March 30, 2011
Before I proceed any further, I'd like to state that I do not believe that the friend I mentioned has a selfish or prideful bone in her body! Having said that, after we had that conversation, I began to ponder why people were like that....meaning me! Why am I like that? Why do people (me) not speak to visitors that come to church and make them feel welcome? Why do people (me) have very few people that they will actually talk to? Why do people (me) not actively participate in church functions and activities? Why are people (me) not hospitable? Why do people (me) worry about what others think/say about them?
I've pondered these questions before and I hate to admit it, but I always come up with the same conclusion. Granted, this is not ALWAYS the case, but for the most part, I think the answer is PRIDE. The focus, though we feign humility, is totally on SELF. How does this affect me? How do I feel about this? What do they think about me? In my OWN opinion, shyness and timidity are nothing more than P-R-I-D-E. OUCH! Did I hurt anyone by saying that? Oh, it sure hurts me! So, once we figure out the problem, what can we do about it? Before you say I'm being too hard on myself, the folks who are "extroverts" have the same problem. We all need the balance that can be found when we focus solely on Christ. When you crave the attention for yourself and have to be the center of everything, that is pride. Rule of thumb: When the focus is on you, you have pride. I believe it is ingrained in all of us because we are all sinners. God has really helped me with this and I want to share some things with you that have helped me.
There is a sermon that is by Dr. Jim Schettler called, How To Defeat Pride. I've obtained permission from Brother Jim to share his points from the sermon here with you. If you get the chance, listen to the sermon. It's one of those "life-changing" sermons!
"To defeat pride, you must humble yourself to get God's grace in your life." (I Peter 5:6; 2 Chron. 34:26-28; 2 Chron. 7:14; Prov. 6:3; Jer. 13:18; Mt. 18:4; Mt. 23:12; James 4:10)
How To Humble Yourself:
1. Do not destroy others. (I Sam. 18~Saul became jealous and tried to tear David down to make himself look better.) Did you see how they were dressed? Did you hear what they listen to? Did you hear what their kid did? *Indicator that we are destroying others: Jealousy
2. Do not depend on self. (Judges 16~Sampson didn't know God's power was gone because he had begun depending on himself.) We do this in many areas of life like teaching, preaching, marriage, and parenting. You must depend on Christ, not self. *Indicator that we are depending on self: Prayerlessness (Dan. 9:13)
3. Do not demand your rights. (I Kings 21~Ahab was encouraged by Jezebel to demand his rights and take Naboth's vineyard.) *Indicator that we have not given up our rights: Anger and/or pouting about not getting our own way
4. Do not deceive yourself. (Gal. 6:3) *Don't compare yourself with others. "I do this and they don't." *Don't think that past victories were by your ability. "That must have been by my skills." *Don't think that knowing right is doing right. "The more right you know, the more you have to handle that in a very humble way. If you know more truth than someone else, speak the truth in love." Many know what's right, but that doesn't mean they are living what's right.
5. Do not dodge waiting. (Joshua 6-8~Achan didn't wait for the spoils from Ai.) Things don't happen when we want them to and we get impatient and try to "fix" them ourselves. *Indicator that we are dodging waiting: Impatience
6. Do not declare your acheivements. (Dan. 4:30-21~Nebuchadnezzar had to be brought down by God.) "It's amazing what can be accomplished when we don't care who gets the credit as long as God gets the glory."
7. Do not desire pleasures. (Mark 8:34,36; Lot~he didn't think of Abraham first, but only of himself. He took the "well watered plains of Sodom" because he desired pleasure.) You humble yourself by denying yourself fleshly pleasures.
8. Do not delay in repenting. (Pharoah wanted to wait "one more night" before Moses got rid of the frogs.) We do that when we say, "Yes, I do have pride and I need to get that taken care of. I'll do it later."
9. Do not defend yourself. (Prov. 13:10) "The person who will not receive correction and debates and argues everything is defending their own rights and they are full of pride." *Indicator that we defend ourselves: Constant contention with others and will not receive correction
I know this has been a long post, but I pray you will allow the Holy Spirit to speak to your heart. He will help you get the victory in this area. It is God's will for you to live the Christian life victoriously!