Is your prosperity getting in the way of praising God for His provision?

Sing praises to the Lord, O you his saints, and give thanks to his holy name. For his anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning. As for me, I said in my prosperity, “I shall never be moved.” By your favor, O Lord, you made my mountain stand strong; you hid your face; I was dismayed. To you, O Lord, I cry, and to the Lord I plead for mercy: “What profit is there in my death, if I go down to the pit? Will the dust praise you? Will it tell of your faithfulness? Hear, O Lord, and be merciful to me! O Lord, be my helper!” You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever!” (Ps 30:4–12)

Context

These verses indicate that David was well off. After all, he was the king of Israel. His kingdom was rich and blessed in many different ways. The things his hands touched prospered. In his life of ease, he forgot about the Lord. He thought his possessions, money, kingdom, and military was all he needed for success. But this was not so. The reason he had what he had was because of the hand of the Lord.

Pride = The Lord’s Discipline

As a result of his pride, David faced the discipline of the Lord (Ps. 30:7). God hid His face from him. In other words, He removed His blessing and protection. Eventually, through the Lord’s discipline, David realized his sin, repented, cried to the Lord for mercy, and was restored (Ps. 30:8-10).

For Us

David teaches us a valuable lesson, especially those of us that live in Western Christendom. We are a prosperous nation and people by all account. Many of us don’t want for anything. We are successful. Live in nice houses, drive nice cars, and have a good paying job that provides well for our family. We are able to take vacations every year, entertain our families every weekend, and enroll our children in extracurricular activities throughout the year. We are a prosperous people.

While it is okay to enjoy the Lord’s blessings, we go wrong, just like David, when we begin to trust in our prosperity instead of the Lord. When things are going well, it’s easy to forget God is the One who provides everything we have. Sometimes it takes God removing His hand of blessing from our life in order for us to realize that He is the One who prosperous us instead of ourselves.

May we always remember the reason we have what we have is because of the Lord’s blessings on our lives. When we forget that all important trust and begin to trust in ourselves, may we be quick to repent of our pride and turn to worship the Lord for His abundant grace, mercy, and provision.

Question for Reflection

  1. Is your prosperity getting in the way of praising God for His provision?

Resource

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On Man’s Ego

Never in the history of the race has man been so busily occupied with the study of himself as he is today.

The behavioral scientists and the religionists are turning out tons of material for us to read as we search for new knowledge about ourselves. Most of us are surprisingly eager to do our assigned reading because, quite frankly, we are enthralled and fascinated with our subject. We are unreservedly devoted to this baffling, unmanageable creature called man.

No one interests us more than ourselves.

One large reason for this is that we are all egoists at heart. And that’s a problem, the world’s biggest. God has shown us how this problem is solved. God is Himself the solution.

Questions for Reflection

  1. Are you enthralled with yourself?
  2. Do you realize you have an ego problem?
  3. Do you know that God is the solution?

Resources

Earl Jabay, The god-players, preface.

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Respectable Sins: 4 Manifestations of Pride | Part 4

In my last post in this series, I discussed the pride of achievements. Today, I continue my discussion by focusing on the pride of an independent spirit.

The Pride of an Independent Spirit

This form of pride expresses itself in two ways: (1) “A resistance to authority, especially spiritual authority”, and (2) “an unteachable attitude.”[1]

This particular form of pride stems from believing that we know everything. When we think we know more than someone else, we are less likely to submit to their spiritual guidance and authority. This is something the Bible condemns. In Hebrews 13:17, we read,

“Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.”

Even though this verse directly applies to spiritual leaders in our churches, the principle of teachability and submission carries over to any situation where we are under the tutelage of a more mature believer. Which means there are those who are more mature than us that can help us grow in our Christian walk. We should take advantage of those relationships by being mentored, which should then result in us mentoring others.

How do we guard against this form of pride?

I believe we can guard against this form of pride by meditating on the following Scriptures.

“My son, if you receive my words and treasure up my commandments with you,” (Prov. 2:1)

“My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments,” (Prov. 3:1)

“Hear, O sons, a father’s instruction, and be attentive, that you may gain insight,” (Prov. 4:1)

“My son, be attentive to my wisdom; incline your ear to my understanding,” (Prov. 5:1)

“My son, keep my words and treasure up my commandments with you;” (Prov. 7:1)

All of these Scriptures stress teachability and a respect for authority. Just as a son is to respect his father’s authority and allow him to teach him that which he does not know, we are to respect the spiritual authority of those more mature than us, allowing them to teach us, so that we can grow in our Christian walk.

Questions for Reflection

  1. Are you susceptible to this form of pride?
  2. In what generation does this sin typically surface?
  3. What other issues besides an independent spirit do you believe hinders mentoring relationships in our churches?
  4. How might being mentored by a more mature believer benefit you?
  5. If you are currently being mentored, would you share how that time has benefited your spiritual progress?

Resource

[1] Jerry Bridges, Respectable Sins, 97.

Post Adapted from Respectable Sins by Jerry Bridges, 97-100.