Posts tagged Pride

Marriage Monday: Love Is Not Prideful

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Ever hear the tragic story of the blue whale?  He learned a final lesson we would do well to remember. “When you get to the top and you’re ready to blow, that’s when they harpoon you.”[1] When we think that we are on top of the world, and we are ready to let everyone know how great we are that is when we get knocked down a few rungs.

Paul, in his treatise on what love is, reminds us that “Love is patient, love is kind.
Love does not envy, is not boastful, and is not conceited.” These last two really go hand in hand, often we boast because we think more highly of ourselves than we should. Here, Paul is really attacking our pride.

When we are conceited, we overestimate our abilities. You know the type, right? The husband who is so full of himself he is unwilling to see his shortcomings? The wife who thinks that not only her husband should realize how great she is, but everyone else’s husband should too? Pride, being boastful or conceited, is a blinder within a marriage. It keeps us from seeing our failures and inhibits our willingness to accept our faults. The greatest problem, however, with being conceited is that we become the focal point of our own lives.

When we feel the need to toot our own horns and flaunt our abilities within our marriage something has gone incredibly awry. It is hard to love our spouse when our energy is spent loving ourselves. When we get the bighead, we tend to expect others to serve us.  We know that love is about service, and service is the great antidote for pride. We must remember that pride warps the truth and leads us to believe that we deserve to be served. Love, on the other hand, keeps us grounded and reminds us to serve the one we love.

When it comes to boasting, perhaps our time would be better spent boasting about our spouse. Not in the annoying “my spouse is better than yours” sense, but in an affirming and honest way. This is a healthy form of pride. I love hearing my wife tell others about how God has used me to meet certain needs or wants in her life. I also love building her up around others and including them in the ways God has used her as a blessing in my life. We should be quick to promote the character of our spouse in the company of others, but we can’t do that when we are focused in ourselves.

Let’s remember that everything we have has been given to us. We have no reason to develop an overinflated view of ourselves. Let’s keep our focus off ourselves, and seek to serve our spouses. All the while remembering to use our words to build them up.

“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve.” – Mark 10:45

Walk good. Love wise. Be blessed.
Josh

Wanna brag on your spouse? Let’s hear it!

 

[1] Rick Warren

Apologetic Wednesday: I’m Better Than You

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Two men are having a discussion one a bridge. One man is contemplating jumping off the bridge to his death, and the other is trying to talk him out of it. The conversation between the two is recounted by one of the men and went something like this:

I said, “Are you a Christian or a Jew or a Hindu or what?

He Said, “A Christian”

I said, “Small world! Me too! Protestant or Catholic or Greek Orthodox?”

He said, “Protestant.”

I said, “Me too! Northern Baptist or Southern Baptist?”

He said, “Northern Baptist.”

I said, “Me too! Northern Conservative Baptist or Northern Liberal Baptist?”

He said, “Northern Conservative Baptist.”

I said, “Me too! Northern Conservative Fundamentalist Baptist, Great Lakes Region or Northern Conservative Fundamentalist Baptist, Eastern Region?

He said, “Northern Conservative Fundamenta

list Baptist, Great Lakes Region.”

I said, “Me too! Northern Conservative Fundamentalist Baptist, Great Lakes Region Council of 1879, or Northern Conservative Fundamentalist Baptist, Great Lakes Region Council of 1912?

He said, “

Northern Conservative Fundamentalist Baptist, Great Lakes Region Council of 1912.”

I screamed, “Die, heretic!” and pushed him over.[1]

Apologetics, giving a reason for what we believe, is in many ways a demanding task. There are so many diverse ideas in the world, many of them false and destructive. The Christian must have a working knowledge across many schools of thought in order to indentify false teachings, heresies, poor theology, inaccurate facts, and arguments without rational merit. There is so much information to wade through.

One must also be aware of what questions people have, and study to formulate answers to these often difficult questions. The Christian has been called to engage the mind in order to “knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments.”[2]

In the midst of learning and engaging our minds, we must be cognizant of the fact that sometimes knowledge leads to arrogance unless we stay humble before Christ. Sometimes in defending the faith we hold so dear we become too entrenched in opinions that are not lynchpin issues. Sure, we should have an opinion on most everything, but sometimes we need not be overly dogmatic on certain topics.

Sometimes we can become so unbending in our ideas and opinions that we actually repel people away from the Gospel. We can learn a lot from our friend, the Northern Conservative Fundamentalist Baptist, Great Lakes Region Council of 1879. In constructing our beliefs and theologies we need to be informed and have an opinion on all issues, but we can do so with grace, understanding, and an open mind. We can respect people with beliefs that diverge from our own.

When it comes giving a reason for the hope that is in us as believers we need not let less important beliefs impede the most important thing, the Gospel of Christ.[3] In other words, as Stephen Covey says, “Keep the main thing the main thing.” Again, the main thing being the Gospel message of Christ: Man sinned, God so loved the world that He sent His sin, Christ died for the sin of man, was buried, rose, and offers us a right standing with God if we submit to Him and turn from our sins.

