Posts tagged ‘Pride’

Don’t Be A Fool

The Word of God has nothing good to say about a foolish person. To be called a fool, by the Bible definition, is to bring shame and hardship onto yourself and everyone associated with you (Proverbs 13:20). But what are the characteristics of a fool? Let’s look at the book of Proverbs to see the way a fool is described so that we can avoid being foolish without even realizing it!

The first character traits of fools are those related to pride. There is also a love of wickedness. I will let Proverbs do the talking. Please read the verses and see what God says about fools.
1. A fool despises wisdom. They already are fully convinced and no ne else has any advice or wisdom of value to offer them.

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge;
Fools despise wisdom and instruction. (Proverbs 1:7 NASB)
A fool does not delight in understanding,
But only in revealing his own mind. (Proverbs 18:2 NASB)
Like the legs which are useless to the lame,
So is a proverb in the mouth of fools. (Proverbs 26:7 NASB)

2. A fool is complacent about their spiritual condition. They have no interest or sense of urgency in changing their ways.

“For the waywardness of the naive will kill them,
And the complacency of fools will destroy them. (Proverbs 1:32 NASB)
A wise man is cautious and turns away from evil,
But a fool is arrogant and careless. (Proverbs 14:16 NASB)

3. Fools flaunt their foolish and dishonorable actions for all to see. Their pride keeps them from realizing that the only one who doesn’t consider him a fool is himself.

The wise will inherit honor, But fools display dishonor. (Proverbs 3:35 NASB)
Like a dog that returns to its vomit
Is a fool who repeats his folly. (Proverbs 26:11 NASB)

4. A fool is destroyed by his own words. They have no thought of holding back from saying anything and everything they are thinking.

The wise of heart will receive commands,
But a babbling fool will be ruined. (Proverbs 10:8 NASB)
He who conceals hatred has lying lips,
And he who spreads slander is a fool. (Proverbs 10:18 NASB)
The tongue of the wise makes knowledge acceptable,
But the mouth of fools spouts folly. (Proverbs 15:2 NASB)
The mind of the intelligent seeks knowledge,
But the mouth of fools feeds on folly. (Proverbs 15:14 NASB)
A fool’s mouth is his ruin,
And his lips are the snare of his soul. (Proverbs 18:7 NASB)

5. A fool seeks out new ways to sin. Wickedness becomes their hobby because they have no fear of The Lord.

Doing wickedness is like sport to a fool,
And so is wisdom to a man of understanding. (Proverbs 10:23 NASB)
Fools mock at sin,
But among the upright there is good will. (Proverbs 14:9 NASB)

6. The fool does not exercise any self restraint.

A fool’s anger is known at once,
But a prudent man conceals dishonor. (Proverbs 12:16 NASB)
Keeping away from strife is an honor for a man,
But any fool will quarrel. (Proverbs 20:3 NASB)
A fool always loses his temper,
But a wise man holds it back. (Proverbs 29:11 NASB)

7. A fool rejects any discipline that would otherwise be used to correct him.

A fool rejects his father’s discipline,
But he who regards reproof is sensible. (Proverbs 15:5 NASB)
A rebuke goes deeper into one who has understanding
Than a hundred blows into a fool. (Proverbs 17:10 NASB)

8. A fool brings shame to the parents who raised him, and it doesn’t phase them a bit.

A wise son makes a father glad,
But a foolish man despises his mother. (Proverbs 15:20 NASB)
He who sires a fool does so to his sorrow,
And the father of a fool has no joy. (Proverbs 17:21 NASB)
A foolish son is a grief to his father
And bitterness to her who bore him. (Proverbs 17:25 NASB)

9. Fools are dangerous to be around, so recognize and avoid them as companions.

Let a man meet a bear robbed of her cubs,
Rather than a fool in his folly. (Proverbs 17:12 NASB)
He who walks with wise men will be wise,
But the companion of fools will suffer harm. (Proverbs 13:20 NASB)

