From the minister's desk
Pride is ‘a quality of having an excessively high opinion; a haughty spirit, lifted up, exalted; undue confidence in and attention to one’s own skills, accomplishments, state, possessions, or position.’ Any one of us at any time can be guilty of this sin if we are not careful. Scriptures tell us that this attitude is an abomination to God.
Abomination means ‘detestable, abhorrence, repulsive, unnatural, perverted, etc.’ Considering these definitions, you can see why God feels the way He does about pride. Do you want to be an abomination to God? We must learn and understand pride so that we are not found guilty of it before the Lord. As God’s children in Christ, when we learn what our Father likes and doesn’t like we must mirror our Father. Simply put, whatever God hates, we should hate. Whatever is an abomination to God must become an abomination to us. The question is are we striving to be like our Lord and our Father? Let’s make every effort to learn about pride this month.
Pride may appear in many forms. Some of the more common are pride of race, spiritual pride, and pride of riches. Jesus denounced pride of race. Luke 3:8 The parable of the Pharisee and the publican was directed at those guilty of spiritual pride, the ones “who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and looked down on everyone else” Luke 18:9-14 Paul and James warns the rich against the temptation to be lifted up with pride because of their wealth. 1Tim.6:17-19, Jas.1:10
Pride is easier to recognize than to define. It’s easier to recognize in others than in oneself. Many biblical words describe this concept, each with its own emphasis. Some of the synonyms for pride include arrogance, presumption, conceit, boasting self-satisfaction and high-mindedness. It is the opposite of humility, the proper attitude one should have in relation to God. Pride is rebellion against God because it attributes to oneself the honor and glory due to God alone. Proud people do not think it necessary to ask forgiveness because they do not admit their sinful condition. This attitude toward God also finds expression in one’s attitude toward others, often causing people to have a low estimate of the ability and worth of others and therefore to treat them with either contempt or cruelty. Some have considered pride to be the root and essence of sin. Others consider it to be sin in its final form. In either case, it is a grievous sin. Let’s be mindful of this abomination called pride!
Pride of the negative kind is ‘an inordinate self-esteem, conceit, disdainful behavior.’ Conceit is ‘an excessive appreciation of one’s own worth or virtue. Having an excessively high opinion of oneself.’ Disdain is ‘a feeling of contempt for what is beneath one.’ “Lord, I thank you that I am not as other men are…” Lk.18:11 What danger it is to look down on or see others to be less than you are!
In trying to save souls and keep souls saved, it is critical for members to know the different meanings of words that have a positive and a negative definition. Notice that “Everyone that is proud in heart is an abomination unto the Lord.” Prov.16:5 You must do a self-examination to see if you are proud in heart in a negative way. You should not want to be an abomination unto the Lord!
Being proud of an accomplishment, your children or something you own is not sinful in itself. “A reasonable or justifiable self-respect or delight” is good.” The question is do you know what that is and when? Do you think God is proud of His Son Jesus? Is that the kind of pride you exude?
Is pride keeping you from attending Bible classes and worshipping as you should? By definition, ‘an inordinate self-esteem, conceit, disdainful behavior’ could be a part of your reasoning. You don’t think you need Bible classes and worshipping is not all that necessary. You really do think that you are too valuable to God and He won’t condemn you just because you won’t attend Bible classes and worship regularly. You think that everyone else attends because they are less than you and they need it. Or could it be that the Bible class teachers and worship leaders are not worthy of your time and knowledge. You already know what they are teaching, so you check in to see if they are teaching or preaching something new. That is pride, conceit, disdain and self-deception pure and simple. Do you believe that pride is an abomination unto the Lord? It is and no one should take this lightly. God’s word is too clear to be lost.
Scriptures say that “pride goes before the fall; pride and arrogance, the evil way and the forward mouth do I hate; a high look, a proud heart and the plowing of the wicked is sin.” Proverbs Therefore, we believe and teach the scriptures versus man’s opinions. This month read, listen and apply the lessons to yourself to ensure that you are not an abomination unto the Lord, for your salvation depends on it!
As children of God “we have an inheritance that is incorruptible, undefiled, and does not fade away, reserved for us in heaven.” But to obtain this inheritance, we are told what we must do, how we must live and how long we must endure hardships. The danger of losing this inheritance is in not having faith in the word of promise.
We are so blessed in our times as far as the kind of suffering we face versus the sufferings the early church faced. We are in a country where food and water are plentiful, medicines abound, freedoms and creature comforts are the norm. But when we read about the early Christians and the sufferings, persecutions and scattering they had to endure, can we honestly convince ourselves that we could or would be willing to go through what they went through? Honestly? _____________________
They were boiled in hot oils, burned alive, thrown to wild beasts, beaten at will and often killed just for the sport and with no repercussions from the government, but usually at the hands of the government, just for being Christians. Again, would you put up with that type of treatment just to be a Christian and remain one? __
Knowing that this is a requirement for obtaining that “inheritance that is incorruptible and does not fade away” would you make the effort to endure and persevere? That is why many will not obtain that inheritance; many will not endure and persevere as God had commanded. Many do not have the faith to endure.
Peter is writing to the Jewish believers who are struggling in the midst of vicious persecution and he is telling them to conduct themselves courageously and rejoice in their suffering, as this is pleasing in the sight of God and that “the trial of their faith, if they endured until the end, they would receive the salvation of their souls.” If they had to endure such suffering to receive the inheritance, what are you suffering that comes close to that? It was our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who said that we too must “lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust corrupt and thieves cannot break in and steal.” Your treasures are eternally secured in heaven, but where is your heart?
