Friday, January 16, 2009

A New Jesus?

"Pride is spiritual Cancer; 
it eats the very possibility of
love or contentment,
or even common sense."

C.S. Lewis (1898-1963) 

I woke this morning fairly late. I lay there not wanting to get up but just relax and take some time away from the world outside today. It has brought so much good in the past few months and then so much pain in such a few short days. I lay there crying and praying and begging God to just give me one answer for today. He did. The more I lay in the bed, the more I began to look back over the past month.  I began to see the small ways my pride has grown so much over the years and how God has used the last week to teach me so much about it. I didn't take much notice at the time though. About a week ago, I went to meet a friend of mine. We were talking about things that we had done in the past. Things we "felt" God couldn't or wouldn't forgive us for. When I told her my biggest problem was trying to forgive myself for things I had done, she ask me "What do you need a New Jesus?' Are you trying to be the New Jesus?" Yes it hurt when she first said it; but once I got past the shock of the question and the fact that no one had ever quite put it that way, I started to think about it and can't get it out of my head now. She began to explain to me that I had a great deal of pride I was not letting go of. I was trying to be self sufficient and do it on my own. She went on to explain how we get so caught up in the sin we have done and holding on to it, that we get to the point of believing He can't forgive us; and therefore, we don't believe in His Word. We just hold everything in and listen to the lies of Satan saying that things are all our fault, and that Christ couldn't love us anymore. We place ourselves in Christ position. This is pride. Even Christ Himself said "I can of mine own self do nothing." (John 5:30) He loved being dependent upon the Father. Yes we are unworthy of the type of Love He gives us, but He chooses to give it unconditionally. In order for me to get past my pride, I am daily needing to give Him my broken spirit. 

When I worked at the group home in Asheville, I had to do an excercise that has stayed with me ever since then. I was asked to think of the most embarrassing and most private and most horrible thing I had ever done. Next we were told we would have to get up in front of an audience and share that secret with lots of people. No, we didn't have to. The excercise was for us to catch the reaction and the feeling that came with that direction. Can you imagine if the whole world knew every thought, feeling, desire, motive,  and action you have ever had? I can't. I cringe even writing this. I know what those have been for me. God knows them also and I am deeply humbled that He truly knows me and loves me anyway. It is when I take these thoughts, feelings, desires, motives and turn them into selfish acts that I am showing pride and no longer showing love. I am trying to do things my own way. For example, I have strong lustful thoughts and try to control them on my but instead us them and act on them saying I know what is better for me. This is pride and it only brings myself and others pain. Another example would be if I am physically beautiful but I use this to manipulate others into what I want them to do and become very vane in my looks and focus only on them instead of what God has given me for honoring Him. 

When my  thoughts began to come at me this past month, I knew I needed to go immediately to God and confess them. My pride said "No, you can handle this on your own." I recently read a story that goes like this: "A prudent farmer cuts down weeds when they are young lest they spread their seeds and multiply. So let us observe the proud thought, confess it, and put it away." (J. Oswald Sanders:Replace Your Pride with Genuine Humility) There are many parts to this. Number one, the thought comes. Number two, we don't wait for it to grow before stopping it. Little things become big things before we know it. Little problems become big problems before we know it. I confess I didn't stop at the little thoughts. This is where my pride came in. I said I would be self sufficient instead of self disciplined which only comes by going and depending on God. I let the thought grow and trust me it is much harder to cut down when it gets bigger. Number three, Confess. We are so worried about what others will think that we hide in the darkness where the lies of satan live and grow rather than bringing our sins into the light where God can use them to help us grow instead. Confess and let those in faith and most of important God help us. This has always been a hard one for me. It requires trust and vulnerability and this is NOT easy. But in the long run it will allow me to grow, and learn to love the way God truly wants me and desires me to love myself and others. "The word 'proud' in James 4:6 signifies literally 'one who considers himself above other people"

Today I pray God will continue to teach me about pride,
will  make me aware of when I am immediately,
and to forgive me for not loving others when I have pride. 

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