Not long ago a reader of this blog made a comment about pride. The comment and my reply are re-posted here. Perhaps my readers will find it instructive.

On November 30, 2011, The “I” said:

Sadly, I have read all the comments above but I did not find a comment which comes close to explain what pride actually is. To my experience I have come to realise that pride is a self-limiting and destructive emotional response within us as individuals which is a result of our ignorance of the fact that there is no one amongst us including our different ways of life i.e. our religions, nationalities, race, sex and so on which is superior or inferior to another. It is what stands in our way of realising our fullest potential in life as living beings. it stops us from learning from our life experiences as individuals by causing us to cling to everything which is a source of our false sense of comfort and security in life especially our self-limiting belief systems.

On March 17, 2012, Truth Seeker Says:

The “I”,

Your comment is well thought out and, on the surface, it seems to make sense. But you will not find a comment here which justifies a self-centered lifestyle rooted in a false world view.

Your comment reveals a concept of pride that is an arrogant and deadly contradiction – the opposite of Truth. The opposite of “self-limiting” is self-seeking, no matter what name you give it. According to your stated world view, your conception of “pride” is standing “in the way” of the very thing that pride IS! You apparently embrace the notion that unlimited confidence in one’s ability to “realize the fullest potential in life” is a good thing. Nothing could be further from the truth. The pursuit of self-serving achievement, to obtain the “real” comforts and securities (read that “toys” and “stuff”) of this life – is in direct conflict with God’s authority. Your comment attempts to make the case that pride is NOT the ambition of an unlimited self (i.e., not “self-limiting”) while clearly in deliberate defiance of, and directly opposed to, the Spirit of Life, preferring an unfettered, independent “living being” – ultimately destined for death. One who is self-indulgent is dead even while he lives (1 Timothy 1:6).

You have falsely implied that Christianity is a mere religion that is one and the same, i.e., neither “superior or inferior”, with all others. In and of itself, Christianity is not a religion but a deep and steadfast love for Jesus Christ. Christians intimately know the love, friendship, forgiveness, comfort and security, and unshakable faith of the living Lord of our lives. And we know this by experience. Yet your final words are a thinly veiled, direct rejection of Christianity as a “self-limiting belief system”.

I’ll state it bluntly: you are not rejecting my opinion or that of anyone else who has commented about pride on this blog. In fact, you are rejecting God’s Word which has been plainly referenced here. Pride is unrestrained self-seeking (Romans 2:8), a lack of self-control (1 Corinthians 7:5) manifested by excessive self-esteem. It is a sin of attitude and of the heart and spirit (Proverbs 21:4). The apostle Paul describes boasting, arrogance, and conceit as sins which will be prevalent in the last days (2 Timothy 3:2–4). Pride is preoccupied with satisfying one’s desire to “be all you can be”. There is no “false sense of comfort and security” espoused here. This blog is grounded in the Word of God.

Our God is the source of all comfort (2 Corinthians 1:3). The Lord is our Security (Isaiah 38:14). Look it up, friend.

I pray you will find the Truth. I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him (Ephesians 1:17).

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I can do nothing on my own. As I hear, I judge, and my judgment is just, because I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me.” John 5:30

Recently someone looking for a definition of “Abide” read my post “What does “Abide” mean”? This is how I responded:

Abiding in Christ means that He lives His life in you – we call that “The Life” (Acts 5:20). There is a praise song that captures the abiding life: “Where You Go I’ll Go” by Brian Johnson. Part of the lyrics are, “Where You go I go, What You say I say, And what You pray I pray …”. That’s what Paul means when he writes, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me …” (KJV). And in his letter to the Philippians, he said, “To live is Christ.”  You can do nothing FOR Christ, yet you “can do all things THROUGH him”. This is the abiding Life and is described again in the Second chapter of 1 John.

As I began to think about how to define “abide” I believe it may be better to ask, what does the “Abiding Life” look like? That is, what do you see that is significant about the way someone lives when he/she is living the Life?  Our Lord, Jesus spent three and a half years showing us how to live. To fully define “abide” is  just as impossible as it is for me to define God’s love! When I abide in Him I am filled with His love. He makes His home in me – John 14:20!

In the Gospel of John, Jesus said:  “I can do nothing … ;  I have come not to do my own will … ;  My teaching is not Mine … ;  I do nothing on my own … ;  He who believes in Me does not believe in Me … ;  I do not speak on My own ; The words I speak I do not speak … .”

