Pride Part 1

This is a repost of the first part of a series I did on Pride two years ago. If you would like to read the rest of the series, please click on my teaching sight above and you will see the Pride Series in the menu. The reason I wrote this study was to help people see the hidden pride in their lives and work on bringing it under control.

 In my experience, if your immediate reaction to that statement is that yours is under control, it probably is not. I have been there before, and hope to never again have unrecognized pride in my life. This is a first installment to give you some background. 

One of the most fascinating things about pride is that it hides itself from the individual who is afflicted by it. I bet all of us have seen people who are full of pride and wonder why they don’t take care of that attitude. Don’t they know it is unattractive and a big turn-off? Well, no they don’t. In fact, they don’t even see it. Let me take a moment to share my story with you. 

I was a worship leader, Sunday school teacher, youth minister and fill-in preacher at my church. I also filled in at other churches occasionally. I was looked upon by those around me as having it all together and one that loved the Lord. And I did love the Lord, and I loved ministry. My wife, on the other hand, saw the pride in my life and kept telling me it was there, but I would not listen. In fact, I kept explaining to her that I was a humble servant of God. 

But the real truth lay in the fact that when I was alone, I was living a depraved lifestyle. I will not go into details, but I was not living as a Christian, but as a heathen. The things I was doing were expressly condemned in God’s word, and I knew the Bible. I knew they were wrong. But I thought God would overlook those things. In fact, whenever I had a close call to someone discovering my sinful ways, I always thanked God for “warning” me ahead of time so I could clean things up. 

Well, as we all know, what is kept secret will eventually come out, and mine did. And it cost me big time. In my pride, I violated a major policy in my workplace, one that I had written, and I got caught. I was immediately terminated after 20 years of working for the company. My pastor, who had known about my sin from a previous exposure and had worked hard with me to get deliverance before I started up again, told me I was not welcome in his church any longer unless I got help. And I did get help.

I went to Pure Life Ministries in Kentucky for Eight months. Eight months of hard work, bunk beds, dorm style living and intense bible study. Eight months of counseling which showed me the pride that was so rampant in my life. Eight months of squashing it down and bringing humility to the forefront. Heck, I was so prideful, I was even proud of my pride! When I look back on who I was it sickens me.

When I got home, I spent two years doing no ministry at all. Just sat in the pew and took things in. I learned to listen to my wife, who can spot my pride in a heartbeat. She has been a Godsend in keeping me on the right path. I am a much more reserved, quiet person than I was before. And I like that. 

In this first installment on pride, I will end with this warning. If you are a Christian, and you are doing something that is blatantly sinful, and thinking God will overlook it, that is pride at its worst. God will not overlook disobedience, which is the core of sin. The problem is that if you are reading this and if you are doing what I suggested, you most likely will say that you are not a prideful person.

You will ignore the warning, because your pride will tell you it does not apply.You’re special to God. You don’t have to be perfect. A little sin will keep you humble. That’s why God allows you to keep it.
 
My friend, all of that is hogwash! And if you are telling yourself this is not for you, then you need to seriously ask God to search your heart and try you as if you’re life depended on it, because it does. God hates pride! And He will not allow it into heaven so you better get rid of it now. I will be back with more on pride in the coming days, because without a spirit of humility, a true spirit of reconciliation is impossible. In the next post, we will examine what pride is. I always thought I knew, but found out it takes on forms I was completely unaware of.
 
I hope you’ll come back.
Pete Gardner

All My Desire

All that I want is in you Lord
All my desire is yours
All that I need
I find at your feet
When I bend my knees in prayer

All that gives life comes from you Lord
All of my longing fulfilled
All of my days
I’ll list my praise
Because you have made me your child

Nothing beside you matters
Nothing will drown out your name
Daily I’ll lift up my worship
Daily I’ll give you my praise

All that I hope for is in you
All of my future and plans
All that brings joy
Is yours to employ
When I walk with you hand in hand

Nothing beside you matters
Nothing will drown out your name
Daily I’ll lift up my worship
Daily I’ll give you my praise

Jesus sweet Jesus I love you
Jesus you’re all that I need
Jesus sweet Jesus I praise you
Your child forever I’ll be

This poem is also posted on my Psalmist blog. You can read other poems and psalms God has given me by visiting The Psalmist link at the top of the page.

