Tag Archives: Pride

Our Attitude in Prayer

“He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up 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, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”” (Luke 18:9-14)

Jesus tells this parable about those that believe in their own righteousness and think they are better than those around them. There is a vast difference between someone being confident in their relationship with God and believing he/she is better than someone else.

As we come before God in prayer, it should not be with pride and self-absorption about our own perceived “goodness.” Instead, it should be with humility, knowing what our relationship with God cost through the blood of Christ and recognizing without his grace and mercy we would have nothing.

So as you come before God in prayer, which example are you? Are you the one who comes before him with pride as though God needs you more than you need him? Or do you come before him with humility, knowing how much you need him and the price that was paid for you?

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Hezekiah’s Folly

Hezekiah was one of the few good kings of Judah during the days of the kingdom of Israel. He reigned over the Southern Kingdom for 29 years and did many great things to further the recognition and worship of God before the Israelites. However, there is an event recorded during this good king’s reign that had repercussions for future generations of Israelites.

This event is recorded in two different passages of Scripture: 2 Kings 20:12-19 and Isaiah 39 both relate the event.  Hezekiah, as king, receives emissaries from the kingdom of Babylon. Among these emissaries is the son of the king, who brings letters and a present from the Babylonian king because he has heard Hezekiah has been sick. Hezekiah then takes these emissaries on a guided tour of the kingdom. He shows all of the riches, wealth, and physical glory of the kingdom of Judah. There is nothing of value in his kingdom that is not seen by these emissaries from a foreign land.

After the tour is completed and the emissaries have returned home, the prophet Isaiah comes to Hezekiah and asks who these men are and what they have seen. Hezekiah relates the truth; that they are from Babylon and he has shown them everything. Isaiah then prophesies that in the days to come Babylon will completely empty Judah. They will take her wealth, they will take her royal sons, and everything of value will be taken to Babylon. The only thing Hezekiah says in response is to give thanks that it will not happen during his lifetime. He recognizes the folly of his actions and what it will mean for his people. Consider some lessons we should learn from Hezekiah’s folly.

God will make known our hearts

In relation to this same event, the writer of Chronicles records: “Howbeit in the business of the ambassadors of the princes of Babylon, who sent unto him to enquire of the wonder that was done in the land, God left him, to try him, that he might know all that was in his heart” (2 Chr. 32:31). God uses this situation as an opportunity to test Hezekiah, to see what he would do and how he would respond to these strangers from a foreign land. Hezekiah responds with pride, more than happy to show off the riches that have been bestowed upon the people by God. Yet this pride would be a detriment to the people because it would show to the Babylonians the riches of Judah and make them a target in generations to come. God watches out for mankind and takes care of his servants; but he also leaves the door open for man to make his own decisions, to see whether or not he will be puffed up with pride at who he is and what he has, or whether he will be humble in recognizing who where all of his blessings originate. What would God find in our hearts?

Boastfulness in physical possessions always brings trouble

Hezekiah was more than happy to show off the bounty of his kingdom to these foreign officials. He was showcasing the best that Judah had to offer and held nothing back. Often times we do the same thing; we are more than happy to show off all we have acquired and accumulated in life to those who will take the time to see it. Sometimes it is done as a means of acquiring awe or acceptance in the eyes of others; sometimes it is done as a means of boasting of the accomplishments of life. In either sense, such actions generally serve to be far more detrimental than beneficial. They portray us as shallow, self-serving, and prideful. They relate a willingness to take the glory for our blessings instead of laying them at the feet of God. There is much truth to the proverb, “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall” (Pro. 16:18).

Materialism destroys our place before God

Hezekiah was proud of all that had been acquired during his reign and the things that had added to the glory of his kingdom. But that pleasure in material things did not endear him to God on this occasion. The same holds true for us today. Our desire to have and obtain material possessions and the pride and pleasure we take in such menial things can serve to be a great stumbling-block for any man. When man begins to focus on the physical things of this world, his focus on God falters, because you cannot be focused on both at the same time (Mat. 6:24). Materialism destroys, and Hezekiah is a prime example of allowing wealth to be a stumbling-block.

