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Jamaica Gleaner - - FAMILY & RELIGION -

E CUL­MI­NATE our weekly fea­ture on temp­ta­tions by con­tin­u­ing to look at the mother of them all: pride.

We cel­e­brated the fact that God gives us tal­ents and abil­i­ties to use for His glory, and He wants us to do our best. In Gala­tians 6:4 (NIV) the Apos­tle Paul wrote, “... they can take pride in them­selves alone, with­out com­par­ing them­selves to some­one else ...”. The type of pride that re­sults from a job well done is quite ac­cept­able. But Scriptures warn us about a sin­ful type of pride that re­sults in van­ity, per­fec­tion­ism, in­dig­na­tion, and stub­born­ness. God has some very ex­plicit things to say about pride that we need to pay close at­ten­tion to. Proverbs 6:16: “There are seven things that the Lord hates and can­not tol­er­ate: A proud look ...” (GNT). The writer of Proverbs puts pride first on God’s top seven list of things that he hates. Last week, we also con­cluded that pride can hin­der or de­stroy our re­la­tion­ships with oth­ers, our re­la­tion­ship with God and neg­a­tively af­fect our very lives. As The Mes­sage trans­la­tion of Proverbs 16:18 puts it, “First pride, then the crash – the big­ger the ego, the harder the fall.” It is sober­ing to know that God re­peat­edly warns of the out­come of pride. In Matthew 23:12 (NIV), Je­sus put for­ward a health­ier al­ter­na­tive “... those who ex­alt them­selves will be hum­bled, and those who hum­ble them­selves will be ex­alted.” So how do we hum­ble our­selves? How do we nav­i­gate the land­mine of pride?

1. CON­FESS THAT YOU ARE MADE BY GOD AND FOR GOD.

You have to be con­tent that God made you as you are for His pur­pose. In Gen­e­sis 1:27 (NIV), it says, “So God cre­ated mankind in his own im­age, in the im­age of God he cre­ated them; male and fe­male he cre­ated them.”

You must re­alise that not only did God cre­ate you the way you are ,but He also cre­ated you for a pur­pose. Eph­e­sians 2:10 (ERV) says, “... In Christ Je­sus, God made us new peo­ple so that we would spend our lives do­ing the good things he had al­ready planned for us to do.” God made you as you are; not bet­ter than any­one else but uniquely gifted for His spe­cific pur­poses.

2. CON­FESS YOUR PROB­LEM WITH PRIDE TO GOD.

You need to ac­knowl­edge that you have a prob­lem with pride. If pride is in­de­pen­dence and re­bel­lion from God, then the first step back to Him is con­fes­sion. 1 John 1:9 (NIV) says, “If we con­fess our sins, he is faith­ful and just and will for­give us our sins and pu­rify us from all un­righ­teous­ness.” When we make this ad­mis­sion, God, through His su­per­nat­u­ral power, will de­crease our pride and in­crease our hu­mil­ity. In fact, the very act of con­fes­sion re­quires hu­mil­ity, so it can be con­sid­ered your first move away from pride.

3. HUM­BLE YOUR­SELF BE­FORE GOD.

Hu­mil­ity is an ev­ery­day ac­tion that re­moves pride from me and places it in God. It hap­pens when you take your pride that you want to keep for your­self, and you put it at God’s feet. Our cul­ture has man­aged to dis­tort our view of hu­mil­ity and make it ap­pear as if it is some­thing weak. But hu­mil­ity is the ul­ti­mate act of strength. When you study lead­ers through­out the ages who have mod­elled hu­mil­ity and have had a pos­i­tive im­pact on the world, you will find that their hu­mil­ity was their ul­ti­mate strength.

James 4:6-7 (NIV) says, “God op­poses the proud but shows favour to the hum­ble. Sub­mit yourselves, then, to God...”. As long as you are pride­ful, then you are in a place where God re­sists you. You can in­stead, choose hu­mil­ity and put your­self in a po­si­tion where God gives you strength.

4. SET A GOAL TO LIVE A LIFE OF DE­CREAS­ING PRIDE AND IN­CREAS­ING HU­MIL­ITY.

Keep your eyes fixed and fo­cused on Je­sus Christ. He is the ul­ti­mate ex­am­ple of hu­mil­ity. Hebrews 12:1-2 (GNT). “As for us, we have this large crowd of wit­nesses around us. So then, let us rid our­selves of ev­ery­thing that gets in the way, and of the sin which holds on to us so tightly, and let us run with de­ter­mi­na­tion the race that lies be­fore us. How do we do this? The Bi­ble says, let us keep our eyes fixed on Je­sus, on whom our faith de­pends from be­gin­ning to end. He did not give up be­cause of the cross!

When Je­sus was on the cross, it was the ul­ti­mate act of hu­mil­ity and love. Je­sus went to the cross be­cause of His love for us be­cause in our weak­ened state of sin, He died to set us free. Ro­mans 5:8 (NIV), “But God demon­strates his own love for us in this: While we were still sin­ners, Christ died for us.”

Did you know that an act of hu­mil­ity is bow­ing your head when you pray? I in­vite you to bow your head wher­ever you are to­day and humbly say to God:

“God, You are God. It’s about Your will. It’s not about my pride. It’s about me find­ing strength from You. And with­out You, I’m never go­ing to be able to ac­com­plish any­thing. God, You are my leader. You are my Lord, and I am hum­bling my­self be­fore You. I pray this in the name of Je­sus Christ, your Son. Amen.”

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