October 11, 2013

Isaiah 25:11 God will bring down their pride.

Pride has been an issue for mankind ever since the Garden of Eden, and actually before, because it is what got Lucifer thrown out of heaven. (Isaiah 14:12-14) There is no end to the examples that could be quoted, from the Bible and from history outside the Bible. The thing is, pride cannot stand before God. Even Job, who was a righteous man, repented in dust and ashes when he encountered God in person. (Job 42:5-6) There is a difference between assurance of what God has done and can do in and through us and pride in what we think we are or can do in and of ourselves. Those two things might look the same to an outside observer, but God knows our hearts, so the ultimate result is very different. The supreme example whom we are supposed to emulate is of course Jesus. Paul left us a very beautiful description of Jesus’ humility in Philippians 2:5-8. He had existed as part of the Godhead from before Creation, (John 1:1-5) but He set that aside to be born as a human baby, with all our weaknesses and limitations. He did not exercise His authority as Son on the earth, but rather operated in the power of the Holy Spirit, who is available to all who believe. He was accused of blasphemous pride by the Pharisees, who were proud of their legalistic righteousness, because He spoke and acted with complete assurance of who He was. Some people even today try to insist on outward trappings of humility, but their very insistence betrays their own pride. The thing is, as this verse says, God brings pride down, period. James (James 4:10) and Peter both tell us that if we will humble ourselves before God, He will lift us up, and Peter precedes that with quoting Proverbs 3:34, which says clearly that “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” (1 Peter 5:5-6)

All of this is, of course, intimately connected with self image. When that is expressed as self esteem, we invite all sorts of problems. Many schools today, in both Japan and America, have stopped giving prizes for excellence of all sorts, because “Those who don’t do so well might have lowered self esteem.” The problem is, that’s life! We are of equal value, but don’t give equal performance. I have run head-long into this all my life. I’ve always been at the bottom of the list when it came to sports, but academics have come easily for me. However, when I have presumed on my abilities and failed to apply myself, I’ve had some failures in academics as well. Conceit has always been a snare for me. As a pastor, I cannot escape the reality that I cannot save, deliver, or heal anyone by my own strength or wisdom, but God can and does do those things through me at times. I am to be profoundly grateful, but never proud, because only God deserves the glory.

Father, thank You for this reminder, and for all You’ve brought me through to teach this truth to me. Thank You for Your amazing patience toward me! Help me express that same patience toward those I work with, recognizing that we are all equally dependent on Your grace, so that I may be fully available to You for all You want to do through me, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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1 Response to October 11, 2013

  1. Great post Jack. As a young man in ministry I constantly need to check my motives and stay humble in Jesus. Pride comes before the fall. Thank you!

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