December 27, 2014

…but there are times when pride is a good thing.

Posted in Humility tagged , , , , at 10:29 pm by tclickenger

“…but there are times when pride is a good thing.”  I have been having conversations with people on the topic of pride for about the past four years and I hear this remark (usually early in the conversation) in roughly 1 in every 5 discussions.  Yes, it is true that pride has a good connotation and I want to address this before moving on to the benefits of humility.

When the words for pride are used in the bible in a favorable sense it is with reference to a sense of delight that arises from an action.

David, the psalmist used this kind of sense when he referred to Israel as,

“the pride of Jacob, whom the Lord has loved.”  Psalm 47:4

In a restoration prophecy made by Isaiah, he wrote that the fruitfulness of the land would be,

“something to be proud of.”  Isaiah 4:2

Then, the apostle Paul told the Thessalonian congregation that, because of their faith, love, and endurance,

“we ourselves take pride in you among the congregations of God.”  2 Thessalonians 1:3-4

Honestly, this type of use of the words for pride occurs much less than the negative use.  In fact, I would personally consider the occurrence of this type of pride as rare in both the bible and in the world.  Please remember that.  I think that as believers we should emphasize the things that God emphasizes and if God does not emphasize it, then maybe we shouldn’t either.  In fact we are directly instructed to,

“Let the one bragging about himself brag about himself because of this very thing, that they possess insight and knowledge of Me, that I am the Lord, the One exercising loving-kindness, justice and righteousness in the earth.  For in these I delight,” says the Lord.”  Jeremiah 9:24-25

God is masterful and brilliant in the use of language and making a play on words.  I mentioned earlier that the favorable sense of pride is to have a sense of delight that arises from an action.  Here God is making a direct connection to having a healthy sense of pride with the sense of delight He experiences.  See, we are not being instructed to feel superior because we possess insight and knowledge of God but to only feel delight.

I think one of the best examples of a healthy sense of pride is given in the creation account recorded in Genesis.  When God had completed a task, He looked at the results of the task and said that it was good.  That was it.  He recognized the quality of His work but wasn’t arrogant about it.

So, I say this again, this type of pride is rare in both the bible and in the world.  This is a type of pride that we rarely posses.  If you are quick to mention “…but there are times when pride is a good thing,” please do some inventory, reflect on your feelings.  It is my perspective that someone who is quick to point this out is possibly doing so defensively.  They have a need to protect a feeling that they do not want to let go of.  Healthy or unhealthy, they like it so they will call it good.  If you recall, on my listing of the dangers of pride I said that pride is deceptive.  So, I am not saying that everyone who reminds us that there is a good connotation to pride is guilty of harboring an unfavorable sense.  I am not the judge.  I am just saying be cautious.  I would hate for someone to hold on to and embrace something that in the end is going to be destructive to their life and soul.  I simply want to warn you of the dangers, encourage you to examine the deep and hidden parts of yourself.

I pray God brings His light to your heart, your intentions, motives and desires to help you each to see any pride in your life that you may be blind to.  Amen

Additional posts in this series: In the wake of humility…The Dangers of PrideIt’s Time to Hurt Your Pride, the Advantages of Humility and the follow up post to this one, Humility Fosters Peace and Unity.

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December 18, 2014

It’s Time to Hurt Your Pride

Posted in Humility tagged , , , , , , , at 7:01 pm by tclickenger

With humility on my mind lately, I stumbled on this great composition on pride.  The author makes some great points.  The write-up I did on the dangers of pride and this one complement each other really well.  I hope you consider reading this and further consider examining your heart.

It’s Time to Hurt Your Pride.

December 14, 2014

The Dangers of Pride

Posted in Humility, Unity tagged , , , , , , at 5:08 pm by tclickenger

In my last post I mentioned four advantages gained through a humble character.  In a near future post I intend to show through scripture the many other benefits this virtue brings.  Today, though, I want to assess the consequences that are brought into our life through living out of a proud heart.  I am only going to list and briefly describe the problems associated with pride for now.  Each problem will be explored in more depth later in this series.

I mentioned how we assume that we already know what humility is and that we (additionally assume) are already a humble person.  That leads me into the first problem associated with pride.

  • Pride is deceptive.  This can also be expressed as blindness, darkness, unable to see or lack of wisdom, knowledge and understanding.

Galatians 6:3 NKJV, “If anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he is deceiving his own mind.”

Jeremiah 13:15-16, “Hear and give ear; Do not be proud, for the Lord has spoken.  Give glory to the Lord your God before He causes darkness, and before your feet stumble on the dark mountains, and while you are looking for light, He turns it into the shadow of death and makes it dense darkness.”

Jeremiah 49:16, “‘As for the terror of you, the pride of your heart has deceived you, O you who live in the clefts of the rock, Who occupy the height of the hill.  Though you make your nest as high as an eagle’s, I will bring you down from there.’ says the Lord.”

Proverbs 4:18-19 NKJV, “But the path of the just is like the shining sun, that shines ever brighter unto the perfect day.  The way of the wicked is like darkness; they do not know what makes them stumble.”

