Tuesday, December 3, 2013

When My Pride Comes Out To Play

                Pride is a sneaky sin, isn’t it? Pride is defined as a high opinion of one’s dignity, importance, merit or superiority. Pride exalts itself.  Pride tells you how great you are, how good you are and how important your life must be. It is so sneaky that I do not even realize it is has come into my heart until I come before my God and He shows it to me. That is what happened to me this morning. The Lord showed me my pride, and how it had snuck into my heart again. You see, my life has been going pretty good.  The book I have written is about to get published, my blog is doing well; my prayers are being answered, and so on. But, when life is good, my pride likes to come out and play, and the Lord God has to put me back in check.

                It is easy to get caught up in all that is good and wonderful about yourself when life is going your way. But when life is difficult, when we are troubled, or in the midst of trials, we find ourselves more likely to be humble and broken before God. But, to be the children God desires us to be, to be the woman God desires me to be, I must be broken before God each and every day. When I am willing to be broken, my pride has nowhere to play, and my heart belongs to God and God alone. During my prayer time with the Lord, He showed me how my pride had taken over the playground of my heart once again.  He showed me how I had begun to lift my achievements up instead of lifting up Him. He showed me how I like to take the credit for life being good sometimes, when in fact, He is the one that is making it all work for my benefit. I needed a good spanking this morning, and I got one. My pride needed to be grounded and I needed to be broken.
                “For thus says the High and Lofty One who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy, ‘I dwell in the high and holy place, with him who has a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.’” Isaiah 57:15
                The Lord speaks through Isaiah and says that He will dwell with those who have a contrite and humble spirit. This stuck out at me this morning because humble and contrite has not been me of late. I have been praying for the Lord’s help and He has been helping. I have been praying for my children and He has been working. But, instead of praising Him I have allowed my pride to take the credit, because it was my prayers that made it happen. (Seriously, that was my thought!) It was my prayers, yes, but it was and is the Lord’s doing. He wants to dwell with me, and in me. But He can’t if my pride is in the way. That is why I need to be broken.  I need to be shattered to pieces each and every day.
                Contrite means to be bruised, crushed and broken into pieces. The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia defines contrite as a heart that “the natural pride and self-sufficiency have been completely humbled by the consciousness of guilt”. In all of us is the sin of pride. We have it and we are cursed with it. But, it is through the humbling of ourselves before our High, Lofty and Holy God that He is able to break
apart the prideful nature of our hearts and give us new, humbled, surrendered ones. My life is going good because the Lord is blessing it. My prayers are being answered because the Lord is answering them. Nothing I say, do or think can ever change the fact that I am a sinner who is in desperate need of a Savior. I will always need Him, and honestly, I do not ever want to get to a point where I consider myself more than I consider Him.
                So how do we become broken? How do we as children of God, who are naturally full of pride and self, become broken before our High and Lofty God? We fall. We fall upon the Rock. We fall upon Jesus Christ and shatter to pieces our wants, desires, dreams, hopes, and all else that causes our pride to want to come out and play. When we do this, the Lord God promises to restore and revive us. He promises to take the broken and shattered pieces of our hearts and give us new ones that are surrendered to Him.
                “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.” Ezekiel 36:26
                We can fall upon Jesus Christ without fear because He promises to give us new life, to revive us. He promises to “revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.” He will take the broken, shattered offerings of our prideful hearts and call it back to life. He will take it and make it into a heart that seeks Him and desires Him only. My pride wants to take over.  My pride wants to be the lifted and exalted one in my life. But the Lord is the only one worthy to be lifted up and exalted. He alone is God, even though my pride likes to think it is.
                We must be broken to be healed. We must be destroyed to be restored. “And whoever falls on this stone will be broken, but on whomever it falls, it will grind him to powder.” (Matthew 21:44) Jesus encourages us today to fall on Him. He encourages us today to allow Him to break us, to shatter our prideful hearts and allow Him to restore us, to put us back together so that we can be the vessels of His glory. For Him, to Him and through Him are all things. (Romans 11:36) We have because He has given. We are because He created us. We love Him because He first loved us. We are “we” because He is God. Our pride will want to come out and play, but we must take our prideful hearts and fall upon the Rock, the stone, which is Jesus Christ. We must choose to be broken before God in humble surrender, or we can wait and let Him humble us at the judgment.
We have a choice when our pride comes out to play. We can choose to shatter it upon His Rock, or we can choose to wait and have Him shatter it for us. “It is a fearful thing to fall into hands of the living God.” (Hebrews 10:31) We have nothing to be prideful about. For all that we have, all that we are is because of Jesus Christ and His sacrifice. I am nothing but a broken and contrite offering to a Holy God. All the things that make my life good are because of Him. All the prayers that are being answered are because He is doing the work. He alone has the right to be exalted. My pride needs to be broken and humbled before God so that He can put me back together to be the woman He has called me to be.

                We must be broken to be healed. We must be destroyed to be restored. As long as I am in this flesh, my pride will want a recess from time to time. But, I must allow the Lord to reveal my pride, break my pride upon Jesus Christ and fall before Him in humble surrender. This may require many falls, but I am confident that He who has begun this work in me will complete it to the very end. (Philippians 1:6) When we begin to think we are doing good, let us take heed lest we fall. (1 Corinthians 10:12) Let us fall willingly upon the Stone that is Jesus Christ. If your pride has come out to play, take some time and go before the Lord. Pray and ask Him to break you so that you can be restored and revived into His glorious presence, forever and ever. To Jesus be the glory, Amen and Amen.