Wednesday, March 16, 2011

March 16, 2011 … Threats to Humility: Doctrine and Hypocrisy

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: Two powerful issues which often impede or block humility in any believer are intellectual pride and/or hypocrisy. Though it’s possible for anyone who, for whatever reason, feels superior in intellect to another to be wrapped in intellectual pride, this issue is often related to positional pride as well. In the latter, where someone, because of his/her self-perceived intellect or current position, feels more entitled than someone else to be in control or above that other one in some way, will inevitably push that “lower” person aside or downward in position. Who has not been there or felt that? Very few, I would think, have avoided this pitfall of pridefulness.

King Herod was one whose story is available in the New Testament to illustrate this intellectual and/or positional pride; and look what it got him – where we read of this man being eaten by the worms, humbled by God about as much as any person could ever be humbled. We read about it in Acts 12: 19 – 23 … were God took a man down who decided to raise himself above others …

SCRIPTURE: Acts 12: 19-23Then Herod went from Judea to Caesarea and stayed there a while. 20 He had been quarreling with the people of Tyre and Sidon; they now joined together and sought an audience with him. Having secured the support of Blastus, a trusted personal servant of the king, they asked for peace, because they depended on the king's country for their food supply. 21 On the appointed day Herod, wearing his royal robes, sat on his throne and delivered a public address to the people. 22 They shouted, "This is the voice of a god, not of a man." 23 Immediately, because Herod did not give praise to God, an angel of the Lord struck him down, and he was eaten by worms and died.

It has been said … if we will not humble ourselves before God, that He will humble us; and I don’t know about you, but I’ve personally experienced that in my life – more than once; - and it’s no fun! It’s much better to learn from God’s word, life, and the experiences of others and then to choose to be humble before God than for God to have to humble me because of my obstinate intellectual and/or positional pride.

And the final roadblock to being a humble servant of God is the one Jesus hated the most; and that, of course, is hypocrisy … i.e., external spirituality or religiosity without internal holiness. Christ spoke harshly and directly during His ministry time on earth, uncovering hypocrisy in the religious leaders of His day – the Scribes and the Pharisees (see Matt. 23: 27 – 28 below).

SCRIPTURE: Matt. 23: 27 – 28"Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men's bones and everything unclean. 28 In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.

Oh, how Satan loves to pour his spiritual gas on the flames of pride in anyone, but especially in the leaders of Christ’s church … the teachers, preachers, pastors, and key workers. If God’s chosen leaders cannot humble themselves before God’s throne of grace, be assured – from personal experience – God will humble that one to the core. God’s mercy is challenged to the ultimate in tolerance to allow the leaders of HIS CHURCH to tarnish the image of HIS BRIDE or God, the Father, in any way with prideful hypocrisy. So, we, who’ve been called into leadership and prepared for God’s purpose as His designated “shepherds,” can expect to be held to a higher standard of humility than those who are the sheep of God’s flock.

However, all Christians need to realize what we’ve focused on these past few days here – that humility is our key; and therefore, as followers of Christ, we need to use the key of surrender and humility to unlock His treasure chest of grace; and personally, I hope you join me in the desire to be there at His throne, waiting with humble expectation for His grace to be poured out in our lives. But this will not happen for you or for any of us if we cannot choose to be humble servants of our Lord.

My Prayer Today: O, Lord, may nothing I do be done in pride. Amen

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