Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Be careful of pride

Preamble:  This entry stems from my pondering and commenting on two consecutive blog entries on pride, of Ps Prentis, writing on his blog of “Created to give God Glory”, which I follow most regularly.   

Below are the links to the 2 articles:

1.          Bowing at the Altar of Self

2.   Standing on the backs of others won’tmake you taller (I also encourage you to read my comment on this article; the points are NOT reflected in this article)

Article verse
Hab 2:4 - "See, he is puffed up; his desires are not upright-- but the righteous will live by his faith.

It started with Satan
Satan’s fall from Heaven was due to pride.  Isaiah 14:12-14 gave us the picture:

12 How you have fallen from heaven, O morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations!  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." 

Ezekiel 28:12-18 is conflated with Satan.  Satan was most beautiful and perfect until Iniquity was found in Him.  Iniquity birthed from pride.  Satan wanted to be like God, be seated at the High Throne, and be worshipped by all.  He probably was below One, and above all others, possibly, was the one who orchestrated worship in Heaven; yet he wanted to equal God, if NOT above God.

Pride reaches its high level when, it matters NOT, to you, what others (including God) think of you; and what matters to you is what you think of yourself.  When it is like that, it is you are placing yourself above everyone else. 

In this regard, the author of Romans, in Romans 12:3, captured it well, warning us NOT to think more highly than we ought, but rather think of ourselves with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of us. 

Think about it, that was what happened to Satan; he stopped bothering with what God thought of him, rather he thought he ought be the one be worshipped by all (equaled God, or even instead of God being worshipped).  When we say we are NOT bothered with what others think of us, it is WRONG (pride), if that “others” included God.  We must have, and have, the highest regard for what God thinks of us. Micah 6:8 said of what is required of us; one of it, is we are to walk humbly before our God.

Replication into Man
Iniquity birthed in Satan from pride; to me, the same was replicated into men, in the Fall.  The snare was the same; Gen 3:4-6 –

4 "You will not surely die," the serpent said to the woman.  5 "For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil."  6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.

See, Satan was hinting to Eve, “You could do without God”.

Fellowship consideration
“Well, in that case, can I be ‘NOT bothered’ with what others think; I just give regards to what God thinks?”  If the others are in alignment with God, you cannot just ignore them either.  Remember, (1 John 1) if we are in the light, we have fellowship with God and with other believers in the light.  The yardstick of measurement has to be God’s words, will and desires, though.  Believers’ expectations of us, which are out of line with the yardstick, we can put aside, after we have weighed against the yardstick, but it is only after exercising sober judgment.

Romans 12 gives a good take of how we are to live it out in a community.  The point is still we are NOT called into isolation, but to live in fellowship in the light.  Life is NOT easy in such context, for where there are people, there is politics, and that is another thorny issue, and wisdom is required. We don’t bow to men, but to God; but it is NOT we bow NOT, to men and we bow NOT to anyone, NOT even God.  We submit to authority placed over us, by God.  Unhappy with leaders, and there is no higher authority?  Take your case to God.

Agreement with God
The straightforward and “easy thing to say” is to “Just do what God wills/desires you, to do; submit, obey, and follow His prescription for you”; in other words, be in agreement with God.  It is the right thing, but it is NOT necessarily easy to practise. 

Hab 2:4 ends with “but the righteous shall live by faith”, but how is it contrary to prideful behavior or living?  I often say, the simple definition of being righteous is being in agreement with God, and so, the righteous are the ones supposedly in agreement with God.  The “in agreement” is about what God wants done, and the timing thereof, too; and it is NOT mental assent, it got to be lived out. 

Why the righteous shall live by faith; it is because we proceed and we are to proceed (to live), from a “right belief”; NOT any belief, but a belief in the words, will and desires of God. It is the norm that it is NOT “robotic”, in that it is NOT all pre-programmed in every single step that we are to take, and it is NOT executed entirely from facts.  And we do NOT have the full mind of Christ, like our mind has been hollowed out and replaced by Christ’s mind!  If you have such a mind, let me know! To be righteous in living, it is by faith. 

I like this, that Ps Prentis said (in his blog entry - “Bowing at the Altar of Self”):

Listening to God and doing what He desires takes away all pride and all self-worship. It creates a person who loses himself in his work. His work is his worship because God has called him to it. He doesn’t worship the work but worships by working.”

Really, worship is more than we singing songs and praising Him; we worship Him in doing willingly and lovingly the works (including worship of Him) He has us do.  But sad, too often, works has been erroneously treated like leprosy, to stay away from (no thanks to overly grace preachers), with a 10 feet pole, so to speak. 

How is in agreement with God (being righteous), listening to Him and doing from that, by faith, takes away all pride and self-worship? It is because we know we are NOT the source of the whatever that people can be prideful about, God is; we merely follow His lead.

“Listening to God and doing what He desires” is NOT necessarily easy!  But who says, when it is hard, we are NOT to do!  If there is no hardness, from where would come faithfulness and perseverance; and where would come character building. 

The one who is NOT operating from “the righteous shall live by faith”, Habakkuk said, his soul is lifted up, or he is being proud.  And he who is proud, “uprightness” is NOT in him. To live by faith, one listens to God and does what He desires (both listening and doing, call for faith); when we are NOT doing that, we are saying we know better (than God); and this is being proud, is it NOT?!

My check of the Lexicon leads me to believe the right meaning to be assigned (there are several meanings) to the “uprightness” {H3474} is, that which is pleasing, agreeable; and obviously, pleasing and agreeability are from the perspective of God.  So, he who is proud does NOT have that which is pleasing or agreeable to God, or he is NOT pleasing or agreeable to God. 

In other words, Hab 2:4 could read as “Behold, he who is being proud (or prideful) is NOT pleasing or agreeable to God; whereas, the righteous lives by faith or in agreement with God”.

If it is the Lord's will, we will live and do this or that
There is, of course, time and season (Eccl 3); and so, while we must remain faithful in our works for God, it is never we are indispensable (that is pride), or that God cannot retire us off, or rotate us to any other thing or nothing (for a season)!  He is the Potter, we are the clay; He will re-make or re-shape as he wishes (Jer 18:4-5; Rom 9:21).

The Apostle James left us these words (James 4:13-16):
13 Now listen, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money."  14 Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.  15 Instead, you ought to say, "If it is the Lord's will, we will live and do this or that."  16 As it is, you boast and brag. All such boasting is evil. 

Anthony Chia, high.expressions

Comments are welcome here. Alternatively, email them to me @: Or just email me your email address so that I can put you on my blog (new entry) notification list. To go back to blog main page, click here.