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Posts Tagged ‘pride’

I started reading a book recommended by our local Christian radio morning show that dealt with removing the excess from our lives.*  What caught my attention was a verse from the gospel of John:

 

“He must increase, but I must decrease.” John 3:30 (KJV)

The author made the point of saying that when she decreased the “stuff” in her life, God was able to come in and increase His work in her.

 

Immediately, the word “worship” came to mind.  The second part of worship is possibly the most important, yet works hand in hand with the first (giving God our very best).  It’s the excess of self, meaning the attitudes and motives of why I do what I do.

 

It is hard to have a wrong motive in doing household chores but, a grumbling attitude can certainly crop up.  Even attending church can bring about a complacent attitude.  For crying out loud, I have been going to church for 43 years.

 

The Israelites lost their “awe” of God and the reason why they were to do things a certain way.  Even the tithe or lack thereof was selfishness.  They wanted to keep the best maybe out of fear of not having enough.

 

I find myself, at times, losing the same “awe” struck wonder in worshiping God. I go because  it’s what I do (habit), not because I have joy to go and worship God with fellow believers.

 

In the book of Acts, Ananias and Sapphira saw tons of people selling everything they had for the spread of the gospel.  They thought “Well let’s sell all we have, but they don’t need all of it. We will give most so we can look good but keep some for ourselves.  Besides no one will know.” (Christine’s edition)

 

Problem was God knew, and He wasn’t pleased.  He didn’t care if they kept some, but it was the deceit of their hearts.  They wanted to look like holy people but their hearts were full of pride and lies (the excess of self) that it killed them, literally.

 

As a writer or Bible study facilitator it’s easy for self to increase and become puffed up, if I’m not careful. Even as a parent, comparing myself to others can allow haughtiness to grow.  “I would never let me child to that!” or “My children don’t act that way.  It must be the way I raise them.”

 

There is another side of me that can turn to excess of self and that is affirmation. I have a great need to be affirmed.  Words of affirmation are my “love” language.* But it can also go to the extreme. What once was an outpouring of love from another can quickly turn into pride in my heart.

 

When I take self out of the equation– whether it be desires, or motives–my heart says, “Yes Lord, take control, do what You will.” He becomes more visible to those around me and I become invisible.  My lifestyle of worship will be acceptable to Him.

 

When I decrease (my attitudes, my motives, my desires), God will certainly increase and that is the way it should be.

 

How about you?  What motives and attitudes do you have when doing everyday activities? Work?  Ministry? Or going to a church service?

 

Ask God to show you any hidden motives that are hindering Him working in and through  you. Then ask Him for the strength to get rid of self so others can see Jesus.

 

 

“All a man’s ways seem innocent to him,

But motives are weighted by the LORD.”

Proverbs 16:2 (NIV 1984)

*Jen Hatmaker “7: An Experimetnal Mutiny Against Excess”  

*Gary Chapman “The Five Love Languages”

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