December 20, 2015

Luke 1:51 “He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;
he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.”

As Jesus said, everything bad starts in our hearts, in our minds. (Matthew 15:18-18) That’s why we need to be most careful of what we take in, to fill our hearts and minds. A lot of the filth that the devil heaps on us through the world is easy to recognize but some is not, and pride can be one of the most subtle of those, especially for Christians. After all, it’s possible to be proud of your humility! Two things in particular are necessary, from our standpoint. The first is simply attitude, choosing to submit to God and seeking Him at every turn. The second comes from that, and is more action-oriented: taking in the Word of God. As Psalm 119:11 so famously says, “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” The best way to protect our minds and hearts is to fill them with the Word of God. The more full we are of the Word, the less room there will be for the devil’s junk. Thinking we’re OK without it is the most dangerous of attitudes. As Paul said, “If you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!” (1 Corinthians 10:12) He is a good example for us, because he had his struggles with pride, (and apparently other things too, to read Romans 7) but his final attitude is expressed quite eloquently in Philippians 3:7-14, of never thinking he had “arrived” but always pressing in for more of God. That is the opposite of the attitude Mary was talking about, and when we have it, rather than being scattered we are drawn close to God and enjoy fellowship with Him.

I have certainly experienced this truth from both sides. Growing up in the home I did, I was given quite a foundation of Bible knowledge from an early age, but even so, pride almost completely derailed me. Having Bible knowledge doesn’t do much good if you don’t acknowledge that you need it! I thought I was a great Christian, when I was indeed “proud in my inmost thoughts” and felt I could get along just fine on my own. How foolish! I won’t try to list all that got me into, but I was on very dangerous ground indeed. However God, in His incredible grace and mercy, tapped me on the shoulder, and when I turned around He had a mirror, and I saw the blackness of my soul. All I could do was fall to my knees and cry out, “My Lord and my God!” I am eternally grateful that He did that for me, rather than just discarding me as I deserved. Today I seek to draw others to the repentance and faith that bring salvation, but I know full well that I can’t do it on my own. I desire to be drawn closer myself, and be used by Him for His purposes and His glory.

Father, when I think back over all You have brought me through I am amazed at Your grace and patience. Just as You didn’t give up on me because You knew what You would eventually do with me, help me not give up on others, but rather entrust them to You and be Your agent of grace, truth, and love to them, for their salvation and 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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