Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Problem with Pride

"Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.  See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting." -- Psalm 139:23-24

As a writer, I have developed a hunger for reading that I never dreamed I would have.  Not one to read much growing up, I am fascinated by the things other people write and am always searching for an answer to a question I have or dilemma I am facing.  My first source for answers is always God's Word, but I enjoy reading other books by Christian authors because they help me understand some of the things I find difficult to comprehend or explain to others.  Currently I am re-reading Experiencing God by Henry Blackaby and Claude King.  The general theme of the book is that God desires and initiates a love relationship with us.  Out of that love relationship he approaches us, reveals where he is working in the world around us, and empowers us to carry out his purposes as we adjust ourselves to what he is doing.  So often we get it backwards.  We think that we must pursue God and a knowledge of his will, then in our own power obey what he tells us to do. 

God has been teaching me much about pride lately, partly through his Word and through Experiencing God.  I confess that pride has held a great deal of power over my life through the years, and recognizing pride for what it is, I pray that God will teach me what true humility is and help me walk in it rather than in the pride that has been the cause of so many problems in my life. 

There have been times I have prayed for God's provision, then chosen to step in and help God provide for my needs, generally relying on credit cards rather than waiting for him to answer my prayer.  When I was a young stay-at-home mom and money was tight, I prayed about our situation and decided to become a beauty consultant because I knew that I had the ability to talk to women, the organizational skills to run a business, and the desire to remain at home with my child rather than place in him daycare so I could go back to work.  While all of those things were honorable in and of themselves, I chose to rely on my own intellect and methods of provision rather than on God's.  That faulty career choice resulted in the addition of more debt, not a reduction in it.  God's Word plainly tells us, "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts" (Isaiah 55:9).  But my foolish pride believed that I could accomplish this without having to bother God with it.  How wrong he proved me to be!

As a newly-published writer and speaker who desires to minister to women, I find myself now facing the same dilemma and asking myself,  Has God really called me to ministry and is this what he intended me to do? Am I obeying his call in a way that will ultimately bring him glory, or am I doing things in my own power rather than in his?   Honestly, I believe he has called me to ministry as a writer and speaker, but I know that I have not handled things his way.  Rather than pray about each day and the obstacles I face, then wait for his answer and provision, I am guilty of taking action to accomplish my own objectives rather than allow him to accomplish his purpose through me.  I have sought affirmation from my readers, not from the One who called me to this ministry.  Instead of waiting on his provision, I have done everything in my own power to generate book sales and raise funds to cover the expense of the ministry. What I have failed to realize, until now, is that God cannot personally receive the glory due him if I am the one busy making things happen.

Haven't we all, at one time or other, been guilty of playing God instead of letting him be God?  The sin of pride may have started with Adam and Eve, but it doesn't have to be perpetuated by us.  God wants to do great things for his children, but how can he if we are so busy doing things for ourselves?  Adam and Eve made a royal mess of things because they wanted to be like God.  So do we, every time we get our cart before God's horse.  It's time we humble ourselves, confess our sin of pride, and give our Sovereign God the chance to be God, for a change.  If we don't, we will remain caught in the bear trap of pride, unable to escape from the enemy who seeks our destruction and perpetual misery.

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