Wednesday, April 10, 2024

The Stronghold of Pride

Wednesday, April 10, 2024


But he gives greater grace. Therefore he says: God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble. James 4:6

The Stronghold of Pride

Recently I was watching a movie based on the true story of Ricky Hill. His father is a pastor at a small country church that can cannot afford to pay him much. He is eventually asked to leave the church so the family of five, along with their grandma, piles in the car to move on. The car is rickety, and the gas tank is empty. The father has no money to buy more gas and of course the car runs out of gas. Everyone in the car is asleep and the father gets out and gets down on his knees on the side of the road and begins to pray a desperate prayer. He tells God how much he needs him and asks God to give him a sign. Nothing happens so he asks him again and immediately the back tire on his car blows out. Not the sign he was looking for, and most likely not the sign God was sending him. In that moment the father was feeling despair upon despair.  To make matters worse, the whole family gets out of the car to see what happened, and the oldest son says, “Well it can’t get much worse than this huh?” Then cue the thunder and lightning and the rain starts pouring down on them. 


Can you relate? Have you ever had a moment like that when you feel like everything in this world is against you, you get on your knees before God and things only seem to get worse.  For the father in the movie – the car running out of gas and the tire blowing out may have seemed like the end of all he could handle, but it was actually part of God’s plan. Soon a couple in a car came by and picked them up, took them to their house to be fed, etc. and ended up directing the father to a church close by that was in need of a pastor. That church in that small town was the next step in this family’s journey that took them exactly where God wanted them. 


So many times, we pray these desperate prayers to God, and that’s okay. He wants us to come to him when we are at the end of our rope. But he wants us to come and surrender, not come with a list of expectations. He always has the very best intentions for us in his plans. We cannot see it until we get there but how much do we miss by doing it all in our own power, fueled by our pride? 


We want a quick fix. We want it fixed now and we don’t like to sit with pain and hard times. We just want out. Now. We don’t want to wait on God’s timing. And I get it. I have spent time and energy trying to figure out how I can fix my own problems, only to realize there is very little, if anything at all I can do. I have learned “hands off”. Lay it down, surrender, leave it with God. He is God and I am not. He can fix it – or not – but I cannot fix it like he can – the right way. We might be able to bring about some change, but chances are, it won’t be the very best solution and we will miss out on something God has for us.


Why do we take things into our own hands, even when we profess to trust God completely? This desire to control our circumstances is a pride issue.  Pride- “A high or inordinate opinion of one's own dignity, importance, merit, or superiority, whether as cherished in the mind or as displayed in bearing or conduct.”


We have our own assumptions as to how everything should work for our lives. Anything short of the fulfillment of these assumptions is a disappointment to us. These are faulty assumptions driven by pride, and they cause us to react when our circumstances do not match our assumptions of what they should be. Often these reactions produce hard consequences we may have to live with for a long time. 


As Pastor Jim said Sunday, if we can solve our own problems, we deserve the glory - as well as the seat on the throne of our lives, and this is idolatry. When we play God, we lose the blessings we have as his children. We also lose the sheer joy and wonder of watching how he answers, provides, moves, and orchestrates the details of our lives and the supplications we lay before him. He gives good things. He gives abundant life. Only when we humble ourselves and surrender to him do we put him back in the right place in our lives – on the throne.   


Pride keeps us from moving forward in God’s will and becoming all he wants us to be because it holds us captive to our own assumptions. It keeps us from living The Jesus Way because we are living our way. We want to be in control instead of submitting to him.What are you holding on to, picking back up again and again, or trying to fix yourself? What assumptions about your life are you lost in? Lay it down. Approach him in humility, let God have it, and surrender completely to him. 


Read 2 Kings 5:1-19. What circumstance has caused you to demonstrate pride? What assumptions about God, life, others, etc… have fostered pride in your life? How has God worked in your life to call you to humility and surrender to His will and give control over to Him?

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