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Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Proud Humility or Humble Pride?

While a sin is a sin, is a sin, is a sin, excluding the sin of blaspheme of the Holy Spirit, a great many people wrongly attribute the first sin committed was by Adam and Eve. Ooops!  Did I get someone with that one?  Don't worry about it, it happens to me all of the time!  (Note:  A second false belief held by many is that the sin committed by Adam and Eve was eating of the tree of knowledge [of good and evil].  While there is some truth in this, the actual sin they committed was disobedience.)  The first sin committed against the Creator was the sin of pride.  I believe that this fact is often overlooked for two reasons.  First, there are only a handful of times that this particular incident is mentioned in the Bible, and when it is mentioned, it's in a 'after the fact' fashion.  Second, we mere humans tend to assume that only man can sin against God.  I'll let everyone ponder on this for awhile while I get on with my rambling on about two very different but often interconnected traits found in most of us.  Jesus, at the very beginning of what we often refer to as His Public Ministry, specifically warned against a certain kind of behavior that actually began as one of these traits, and then that led to the second one.

“Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven.  Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward.  But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly.  And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward.  But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.  And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words.  
Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him."
  (Matthew 6:1-8    NKJV)

Humility, or being humble, before the Lord is a very desirable trait to have.  The problem is that too many of us feel like we need to display just how humble we are for all the world to see.  This is where we get ourselves into trouble, because we begin to take pride in our humility.  The acts the Jesus pointed out in this section of the Beatitudes, doing charitable deeds and praying, are both good things.  These two things are pleasing to God, but only if these deeds are done for the right reasons.  The two examples He gave showed how not to do these things, and the point He was after here is that when we are prompted by the Holy Spirit to do something, that is between us and Him.  If we need the public recognition to feel like we're accomplishing something or fulfilling the Father's Will for us, then we need to rethink our relationship with our Lord God.  If you've followed very many of my other posts, which can be pretty disjointed and rambling sometimes, then you've noticed that I often point out that Jesus taught by example.  First He would do something, whether it was healing someone, casting out demons, or going off by Himself to pray, and only then would He tell His disciples to go and do the same.  The same is true here, nowhere will you find in Scriptures that He made a big production out of doing the Father's Work or praying.  We have another example of how to not become prideful with a pretense of humility.

“Moreover, when you fast, do not be like the hypocrites, with a sad countenance. For they disfigure their faces that they may appear to men to be fasting. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward.  But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly."  (Matthew 6:16-18    NKJV)


'Also He spoke this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:  “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.  The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men—extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector.  I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.’  And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’  I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.'  (Luke 18:9-14    NKJV)

Here we have a Pharisee not only publicly announcing his humbleness, but actually pointing out the tax collector's shortcomings.  It's obvious that this fellow wanted everyone to know just how pious he was, especially as compared to the other guy, who did everything wrong according to the Pharisee!

Do we see anything even close to what we've read in these Scriptures?  I'm going to throw some things out here, not with the intent to upset anyone, (right about now, my wife, if she wasn't sleeping, would be saying something like, "Yeah right!"). 

It seems like a lot of the time people are more worried about what someone else thinks about them than they are about their relationship with God.  When I was growing up, everyone wore their very best clothes to Sunday services.  In today's times, that has changed.  Now it seems like some people still try to 'out dress' everyone else, while there is another group who tries their best to prove that they can be more casually dressed than anyone else.  What we have here are two extremes that still have the same traits we read about in our earlier Scriptures.  While I really don't think God is offended if we don't all wear three piece suits, I do think that women and girls wearing shorts and halter tops while the guys are in cutoff shorts and flip flops is just a little too casual.  Both groups, those that overdress and those that under dress,  are all focusing on the wrong things.  I say that because we know from His Word that God sees the 'innermost' part of us, He doesn't see what we're wearing or not wearing.  So that only leaves the rest of the congregants to be impressed or not.  Think about this for just a second, what exactly does it prove to anyone, remember God isn't in this equation, that your Sunday clothes are more formal and cost more than anyone elses?  Be the same token, who is impressed that you came to church dressed more casually than anyone else, that you're more laid back that anyone else?  Like I said before, it can't be God you're trying to make your statement to, He doesn't really care about what is or isn't on your back, He sees what's in your heart. 

Humility is pleasing to God, unless it is self serving and/or tainted with pride.  There is that first sin against the Creator again, pride.  All throughout the history of Christianity we can read time and time again where humility either led to pride, or became stained by pride.  People today, just like people over the last six thousand years, become proud of their presented humbleness.  So where does that leave God?  Remember, He loves a repentant sinner, not a sinner who tries to disguise pride as humility.

'For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself.  But let each one examine his own work, and then he will have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another.  For each one shall bear his own load.   Let him who is taught the word share in all good things with him who teaches.     Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.  For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.  And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.  Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.'  (Galatians 6:3-10    NKJV)

I've often made the statement that only two people truly know if someone is an authentic child of God, that person and God Himself.  I could go through my whole life, preaching His Gospel, teaching from the Scriptures, counseling with people to guide them on their life-changing journey to the Throne of Grace.  I, or anyone else in whatever capacity God called them to, could present themselves as a Born Again Spirit Filled New Testament Believer, and it could all be a lie.  I could fool everyone, except me and God.  The two of us would always know, because He will not be mocked, and He would never let me forget that I was living a lie.  Just as the apostle Paul wrote here in his letter to the church at Galatia, " not be deceived, God is not mocked...."

So now we're at the end of my first posting for this new year of 2012, and just be assured that my prayers are for each and everyone of you who I only know as numbers on my 'stat reports.'  I pray that we all are fully aware of the dangers we face, and satan is growing more desperate every day, he knows his time is coming to an end, this is evidenced by just watching and reading not just our local news, but global news. 

Be strong, be faithful, as the Scripture says, "Fulfill your ministry."  Be humble before the Lord, be sincere and diligent in your daily walk, embrace His perfect Will for you.  Never loose sight of the fact that while we're still physically in this world, we're not Spiritually of it.  We're children, blessed children, of a living God.  Be Blessed!

P.S.  Bye the bye, the first sin, that of pride, was actually committed by Lucifer and about one-third of his fellow angels when he led an uprising against God.  It didn't turn out so well for him and his gang.  If you want a list of Scripture that mentions those events, just leave me a comment to that effect and I'll get them to you.

P.P.S.S.  Be sure to hit the International Prayer Response WebPage at '' for prayer requests, to read our online Newsletter, to find out more about this growing Ministry, or just to browse a bit.  Thanks, Terry

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