Monday, March 14, 2011

March 14, 2011 … Threats to Humility: Strength and Boasting

Passage of the Day: Ephesians 4: 1 – 2 - 1 As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.

My Journal for Today: Okay, are we getting the message? … Again from Paul’s oft repeated passage in Ephesians 4, we again read of God’s exhortation toward humility. But Paul wasn’t the only New Testament writer with this pronouncement. We read the same from other church leaders in 1st Peter 5: 5,6 and James 4: 4 – 8 … that our attitude of humility is the key to the sanctifying grace that comes from a believer’s relationship with Christ. Certainly when we have three different early church Apostles or leaders exhorting from the power and inspiration of the Holy Spirit and teaching the same lesson, we ought to tune in and apply this repeated lesson to our lives as Christians, don’t you think? And with that in mind, John MacArthur from his devotional book, Strength for Today, begins a brief series here today toward the end of his month of lessons on the attitudes of Christ, teaching about the most common threats to our humility … i.e., those areas where pride, the antithesis of humility, either creeps or crashes into our hearts/minds, giving Satan a foothold into our life and blunting the Holy Spirit’s expression of Christ in or through our life.

The first of these pride threats is what MacArthur calls “ability pride,” where we, as Christians, are tempted to rely on our own strengths or talents rather than surrendering in all circumstances to the power of God to work in our lives. Let me use myself as an example.

Teaching is one of my spiritual gifts. It’s “easy” for me to teach; and I find great spiritual satisfaction when I’m able to relate Godly or biblical principles to others when God uses me to teach them. However, when I have an opportunity to teach God’s principles and life lessons, it’s very easy for me to get prideful especially when someone tells me afterward, “Good lesson, Bill.” In such an instance if I can’t recognize, and preferably verbalize, that it was God’s grace through His Spirit enabling me to teach HIS lesson through me, I’ve let the enemy win a skirmish in the battles of life. My perspective must always give God His glory when He uses a gift that He gave me and principles which are His to give Him the glory. Though He may have used me; … it’s not about me [!]… it must always be about HIM.

MacArthur reminds us about “verbal pride” as well. It would have been better had the person who encouraged me about my teaching to have said, “Bill, God really used you today to teach me; so let’s both praise Him for that!” We all too often are – or at least I am – willing to let others ingratiate us for some achievement, knowing full well that that God should get the glory.

We’ll be looking in the next days at more of these points about pride; and I need it … for sure!!

My Prayer Today:
Help me, Lord, to remain humble to give You the glory! Amen

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