Tag Archives: pride

Complacency: A Death Trap

Complacency. A business that grows complacent loses customers. A husband who grows complacent loses his wife. A nation that grows complacent will not survive.
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Amos 6:1 NIV

As I read about Israel’s history in the Old Testament I am often amazed at the parallels I see between ancient Israel and modern America. In this chapter of Amos, the prophet describes a people who are celebrating their self-reliance and wallowing in their wealth. They perceive no need for God as they lead their increasingly decadent lives at the expense of the poorest among them. Amos goes on to describe the dire circumstances that such an existence will yield.
 
We study history for a reason. We are to learn from it and seek to avoid the mistakes that those who have gone before us have made. Amos could be describing the United States of America in 2016. While it is not a pretty picture, it is not too late to wake up. My prayer each morning is that God would lead our nation and those who seek to lead it to a realization of its sin and bring us to a place of confession, repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. We must rise up from our place of complacent pride and seek the face of our loving God.
 
Soli Deo Gloria!

Death by Ego ~ Acts 12:19-25

On the appointed day Herod, wearing his royal robes, sat on his throne and delivered a public address to the people. They shouted, “This is the voice of a god, not of a man.”  ~ Acts 12:21-22

Herod’s ego finally got the better of him. He granted an audience to representatives from Tyre and Sidon, which were two countries that counted on Herod for their food supply. These people were seeking peace. Herod dons his royal robes, ascends the throne and speaks to the people. The Scripture does not record his words, and they are not important. Whatever he said struck a cord with his audience, for they revered him as a god. Rather than redirect their praise to the true God, Herod basked in it, leading to his demise. He didn’t just die; God sent an angel to strike him down, after which the Scripture tells us he was eaten by worms.

Talk about crash and burn! Herod’s rapid descent from the top of the world to dinner for worms was all about his ego. Ego is hungry, and it can feel so good to have it fed. Make no mistake; we like to be praised for a job well done, and that is a good thing. It means we are impacting our world in a positive and productive way. We must always remember, however, that this life is not about us. It is about Him. When we receive praise or adulation for something we’ve accomplished we should immediately give thanks to God, for He is the source of all that we are and all that we have.

Ponder this: When does my ego get in the way of my witness?

My prayer for today: Heavenly Father, You have gifted me with talents and skills so that I may serve You according to Your will. Thank you for those talents and skills, and help me to always remember that You are their source. Tune me in to my ego, Lord, and strengthen me so I may resist the temptation to bask in it. In Jesus’ name. AMEN.

Look Past Pride ~ Acts 5:12-42

“Therefore in this present case I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.” Acts 5:38-39

On more than one occasion, the council of high priests had Peter and John imprisoned for teaching in Jesus’ name. In this passage, the high priests were “filled with jealousy” (5:17) at the large numbers of people drawn to the apostles; thus they persecuted the apostles and put them in prison. Of course, the high priests perceived this following as admiration for the apostles themselves; hence their jealousy. Would throwing them into prison stop their momentum?

Overnight, an angel of the Lord releases the apostles from prison, unbeknownst to the guards outside the door. When the apostles are seen the next day preaching in the synagogue, the Sanhedrin launches an investigation only to learn that the doors to their cells remained securely locked. Peter and John are called before the Sanhedrin, which orders them to stop preaching in Jesus’ name. Their reply? “We must obey God rather than men.” (5:29) Oh, that I would have that brand of courage!

At least one of the high priests recognized that there was something different about the apostles’ ministry and was moved to reprimand his brethren on the Council. As their pride clouded their judgment, he reminded them that human effort cannot defeat God’s will – but human effort, based not on God’s will but on selfish intent, will ultimately fail. If the apostles’ ministry truly originated from God, even the powerful high priests would not be able to stop it. With that, the high priests had the apostles flogged and sent them on their way.

Pride is an ugly thing. It causes us to look inward, to exalt ourselves when we really should be exalting God and trusting only in Him. Pride clouds our judgment; it distracts us from God’s purpose for our lives. Pride can infect all of us – even those in high positions within the church. The psalmist wrote, “How blessed is the man who has made the LORD his trust, and has not turned to the proud, nor to those who lapse into falsehood.” (Psalm 40:4) As I seek to build my ministry I must constantly be mindful of pride – this isn’t about me; it’s about Him.

Ponder this: God’s purpose will prevail over the purposes of men. How often do I react to situations and circumstances without prayer or thought, only to wonder why things go wrong? When does human pride shift my focus from my Heavenly Father to myself?

My prayer for today: Heavenly Father, If you are willing, I want to be an apostle. I want to witness for Christ. More than anything, I want to do Your will. Open my eyes to see and my ears to hear. Rid me of human pride and give me a sincere spirit and a willing heart, O God. In Jesus’ name, AMEN.

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