Above & Beyond

Does your pride surpass humility?

What is the difference between pride and humility?

Being proud or arrogant involves having a know-it-all attitude and taking matters into your own hands. It is based on fear of believing that God is withholding good from you. It is a selfish act concerned only for the needs and feelings of oneself.

Pride involves being self reliant, coupled with a belief of being better than others. 1 Peter 5:5-6 says “Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you, be submitted to one another, and be clothed with humility, for God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Therefore humble yourself under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time.”

Psalm 34:18 says, “The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart and saves such as have a contrite spirit.”

There are many benefits in living a life of humility. It honours God and gives Him permission to work in your life. Here are some of the attributes of humility. As you read the list, ask yourself which ones you need to develop in your life.

People who possess humility are:

• God-conscious and rely on Him for help.
• Teachable and willing to learn, admitting their own weaknesses.
• Compassionate, forgiving others because they know how much they have been forgiven.
• Believing there s enough for all of us and are genuinely interested in seeing others succeed.
• Believers of God’s willingness to work in them despite all of their flaws.
• Accepting of personal responsibility and able to see where they are wrong in a situation.
• Concerned about being real because what matters to them is not what others think, but what God knows.
• Willing to be open and transparent with others as God directs.
• Able to acknowledge specifics when confessing their sin.
• Quick to take the initiative to be reconciled when there is misunderstanding or conflict in relationships.
• Honest and not trying to cover up secrets.

The main difference between pride and humility is the motive of your heart. God is aware of what is in your heat and wants to shine His light into the dark areas of our soul.

In Psalm 51:10 David says to God, “Create in me a clean heart, Oh God, and renew a steadfast spirit in me.”

People who operate in true humility are a joy to be around. They are not defensive or judgmental. They aren’t trying to prove that their story is better than yours. They are genuinely interested in others.

Humility is a quality worth pursuing, but it only comes by relying on God. Admitting that we need Him and then trusting that He hears our prayers are true acts of humility.

Know-it-alls are really annoying, probably even to God. Only those who are humble can really handle promotion without letting it go to their head.

God knows more than we do, and relying on Him is an honour. Pride pushes God away, while humility draws us closer to Him.

Make sure you're not all work and no pray

Busyness is no excuse for becoming out of touch with Jesus In the Bible it is recorded several times that Jesus would withdraw himself into a quiet place to pray.

For years it never occurred to me that it may be beneficial to take some quiet time in solitude.

The words ‘rest’, ‘quiet’ and ‘peace’ were not in my vocabulary. My calling was not to be a monk somewhere on a deserted mountain. I had places to go, people to see and things to do.

Isaiah 26:3 says, “you will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.” I didn’t have “perfect peace” because there was a world out there that needed me, and if I did not attend to it, the universe might come to an end.

Besides quiet time was a waste of my life. Even when I tried to slow down I felt guilty and only thought about all the things I should be doing.

Most of my life I would hide behind busyness. I was addicted to work in the fast lane. I was on a speeding locomotive and didn’t know how to get off, even if I wanted to.

The hurried stream of everyday life was for me a type of hypnosis that kept me in constant motion. Being a workaholic is very acceptable in our society. My bosses loved me and I would flaunt all my reference letters to anyone who would look.

I thought every opportunity I said “yes” to was another feather in my cap, but it was really another rock in my shoe.

Unconsciously I was running away from my problems, trying to bury them with busyness. At times, my intense workload kept my mind off my problems, acting as my soother. Yet the more I ran away from the difficulties that I should have been dealing with, the worst they became.

It was like a monster growing in my closet. The more I neglected and ignored it, the bigger and stronger it grew, making it even more difficult to deal with. I was in a vicious cycle. My job, unlike my personal life, offered validation for all my energies being poured out. I received pats on the back, acknowledgment of my efforts and even financial rewards.

At home, though, I felt taken advantage of, receiving very little recognition and I was drained financially.

Life in the fast lane fed me daily doses of adrenaline. My addiction was so intense that eventually when I was forced to take some time off, I actually experienced withdrawal symptoms.

I would pace the empty halls in our house, morning The Good Old Days. It was too painful to sit down for more than five minutes. I could not focus or concentrate on anything else except my grief in being thrown off the high-speed train. I was similar to the Israelites fantasizing about Egypt. Oh yes, we can all make excuses for our off-the-wall behaviour. But addiction to work is not a time for excuse.

Sometimes the truth is a sharp knife that cuts deep into the layers of denial and neglect. Facing and admitting our relationship problems, financial problems or health problems is not for the faint-hearted.

This is when we need the help of God and others to bring our lives back into alignment. It’s time to come into the light, repent of prayerlessness and stop hiding behind busyness.

Developing our relationship with God

As a Christian, a follower of Christ, we live in this world, but we are not of this world. Satan is the god of this world. He is the father of all lies and masters of deception.

According to 2 Corinthians 5:20 we are ambassadors from a heavenly kingdom and we require discernment to walk in truth. In John 14:6 Jesus says He is the way, the truth and the life. John 8:32 tells us that when we know the truth, the truth will set you free. We can be free from sickness, bondage, and fear, because Jesus paid the price.

When Jesus died for our sins on the cross, he sent His Holy Spirit to assist us. Romans 8:11 acknowledges that the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead, dwells in us. Living daily in relationship with the Holy Spirit requires hearing His voice and obeying Him. But how do we do that? I have discovered three ways to develop my relationship with God.

#1 Confess and repent. God is a holy God and sin separates you and I from God. When the Holy Spirit reveals to me that I have sinned, and I confess it and turn away from it, and according to 1 John 1:9 He is faithful to forgive me.

#2 Study the Bible. 2 Timothy 2:15 encourages us to study the Word of God. As I learn what the Bible says, I discover who God is. God is truth and I can trust Him and His Word, but I must read and study it to get it into my heart so it becomes a part of me.

#3 Pray and talk with the Holy Spirit. Proverbs 3:6 says that in all your ways acknowledge God and He will direct your steps. As I humble myself and acknowledge that I need God, I give Him permission to work in my life. I ask Him questions and converse with Him. As He leads me, I am committed to obeying Him. In John 10:14 Jesus says that His sheep know His voice. Isaiah 30:21 says, “Your ears shall hear a word behind you saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it.’ Whenever you turn to the right hand or whenever you turn to the left.

Developing your relationship with God is a priority and following these simple steps will empower you to have a life-giving experience with God.

Free will is a gift from God

I was at a funeral recently, contemplating my life and what would be said at my funeral.

Questions were racing through my head like, “Who is responsible for my life? Is m life a result of the choices I make or is it a result of the soverenty of God? Do I have the power to create a harvest by the good seeds I plant or do I just sit and watch life unfold for me because God has my life all figured out?

When God created us, did He not create us with a free will?

For Him to interfere in my life, without my permission, is that not a violation of His nature?

If I am free to make choices, either good or bad, why do I blame God when things don’t work out for me as planned?

As I search the Bible for answers I discover that there is a God of this world – Satan, who is the father of all lies. He is a devil who steals, kills and destroys. God is a good God and every good gift comes from Him.

So the next time I am experiencing sorrow and grieving, I will think twice before I say “God allowed this.” Those words to me sound like the words of a victim not an overcomer.

Does not God’s plan for my life involve Him giving me options and leaving the choices to me? Even when I make mistakes, I can trust Him to work things out for good.

He knows my heart and if I genuinely want His involvement, I need to give Him permission. We are co-labourers with Christ which means we are in this together.

I think we have gotten our job-descriptions mixed up and it’s time to start taking responsibility for our lives and the choices we make.

Even when we make mistakes, by truly repenting and learning from them, we can trust God to turn things around.

Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who are the called according to His purpose.”

Verse 31 goes on to say, “If God is for us, who can be against us?”

God won’t do the work for us, but He offers support, comfort and strength for us to do the work He has called us to do.

I no longer believe that God is the cause of sorrow, pain and grief. God can turn things around for good and opportunities can come out of deep sorrow. In this work we will experience persecution, pain and grief, but I know God is on my side.

I am confidant that as I need things, ideas or people they will turn up at exactly the right moment in time, because God is for me not against me.

Whatever I want said at my funeral, I have been given the power to create like I want because God has given me a free will.

It’s easy to blame others, even God for my shortcomings but like one pastor friend told me, “The buck stops here.” Let’s be responsible for our own lives and stop making lame excuses for why we aren’t living our lives to our full potential.

Maybe that starts by asking yourself what you want said at your funeral.