Monday, 30 September 2013

Working on your character: Spiritual Pride

When Jesus saved me I knew that I had experienced something good which was different from anything I had ever experienced in my life. I felt different and good, so I genuinely wanted to share with everybody what the Lord had done for me. The problem though was that I was puffed up. Instead of glorifying Jesus, I sought to glorify myself. Unconsciously, I wanted people to see how able I was to maintain a spiritual life hence my salvation was based on my good works and not on what my Savior Jesus Christ had done for me. I wanted to be seen, to be heard, and to be applauded for achieving salvation and the works I was doing for the Lord. I thought that I knew it all, that no one could ever tell me what to do even those in authority. I remember once during the Christmas outreach last year we were driving around in groups. So we got to this house where ex-prisoners lived and we were all standing there waiting for someone to break the ice and go in to the gate. When I saw that everybody hesitated to go in, with a boastful attitude I said, “Agg I will go. I trust my anointing.” This is the same person who got intimidated by seeing a deaf boy earlier on that day. Deep inside I was intimidated but in the outside I pretended that I have faith-faith not in God clearly, but in myself. The people I worked with have been born again for many years, and when I said that, they just looked at me probably thinking… “She will grow” (Do not deceive yourselves. If any of you think you are wise by the standards of this age, you should become "fools" so that you may become wise.

Pride is a feeling of pleasure or satisfaction when you have done something well that other people admire so spiritual pride would be defined as feeling pleasure or satisfaction for all that Jesus has done for you, yet thinking that it was all your works so you boast about it. I mean, a few weeks after Jesus gave me the gift of salvation I already began giving myself titles. “Proverbs31 Woman”, “Prophetess”, “Pastor’s wife”. There’s nothing wrong with believing that you are that kind of person because I mean, when you read your Word you get to know exactly who you are supposed to be. The problem is when you boast about it attempting to make other Christians feel inferior perhaps because you write well, or you pray loudly in tongues. Let me be frank so that you will not have to go through the embarrassment I went through. When you become born again, you are not yet fit to tell the whole world that you a prophetess, or a pastor, or a proverbs 31 woman. You might be yes, but you have to be trained first by the Holy Spirit through reading of the Word. You must be trained by the “elders” in the church who have authority over you and can become your mentors because they’ve walked the same path, and lastly they will see a particular gift that God has given you and place that title upon you. I remember months back I kept telling everybody that I’m a proverbs 31 woman in my sister’s presence. And for someone who knows my character quite well she said straight into my face, “you are not a proverbs 31 woman.” She was right though, I mean even though I was born again,  I still couldn’t sew, I didn’t get up early before sun rise, I couldn’t even take care of myself, but in the spiritual process, the Holy Spirit is teaching me all these. One day I will be fit to have the Proverbs 31 title upon me. 

Spiritual pride isn’t only about what the individual has accomplished, but what an organization affecting the individual has accomplished too. For instance, because God saw it fit to place me in Christian Revival Church I felt that I was so worthy to be part of such a magnificent church whereas there are so many small churches all over Bloemfontein. I took pride in my pastor in what he has accomplished thinking that everybody in Bloemfontein who does not attend CRC is missing out on something good the Lord is busy with. But God does not only work in one church, He works in all churches in different ways, and if He placed you in a particular church you have no absolute right to judge or look down on other churches.
The spiritual life is an exciting journey that we all wish to share with everybody. However, we will encounter many problems along the way if our main aim is to push the True Hero aside and strive to make ourselves known. We think that we are doing God a favor by living for Him so He is obliged to give us all that we ask for. I remember after I got born again I was so obsessed with marriage because I was not used to being without a man. I thought that it was imperative for God to give me a husband so that I could continue fulfilling my lusts. As I grew I realized that indeed God’s ways are not our ways. It doesn’t mean that because I deserted everything for Him he has to give me things I want, no, it doesn’t work that way. The more I know Him, the more I realize that He deserves all the respect and honor in the entire world. He is God. He is still in authority. He has the power to give life and to take it away. How can I demand things from such a God?

He must increase; but I must decrease. ~John 3:30

The "graph" above is an illustration of the level of pride in a Christian's spirituality.

AB: Represents the first few months after giving your life to Jesus. You get quickly to the top by exalting yourself and boasting about your achievements. You have achieved counterfeit fame and admiration because you took yourself to the top by giving yourself titles and boasting about your freedom from sin. 

BC: God is a jealous God and I don’t reckon He wants a mere human being to take His spotlight. He allows the devil to cause you to fall in order to break you and make you humble. You fall instantly, way quicker than you got to the top, and that’s where the journey of humility starts.

CD: The more you realize how weak and sinful you are, the more you become dependent on God and not on your strength. Your level of pride decreases day by day as you become more humble as Jesus Christ was.

I am glad to boast about how weak I am; I am glad to be a living demonstration of Christ’s power, instead of showing off my own power and abilities…for when I’m weak, then I’m strong.~Zac Poonen

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