Let’s make sure in our zeal to discuss, share, and defend the faith we hold dear that we don’t come across as arrogant, both with believers and non-believers alike. Let’s make sure that we listen. Let’s make sure others walk away feeling heard. And by all means, let’s keep the main thing the main thing. That God is love, that He is the friend of sinners, and that He offers us grace in our hopeless state.

Walk good. Live wise. Be blessed.
Josh


[1] Emo Philips

[2] 2 Corinthians 10:4

[3] I Peter 3:15

Apologetic Wednesday: Who Does God Think He Is?

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Can it be said that God is prideful? Is He a high and mighty cosmic narcissist that demands we worship Him? Is He on an eternal ego trip in demanding that we seek His face, pray to Him, and devote our lives to Him? Is God the omnipotent equivalent of an adolescent boy flexing his muscles in the mirror and “ooohing” and “ahhhing” at what He sees?

It should first be noted that there are two forms of pride. The negative aspect of pride, which people find off putting and rightly so, is where we exaggerate our importance. Pride in its gross form exists when we look down on people with condescension. This form of pride is a lie about who we are. It is an attempt to cover up the bad, exaggerate the good, and present self in a positive light.

On the converse, there can be a healthy sense of pride. There are many things in my life that I am proud of. I am extremely proud of my wife for being the woman that she is. The day my son was born, I beamed with pride. I find pride in an honest, hard day’s work.  2 Corinthians 10:17 even says, “So the one who boasts must boast in the Lord.” We can brag about what God has done, both in the world and our own personal lives. This form of pride can be healthy, as long as we don’t let it evolve into the aforementioned unhealthy sense of self promotion.

The opposite of pride would be humility. Again, there are two divergent aspects of humility. We tend to admire people that exhibit real humility. We can define true humility as giving an honest assessment of who we are, what we are capable of, and what our shortcomings are. Yet, there is also false humility. We have all experienced situations where we give someone a compliment and they bat it away by saying something like, “Oh that was no big deal.” False humility is a denial of that which we are skilled at, usually in order to elicit more praise.

Everyone has their talents, strengths, shortcomings, and areas that need improvement. The key is being honest and truthful about who one is. Had Steve Jobs downplayed his business sense and marketing abilities this would have been a lie. It would be a deception for Josh Hamilton to state that he is not good at playing baseball. It would be untruthful for Zakk Wylde to admit that he is only an amateur guitarist. True humility is admitting our strengths, and giving God the glory for our abilities and accomplishments.

So this brings us back to our original question: Is God prideful? Is God honest about His abilities and truthful about who He is? Absolutely! He is the greatest conceivable being and is thus worthy of our worship and admiration. For God to say He is less than what He actually is, or that He is unworthy of our worship would be a blatant lie, which is immoral. Instead, God tells us the truth about His character, which is perfect, Holy, all good, omniscient, omnipotent, and all loving. A being like this is worthy of worship, devotion, and service.

God has chosen us to be in a relationship with Him. Genesis 1:26 reminds us that we are even created in His image. He shares with us some of his very own attributes, though in a limited way. He is not selfish, instead He gives of Himself, even though He is under no obligation to do so.

God is good. He is not self-inflated. He is honest about who He is, and He is worthy of our worship.

Walk good. Live wise. Be blessed.
Josh

Donkey Basketball

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What do donkeys and basketball have in common? Not a whole lot really, but they are pretty fun when you put them together. Last night I got to play some “donkey basketball”. It is basically normal basketball, except you can only score if you are perched on the back of a donkey.

As we played, I was able to confirm a long held stereotype about these four legged bundles of fur, they are stubborn. In hopes of forming a quick bond, I endearingly named my burro Babalouie. I really don’t think it helped much. In fact, when I called him Babalouie he would shoot me his version of the donkey stank eye. When I wanted him to run, he dug in. Times I needed him to stop, he would try to drag me.

It was interesting to watch the other players. One player was bucked off. Some were being pulled by their donkeys. Other had donkeys that just did not want to do anything, and for the most part they didn’t. My favorite moment of the night was watching one player take off full sprint holding on to the donkey’s reins while the donkey stayed firmly in place. It looked rather painful, for the player that is.

Dumb old donkeys, they are some stubborn creatures. I find that there is another creature that has them beat however, people. We can be even more pigheaded donkeyheaded.

We shortchange ourselves by being obstinate all too often. Sometimes it keeps us from mending relationships, and we stew in our bitterness. It keeps us from saying we are sorry when we need to. It causes us difficulty because we are too stubborn to enlist help.  It can even put a wedge between us and God. At times, I am all the more worse than my buddy Babalouie. God requests something that goes against the grain and my stubbornness kicks in.

What if we let our pride fall down?  What if we followed God’s lead, even when the request is something we don’t really want to do? I think our lives would be all the better for it.

Walk good. Live wise. Be blessed.
Josh

What do you find we are often stubborn about?

Facebook Friday: Don’tcha Wish You Were Hot Like Me, Don’tcha?

