Since February of this year, the Lord has been working in my mind and heart about pride. There are two types of pride. The first is a good pride, like being proud of your children, or in something else. It is usually something external from you. The second is bad pride, like being proud of your children because you think they are better than other children. This is usually started from within you. Arrogance is associated with this type of pride. God speaks against this type of pride in the Bible. I think that I have previously said there are over
one hundred Bible verse speaking to pride and arrogance. It would be a good Bible study for you to find and read each of these.
I am speaking of the second type of pride. I have been trying to replace pride in my life with humility. If you are on this pathway, you will find several opportunities that present themselves, daily, that will give you a choice between pride and humility. I have said that there will not be a graduation ceremony, no diploma, no Hallmark cards written about your humbleness and when you achieve it. If I ever get there, I think it will maybe be a time alone with the Lord, when He smiles at me and embraces me while I am doing what He as called me to do, not complaining, but praising Him and giving Him thanks.
From here, He had me thinking about contentment, about being at peace within, in whatever circumstance I’m in, because I am pleased knowing that God is taking care of me and all my needs. This is partially what I wrote in “Learning To Be Content”…
I was pondering a thought from a familiar bible passage which came to mind from Philippians 4. This chapter is a gold mine of inspirations to me. The thought of being content in whatever circumstance I find myself was my focus. The Greek word for content gives the idea of self-sufficiency, of being satisfied with yourself; to be at peace with yourself. To be discontent is to not be satisfied with yourself or be at peace.
11 Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. 12 I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. 13 I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. Philippians 4: 11-13 NASB
I realized I was discontented. I had taken my eye off the ball. It is kind of like texting while driving. It doesn’t take much to get you into trouble.
I looked closer at Paul’s claim of learning the secret of being content. I wanted to know more about what this secret that Paul was talking about. On his “Grace To You “website, John MacArthur wrote about six things that dealt with the secret of contentment (What Is The Secret Of Contentment). Here are his points with my reactions.
Learn to give thanks in all things – Ok, that works well with my idea of ‘giving thanks in everything’ approach that I have taken.
Learn to rest in God’s providence – Yes, I believe that God is sovereign and that He has a purpose for my life. I get squirrel y with the resting part though.
to be satisfied with little– I think I could do well with less material things, but emotionally I’m stopped temporarily. Like, as the old saying goes, a calf looking at a new gate. If I believe God is sovereign, then I must apply this to my life.
Learn to live above life’s circumstances – Death and the pain of grief is part of our life. My focus is to be on what Christ is doing in my life through this period of time.
Learn to rely on God’s power and provision – I can rely on God’s faithfulness and His strength. I don’t have to rely on my abilities. “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.”
Learn to become preoccupied with the well-being of others – If I only look at myself, the results will be discontentment. If I look outward, I will prosper.
Since then, I felt like I was making some progress. More times in the day, of being at peace. I am trying to give thanks more and trying to look out for the well-being of others more.
But I had to make an adjustment at the beginning of the day as I prayed . I was changing my prayers from expecting people to treat me a certain way to praying that I would have low expectations from people. But that had to be adjusted once again, because I would still be hurt by what someone did or did not do for me.
In light of working at the Secrets of Contentment, I was reminded of an annual sermon my late pastor, Brother Sam Cathey, would preach at the beginning of each year. It was called, “Attitudes of Servitude” based on Luke 17:7-10.
This passage describes the life of a servant and their duty to their Master. As a Christian, I have a duty to my Master, the Lord Jesus Christ. Brother Sam’s message had four points,which were these: 1) No Personal Right. A servant is to do the will of his Master. 2) No Personal Limitations. The servant can not limit how much he will do or not do. 3) No Personal Praise. If we are doing our duty, we don’t need to be bragged on. 4) No Personal Sacrifice. How can we sacrifice what we do not own? I have been bought with a price. I belong to Him.
With that in mind, I have added a five point for myself: NO EXPECTATIONS FROM PEOPLE. Changing from low expectations to NO expectations. James 1:17 states, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” ESV Here is my thought -if I don’t have pre-established expectations from anyone, than I will not be disappointed or hurt if they don’t do what I think they should do. If they do do something good, I consider it a good gift from God and thank Him for working in their life and blessing me with kindness.
What will take time, is clearing the stumps of my flesh,to were I am GENUINELY having no expectations. Since I haven’t been named class Valedictorian of the humility school yet, I don’t do that in every situation, but it is something I am working on.
As I said before, to do all of this means I have to keep my eyes on Jesus and doing what He has called me to do. Jesus does not disappoint, but He provides me strength.
Please continue to pray for me that I may fulfill my calling and be found faithful.