When God mercifully revealed the Truth to Major W. Ian Thomas,(Author of “The Saving Life of Christ” and founder of Torchbearers International), He told him, “Although you have given mental consent to the Truth that I have been in your heart, and have accepted it as a theory, you have lived totally ignoring the fact. You have been busy trying to do for me all that only I can do through you.” Major Thomas prayed, “If Thou art my life, and this is true, then Thou art my victory, Thou art my strength, Thou art my power, Thou art my future! Thou art the One who is going to go out now, clothed with me to do all that I have been so hopelessly trying to do in the past!”  (Excerpt from “They Found The Secret”, by V. Raymond Edman, Copyright © 1984 by Zondervan)

Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal the secret to you and give you understanding as you read His Word. Pray His word back to Him. Pray Ephesians 1:17-21 for yourself.

“In Him we live and move and have our being.”  Acts 17:28

I apologize to you all for being away so long.  I have learned a great deal more in the last year and discovered that much of what I had been taught (and probably the vast majority of you) is in great error about the Gospel. I have several drafts of new posts that I have begun and then abandoned because something was missing. I believe I know what was missing – and Who was missing – The Kingdom Gospel and Jesus.

I shall now change course somewhat and give up being the captain of my own ship (what awful pride!),  go as the Holy Spirit leads,  and write only what the Lord Jesus wants us to know – The Truth as it is being revealed to me.

Should you have a thought or opinion I welcome it.

Christmas Melancholy
Adapted by Truth Seeker (Yours Truly)

mel•an•choly adj., causing or tending to cause sadness or depression of mind or spirit.  Merriam-Webster, (Eleventh ed.)Springfield, Mass.: Merriam-Webster, Inc.

There’s a “funk” that I often find myself in during the Christmas season, and it  happened again this year. As Christmas Day gets closer, I catch myself stewing about the year, mentally cataloging my regrets of the past, my concerns about the future, and the reasons I have to be melancholy in the present. Of course, that’s when the “funk” level begins to rise. (Just to be clear, I’m not talking about a  “Soul Train”-type funk here. Although that would be weird, I might actually enjoy it.  I might embarrass some family members but my grandsons would say “Cool, Papa!”). “Melancholy” is a funny, old-fashioned word, but it does describe the feeling, this “funk.” And there’s another reason to be in a “funk;” I’ve reached the age where I’m perfectly comfortable using a word like “melancholy.” (A good friend of mine said that since I have white hair, I can say most anything I want.  Hmmm…)

So anyway the “Christmas funk” once again crept up and I started fretting over some health concerns, a strained relationship or two, a shortage of money for gifts, and the security of my retirement in this miserable economy.  Add to that the persistent crick in my back, my dear sweet wife’s unrelenting leg pain she tries to ignore, and the 747-like noise the dishwasher is now making, I figure this year’s “funk” is certainly justifiable.  (My attempt to make light of the situation by telling my wife that our entire gift budget would be “going into the cat’s litter box” didn’t go over well. I tried though.) “Merry Christmas?” Yeah, right. Whatever.  I’d just as soon curl up in a fetal position under a blanket if my stiff and sore back would let me. I’ll just sit here and stew… sort of stew in my own juices.

I discovered a long time ago that it’s impossible for me to read the Bible for any length of time without coming away in a better mood.  Really – impossible. So I opened it up and played some “Bible roulette.” It worked before.  Well, OK once – but that was (and still is) an excellent one! Thank You, Lord.

So what do I get today? “Meaningless! Meaningless! says the teacher. Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless!”

Not much Christmas spirit from Solomon with the opening verse of Ecclesiastes.  Ten verses later it’s “There is no remembrance of men of old, and even those who  are yet to come will not be remembered by those who follow.” (sigh)

The wisest man to ever live is now rubbing salt in my wound by basically telling me “Life’s a drag, then you die and no one will care.” Thanks pal. What should I have expected from a guy that had 700 wives and 300 concubines. Some “wise” man.

Bible roulette! That was a dumb idea! Whatever … I guess I’ll keep reading though.  “When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider: God has made the one as well as the other. Therefore, a man cannot discover anything about his future.”

Okay…that’s a pretty good one. I’ll give him that.  What else?  “Go, eat your food with gladness, and drink your wine with a joyful heart, for it is now that God favors what you do.”

All right! Now THAT’S the Christmas spirit! One smart man that Solomon. (And I’m going to breakout in “halleluiahs” if he tells me to have a cigar and brandy after dinner.) “Enjoy life with your wife, whom you love, all the days of this meaningless life that God has given you under the sun …”

Wow. Even twenty-eight years later, it’s impossible for me to look at my wife and not fall in love all over again. Sure, there have been some rough spots over the years, (maybe still one or two things I can’t quite get the hang of) but honestly, she still makes me crazy, in a good way.