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I can’t help it. I. Am. Awesome. Sometimes, it is hard to be so much better than everyone else. Ripley’s called wanting to do a special on me, but I don’t waste my time with frivolous stuff like that. I can’t say as I blame them though. I am young. Attractive. Have good taste. I have many leather bound books. Could pretty much have my pick of any girl. This would be the anthem of a narcissist.

What is a narcissist you ask? A person who is vain, self-absorbed, and selfish.

You might be a narcissist if you can answer yes to five or more of the following:

  • Feel that you are extremely important. Exaggerating your achievements and feeling    you deserve recognition.
  • Fantasize about unlimited success, power, brilliance or beauty.
  • Believe that you are “special” and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people.
  • Need to be praised all the time.
  • Have a sense of entitlement.
  • Take advantage of others for your own desires.
  • Lack the ability to put yourself in other people’s shoes.
  • Find yourself envious of other people or believe they are envious of you.
  • Have an arrogant attitude.

Now, some people seriously struggle with this. They have a clinical problem. Yet, if we are honest, can’t we see ourselves in there somewhere? Don’t we think a little more of ourselves than we should? Aren’t we all at the center of our universe at times?

Think about what we see on our favorite social networking sites. Check out my new _______ (house, car, girl, television, shirt, apple gadget, and anything else imaginable). We all do this. We want people to know how cool we are. We want to get applauded. We want our kudos. Doesn’t it get a little out of hand sometimes? Do we really need everyone on our “friends list” to give us constant affirmation? Sometimes, do we possibly come across as a little bit narcissistic, whether we mean to or not?

Maybe, at times we think more of ourselves than we should. Think about status updates. Do people really care if we just drank a cup of coffee? Is the public dying to know that we just went to the bathroom? Are people checking our page every ten minutes in anticipation of what we will do next?

I think sometimes we get a little bit hyper focused on ourselves and how we are coming off to our imaginary audience out there in facebook land. We really aren’t as hot as we think we are. How would life look different if we spent a little less time focusing on ourselves? Dare I suggest we could probably find a better use of our time than being so concerned about what others think about us?

Galatians 1:10 states, “For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ.”

I find it difficult to focus on pleasing Christ when all of my energy is spent trying to please others or make them think how cool I am.

Walk good. Live wise. Be blessed.
Josh

The Sunday Time Stood Still (At Least for Me)

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I have been “leading worship” at Trout Creek Baptist Church for close to two years. It is not my calling, I am just filling a need until God sees fit to bring the full time person to take my spot. It has been a wonderful experience and it is the other people that I get to sing with that make it enjoyable and attractive to listen to.

I am far from a wonderful musician. I can play rhythm guitar with those other average rhythm guitar players, but don’t expect me to blaze out any riffs like you might hear from Slash or Zakk Wylde that will melt your face off.

One Sunday morning, which I commonly refer to as the Sunday time stood still, I had a slight mishap. We had just finished a song that ended on “Dsus”. The next song was suppose to begin in the key of “D”. Instead of changing the key, I kept playing the “Dsus”. Well, there is not a huge difference between these two chords, but there is enough difference to completely derail a song. As I began singing “Come Thou Fount” it sounded as though a tone deaf cat was being run over by a lawn mower. I can remember thinking, “you can pull this up Josh, pull up, pull up.” It didn’t happen. I crashed and burned in a blaze of glory. I thought about ending by doing the windmill. The entire congregation stopped singing. I looked to my wife for some frame of reference to only see that she has her head down. All of the other singers had just stopped. I was alone in my misery. At this point I just stopped. Done. Finished. I told everyone, “Hey, you can’t win them all. Let’s keep worshiping with a song we can all actually sing.”

In that moment, I know God looked down at me from heaven and said, “Way to go Josh. Way to totally ruin the worship service. This Sunday is done. No one will come to know the Lord and it is all your fault. Great.” Would God say that? Never. Don’t we feel that way sometimes? Often. If it isn’t perfect God can’t use it. If we aren’t perfect God can’t use us. Don’t these thoughts stroll through our mind on occasion? I have news for you. You will never be perfect. I will never be perfect. Say it with me, “We will never be perfect.” (Why do ministers always insist that people repeat stuff?)

I think sometimes our lack of perfection keeps us from doing. Maybe we hold back from serving out of fear we might mess up. Well, if you do something long enough you will mess it up. Why are you doing it? Sure, some people might think you are dumb. I could see on a few faces the Sunday time stood still that there were a few people that thought I was a complete dunce (I love that word. It ranks up there with buffoon.). The thing is, God is extremely proud of us when our hearts are serving. When we mess up serving, God doesn’t care because he sees our hearts. When you are serving you have the approval of the God who created it all. You have reached your pinnacle. Even if you have thousands of people praising you it doesn’t compare to God’s praise.

Serve. Live. Don’t take yourself too seriously. It is okay for us Christians to laugh at ourselves. You aren’t less holy if you mess up. Holy doesn’t mean being stoic. Take some chances serving. You will be glad you did.

“But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” -I Samuel 16:7

Walk Good. Live Wise. Be Blessed.

Tell us about it: What keeps you from serving?

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