So… here’s a story for you.
Apparently, today…I spoke with God….ON THE PHONE! I couldn’t believe it! I wanted to ask him all a bunch of questions. How long will I live? When will your Son return? Can you give me the money I asked for? I had an incredible conversation with him. He told me how big He was, how much money he makes and how he affects my entire life. He told me that I needed to satisfy his needs.
Now before you go all crazy on me… I did have a conversation with someone today who told me he was my god. He told me how big he was in business, how important he was to my job and how I have to do exactly what he wants. Here’s the reality… what he does isn’t all that. In fact, it doesn’t affect me at all.
The problem was this person saw himself through the eyes of his pride rather than the eyes of God’s love. It’s like this… A person is born, lives and works in a small town. They are friendly, successful and enjoy their work. However, that same person only does work in that same small town. They never go outside of that town. As the town grows, so do they. As the town buys, he becomes richer. No matter what happens, everyone knows him and he knows everybody. When someone from the outside comes into that town to try and do business with him, he refuses and begins to tell that person how important he is and how he is the only one who can help the newcomer in business. He then compares himself to God and says how nothing happens without his knowledge and authority. What he does is he only sees himself through his own eyes. That is called pride and it is the cause of so many of our problems.
We have redefined pride to communicate our feelings towards life itself. We say things like, “Have pride in your country” or “Take pride in your work”. The problem is when we “take pride” in something, we communicate how good we are. When we have pride in our country, we say to ourselves and others, “My country is so important and the best in the world”. We emphasize “My” rather than “country”. When we “take pride” in our work, we communicate that our efforts are what get us where we want to be. But both of these understandings couldn’t be further from the truth.
The book of Proverbs has some good things to say about pride and how God views it.
“When pride comes, then comes dishonor, but with the humble is wisdom.” – Proverbs 11:2
“A person’s pride will bring him low, but a humble spirit will obtain honor.” – Proverbs 29:23
“Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before stumbling.” – Proverbs 16:18
Pride is one of those things, we have twisted. Isn’t “funny” how we do that? We take the things God calls bad in life and twist the definition to fit our own desires? We do this with literally everything. God says to Adam, “When you eat of the fruit on the tree of knowledge of good and evil, you will surely die.” The serpent then says to his wife, “Will you surely die?” They focus on their desire to eat good fruit rather than God’s command and viola…we have sin.
When God tells the Israelites to leave Egypt with Moses, they do. But when they become hungry, they focus in on their own stomachs rather than where God told them to go. They complain about how good it was in Egypt. How slavery wasn’t that bad. They focused in on themselves and what they wanted rather than God’s command for them.
When Nebuchadnezzer (king of Babylon) defeats, captures and enslaves Israel, he believes that he is the greatest king to ever live. He allows a decree to go forth to worship him and only him. He felt he was so good at what he does that no one can touch him. (Until God makes him lose his mind…)
Pride is no different. God warns us that when pride (focusing on ourselves and our own abilities) enters into our life, the next thing that comes is dishonor, depression and destruction.
When we believe we are the best at what we do, we dishonor others and treat them improperly. We communicate how good we are rather than help them at what they need. We puff up our own ego to the detriment of the emotions of those around us.
When we believe we are the best at what we do and someone proves us wrong, we become depressed. We go from the “drug induced’ high of pride to the “withdrawal” of depression instantaneously.
When we believe we are the best at what we do and are proven wrong, we can also enter into a destructive way of thinking. We think to ourselves, “I am going to prove them wrong’ or we convince ourselves that they don’t know what they are talking about. We then go after people and position in anger only to succumb to sleepless nights and people removing themselves from us. We destroy relationships and ultimately we destroy ourselves.
Pride doesn’t build up… it breaks down. Pride doesn’t give…it takes. And this is the polar opposite of what God wants from us.
“Therefore encourage one another and build up one another…” – 1 Thessalonians 5:11
So then we pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another.” – Romans 14:19
“…but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.” – Ephesians 4:15-17
We are called to build up, not break down. We are called to encourage, not discourage. We are called to speak the truth in love, which means we have the ability to share truth without sounding like we know everything. We speak the truth because we care not because we have more knowledge.
When we build up, it benefits everyone. When we build up, it gives to others out of love. When we build up, we execute the exact evidence of God’s love and purpose in our lives.
As we build up, we no longer need the approval of others. We no longer need to dwell on our past problems. We no longer need to prove everyone else wrong.
Doesn’t that make you feel free? When we forsake pride and embrace God’s love, we begin to love others by serving others. When we forsake pride and embrace God’s will, He grows His church. He displays His love through our acts of love and kindness. God is praised when we obey His calling to build up. God is honored when we help those who cannot help themselves. God is worshipped when we surrender our pride and embrace His love.
Can we do that today? Can we serve others and show them how much God loves them? Can we forget about our denominational differences and display God’s love by serving side by side? Can we admit that we aren’t the best and aren’t perfect and encourage someone who may be struggling with depression? Can we finally show the world that what God has commanded is the best and what we desire is nothing in comparison?
Let’s do that today. Let’s build each other up. Let’s forsake pride and embrace God’s unconditional, always forgiving love.
God bless and encourage someone today.