Saturday, September 1, 2012

The Grass is Greener…. – Part 4

1 Timothy 3:6 (KJV)  Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil.
Revelation 9:1 (KJV)  And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth: and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit.

We’ve talked about familiarity and influence.  Today, let’s look at ego -- giving our self interests and comfort a greater place than they deserve.  Without that, we might not succumb to familiarity or influence.  Here’s what I mean:

In the passage from 1Timothy, Paul considers pride as being part of novice thinking.  And indicates it takes us down the same path as the devil.  Because it was pride that got Satan expelled from heaven.  Let’s let a couple of scripture passages speak to us about the subject, before we go on.

Proverbs 6:16-19 (KJV)  These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.
Proverbs 6 is a clear description of the things that come out of pride. Particularly, things that we do against others because of pride.  And each of those things gives us another “Ahah!” moment.
  1. We act as if we’re better than anything around us, because that’s what we believe,
  2. We lie, if that gets us closer to our goals (because our goals are more important than truth),
  3. Whether it’s spiritual, mental, emotional or actual physical killing, what we want is more important than what happens to others because of what we do to fulfill our wants,
  4. What we desire is important enough to use any means,
  5. We don’t hesitate to use any means,
  6. We will destroy another’s character if it gets what we want
  7. We can cause division to get our way.

We may not all hit on all of those to the same degree.  We, personally, may even miss some of these.  But, if we let pride in, that’s the formula that becomes our mode of living.  And, as we move to our passage in Job, things get even scarier.  Eliphaz may be misjudging Job in this speech, but he has a real handle on pride.

Job 15:2-13 (KJV)  Should a wise man utter vain knowledge, and fill his belly with the east wind?  Should he reason with unprofitable talk? or with speeches wherewith he can do no good?  Yea, thou castest off fear, and restrainest prayer before God.  For thy mouth uttereth thine iniquity, and thou choosest the tongue of the crafty.  Thine own mouth condemneth thee, and not I: yea, thine own lips testify against thee.  Art thou the first man that was born? or wast thou made before the hills?  Hast thou heard the secret of God? and dost thou restrain wisdom to thyself?  What knowest thou, that we know not? what understandest thou, which is not in us?  With us are both the grayheaded and very aged men, much elder than thy father.  Are the consolations of God small with thee? is there any secret thing with thee?  Why doth thine heart carry thee away? and what do thy eyes wink at, That thou turnest thy spirit against God, and lettest such words go out of thy mouth?

And Eliphaz’s description is supported by what God says elsewhere in the Word.
  1. We believe ourselves wise, (Job 11:12)
  2. We see ourselves as not only wise, but wiser than others, (Job 12:2-3)
  3. We se ourselves as “something special”, unbeatable, (Psalm 10:6)
  4. What we get is from our own efforts, (Deuteronomy 8:17)
  5. God won’t see any “shortcuts” we may take, (Psalm 10:11)
  6. Because of all the previous, we forget God and even determine we don’t need Him. (Deuteronomy 8:11-14, Psalm 10:4)

  7. That’s all pretty intense and scary.  Especially when we think about the possible results.  As detailed as we’ve been with all the potential issues, it takes fewer words to direct us to the solution.
  • God gets our attention (He’s kinder than just smashing us to smithereens without a chance to “get it”.), (Psalm 9:20)
  • We decide to get into His Word to figure out what’s going on, (almost any verse in Psalm 119)
  • We discover how much God’s mercy has protected us, and how much His grace has blessed us, we get more into scripture to get to know God, (any other verse in Psalm 119, Matthew 6:33)
  • As we get to know Him, we continue in the Word to develop our relationship with Him. (all the other verses in Psalm 119)

Since we’ll have multiple moments of awakening as we go through those four steps, we can expect to continually cycle through them continually.  And expect to be blessed just as continually.  God wants to get rid of our hindrances, not us.  So, He makes developing that relationship simpler than it is to move away from Him.  We really have to work hard at staying away from God and convincing ourselves that’s a good thing.  So, let God take the load off your shoulders and enjoy the benefits He wants to give us.

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