the urge to run ahead, it will hurt. That is the desire of your flesh screaming. The pain feels unbearable as your spirit grows to rule over your flesh. Hand that pain to God and know that the pain is proof of God working to grow the part of you that will live with Him forever. He is letting the flesh attached to this world die. Lean on Him. His yoke is light and His burden easy. Let Christ grow in you and your self-sufficiency pass away. Less of you and more of Him.
Jump from the Pinnacle of the Temple
The second temptation of the deceiver is for Jesus to prove His identity and throw Himself from the top of the temple so that He would be rescued by the angels (Psalm 91:12) Again Jesus responds with God’s Word: You shall not put the Lord your God to the test (Deuteronomy 6:16) What could this illustration tell us about broader temptations we all face? We are tempted to do things ourselves and then wonder why God doesn’t come in and save us from our mistakes without consequence. We don’t always feel like we are looking to ‘force God’s hand’ but we follow our own will and expect God to clean up the mess. God gave us free will so that our love for Him would be voluntary and real. God doesn’t force anyone into the loving relationship He desires for all of His children. He chooses that we are allowed to come willingly and most of the time we don’t turn to Him until out sinful nature and self-will hurt us and remind us that we weren’t meant to walk a path different from the one God design for us and designed us for. If God didn’t allow the consequences for self-reliance, we would all run head long into risk without any regard for the danger involved. We would never have a reason to walk in a consistent, loving, reliant relationship with God. He would be reduced to a gene that was called on when our self-sufficiency finally caught up to us. Imagine as a parent your child ignored all of your direction but ran to you as soon as they got into trouble that you had advised against. God’s love and grace cover our ignorance but His heart is for us to live a better life that gives us joy and glorifies Him. Don’t fall into temptations to that are represented here by a leap that our Savior resisted for the glory of the Father and the salvation of His followers.
4) Shedding of Self
As the believer learns what it looks like to walk with Christ they see that the process involves a new heart. This new heart is made new by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit functions at full capacity in a heart made pure as sinfulness is pushed out. The darkness is replaced by the light of God. We see this in the power exercised by the only sinless heart to ever walk the earth: Jesus. He was perfectly connected to the Father and the full power of the Spirit healed and raised the dead. The same Spirit indwells in believer when they accept Christ as a sacrifice for their sin and allows that Spirit to enter their heart. It is at this point that that we have to shed ourselves, let go of our flesh and allow our spirits to grow. We have to decrease so that God’s power in us can increase. We are called to a purpose that exceeds our expectations and a joy that surpasses the best this world has to offer. The process of shedding requires humility and a trust that God must give us the strength to accomplish. Ask God to give you a new strength and ability to walk with Him. Your Heavenly Father seeks to guide you into rightly walking with Him. He sent His only Son to die so that you could be reconciled to Him, of course He’s willing to show you your purpose in your new family. Let go of what you hold on to for comfort and step into the embrace that fits you perfectly and last for eternity.
And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you (Ezekiel 36:26a)
Cast away from you all the transgressions that you have committed, and make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit (Ezekiel 18:31)
You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. (Romans 8:9)
(Philippians 3:9-11) 9 and be found in him (Christ), not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— 10 that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead
Believing that following rules (laws) makes you any closer to God is false. If it were true then the death of Jesus would not have been necessary. God wouldn’t have had prophets telling of our eternal king alongside the laws of the Old Testament if they were sufficient. The scripture above tells us that the righteousness of God is found in Jesus. Trusting in the law for “righteousness of our own” is a neglecting of Christ and a belief that our righteousness is better than God’s. It means not having ‘faith’ in the ‘power of His resurrection’.
In God’s desire to reconcile YOU to Him for all eternity, He decided to fulfill the law with the blood of the Savior one last time. The law required blood without blemish to forgive sin. God became the only sinless man who will ever exist for the purpose of showing the power of the spirit, the example of Godlikeness, then suffering and dying for YOU. If God has chosen to fulfill the law, then why do some people choose to turn back and ignore the new covenant for the old? Accepting Christ means allowing the Spirit to indwell in you and show forth fruit, against such things there is no law (Galatians 5:23).