October 17, 2023
“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion waiting for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8, NIV).
Last week I felt inspired. I delivered the first half of a Christian-life lecture to local healthcare students, and it was smooth. I connected, I shared God’s message and I was exceptionally satisfied with what I had done for the Lord. This week was the second part of the series. Understanding that one of my sin issues can be pride, I asked God, “If you need to humble me today to help me defeat pride, then do so.” He really did. My talk was disconnected, rushed and lasted way too long. I left there feeling that I had failed God and failed those students.
Pride is a fascinating thing. Most of us divide it into “good pride” and “bad pride.” Good pride is that inner feeling of satisfaction after a job well done. Bad pride says to the world, “Look at me compared to the rest of the world!” We can call it good or bad, but God’s truth is that all pride is bad if it makes us believe we are the center of life or we can achieve lasting good without God working through us.
My pride after the first speaking session may have been the good kind, in which I was proud I did something good for God without really seeking acknowledgement from observers. But there lies a problem. We can’t do good stuff for God that really counts. It only counts if God does good stuff through us. Taking personal credit for God’s work starts me down a slippery slope to a point where the mission becomes mine rather than God’s. Oswald Chambers was quite inciteful when he said, “The proof that you are on God’s line is that other people never credit you with what come through you.”
Thank God He stopped my slide into increasing pride. Three thoughts come to mind from this episode:
- God listens. I asked God to do something, and He actually listened.
- God acts. If we really want to cleanse sin from our lives, God will intervene. “Please don’t let me be proud.” Wham.
- God’s purpose prevails, even in my failures. Grace I can trust God that the things He wanted to say to those students were heard in spite of ineffective speaking. If God has our hearts, He will accomplish His purpose, whatever our performance.
As Hillsong United sings, “Let the devil know, not today!”
Help me to be alert and aware of sin in my life. Be there with your power to root it out.