If you haven't already, check A RIDE with PRIDE (Part 1: My Story)
Arrogance, haughtiness, highness, swelling. Pride! This five letter word has a way of creeping so easily into the hearts of man (and woman. Unfortunately, we're not exempt). And as if it could attain bonus points, it lives to attach itself to those in leadership positions, especially in the church. Now, I'm not here to attack the church but rather expose the vile, silent, dangerous killer that has crept into God's people (especially those in high places). It's so easy to let the praise of men puff us up and subsequently tear us down. Let's look at some examples.
For example, you have pastors, who God has called to a place of shepherding and serving. As they preach and teach by the anointing that comes from God, people's lives are changed, as they should be. In response to their changed lives and appreciation for the delivery of the Word of God and many facets of the outpouring of God manifesting himself, they reach out to the messenger. I'm sure you've heard the saying, "Don't shoot the messenger." Well the same should be said in reference to praise and adoration. Worship God, and not the person speaking on behalf of Him. Am I saying not to give honor where honor is due. Absolutely, not! Yes, we should honor all of those who are in authority over us as Romans 13:7 says; however, the line drawn between honor and idol worship can be crossed very quickly. With all of that being said, in our flesh is no good thing. Our mortal bodies can't handle all of the praise and worship that we often times receive. As a result, when we don't consciously rebuke any thought that exalts itself against the knowledge of Christ, we slip into a dangerous position of operating in pride. 2 Timothy 2:21 reminds us that we are empty vessels to be used by God. Psalms 103:14 says that we are mere dust of the ground. Romans 12:3 tells us not to think of ourselves more highly than we ought to. Our thinking is the breeding ground for our actions and determines what sinks down into our hearts. “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”
Romans 12:2 NLT
It takes much effort to consciously humble yourself when others are attempting to elevate you with their praise, adoration and idolization. Let’s look a few more scriptures on pride.
“These six things the LORD hates; Indeed, seven are repulsive to Him: A proud look [the attitude that makes one overestimate oneself and discount others], a lying tongue, And hands that shed innocent blood,”
PROVERBS 6:16-17 AMP
“All the ways of a man are clean and innocent in his own eyes [and he may see nothing wrong with his actions], But the LORD weighs and examines the motives and intents [of the heart and knows the truth].
Everyone who is proud and arrogant in heart is disgusting and exceedingly offensive to the LORD; Be assured he will not go unpunished.”
PROVERBS 16:2, 5 AMP
Now let’s look at how God views us and what He wants us to boast about.
“Remember, dear brothers and sisters, that few of you were wise in the world’s eyes or powerful or wealthy when God called you. Instead, God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful. God chose things despised by the world, things counted as nothing at all, and used them to bring to nothing what the world considers important. As a result, no one can ever boast in the presence of God.
“Then he said, “I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven. So anyone who becomes as humble as this little child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.”
Matthew 18:3-4 NLT
Therefore, as the Scriptures say, “If you want to boast, boast only about the Lord.””
1 Corinthians 1:26-29, 31 NLT
I began to notice that the great men of God who God used in mighty ways in the bible were some of the most arrogant and prideful. In each situation, God allowed them to be humbled so that they were able to fulfill His purpose in their life with a pure heart. I look at Joseph who on the surface we usually look at as a victim to his brothers and greatly used by God to save his family and a nation. While all of that is true, in Joseph's immaturity, he was very prideful and boastful of the dreams that God had given him which fueled his brothers’ hatred for him. Look at our own lives, as powerful Christian leaders that God has given a vast assignment to. Have we ever used the gifts or abilities that He's given us to promote ourselves or make ourselves appear superior to others? As I began to reflect on guarding against pride and idol worship in my life, as the two usually go together as pride is self-worship, I made a decision.
I am on the brink of releasing my first book that I believe will help in delivering people and drawing them closer to the God that created and loves them so much through my testimonies penned within. Like many authors I began to anticipate my very first and subsequent book signings. With a heart that became more sensitive to protecting against pride and idol worship, I decided to forgo the act of signing books myself as well as forgo seeking out an autographed book (or anything autographed in general). I began to think, what is the purpose of it all. On one end, the person receiving the autograph is being pushed into idolizing the person that they are in awe of. We have to consciously protect our hearts from worshipping anything or anyone along side or in place of God. Exodus 34:14 says He is a jealous God, whose very name is Jealous. On the other end, the person dishing out signatures can easily become puffed up to be something big and great when in reality, they are simply an empty vessel of clay. We say “Less of me, more of Him” and “Empty me Lord so that I can be filled with You”, but when we get the opportunity, it's US that we want recognized. I shared with a close friend my eventual disgust with the idea of signing any of my books. I concluded that I'm nothing and God is everything. What would "Nothing" write when signing a book? Nothing! So that's what I'll do. In writing a book, my focus isn't on me or getting famous or having MY name known but rather the testimonies that speak of the wonderful God that are recorded on those pages. While my prayer is that God would use me to draw millions to Him, the focus isn't on me. I would be happy if I was never known publicly and God allowed to me to draw even one to Him. Luke 15:10 tells us that "...there is joy in the presence of God's angels when even one sinner repents."
So let that be our goal as believers, to gain the one, two or million into the kingdom and NOT elevate, promote or be consumed with ourselves. God can use a puffed up, prideful vessel but eventually, that vessel WILL be humbled. We see it every day in the lives of well-known preachers, pastors, prophets, worship leaders and the like. Right now, take this opportunity to ask God to expose the pride that's in your own heart. Of course the enemy would love to keep you in that blinded state of pursuing his passion. Remember, pride is what got him kicked out of heaven in the first place. Ever since, he's been vying for a spot to be worshipped and exalted through people. He doesn't care where or how. He doesn't mind riding the coattail of ministry to get it done because in the end he knows that the pride in your heart while you minister, will lead to destruction. Proverbs 16:18 says that "Pride goes before destruction and haughtiness before a fall. Proverbs 11:2 tells us that "Pride leads to disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom." Let's not forget how God, Himself, hates pride. In Proverbs 16:5, it says, "The Lord detests the proud; they will surely be punished." The very first of the seven things mentioned that the Lord hates found in Proverbs 6:16-19 is haughty eyes.
So there you have it, Pride is EXPOSED!!! We acknowledge not only that pride exists in the world, in the church and in our leaders but also in our very hearts. Right now, we come against every spirit of pride that would attempt to burrow in our hearts. We expose you in the name of Jesus. We commit to humbling ourselves daily starting with our thinking and translating to our actions. We will recognize that we are empty vessels created to be used by God for His glory alone. Father, we thank You for shedding light on our hearts and lovingly correcting us. Our prayer is that we will continue to walk humbly before You in Jesus' name, amen!
< 3 always,
Your sister in Christ,