Tag Archive | pride

Roadblock #3 – Pride – The Enemy of Humility

Independence, control, and comparison. Those words don’t sound prideful when spoken individually. However, when we rely on ourselves for everything and don’t depend on God for anything, He could view this independent spirit as arrogance or overconfidence. Likewise, it often feels good to be in complete control of ourselves, our lives, an event, a situation, another person, or his actions. The haughty monster of pride rears its ugly head in the condescending creature of control. And when we compare ourselves to others and always come out on top, a conceited nature triumphs over humility in our souls. Be careful—this sounds a bit like sitting in the judgment seat, and that’s not a position you want to claim for yourself. Judgment is reserved for Almighty God alone.

Pride is mentioned in Proverbs 6:16-19 as one of the seven things detestable to God. Pride manifests itself in these forms: arrogance, conceit, self-importance, egotism, vanity, haughty eyes, condescension, scorn, disrespect, snootiness, loftiness, and contemptuousness. The Lord despises proud actions and attitudes. Here are a few of the many verses that describe how God feels about pride:

Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. (Proverbs 16:18)

God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. (James 4:6)

The Lord detests all the proud of heart. Be sure of this: They will not go unpunished. (Proverbs 16:5)

Though the Lord is on high, He looks upon the lowly, but the proud He knows from afar. (Psalm 138:6)

If you are not hearing God’s voice, you may want to perform a pride inventory in your spirit. Do you practice humility and selflessness, or are you responsible for behaviors that are detestable to God? The verses above assure us that God will punish the proud of heart, and He doesn’t go near individuals who are full of pride. If you hold pride in your heart, confess it and ask God’s forgiveness. Get rid of all pride, arrogance, conceit, self-importance, haughtiness, disrespect, loftiness, and condescension before you seek the Lord to listen to His voice. Treat others as more important than yourself. Assume the position of the lowly, the meek, and the servant. Don’t take it to the extreme so that you resemble a doormat, but approaching the Lord with a contrite heart, in humility, opens the door to receiving God’s words of grace, encouragement, and wisdom.

Unfortunately, pride comes much too naturally to all of us, including me. Read about the fall of humankind in Genesis 3. From the very beginning of time, self-importance snuck into human desire. Satan tempted Eve with the idea that she could be all-knowing and wise, like God, if she ate the fruit from the forbidden tree. Deceived by the devil, Eve ate some and gave some to Adam. Pride initiated a sinful response when the evil one presented his temptation.

The need for independence and superiority continues to be the cause of some of our sin today. Proverbs 16:18 says, “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.” The truth of this verse rang loudly in the Garden of Eden. It still rings true thousands of years later.

Another example of haughtiness is found in Ezekiel 28, the prophecy against the king of Tyre. In verse 17, the Sovereign Lord says, “Your heart became proud on account of your beauty, and you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendor. So I threw you to the earth; I made a spectacle of you before kings.” God detested his arrogance. The king’s pride preceded his destruction.

In Proverbs 8:13, the wise Solomon says, “To fear the Lord is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech.” Fear in this case is the same reverence for the Lord that we talked about in the previous blog. When you respect the Lord, you will detest all pride and arrogance, as He does. Yet arrogance sneaks into all areas of life. Recall that pride inventory we talked about? It may be necessary to make that assessment daily, even hourly.

If pride in any form resides in your life, don’t expect to be close to God and hear from Him regularly. Psalm 138:6 says, “Though the Lord is on high, He looks upon the lowly, but the proud He knows from afar.” As another passage I’ve already quoted says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and He will come near to you” (James 4:6-8). God spends time with humble people who submit themselves to Him and make time for Him. God distances Himself from the self-righteous, prideful, judgmental person.

When the needle on the pride-o-meter registers anywhere on the gauge, take action immediately to dispose of all forms of pride. Humble yourself before the Lord. Submit yourself to Him and exalt Him, rather than yourself. Show the Lord how much you trust in Him for everything. Relinquish your control to the Most High. Place the desires of others ahead of your own. Do not judge any person or behavior. Assume the servant position in God’s kingdom.

Do you struggle with judging others or promoting yourself to a higher pedestal? What alerts you of your arrogance? I can tell you truly, when I do not practice the humility of a servant, I should not expect God will speak to me. No matter my standing or position in the world, I am but an unworthy sinner, forgiven and saved by God’s grace alone. I am no better than anyone else. If I do not treat others better than myself, God has no business with me, and therefore no reason to talk to me.

Anytime I have seated myself on the judgment throne with regard to another human being, God has given me an opportunity to experience the same affliction, position, or experience as the one I judged. Very soon I’ve gained a new appreciation and respect for the one I condemned because I have walked down a similar path. Becoming the object of my own pride rapidly and effectively cuts me down to size. When the roadblock of pride comes down, my reception of God’s voice dramatically improves.

The Bible provides many significant illustrations of humility. Jesus, God’s own Son, displayed the ultimate humility when He left His throne in heaven and came to earth to be the sacrificial Lamb and die for our sins. Another dramatic demonstration of Christ’s servanthood took place when He washed the feet of His disciples. We can imitate this kind of humility when we selflessly serve our own subordinates, or, better yet, those we judge. This foot washing can be accomplished literally or figuratively. Think of a way you might take an unassuming position with someone you lead, manage, or influence. Is there any type of metaphorical foot washing you could perform for him or her? Maybe picking up a towel and basin of water is what you really need.