10. Fools always find themselves being punished and just don’t comprehend why. They attract punishment!

A fool’s lips bring strife,
And his mouth calls for blows. (Proverbs 18:6 NASB)
Judgments are prepared for scoffers,
And blows for the back of fools. (Proverbs 19:29 NASB)
A whip is for the horse, a bridle for the donkey,
And a rod for the back of fools. (Proverbs 26:3 NASB)

After reading all of these things which describe the behavior of fools, one might draw the conclusion that there is nothing worse than a fool. And you would be wrong. As bad as foolishness is, pride is more lethal and deadly.

Do you see a man wise in his own eyes?
There is more hope for a fool than for him. (Proverbs 26:12 NASB)

I would encourage all of us to read and consider the verses above and then pray as the Psalmist did:

Search me, O God, and know my heart: Try me, and know my thoughts; And see if there be any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting. (Psalm 139:23, 24 ASV)

20121016-005007.jpg

Advertisements

Toxic Leaders

Sitting here watching football this evening, I was reminded of how, in any sport, it feels great to be in first place. Everyone loves to win, and loves a winner. Players work a lifetime of long hours just to be a champion someday. There is also something to be said for “running to win” in the Christian life. But on the other hand, there is also an unhealthy desire for preeminence and power that is unhealthy and sinful. It’s is where a person believes they deserve to be in charge and enjoy lording their authority over others.

In the little letter of 3rd John, the Apostle mentions just such a man and hs name was Diotrephes.

I wrote to the assembly, but Diotrephes, who loves to be first among them, doesn’t accept what we say. (3 John 1:9 WEB)

This is the behavior that Paul warned about when talking about proper conduct for elders in the church in Titus chapter 1. John details the things Diotrephes was doing so that centuries later we could be warned of engaging in such conduct, and wary of those whose behavior resembles the same.

Therefore if I come, I will call attention to his deeds which he does, unjustly accusing us with wicked words. Not content with this, neither does he himself receive the brothers, and those who would, he forbids and throws out of the assembly. (3 John 1:10 WEB)

Toxic leaders will spread lies and accusations against others. They will try to maintain their power by disparaging anyone else that might be sought out for counsel. In doing is, they reinforce the illusion that they are the only source of true teaching that their flock can trust.

Toxic leaders not only do they spread gossip about other leaders, but do not accept correction from others. Such a leader is so full of himself that he sees no benefit in hearing what anyone else has to say. They not only forbid the flock to hear teaching from other sources, but are convinced that their understanding of the Bible is superior to others. This kind of intellectual inbreeding leads to deformed spiritual growth and eventual destruction of the flock.

Toxic leaders are so insecure that they will believe they are protecting the flock by expelling those who dare to hear teaching from anyone else, for fear they will introduce new ideas or expose them as false prophets. It is fear of losing their spiritual family and all they have known that keeps people in such destructive systems. Ironically, in the First Century Church, they are already dealing with a cultic and toxic leader like Diotrephes.

What does John advise them to do? He tells them how to act, and even gives a positive example of someone they can emulate.

Beloved, don’t imitate that which is evil, but that which is good. He who does good is of God. He who does evil hasn’t seen God. Demetrius has the testimony of all, and of the truth itself; yes, we also testify, and you know that our testimony is true. (3 John 1:11, 12 WEB)

How can you tell if you are following a Diotrephes instead of a Demetrius? If you are in a situation where your leaders are lording their authority over the flock, get out! If orders are being given to obey instead of examples being lived to follow (2Thess 3:9), get out. If you find yourself doing things only because the pastor said so, and you don’t want to be seen as having issues with authority, get out. You need to be doing things because the Bible says so!