Worship the King (Music Video)

This short worship chorus came to me on January 5th. I finally got around to recording it this morning. Here are the words so you can sing along! I pray you enjoy this chorus as much as I do.

Worship the King
Honor and glory we bring
This is our offering to the King

Worship the King
He provides everything
This is the song we sing to the King

Worthy, you are worthy
Jesus you are worthy
Worthy, you are worthy
Worthy is the King

His Mercy is There

I struggle some days to see
The mercy of God for me
I know He is there
I know that He cares
I just don’t know why He loves me

I know He sees all my faults
He sees the worst parts of me
But He quickly forgives
Then He helps me to live
In the mercy He pours out to me

His mercy is always there
His mercy is always there
No matter where I go
His mercy is there
I cannot escape His love
He showers me from above
When I look at myself
His mercy is there

I have to open my eyes
To see all the love He provides
It’s more than enough
To fill up my cup
He has an enormous supply

Now I can plainly see
That His mercy is meant for me
I raise up my hands
I thank God for His plans
He always does the best for me

His mercy is always there
His mercy is always there
No matter where I go
His mercy is there
I cannot escape His love
He showers me from above
When I look at myself
His mercy is there

How Do You want to be Treated?

Matthew 7:12

7 Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this fulfills the law and the prophets

We all know it.  The “Golden Rule” it is called.  It is known by cultures around the world, by Christian and non-Christian, by rich and poor, by big and small, by any race, sex or creed.  This rule has been heard over and over again.  Why is it that we have so much trouble understanding it?

Well, I can think of several reasons which I will share in this post.  I’ll bet you can some up with a few more on your own.  As I look at my own life and what I have witnessed and done myself, I can see so many ways that I fall flat on my face when it comes to this simple statement.  It’s not on purpose, mind you.  It’s a slip of the mental capacities, or it’s human nature, to just do what is best for me, not necessarily what is best for the other.  I challenge you to see if you fit any of these patterns I am going to share.

The first is the “me first” or privileged society we live in today.  It’s what I want ahead of all else.  It’s my morality that matters.  It’s my needs that trump yours.  I must do what I have set out to do, and I’m not concerned whether you can fit into my plans or not.  Have you heard that?  I just heard it yesterday from one of my daughters!  I hear it a lot.  Once we have set course in a certain direction, we are not going to turn back and try and help someone else.  This rule says to do what you would want someone to do for you, not what you want to do for them, or not for them.

We have one of our granddaughters living with us right now.  Her cousins came down for Christmas this weekend.  They spent the first night with us and had a blast.  The last night they were staying in another city about 40 miles away so they could swim and head home in the morning.  Our granddaughter wanted to go up swimming with them and needed a ride home if she did because I am not able to drive right now and my wife was working at a restaurant that night.  But they had made their plans ahead and were not willing to drive her home.  My lovely wife, who will do anything for her grandkids, drove up after work and picked her up.  I rode with her and as always was amazed with her grace.

Would my daughter have liked us to bring her daughter home if a similar situation arose?  We would have gladly done it.  We would have figured out a way or altered our plans slightly to make it happen.  But we would have done it, not because we would want the same, but because it is the right thing to do.  Help someone else out if they ask, even if I have to go out of my way.  Isn’t that what this rule says?

In our world today, we see this often.  People will not go out of their way to help someone else out.  They are stuck in their own little routines and heaven forbid someone should ask them to go out of their way to help.  They forget that they might need that favor returned someday.  When that day comes, they get mad because the other person won’t do what they would not do earlier.

The next thing is a simple thing called getting even.  Well, they did this to me, so I’m going to do it right back!  They gossiped about me, so I’m telling about them!  They didn’t help me out at work, so I won’t help them!  They didn’t wave at me so I’m going to snub my nose at them.  How many times have we heard this, or been guilty of this?  This is actually the exact opposite of the Golden Rule.  It is saying they did it to me, so I’m going to do it to them because I did not like it!  How backwards can it get?  Yet our society seems to run on this sentiment.