Throughout Ecclesiastes, Solomon talks a lot about how many “under the sun” are “meaningless,” that so much of the stuff we fill our lives with just doesn’t  matter.  The tree, the gifts, the lights, the carols, the concerts, the decorations … sure, we all enjoy it, but don’t you think Solomon might say … “meaningless?”

Here is the “bottom line” for Christmas (Us engineers like bottom lines … it’s the “getting there” that drives me up the wall): A Christmas without Christ just doesn’t matter.

“Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is Christ the Lord.
You know, now that I think about it, my “Christmas funk” just doesn’t make sense.  Heck, I guess it’s been a pretty good year, really good in fact. And in spite of the way everything looks on the surface, things are really  looking up.

Think I’ll have eggnog now.  Maybe with a teeny bit of brandy – just for medicinal purposes, of course.

———-
Many thanks to freelance writer, Mike Wright, for describing (and naming) the mood I found myself in this Christmas.  And thanks to Bill Perkins (author of Six Battles Every Man Must Win) for allowing Mike to share this bit of wisdom.

Mike Wright and his wife Deborah live in West Linn, Oregon. He has five children and three grandchildren. Mike grew up in California where he had long careers as a radio DJ and in the auto body industry. With a passion for Men’s Ministry, Mike committed his life to Jesus Christ in his early 40’s.

What is Pride 2

Jesus said, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.” Matthew 16:24 (NASB)

To “deny himself” means to give up your self-rule. This “self-rule” is one and the same as “pride” in Isaac Watt’s “Wondrous Cross”, and to deny it is to give Jesus the right to reign over your life – over ALL of your life. Jesus’ death on the Cross will set you free (from what?) and He will give you a new, eternal Life – your “richest gain”. You will become a Prince or Princess of God, a precious and royal member of God’s household, and you will receive His amazing, never-ending, love. You must choose the Life He wants for you. God paid a very high price for YOU.

The cross is a thing of death. To “take up your cross” is the complete and total destruction, and yes, the death of your self-rule, the death of your depraved old life.  But it results in a new Life – not a new start, but a NEW LIFE if you will choose Him.  This Life is the Life that Jesus spent over three years showing us what it looks like.  You cannot crucify yourself.  Jesus did it for you.  You may choose not to “take up your cross”. He will not have only part of you – He will not share Himself with your self.  He will not compromise.  The cross does not compromise or yield.  No one will get a pass because she thinks herself to be a good person.  By this world’s standards she may indeed be a “good person” who always does the “right thing”.  By God’s standards she rules over her own life and is destined for Hell.

God searches the heart – the prideful heart is a corrupt, sinful, contemptible thing to Him.  The prideful heart is a stench in the nostrils of God and He will blot it out from His sight.  There is only one way out of this predicament – out of the deep dark hole you are in, even though it is not your fault.  There is help.  Jesus will get down into that dark hole with you – because He knows the way out.  He prepared the way out just for you and He paid a very costly price for it.  But (there’s always a “but” isn’t there?) Jesus is a gentleman.  He will not force you to follow Him out of the darkness.  And it is indeed “darkness”: all of your “stuff”, all of the sex, money, power, promotions, fancy titles, awards for “good deeds” – ALL of it – will fade into absolutely … nothing.

IF you do not wish to “come after Me”, if you don’t believe you’re in darkness, if you do not choose Him – you are doomed to darkness.

Is this too hard?  Is this too difficult? Is there another way out of this jam?

Sorry – no.  The cross always kills.  It always wins the argument. It never compromises. It never gives up.  It never yields to the one who is nailed to it.  It is a thing of death.  It always results in painful, grotesque death. Always. Totally.

He who does not take his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me” Matthew 10:38 “Knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him.” Romans 6:6-8

Did you get that?  If you died with Christ you will also Live with Him. Paul’s meaning is that you will live a new life in union in Christ. If ….  So then how did Jesus crucify you?  How did I die with Him? How can I live with Him? ….. I have no Idea – it’s supernatural.  I just believe it. It is faith.

“When I survey the Wondrous Cross on which the Prince of glory died, my richest gain I count but loss and pour contempt on all my pride.”

Pray for understanding. Pray “that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him. Pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe.” Ephesians 1:17-19 (NASB)

Do you understand? Seek understanding – seek Truth!

The answer to our prayers are not for our comfort or convenience.

