THIS WEEK: Pride and the Proverbs
It’s great to be recognized.
For most people receiving recognition is a wonderful feeling. It is exciting to receive a raise at work. It is a memorable moment when you receive the “Most Valuable Player” award from your team. To receive a purple heart for valor in military service, is a signature moment in one’s career.
They all make you proud.
Receiving honor makes you feel proud. However, being prideful doesn’t bring honor.
Ironic, isn’t it?
The Proverbs say (11:2) When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.
Pride leads one to respond to a raise, “I deserved that more than anyone else.” Pride in an athlete responds, “It’s about time I was recognized as the MVP. I deserve it more than my teammates.” Pride in the soldier responds, “I have always fought harder than the rest of my platoon.”
If the giver of these awards would have known pride lurked in their hearts, they would not have received the awards. Being honored brings pride. Being proud brings disgrace.
The proud think more highly of themselves than they ought. The proud seek after honor. They desire to be recognized. They step on and over people to try to receive further accolades and recognition.
Solomon knew that the pathway to honor wasn’t with a heart of pride. Rather just the opposite. Humility has to come before honor.
Proverbs 15:33 The fear of the Lord teaches a man wisdom, and humility comes before honor.
In all three of those situations, it is nearly a given that part of the reason they received the reward was because their heart was humble. The employee just always showed up and gave their best…and was honored with a raise. The athlete worked hard on and off the field, encouraging and helping teammates be their best…and was given the MVP award. The soldier was willing to give up his or her life for others and recognized for their brave, yet humble actions in the midst of battle.
Humility precedes honor.
But did you notice what else comes from humility? Wisdom.
One who is humble is willing to learn. They are willing to seek and listen to advice. They value the people around them and perceive everyone as one who is valuable and can add value to them. As a result they gain knowledge…and see how that is applied…i.e. wisdom.
One more thing. Wisdom doesn’t just come from learning from others. It comes from the “fear of the LORD.” “The fear of the Lord teaches a man wisdom.” Only when I listen to what the LORD has to say, humbly submit to it, and with his help live it out does honor come. It may not come from people, but it will come from the LORD.
What an honor that will be!
Apply: Am I seeking honor? Time to let go of seeking honor and rather spend time seeking wisdom from the fear of the LORD. Ask the LORD to help you implement it every day.
Prayer: LORD, thank you for pointing out where true honor comes from. It doesn’t come from my ego seeking praise, but from my heart fearing you and seeking after your wisdom. AMEN.
THIS WEEK: Pride and the Proverbs
What was the insulting name of your generation? If you really wanted to put someone down what would it be?
Whatever mom or dad told you to NOT call your brother or sister, right?
Did you know the inspired words of Scripture call people names…insulting names?
Jesus called the Pharisees “hypocrites” and “White-washed tombs” (Matthew 23:27)
The Apostle Paul quotes regarding the Cretans, “Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, and lazy gluttons.” (Titus 1:12)
Solomon calls a proud, arrogant person a “Mocker.”
Proverbs 21:24 The proud and arrogant man—“Mocker” is his name; he behaves with overweening pride.
It’s interesting all the characteristics of a “mocker” Solomon describes (he no doubt had interaction with some!). Here’s just seven references from the Proverbs:
- They mock sin (Prov 14:9)
- They mock judgment (Prov 19:28).
- The mocker is haughty (Prov 21:24), incorrigible (Prov 9:7), resistant to all reproof (Prov 9:8; 15:12), and hating any rebuke (Prov 13:1).
- Wisdom and knowledge easily elude the mocker (Prov 14:6).
- So despicable is the scorner that he may be labelled as odious to all men (Prov 24:9).
- The Proverbs suggests he should be punished by hitting so that the easily persuaded naive fool may benefit from the lesson (Prov 19:25; 21:11).
- One good way to remove contention from a group is to eject the scorner (mocker), and then “strife and reproach will cease” (Prov 22:10).
Do you know someone who fits this description?
Do YOU fit this description?
Did you know God is a Mocker?
Proverbs 3:34 The LORD…mocks proud mockers but gives grace to the humble.
The Lord scorns the mocker. He detests them.
He knows they think they have everything figured out. They think the law of God doesn’t apply to them. They are confident in themselves and resist anyone correcting them. They seem like they know everything, but they are fools. They cause contention in a group. They don’t need God. They mock God.
All of this the LORD detests. He cannot bless Mockers. In fact in Psalm 1:1 says:
Psalm 1:1 Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers.
God can not bless a mocker. However, the Lord (as Proverbs 3:34 says) blesses the humble with grace.
- Those that find confidence in the LORD, not self.
- Those that delight in the law of God, not despise it.
- Those that are filled with the fruit of the Spirit, not the heart of sin.
These are the humble that receive God’s undeserving and unending love, his grace.
Apply: Ask the Lord to drive out from your being the heart of the Mocker and replace it with the heart of the humble.
Prayer: Lord, thank you for the wisdom of the Proverbs to call my prideful heart a “Mocker.” Renew me by your Spirit to carry the name of “Humble Child of God.” Amen.
THIS WEEK: Pride and the Proverbs
We all can notice them.
You know who I’m talking about. The person who seems too good for us? The person who doesn’t give us the time of day? The person who seems to know it all?
Don’t you hate people like this? (I know, “hate” is a strong word.)
But you’re not one of them, right?
It’s easy to notice it in others…but hard to admit it lurks within us too.
The reason we notice it in others, is because inside our hearts WE want to be the popular one. WE want to be noticed by everyone. WE want to have all the answers.
Pride and arrogance lurks within each one of us.
And God hates it.
