Faith Filled Family Magazine November 2016 - Page 98

The prideful no longer exercises a healthy attitude toward others. Rather than displaying an attitude of compassion, they demonstrate an attitude of contempt or even cruelty. They may find its acceptable to offend others without asking forgiveness. The prideful begin to wonder why others have not achieved to their level of performance. What’s wrong with them? I did it. Why can’t they? Remember the two men that went up to the temple to pray? The Pharisee prayed, 11. “God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. 12. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.” 13. “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’’ What did Jesus say about the Pharisee who exalted himself over others? He said, “Those who exalt themselves will be humbled” (Matthew 18:14 NIV). Pride is the main ingredient for disaster in this Christian life: “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18 NIV). SELF-CONFIDENCE WITHOUT PRIDEFULNESS We can live a Christian life of self-confidence without pridefulness if we remember who made us and who is making us every day. When we ruminate on the truth that through him “we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28 NIV)), we exercise an appropriate concept of self because we understand that all that we are is based on who he is. When we understand that because God “is at work in [us] both to will and to do for His good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13 NKJV), we cannot thank ourselves. Our self-confidence exists because he is at work in us, through us and for us. When a person knows the gifts God has given, and hones them and uses them to do the work that God has assigned, that person lives a fulfilled life. This is appropriate self-confidence because that person really doesn’t rely wholly on self, reliance is placed on the self God has created. The essence of our self-confidence should rest not on our achievements, but on the One who made all our achievements possible. Our standing in Christ should be the cause of our happiness about who we are. As I saw on a church bulletin, “It’s Not Who We Are But Whose we are.” And whose are we? We are the children of the Most High, heirs and joint heirs with Christ. Our standing, gifts, achievements are an inheritance from God. Our proper response is to be thankful not prideful. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God. Ephesians 2:6 NIV). We don’t have to hang our heads as though we are nothing. We are everything to God. From book of Genesis to the book of Revelation, he is calling us to himself. It is through him that we are “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14). He is the one that merely said the words “Let there be,”(Genesis 1) and, from nothing, earth, sky, sea, firmament, sun, moon and stars and man were created. He did the work. Those with an appropriate self-confidence understand we cannot praise ourselves when God, our maker, is in the audience. He is the main draw. All honor and praise are due him. When we remember God is the author and finisher of our faith, that he labored and labors over every word and sentence of our lives, every comma and period, every nuance so that our story of lost and found is as powerful and prosaic as his story of creation, that he is developing a masterpiece of our lives, our self-confidence is appropriately placed in the stages and quality of his work. References: 1 Cowen, G. (2003). Pride. In C. Brand, C. Draper, A. England, S. Bond, E. R. Clendenen, & T. C. Butler (Eds.), Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary (p. 1327). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers. 2THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. 3 Tim Keller, Gospel in Life, “Pride: The Case for Nebuchadnezzar,” Acasts (25/08/2016), accessed 03/10/2016, goo.gl/ q44f7O.