Have I seen situations like this? Yes. Am I in one now? Not even close! We have wonderful elders. But having been other places, I know what it can be like, and your spiritual survival depends on living the Christian life that the Bible describes, under the godly leadership of multiple elders. That is what the New Testament mandates, and men like Diotrephes are the reason why. Find a church with a biblically accurate organization and you will be on your way back to spiritual and emotional health.

But if you are in a healthy congregation that has godly leaders in place, encourage them and do all that you can to make their ministry effective and not a burden. Paul summed it up nicely for the Thessalonians.

But we request of you, brethren, that you appreciate those who diligently labor among you, and have charge over you in the Lord and give you instruction, and that you esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Live in peace with one another. (1 Thessalonians 5:12, 13 NASB)

20120930-004919.jpg

The Danger of Pride

The First Sin

The Bible is clear that the first human being to sin was Eve, followed closely by her husband Adam. (By the way husbands, if you see your wife having a conversation with a snake, put a stop to it. But that’s a topic for another post.) Anyway, I was always taught that Adam and Eve committed the first sin. But I would like to ask you to reconsider that statement. We’re they really the first ones to sin? No!

You see, over in Isaiah chapter 14, God gave us a glimpse of the fall of the real first sinner, Satan.
“How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, You who weakened the nations! For you have said in your heart:
I will ascend into heaven,
I will exalt my throne above the stars of God;
I will also sit on the mount of the congregation On the farthest sides of the north;
I will ascend above the heights of the clouds,
I will be like the Most High.
Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, To the lowest depths of the Pit.” (Isaiah 14:12-15 NKJV)

Lucifer was an angel created in perfection by Jehovah. The book of Ezekiel describes his this way:
“You were the anointed cherub who covers; I established you; You were on the holy mountain of God; You walked back and forth in the midst of fiery stones. You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, Till iniquity was found in you.” (Ezekiel 28:14, 15 NKJV)

So what was the iniquity, or sin, that lucifer allowed to enter into his heart? Pride! Notice back in the Isaiah 14 passage the “I will” statements that were in his now-corrupted heart. Lucifer was no longer content to be in the presence of God and worship Him forever. He suddenly determined to decide for himself, to make his own rules, and to take for himself worship that belongs only to God!
Thus he fell and went from being the light bearer to being the slanderer and opposer of God. He also became the “accuser of the brethren” (Rev 12:10)
Not content to have fallen and taken 1/3 of the angels with him, he went to Eden and tempted Adam and Eve to commit this same sin. In pride that took the prerogative for themselves to determine right and wrong. They listened and heeded the lies of Satan, who told them that Jehovah God was holding out on them and didn’t have their best interests at heart.

While all of this is bad, how does it apply to us? Glad you asked!
When decide that we, as humans, are qualified to decide what is right and wrong, rather than to believe what God says on the matter, it is pride. And pride is spiritual poison! It is pride that keeps us from submitting to the lordship of Christ. It is pride that keeps us looking for specks in the eyes of others, when we have a plank in our own eyes. It was pride in their positions that kept most of the Pharisees and Saducees from recognizing the Messiah.

Pride is the sin that made a perfect angel into the Devil! As such, we must run from this lethal sin whenever we recognize it in ourselves. Because sin will cause us to lose the ability to admit our sin and repent.

Pride is deception’s welcome mat!

So let’s endeavor, with God’s help, to steer clear of pride. And run after our Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ.
“Instead of being motivated by selfish ambition or vanity, each of you should, in humility, be moved to treat one another as more important than yourself. Each of you should be concerned not only about your own interests, but about the interests of others as well. You should have the same attitude toward one another that Christ Jesus had, who though he existed in the form of God
did not regard equality with God as something to be grasped, but emptied himself by taking on the form of a slave, by looking like other men, and by sharing in human nature.
He humbled himself,by becoming obedient to the point of death – even death on a cross!
As a result God exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name,
so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow – in heaven and on earth and under the earth – and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord
to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:3-11 NET)

20120702-235730.jpg

%d bloggers like this: