Think Hard, Stay Humble: The Life of the Mind and the Peril of Pride – by Francis Chan

One of the great benefits of the internet is the ability to download and listen to some powerful sermons and Christian teachers.  I’m so grateful to the ministries like Grace Community Church and Desiring God that make a plethora of resources available for free.  They are available for the building up of the body of Christ and the proclamation of the Gospel to those not yet saved.

Each year John Piper has a National Conference whereby he invites Christian pastors and teachers to participate.  I recently downloaded the messages from the 2010 conference and started listening to Francis Chan’s message on the peril of pride.  Oh my…it’s powerful, convicting, challenging and motivating.  This is a message I will need to listen to again and again. 

Go to the link below to download or listen on-line to Francis Chan:

Think Hard, Stay Humble: The Life of the Mind and the Peril of Pride – Francis Chan

1 Corinthians 8:1-13
Now concerning things offered to idols: We know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love edifies.  And if anyone thinks that he knows anything, he knows nothing yet as he ought to know.   But if anyone loves God, this one is known by Him.

Therefore concerning the eating of things offered to idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is no other God but one.  For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as there are many gods and many lords), yet for us there is one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we for Him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and through whom we live.

However, there is not in everyone that knowledge; for some, with consciousness of the idol, until now eat it as a thing offered to an idol; and their conscience, being weak, is defiled.  But food does not commend us to God; for neither if we eat are we the better, nor if we do not eat are we the worse.

But beware lest somehow this liberty of yours become a stumbling block to those who are weak.  For if anyone sees you who have knowledge eating in an idol’s temple, will not the conscience of him who is weak be emboldened to eat those things offered to idols?  And because of your knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died?  But when you thus sin against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ.  Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never again eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble.

2010 Desiring God National Conference

Pride…a sin which so easily entangles us

Recently I got to thinking about pride.  It seems to be a common area of vulnerability for all of us, great and small, both famous or those who are unknown. 
The Bible is replete with warnings about pride and its consequences. 
It’s so easy to see the sin of pride in others…and blind to the pride within me.
How easy it is to believe my own press clippings.
How tempting it is to incline my ear to hear the praises of men.
How easy it is to take credit for accomplishments, skills, talents or abilities. 
When I fail to recognize God’s hand and remember that everything I have is a gift from Him…I am on the road to a prideful, haughty spirit.
When I surround myself with those who agree with my self assessment about how good I am…I am playing into the hands of the enemy.
When I fail to give God thanks and praise…I am robbing Him of His glory. 
When I have a prideful spirit, I am replacing God in my life with a god of my own making…namely myself.
Pride wins when I care more about myself than others.
When I’m filled with pride, I’m more concerned about how I look than about obeying God.
When pride is the motivating factor in my life…I am never more like the devil. 
When I fill my heart and mind with the word of God…I have a proper perspective on who I am.
When I seek to know God more and love Him with all my heart, mind, soul and strength…pride is driven away.
When I’d rather boast about Jesus Christ and Him crucified and seek to glorify Him…then I am yielded to God.

The Gift of Discouragement

Oh lowest and most evil one
I have a delicious, delectable bad report
Of inroads made into the hearts and minds the enemy’s saints
God gives the gift of, dare I say, encouragement
But I’ve been able to successfully supplant it
With the gift of discouragement
Aided by pride and feelings of self righteousness
The unsuspecting saint didn’t have a clue
Of the exchange made while sitting in the church pew
The overflow of their heart
Spewed forth criticism and condemnation
Aimed squarely at a fellow believer
Unaware of the opportunity God presented
To pray for, encourage, and build up one another
I was able to come alongside and whisper in their ear
Out of their mouth came words I effectively used
To tear down, discourage and cause division
With one they call brother in Christ
As they sat in church
Feelings of superiority took hold
While they focused on the faults and failures of another
All the while
I was able to distract the one who was hurt
With hurt feelings, anger and un-forgiveness
The real victory was won
When I distracted both from hearing the pastor’s message
The Word of God was falling on deaf ears and distracted minds
I predict continued success
So long as they fail to take every thought captive
Or resist offering forgiveness for an offense
I dare say we may take even more of the enemy’s ground
If we can light a fire and watch it spread throughout the congregation
Fueled by pride and self-righteousness

Susan Bunts Wachtel
January 18, 2010

Not Something I’m Proud Of

As a Christian…I know that God hates pride and just as Jesus was humble and submitted Himself to God the Father…He too desires the same from me.

If you were to follow me around…I’m not sure that pride is one of the first faults you would identify…but make no mistake it’s there.

Tonight as we continued in Revelation 12…we studied about the battle between God and His angles and Satan. We went back to Isaiah 14, where Satan first rose up to usurp God and put himself upon the throne.

13 You said in your heart,
“I will ascend to heaven;
I will raise my throne
above the stars of God;
I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly,
on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain.

14 I will ascend above the tops of the clouds;
I will make myself like the Most High.”

Make no mistake…God does not share His throne. If I’m trying to put myself on the throne…I’m trying to push God off.

Before God had created the earth and placed the crown of His creation, Adam and Eve, in the Garden of Eden…Satan, a created, being thought too highly of himself.. He became prideful of his beauty, wisdom and splendor…all of which God had given him. Instead of thanking God for those gifts and seeking to please God and bring Him glory through humble submission and use of them, he instead sought to raise himself up and put himself on God’s throne.

Satan wanted God’s throne…but instead he was thrown out of heaven and banished to the earth. Ever since his chief aim has been to bring to ruin the apple of God’s eye…man. He stands before God and is the accuser of the brethren. If he can’t keep us from heaven…he seeks to make our life miserable so that we will curse and deny God. He wants to ruin our testimony and render us useless to God…as we stand before Him with our shame and failures ever before us. But thankfully we have a huge God…who is able to forgive, redeem, and cleanse us from our sins. Thankfully He is also able to use even our failures for good and for His glory and furtherance of His kingdom.

While pondering Satan and what led to his downfall…it struck me that while many of his attacks are quite obvious…his most effective tool may be to lure us to follow his path to destruction…pride. It can be subtle…who doesn’t want to take pride in their work or doing a good job? Come on…what’s wrong with that? But where does that lead? Am I mindful that God gave me that job and the gifts to perform the job well? Or am I starting to believe that it’s all about me? Am I willing to obey and submit to God’s will even when it differs from my plan? Or will I scheme and manipulate to get my way? Will I seek to put others down so I can raise myself up? Am I boastful and proud? Do I seek to promote myself…or do I encourage and help others?

As one who suffered the pain of rejection early in life…and falling short in oh so many ways…there will always be a scar and pain and doubt that I will ever be good enough. Because of that I am particularly vulnerable to seeking the praise of man. Because there was pain and hurt…trusting God may require a willful act and will likely not come naturally. It will require effort to not trust my feelings…to instead believe and follow God and the truth of His word. It will require faith and trust in God…even when I may not see the fruits of that trust that God is indeed a good God.

Pride…it’s ever so tempting…but trust, obedience and submission is the key. Will I put myself first…or God first? One has eternal rewards…and the other ends in destruction.

Oh Lord…help to me not go down the path of Satan. May I be mindful that all that I have and all that I am comes from You. May I humbly obey and submit myself, my plans and my future to You and Your glory. Amen!