The example of Hezekiah, overall, is a very positive one. He served God well and did much that was good for his people and their relationship with God. Unfortunately, in this instance, his heart was not where it should have been and the ramifications were severe. Let us remember Hezekiah’s folly.

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The Pride of Life

Among the three categories listed by the apostle John in First John 2:15-17, the one that is least discussed is the pride of life. It is easy to focus on the lust of the flesh and eyes because they are so readily apparent and common among us. However, the pride of life is no less prominent in our world; it is simply more easily hidden or overlooked because we don’t ascribe it as readily.

The word “pride” carries the definition of arrogance, empty assurance, or trust in self. One commentator described the term as it is used in this passage as, “arrogant assumption.” When one considers the third category of worldliness and sin, it is centered on the arrogance toward life; the attitude of man toward the physical world and his place in it that skews his relationship with God and man’s willingness to serve him. Consider three distinct areas wherein man exhibits the pride of life.

 Pride in the Manner of Life

This type of arrogance toward life is seen in the, “God does not have the right to tell me what to do” mentality. People often exhibit this level of pride when faced with decisions where God has given one set of directions, but their desire is down another road. They then argue in their arrogance that they are the ones living on this earth, their body is their own, and nobody has the right to tell them what they can or cannot do with it.

While it is true that man is responsible for making his own decisions, it is also true that wise and humble men will look to God for direction. Solomon wrote, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction” (Pro. 1:7), and, “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall” (Pro. 16:18). When man takes pride in his own manner of life, he falls prey to the wickedness of this world and moves himself from the side of God.

Pride in the Quality of Life

Another avenue of the pride of life is seen in man’s determination to maintain his style and level of life. There are many people unwilling to follow God and keep his commands because it would mean a change in lifestyle and the quality of life to which they have become accustomed. These individuals show their arrogant adherence to the physical over the spiritual by their unwillingness to lose what they have gained on this earth. They follow the example of the rich young ruler, who went away sorrowful without fulfilling the command of the Lord because he had great possessions (Mat. 19:22). Unfortunately, many in today’s world, and even a number of Christians, allow this measure of pride to stand in the way of complete service to God. They are unwilling to part with the social status previously obtained, the level of seniority at their job, or the level of income they currently receive; even though the retaining of those things keep them from living and devoting themselves to God as he has commanded. Physical lifestyle and possessions are of the greatest importance.

It was about those of this mindset that Jesus said, “Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Mat. 19:23). Any man, who shows arrogance toward his quality of life on this earth, has no understanding of the magnitude of difference between life on this earth and the quality of life in eternity for the righteous.

Pride in the Possession of Life

One of the greatest fears for many people, sadly even those within the church, is the loss of their physical existence. We face the prospect of death as the greatest tragedy that can befall an individual; and many will do anything to extend the number of years they spend on this earth. Such is truly the arrogance of life.

When man treats life as the most important thing, and the loss of the physical body as the greatest tragedy of life, he has shown a complete lack of understanding of life beyond this physical world. Certainly the loss of a life that is unprepared to stand in judgment before God is the greatest tragedy one could endure. Not because of death, but because that person has not lived a righteous life before God and now will have to answer for their deeds without redemption.

However, when the loss of the life of a righteous soul is considered, it should not be approached with fear or anger, but joy and peace that the soul is at rest for eternity. How sad it is to see members of the body of Christ approach the death of a faithful servant as the worst thing that could have happened, or an unfair end to a short life. Instead, they should be rejoicing that another soul is safe and secure for all eternity.

Pride in the possession of life keeps us from the joy of righteous living, the peace of a prepared life, and the hope in the promise of eternal security. Jesus said, “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it” (Mat. 16:25). This physical existence is not what is important and to place the keeping of it as a priority above all else is folly, our greatest priority is using every day in service to God to the best of our ability.

The pride of life is a dangerous pitfall for mankind. It ties one to the physical view of life and keeps man from fulfilling his greatest calling: service to God. As we preserve our vigilance against the pitfalls of this world, we must never forget to include the pride of life in our area of watchfulness, for it can bring us down to destruction as quickly as any other sin.

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