This was me just the other day.  I confess – I am guilty.  I had ordered some things from a local gal who does a masterful job at couponing.  She sells stuff out of her home that she has bought for pennies on the dollar and she is well below store prices.  She was out of town when I sent in my order and hadn’t seen it, so I sent it again.  She said she would get back with a price so I could write a check.  She did not, so I prompted her.  I got the price and asked her when I could come pick them up  or could she deliver them.  No response, for days.  I asked again, three weeks after the order was placed, I still did not have the goods so I bought them at a local store. 

My wife works with this gal at night, and she came home after I had bought them and said the gal was going to bring some stuff over because she felt bad.  I told her that I had already bought it and didn’t need it.  Then I said I would not order from her again.  Yes, this is poor customer service, and in the eyes of the world, I would be justified in not purchasing from her again.  But is this right?  Is this the way I would want to be treated, or am I working the reverse of the rule?

According to this verse, the right thing to do is forgive her and give her another chance.  I would want another chance if I messed up this bad!  I have been in sales for over 30 years and know what it is to make mistakes and be given another chance.  To be honest, it’s rare.  But it’s the right thing to do.  Remember our lesson on forgiveness?  That applies so strongly in this verse.  I would want to be forgiven my negligence.  I should certainly forgive hers.

Then there is revenge.  Christians should never take revenge into their own hands, but so often we want it so badly that we forget God told us vengeance was His, He would repay (Deuteronomy 32:3).  We forget that God says to not avenge ourselves but leave room for God’s wrath (Romans 12:19).  We want an immediate judgment!  We want that matter settled now, and we will do it ourselves.  After all, we are the ones who were wronged!

I can’t say I can give a good example of this one right off the top of my head, but you can all relate, I am sure. Someone does something bad to us, so we repay by doing something bad back.  Or someone says something hurtful and we fire right back.  My wife and I used to get into some of those types of arguments and no one ever wins.  One party or the other gets deeply hurt and in our case it was always my wife.  I can’t tell you how many times I fired back some off the cuff remark that I did not intend to say because she stirred my pot a bit.  I’ve become a  lot better at avoiding this, but it still creeps up every so often.  I just don’t want to hurt her with my words anymore, so I am so careful.  Revenge is never a good thing when we take it into our own hands.  My wife always says “They will reap what they sow” and this is so true!

The last thing that I will mention is pride,  I know I mention this a lot, but it is the major fault that keeps us going against the principles of God.  Pride will want to make us stay on top, stay ahead, get even, get revenge and get our way.  Pride will keep us from yielding to someone else’s need or to acknowledge someone made a mistake.  Pride will keep us from forgiving someone and give them another chance.  Pride needs to go and humility needs to rule and reign in our lives.

One last thought on this verse.  Have you ever thought about the fact that you can take this verse and turn it a little around to show how powerful it really is?  Do you realize that when you are gossiping about your neighbor, you are saying in effect it is alright if they gossip about you, according to this rule?  After all, whatever I want done for me, I do for them, right? If I don’t give them a ride when they need one, I am telling them they don’t need to give me a ride when I need one, right?  If I don’t help them, I don’t expect they should help me!  What we do for or to others is what we want done for or to us is another way of looking at this verse.

Do you want others to take revenge on you?  Take revenge on them!  Do you want others to not help you out?  Don’t help them out!  Do you want others to put you down behind your back?  Put them down behind their back!  Do you want others to steal your joy?  Steal their joy!  Do you want others to be angry with you?  Be angry with them!

Or, Do you want others to forgive you?  Forgive them!  Do you want others to be at peace with you?  Be at peace with them!  Do you want others to speak gently to you?  Speak gently to them!  Do you want others to help you?  Help them!  Do you want others to love you?  Love them!  Love them even if they don’t love you back.  Forgive them even if they don’t forgive you back.  Be at peace with them even if that peace is not returned.

Do to them as you want them to do to you.  So simple, yet so profound!

This is a repost from my God’s Maintenance Man Blog. If you would like to check out the rest of the study, please click HERE