Peter is encouraging the Christians to give their hearts to the Lord, for the suffering He endured for them. This would enable them to endure their suffering for a little while, that they may obtain their “inheritance that is reserved for them, in heaven and it will not fade away.” You have an inheritance in heaven. Don’t let these light afflictions that are for a moment prevent you from obtaining your inheritance. These things are temporary, but your inheritance in heaven is eternal! Don’t lose it.
Opportunities to Lay Up Treasures in Heaven
Just as we need “a few good men” we need a few more “good and faithful members.” Every day is another opportunity to do something to “lay up for yourself treasures in heaven.” There is so much to do in the short amount of time we have that even a new convert can “lay up treasures in heaven for themselves” before tomorrow comes. Paul told the early church: “Let us consider one another, how we can spur one another to love and good works. Let’s not stop meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing; but let us encourage one another even more as we see the day approaching.” Heb.10:24-25 We all have different talents and abilities, and all should be used daily pleasing God and “laying up for ourselves treasures in heaven.” Think of the opportunities we miss when we do not.
God wants us, members in the body, “to edify one another, equip or prepare one another for the ministry,” which is seeking and saving lost souls and keeping souls saved. Here are a few opportunities many members miss daily; just letting a member know that you appreciate them, accepting a member as they are first, then spending quality time teaching, encouraging and helping them as needed. That’s a treasure! If you are shy, write notes, cards or letters to communicate your encouraging thoughts and wishes for a member. Introduce yourself to a member you see every Sunday, but never approach. You may be surprised at the things and people you have in common. That’s a treasure! Retired or even shut in members should never be bored or wallowing in self pity when there is so much they can do. We tend to limit ourselves and the work of the Lord is limitless. Call or visit when you can if welcomed. Your outreach in active love and concern is a small part. Then turn it over to God for the increase! Don’t do things to get praise or pats on the back from men, nor to make people feel like they are indebted to you. If it’s from the heart influenced by God, your reward is in heaven! Your joy is your inner satisfaction and gratitude to God for what He is doing with you. It is a privilege to be a child, a servant, a friend of God! There is much to do, there is work for every hand.
Don’t let another day go by or another soul die in your world, not hearing about the saving power of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Don’t miss another opportunity to show your love and obedience to Jesus Christ for the life He gave that you and I might live. Our debt to Christ is unpayable. Our lives are not valuable enough to give to save another’s life, but our lives are invaluable and precious to enough to God that giving our lives to His Son, living for Him gives the Father glory!
So, in closing, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus; be like minded, having the same love, being of one accord of one mind. Let nothing be done in vain glory through self- ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each of us esteem others better than ourselves. Let’s not just look out for our own interests, but also for the interests of others.” God will bless these efforts! Do this and “lay up for yourself treasures in heaven.”
What is the Matter?
Why can’t I forgive? Why can’t I feel forgiven? Why am I angry all the time? Why do I let the little things get next to me? Why do I feel so unworthy to be saved? Why does being a Christian seem so hard and depressing? Why do I worry so much? Why can’t my life be like other folk who have good relationships and nice things? I don’t know what I am doing wrong.
WHY? WHY? WHY? WHY? WHY? WHY? WHY? WHY? WHY? WHY? WHY? Let the healing begin! Tear down the walls between you and God. Make up your mind today, right now that you are truly going to trust and obey the Words of Christ. Then listen to him counsel you as you read his powerful truths. Though the context of some of these words may differ, the principle and power in them remains forever. “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words shall never pass away.” Mt.24:35 That ought to give you an anchor of assurance that you can always count on! Jesus said, “Come unto me and learn of me, for my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” 28:30 Jesus is the master of your soul. He must be your Lord, meaning He must rule in your heart and soul. “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you don’t forgive others, neither will your heavenly Father forgive you.” Mt.6:14-15 So you must learn forgiveness and forgive if you want to please God, be forgiven and be saved! Satan has more influence over you than Jesus when you can’t forgive. Once you learn forgiveness and forgive, you can feel forgiven. But you should know that you are not forgiven because you feel forgiven, but because Jesus declares that you are forgiven! “Whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause is in danger of the judgment.” Mt.5:22 “Be angry and sin not. Don’t let the sun go down on your wrath.” Eph.4:26 If you obey these words you won’t be controlled by anger, nor will you be prone to letting every little thing get to you. Remember, if anyone had a cause to be angry, Jesus did but he forgave and did not sin. He will help you do the same! You feel unworthy because you have not fully accepted what Jesus have done for you. He paid the price for you and your sins. He is the one who makes you worthy. He has sanctified you for himself. When you became a member of His body, you became a part of Him. Through Him and because of Him you are worthy. His Father is your Father now. He has no respect of persons. Therefore, you have no need to worry. Plus, He told you not to worry! Mt.6:34 “Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Sufficient for today is its own trouble.” What is the matter?
We shared lessons to help those who are depressed, but they didn’t attend. Many are depressed and don’t know it, yet depression can cause you to leave, run or hide from God just as Elijah did. God dealt with depression long before the pill, psychotherapy and electroshock therapy. Why not learn from the Creator and deal appropriately with the matter, whatever it is?
So, What is the matter? We are! God is the solution to the matter! Let’s stop hurting ourselves our families, our friends and our relationships with God. Let Him help us deal with whatever the matter is! Learn to trust and obey Him today and began to enjoy His peace as He guide you into His rest. He will show you what the matter is and help you resolve it.