Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Our greatest friend and foe

If you are like me, you struggle with being self reliant throughout the course of your day. It is easy to hit the ground running and not be fully dependent upon Christ working in and through me each day. Especially when I am doing something that I have done many times before and I pretty much know what to expect. Maintaining a mindset and lifestyle of dependence on Christ is a struggle for me.

It is cool when pieces of the puzzle come together. I started reading C.J. Mahaney's book, "Humility: True Greatness" and started to see more of my struggle as being the symptoms of pride. In the book Mahaney quoted John Stott's definition of pride as being "contending for the supremacy of God." God has used that to reveal how my pride tries to separate me from the Lord and His Grace as I contend for the supremacy of God in my own life. Isaiah 66:1-2 Thus says the Lord: "Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool; what is the house that you would build for me, and what is the place of my rest? All these things my hand has made, and so all these things came to be, declares the Lord. But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word. My greatest foe really is my pride and my greatest friend is humility before Christ.

I had already seen that God's grace eliminates the opportunity for pride. If we receive that which we don't deserve, then how can anyone but the Lord receive the credit and glory. Pride and grace cannot coexist, and thus Grace eliminates pride. I thought I understood this, but I didn't see the other side of the coin, that my pride was trying to eliminate grace. As I contend for the supremacy of God I am also trying to eliminate my "need" for grace. When I begin my day self reliant and not trembling at His word, I am trying to eliminate my "need" for grace. When I attempt so many things in my own strength I have already eliminated my "need" for grace. That is probably why every religion that has every been created by man is based on works not grace. Our pride works deceptively on our hearts and minds to lead us down the path where we seek self sufficiency and satisfaction apart from the grace given fellowship with Christ. No wonder Paul writes in Romans 7, what a wretched man I am, who can save me from this body of death. He saw clearly all that he was able to take credit for was his pride.

That brings me to the next 2 by 4 that I was hit with. I recognize that I struggle with pridefulness that shows itself in different ways when "real sin" shows up in my life. So often I determine that the solution to this sin problem is ME doing more, trying harder, doubling down on my efforts. What a joke! My pride of self reliance and contending for the supremacy of God in my life is going to be solved by.....greater self reliance and determination? It is like having a major cut on my leg that was a self inflicted wound and trying to solve this problem by making a bigger cut higher up the leg with the same knife to stop the bleeding. Well the lower cut will stop bleeding, but I now have a bigger problem that is an even greater threat to take my life. I am in desperate need of God's grace and my pride often places God in the position of opposing me instead of giving grace. Opposing my spiritual adultery/self worship that separates me from the very thing that I need the most.....The Grace of God working to conform me more into the image of Christ.

I am left with the words of John the Baptist that I must decrease and he must increase! By God's grace, I pray that there would be less of me and more of Him for the world to see today to the praise of His glorious grace...........that none may boast.

1 comment:

  1. I am so walking in this right now (right up to my stiff neck). I have been praying that my children will fully surrender their lives to the Lord, all the while thinking that my prayers will help my children. Lord, forgive me! 1) I need to fully surrender my own life so that 2) my prayers will be in accordance with His will so that 3) He can be glorified and respond with the Grace I keep ignoring. "Ye have not because ye ask not" has taken on a whole new meaning.


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