What do you think about when you FIRST wake up in the morning?
Beth Moore suggests three possible directions: others, ourselves, God. Mark 4:19 describes our automatic thoughts before we begin to focus on spiritual things. We find our thoughts captive to “the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things.” Before we know Christ (and sometimes after), world things naturally consume our thoughts.
When we come to value the things of the Spirit, we try to please God. (That sounds good, right?) We value doing the right things, living up to expectations, & being “good Christians.” Although this sounds as if we are putting God first, we are in actuality putting ourselves first. When our concern centers on how well we live up to expectations, even God’s expectations, we find ourselves focusing on ourselves. (Pride.) God wants to change that focus to HIMSELF.
That third option should be our goal and desire. We should want to wake up thinking about God’s glory instead of our own image. We should want to think of honoring Him rather than impressing people. Ever wonder why God created us? According to Isaiah 43:7, we are created for His glory. But what does that really mean? The more we study the concept of God’s glory, the more we see if far exceeds anything our minds can comprehend. “Everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.” (Isaiah 43:7)
God’s glory is the way He shows Himself or makes Himself known and shows He is mighty. Each way he accomplishes a divine task is His glory. As we grow in spiritual maturity, the Spirit of Christ becomes more easily recognizable in us. A life that glorifies God or makes Him recognizable is a process that ideally progresses with time and maturity. It is evidenced when…
- Our most important consideration in every undertaking is whether or not God could be glorified (1 Corinthians 10:31).
- We do not seek our own glory (John 8:50, 54).
- Our sincere hope in our service to others is that they will somehow see God through us (1 Peter 4:10-11).
- We go through hardships to turn to God and try to cooperate with Him so He can use them for our good and for His glory (1 Peter 4:12-13).
- We recognize we are sometimes able to accomplish or withstand things only through the power of God (2 Corinthians 4:7).
If God reveals Himself through His glory, what would be the primary obstacle to us glorifying Him? Sadly, it’s our natural inclination to showcase ourselves rather than to REVEAL HIM. Scripture has a name for glorifying self: Pride.
Pride wears many masks. Pride is not the opposite of self-esteem- it is the opposite of humility. (We can have a serious pride problem that masquerades as low self-esteem.) Humility in the NT comes from a root meaning “to lower oneself or to be brought low.” When we see God as He is, we automatically see ourselves as we are. Low self-esteem means we see ourselves as low- and not because God is great- but because “I have little value.” Don’t miss the paradox! When we recognize the greatness of God, we fall on our face before Him, but we also see ourselves in a new light. Because we are the beloved creation of our great Maker, we cannot help but be a person of worth.
Low self-esteem has nothing to do with real humility. Pride is self-absorption, whether we’re absorbed with how miserable we are or how wonderful we are. Humility is God-focused and not self-focused. We must learn to be constantly on the lookout for pride! We will never waste time praying about our tendency toward pride and seek to humble ourselves before God.
The biggest injustice of pride: It cheats whereever it plays.
Pride is a destroyer of ministries, marriages, friendships, jobs, and character. To fulfill our God-given destinies- to allow the King of all creation to show himself through us- we must overcome the temptation to seek our own glory by desiring His instead. If we are to recognize and allow God to free us from any areas of captivity, we must recognize pride as more than self-promotion. Pride is a dangerous lure to captivity.
- God wants to get to our hearts. Pride covers the heart.
- God wants to free us from any hindrances in our past. Pride refuses to take a fresh look.
- God wants to treat us with the prescription of His Word. Pride doesn’t like to be told what to do.
- God wants to set us completely free. Pride thinks he’s free enough.
- God wants to bring us out of dark closets. Pride denies there is a problem.
- God wants to make us strong in Him. Pride won’t admit weakness.
**think of a personal conflict
Can you even conceive of a conflict between people that is not pride-based? (In truth, it can all be traced back to that somehow.) A simple reason exists for pride in Goliath proportions: It is Satan’s specialty! It is the characteristic that most aptly describes him. It is the very issue that had him expelled from Heaven, and it is still one of Satan’s most successful tools in discouraging people from accepting the gospel.
DEALING WITH PRIDE
The most basic definition of repent in the New Testament means “to have a changed mind.” We need God to change our minds about pride in 3 ways.
- We need to change the way we view pride.
God hates pride because it dethrones Him and puts ourselves at the center of the universe. (Proverbs 8:13, Proverbs 11:2, Proverbs 13:10, Proverbs 16:18, Obadiah 1:3)
- We need to change the way we view humility.
Humility is not a sign of weakness. In fact, it takes a supernatural strength that comes only to those who are strong enough to admit weakness. (James 4:6 & 10, Isaiah 57:14 -15, Isaiah 66:2)
- We need to humble ourselves before God.
In a nutshell, humbling ourselves before God means bowing down before His majesty- daily. (James 4:10, 1 Peter 5:6)
MAKING GOD RECOGNIZEABLE
In simple terms, God is glorified in ANYONE through whom He is allowed to show himself great or mighty. We live a God-glorifying life by adopting a God-glorifying attitude. God wants to make himself recognizable to us and through us. Isaiah 26:8 says “Yes, Lord, walking in the way of your laws, we wait for you; you name and renown are the desire of our hearts.” God will show himself great and mighty in those whose heart’s desire is His name and renown. The original word for “renown” is shem, which means “definite and conspicuous position…honor, authority, character...fame.”
Consider the New Testament word for glory and note what it adds to our understanding. The Greek word for glory is “doxa.” It means “the true apprehension of God or things. Giving glory to God is ascribing to him His full recognition.” We were created for giving God’s invisible character visibility.
Time for some honest evaluation. Let’s revisit some of the questions about bringing God glory. Check out the Scriptures associated with each question. If you had to mark yourself on a scale from 1% to 100% for each of these, where would you fall?
- Is my most important consideration in every undertaking is whether or not God could be glorified?? (1 Corinthians 10:31)
- Do I desire His glory or my own?? (John 8:50, 54)
- In my service, is my sincere hope that they will somehow see God in me?? (1 Peter 4:10-11)
- When I am going through hardships, do I to turn to God and try to cooperate with Him so He can use them for our good and for His glory?? (1 Peter 4:12-13)
- Am II sometimes able to accomplish or withstand things only through the power of God?? (2 Corinthians 4:7)
“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” -1 Corinthians 10:31
Pray through Colossians 3:12 and 1 Peter 5:5.
My Personal Conclusion:
This hit me like a ton of bricks after studying this lesson.
Are we so caught up in the business of our own lives, our circumstances, our to-do lists, our family, our needs…that we are MISSING the NEED of others? And by need, I’m talking about Jesus. Friends, we live in a dark world. People are desperate for HOPE and desperate for our Jesus….and some of them just don’t know that’s what their life is missing. We often take for granted living in America and assume that everyone around us has heard the Gospel. We assume everyone knows how much God loves them, that he desires a personal relationship for them, that he wants to save them and fight for them and wants GOOD for them. That he wants to give them peace and joy and a future. But the truth is, not everyone knows that. Can we take our eyes off of ourselves (our shortcomings, our past, fear of rejection, insecurities, business with daily tasks, etc.) long enough to share the Gospel? When I really thought about the last time I have shared the Gospel with someone outside of church, I am ashamed. So many people are desperate and hurting, and WE HAVE THE REMEDY. I know that, because He has been the remedy in my own life. Why are we not so burdened to share that??
That is not meant to sound condemning. There is no condemnation in Christ. It’s meant as a challenge more than anything.
Source: Moore, Beth. Living Free. Lifeway Christian Resources; 2002/Christian Growth Study Plan edition (December 31, 2001)