‘Thus says the Lord God, “It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for My holy name, which you have profaned among the nations where you went.’ (Ezek 36:22)

“For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, As the waters cover the sea. (Hab 2:14).
Seek God’s Face and not His hand. Pray for His presence in your life – not what He can give you. He leads us through he valley of the shadow of death for HIS name’s sake! Not ours! (Psalm 23:3,4)

In Jeremiah 33.3-8, God says, “Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known. I will heal, I will cleanse , and I will forgive.”

In 2 Chronicles 7.14, God says “If My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

In Psalm 27.7-8 David says “Hear, O LORD,when I cry with my voice: have mercy also upon me, and answer me. When thou saidst Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, LORD, will I seek. Hide not thy face far from me; put not thy servant away in anger: thou hast been my help; leave me not, neither forsake me, O God of my salvation.”

In Hosea 5.15 God says to us “I will go away and return to My place Until they acknowledge their guilt and seek My face; In their affliction they will earnestly seek Me.”

If we die for Jesus Christ we LIVE for Mighty God.  And nothing … absolutely NOTHING else matters.

Isaiah 61:1-3
The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor;
he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor,
and the day of vengeance of our God;
to comfort all who mourn;
to grant to those who mourn in Zion—
to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit;
that they may be called oaks of righteousness,
the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified.

Now here’s some insight and wisdom from a friend of mine:

Isaiah 61: 1 – 3 has a list of what we need to strive for as Christian adults:

1. Bring good news to the afflicted

2. Bind up the brokenhearted.

3. Proclaim liberty to captives

4. Proclaim the favorable year of the Lord

5. Comfort all who mourn

6. Give mourners a garland instead of ashes

7. the oil of gladness instead of morning

8. mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting

As a result these people “will be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.”

My thinking is that this passage was saying to me that I shouldn’t keep my mouth shut when there’s something to say. When the Holy Spirit prompts, I shouldn’t hold back.

Paul did say, “If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself” but a little further into this 2nd letter to Timothy he says, “Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from these things, he will be……..” Paul commands Timothy to “preach the word.” If Timothy holds back, he’s not doing what the Holy Spirit is leading him to do. In 2 Corinthians 9 Paul talks about running and boxing. These are things that he has the ability to either do or not do. This smacks of striving to me.

In Jesus’ parable about the Good Samaritan, don’t you think that His implication was that the priest and Levite had a choice of helping or not helping? That’s our choice, too. We can be totally born again and refuse the Holy Spirit. But we’re not Jesus who could not do that so He quoted Isaiah to his home town but you’ll notice that he stopped the quotation before he got too harsh.

The English word “strive” is used 3 times in the NASB New Testament: Luke 13:24 by Jesus, Romans 15:30 by Paul, and 1 Timothy 4:10 by Paul again. In the Luke and 1 Timothy references the word is translated from the Greek ‘agouizomai’ which means “To enter a contest: contend in gymnastic games, to contend with an advisory or fight and to endeavor with strenuous zeal to obtain something. (I like the last definition best.) In the Romans reference the word used is ‘sunagouezomi’ which simply means to strive together or help one in striving.

That said, I believe that we can ‘strive’ to be and to do the things on the “list” spoken of by Isaiah and then by Jesus. Actually, though, in both cases, I really believe that the resulting production of their striving was the fruit of righteousness brought about by abiding in the Lord God most High.

I totally understand the implications of abiding in John 15:5, but …

We do have choices and part of the choices we have, even in our flesh, is to strive or not to strive, to try or not to try, to make the attempt or not to make the attempt. Granted, our success is totally based on our abiding but we don’t have to succeed (at least completely), now do we? We do have some say so in how much we allow God to guide us. When we give ourselves to him totally, he can then use us totally for his glory. When we hold back, well…., you know the result of that.

One of the things that I want men to see is that it starts with us. We have to yield to the wooing of the Holy Spirit. That’s up to us. God will give us understanding of who He is but we have to accept it before belief comes. In other words, we can believe IN God but still not believe God.

My own striving is to crucify (kill) this old flesh of mine that so easily entangles me and gets in my way of real intimacy with God. It’s not easy for me. It’s real striving, the way I see it. And it’s not the same as it has been in the past. My striving now is on a little different level than it has been. That’s because I’m more of a threat to the enemy than I’ve been before. I some kind of dangerous dude, if you get my meaning.

But, I need to keep in shape like Paul said when he talked about beating his body into submission. That’s my striving. And I have my good days and I also have my not so good days. Understand that I’m not talking about God’s ability to save or to empower or anything, for that matter. I’m not talking about His ability at all. I’m talking about my ability, my power, my strength. Of course, with Him I have more ability, power and strength, but I do have to choose to abide, don’t I? – J.H., August 18, 2008