  • Pride is destructive.  This is probably the most mentioned consequence of pride throughout the scriptures.  Because this principle is true, firm, unyielding, a law of reality, it is in opposition against anyone who ignores it whether intentional or unintentional. By its very nature, this principle worked against either Israel or their enemies, God’s people or the enemies of God’s people.

Proverbs 16:18 NKJV, “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.”

  • Pride is foolishness

Proverbs 14:3 NKJV, “In the mouth of a fool is a rod of pride, but the lips of the wise will preserve them.”

  • Pride precedes captivity

Jeremiah 13:17 NKJV (God speaking through the prophet Jeremiah), “But if you will not hear it, My soul will weep in secret for your pride; My eyes will weep bitterly and run down with tears, Because the Lord’s flock has been taken captive.”

  • God opposes the proud.  This is quoted verbatim in three different places in our bible and is alluded to in at least 24 other passages.  If you don’t wish to lock horns with the Lord, be a competitor with the Lord or be His adversary then it is sage advice to make yourself humble.

Proverbs 3:34 NKJV, “Surely He scorns the scornful, but gives grace to the humble.”

James 4:6 NKJV (quoting Prov. 3:34), “But He gives more grace.  Therefore He says: ‘God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.'”

1 Peter 5:5 GNT (Quoting Prov. 3:34), “In the same way you younger people must submit yourself to your elders.  And all of you must put on the apron of humility, to serve one another; for the scripture says, ‘God resists the proud, but shows favor to the humble.'”

  • Pride separates.

Psalms 138:6 NASB, “For though the Lord is exalted, yet He regards the lowly, But the haughty He knows from afar.”

  • Pride causes strife and contention.

Not only does pride cause separation between God and the prideful individual, it causes separation between other individuals.

Proverbs 13:10 ERV, “By pride cometh only contention: but with the well advised is wisdom.”

Proverbs 30:32-33 ESV, “If you have been foolish, exalting yourselfor if you have been devising evil, put your hand on your mouth.  For pressing milk produces curds, pressing the nose produces blood, and pressing anger produces strife.”

  • Pride causes shame (disgrace, embarrassment, insecurity)

Proverbs 11:2 WEB, “When pride comes, then comes shame, but with humility comes wisdom.”

  • A proud, haughty man is revolting to God

Proverbs 16:5 NIV, “The LORD detests all the proud of heart. Be sure of this: They will not go unpunished.”

Pride should be avoided as diligently as humility should be pursued.  I’m hoping I can present the contrast between pride and humility so well that it compels you to desire humility.  I hope it causes you to desire it so strongly you are willing to endure anything God needs to do to make it apart of your very being.  Do you have any stories to tell that are a good example of any of these principles?  How about times in your own life where you once were proud but found a better life in the brokenness?  Please share your stories and any other comments or insight that you may have.

I pray God blesses you generously, giving you grace as you generously give others grace.  I pray for your heart.  That all traces of pride might be removed from it along with all the harm that it brings.  In the name of Jesus, our most perfect example of humility and selfless love I pray.  Amen

Additional posts in this series: In the wake of humilityIt’s Time to Hurt Your Pride, …but there are times when pride is a good thing, Advantages Of Humility and Humility Fosters Peace & Unity.

December 4, 2014

In the wake of humility…

Posted in Humility, Unity tagged , , , , , , , at 7:27 pm by tclickenger

I love this phrasing of Proverbs 22:4

“In the wake of humility comes the fear of the Lord, even riches, and honor, and life.”

Humility is such an extraordinary quality. The Word tells us of many wonderful things that come to us as a result of humility. This verse alone tells us of four: fear of the Lord, riches, honor and life; and other scriptures reveal that there are so many more benefits.  On top of that, through practicing humility we avoid all the negative consequences of a prideful life.  Here’s the rub though, we assume that we already know what humility is and that we are already a humble person (or am I the only one who has done that). That is presumption and the ironic thing is that presumption is a symptom of pride in our life.  Humility is by far the most misunderstood and easily compromised virtues a human being can long for.

I’m sure you already know this but the fact is that we don’t have divine thinking. God even reminds us of this when He says through His prophet Isaiah (55:8-9), “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” So maybe our thoughts, insights and perceptions of humility are not quite right compared to the Source of humility.

The only way I know of that brings my understanding in alignment with God’s understanding is through study, prayer, meditation (a.k.a. thinking, thinking, thinking, thinking) and just a seed investment of humility, acknowledging that we don’t have it figured out and would like to be led to a true, deep, connected understanding.

So, in the next few posts I’m going to share some insights I’ve come to through the previously mentioned process; study, meditation, prayer, observations, introspection, reflection and life experiences that bring brokenness. Of course, I still I have a lot to learn, so I would love to hear your insights. Please comment, good or bad, in agreement or disagreement.

God, my father and my king, I pray for you to continue to bring humility and it’s many spiritual blessings into my life. I also pray for the ones who respond to this message in their heart. Hold their hand through the pains as humility is birthed into their being. I pray for their humility because I love them and wish to see honor in the completion of their life. I pray these things in the name of Your first born, the One who is humble and exalted, the name of Jesus, Yeshua, Savior. Amen

Additional posts in this series: The Dangers of PrideIt’s Time to Hurt Your Pride, …but there are times when pride is a good thing, Advantages Of Humility.