Pride and faith do not fit together. Pride relies on self. Faith relies on the Lord.
That’s why the Lord hates pride and arrogance. It captures our heart with trust of self instead of trust in him. He hates pride and arrogance because it leads to sinful actions and sinful thought…all of which break the relationship he so desires with each one of us.
Solomon realized that what mattered more than trusting himself and seeking the praise of people was trusting the Lord and doing what pleases him.
Proverbs 8:13 To fear the Lord is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech.
Pride loves to look at others and look down on them to make ourselves look better. We fear that if we are not a bit better, a bit smarter, a bit more accepted than those around us we lose our value, significance and worth.
We don’t need to find our significance, value and worth in others. It has been given to us. It is found in our relationship with the LORD. It is found in our trust in the Lord. It is found in our love for the Lord. These are the people the Lord loves.
Be one of them.
Apply: Start each morning with a reflection in your mirror. Ask the Lord to mold your heart to love the things he loves and hate the things he hates and humbly reflect that in your life today.
Prayer: Lord, thank you for coming down to serve us so that we might always be with you. Forgive us for our pride and arrogance. Replace it in our hearts with a true fear, love and trust in you! AMEN.
THIS WEEK: Favorite Forgiveness Moments
Johnny had just been disrespectful to his grandmother and his mom directed him to tell grandma he was sorry.
“I’m sorry, Grandma,” Johnny said.
“That’s OK,” Grandma replied.
Is it though? Was it really OK that Johnny spoke in a disrespectful way to his grandmother?
No it wasn’t. It wasn’t OK.
I understand when we find ourselves in similar situations. It is a natural response to say, “It’s OK.” I surmise we are talking about the relationship is OK, even though the action that was done was not OK.
What if God would say to us, “That’s OK,” whenever we sinned against him? Mild comfort at best…license to do it again at worst?
Jesus wanted his disciples to say something much more powerful and significant to one who was repentant and sorry for their sin.
Listen for it.
John 20:19 On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.
21 Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” 22 And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”
Sin doesn’t just have consequence in human relationships. Sin decimates our relationship with God. The only way that moves our relationship from broken to fully restored is forgiveness. Forgiveness covers the payment my sin deserved AND restores the relationship that was broken.
I’m not going to be too hard on grandma for saying, “It’s OK.” But by the power of God’s Spirit we have the ability to tell Johnny and anyone who has wronged us something much more significant and powerful.
“I forgive you AND God forgives you.”
We also have the sobering privilege of announcing, “It’s not OK…It’s not OK between you and God.” Why? Because your sin is not forgiven. Why wouldn’t it be forgiven? Because the sinner is not repentant. If one thinks their action is OK when it is not, they will not experience the peace that forgiveness gives. Jesus wants those refusing to see their sin to realize that their sin isn’t just affecting things on earth, it affects one’s relationship with God for an eternity. Not announcing God’s forgiveness is done with a heart that desires always that the sinner does turn from sin and experience the deep peace forgiveness brings.
God gives his followers the privilege of doing both…withholding God’s forgiveness from those who do not repent and sharing God’s forgiveness with those who do.
Enjoy the forgiveness you have received, and where there is godly sorrow and repentance, enjoy the privilege of telling someone, “God forgives you.”
Apply: Next time someone wrongs you, respond by saying, “I forgive you and God forgives you.” It may sound awkward at first, but enjoy the privilege of speaking this powerful reality!
Prayer: Lord Jesus thank you for all you have done to secure our forgiveness. Thank you for the privilege and power to speak the truth of forgiveness to others. AMEN.
THIS WEEK: Favorite Forgiveness Moments
If you knew you were never going to see a person or family member again, what would you say to them?
You might share a fond memory. You may express your appreciation. You would give important wisdom and direction for the future.
Jesus’ time on the earth was coming to an end. So what does Jesus choose to communicate?
He doesn’t recount all the miracles or touching moments of healing. He doesn’t focus on fond memories of fishing excursions and feeding thousands. Rather, he focuses on putting hearts at peace, filling minds with clarity and engraining the message he wanted shared.
Luke 24:45-49 Then he opened their [the disciples] minds so they could understand the Scriptures. 46 He told them, “This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. 49 I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”
There are four key aspects to the message Jesus wants shared (the heart of Christianity).
- Scripture. All Scripture is given for our heart to believe and our mind to understand.
- Repentance. Turning 180 degrees from a heart and life of sin.
- Forgiveness. The reality that God has cancelled the debt and punishment your sin deserved.
- Christ. The perfect life, the agonizing death and glorious resurrection applied to you.
At the heart of that message? Repentance and forgiveness.
Imagine if you had enough money to give every person you met $100. Wouldn’t that be fun to give out? Imagine the stories of lives changed, days lifted, and gratitude expressed. The single mom a couple days short of the next paycheck. The coworker who just received an eviction notice. The waitress who was cheery on the outside but depressed on the inside.
These same lives and more can be changed when we “preach” forgiveness freely (“preach” in the original is a ‘herald bringing good news’). It’s one of Jesus’ final directions to us. You have experienced forgiveness. Now we get to share forgiveness.
Forgiveness isn’t just for you. It is for everyone you see and with whom you interact.
Scared? Hesitant? Me too. Jesus’ knows. So were the disciples. That’s why he gave them and us his Holy Spirit, the “power from on high” to help us.
Apply: Ask the Spirit to guide you into one conversation this week that he sets up where you get to “preach repentance and forgiveness” found only in Jesus.
Prayer: Jesus, thank you for doing all for my forgiveness. Spirit of God make me bold and excited to share that same forgiveness with others. AMEN.