Let’s examine some of the enemy’s deceit in our thoughts, which gives birth to overconfidence. You might believe you can take care of yourself; you know what’s best for you. Or, you might think you are in control of your own life. Is it possible that thinking you are better than someone else for any reason could be hampering your clear reception of God’s voice in your thoughts? Grab your copy of 7 Roadblocks to Hearing God’s Voice today, and begin identifying what stands in your way of hearing the voice of the Holy Spirit, who makes your heart His home.

Click here to purchase this book now.

Book Two in Hearing God’s Voice Series

What Stands in Your Way of Hearing God Speak?

depositphotos_8137875-Barricade-and-Warning-Light-Closeup[1]It’s my prayer today, that if you’ve been following my blog for the past couple months, and applying the 7 Simple Steps to Hearing God’s Voice, you will be well on your way to hearing and recognizing the voice of God within you. However, if you’ve been regularly putting in the time and effort to listen to God, and not yet heard from Him, you may be wondering, Why? I am eager to share with you seven things I discovered that kept me from hearing God speak.

Before you think, But God won’t speak to me because… (Fill in the blank yourself), let me tell you, it’s really very simple. If you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior and invited Him into your heart to be your Lord, then God does speak to you. However, something may be deafening your ears to His voice.

In this blog, over the next couple months, I will introduce seven roadblocks that may stand in your way of hearing God speak. As you read on, see if any of these barriers might be keeping you from enjoying two-way conversation and intimate relationship with Jesus.

After twenty years of following Christ and yet struggling with clinical depression, I was ready to throw in the towel. I could only hope there was more to life than what I’d experienced. I heard believers talk about a relationship with Jesus. I thought I had one. I talked to God, but unfairly, I didn’t leave room in the conversation for God to speak to me. I didn’t believe He would speak to me. Doubt was one of the roadblocks standing in my way of hearing God’s voice. I didn’t consider that the big God of the universe would speak to little ole me.

I couldn’t have been more wrong. About fifteen years ago, it all changed for me. One night, while talking to God, I actually made time to listen. I heard a voice in my thoughts that I knew was not my own. It was God! He spoke to me, an average girl. Now I know ordinary people hear from God, too.

You may wonder, Why doesn’t God speak to me? What am I doing wrong? How do I go about hearing His voice? I wrestled with these same uncertainties. In my quest for answers, God blessed me far beyond my heart’s desire. My relationship with the Lord grew stronger and deeper as I learned how to enjoy two-way communication with Him.

Does your relationship with Jesus lack the WOW factor? Mine did. But hearing God’s voice added an amazing new dimension to my faith adventure. Whenever we listen to God’s voice within us, we achieve a greater intimacy with the Lord. Hearing God’s voice is one of the keys to a deeper connection with Jesus Christ. It’s absolutely life-changing and life-giving!

Your search for deeper intimacy with God is about to yield results. After regularly hearing God speak for the last fifteen years, I nailed down 7 Roadblocks to Hearing God Speak. Practicing any or all of the behaviors identified here may cause you to feel that the all-powerful God will not speak to you because you are not worthy or qualified to hear Him.

Truly, despite your flaws and feelings of inadequacy, God continues to pursue you passionately. He doesn’t wait until you are perfect and sin-free to speak to you. The Holy Spirit of God communicates with you all day, every day, in many different ways. He’s anxiously waiting for you to listen and recognize His voice!

As a Christian, you have the living God dwelling inside you, so why wouldn’t you be able to hear His voice? Well, these seven things may stand in the way: doubt, fear, pride, worry, busyness, disobedience, and an unwillingness to forgive. To be clear, these behaviors won’t necessarily keep God from speaking to you, but they may keep you from hearing Him. The indwelling Holy Spirit helps you become more Christ-like, so you have to be able to hear and recognize God’s voice within you to utilize the promptings and assistance the Holy Spirit offers you in the journey of sanctification.

Over the next several weeks, this blog will help you identify seven barriers that may cause deafness to God’s voice. Learn how to crush these deterrents and strengthen your relationship with the Lord. Achieve amazing results when you clear the path to listening to God. Truly, it’s worth your time and effort. In fact, it’s vital to experiencing the abundant life Jesus Christ came to give you!

All this information and more can be found in my book, 7 Roadblocks to Hearing God Speak: Removing the Barriers Between You and God. It’s available from Amazon.com in Audio Book, Kindle, and Paperback. 

Click on this link to purchase the book

Book Two in Hearing God's Voice Series

Book Two in Hearing God’s Voice Series

Step 1 – Expect and Believe – From: 7 Simple Steps to Hearing God’s Voice

7 Simple Steps to Hearing God’s Voice: Listening to God Made Easy

By Sindy Nagel

Step 1 – Expect and Believe

To hear God’s voice, we must expect and believe we will hear it. In faith, we should not doubt that God speaks to us. James 1:5-7 says,

If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord.

DOUBT kept me from hearing God’s voice for the first twenty years after I became a Christian. My skepticism resulted in a lack of spiritual intimacy with Jesus Christ for the first two decades of my life as a believer.

I knew being a Christian meant enjoying a relationship with Jesus Christ. I thought I had one, but I didn’t really consider that it required two-way conversation with Jesus to maintain that closeness.

Unfairly, I talked to God, but I didn’t pause to listen to His response. I never dreamed one of the voices in my head might be the Spirit of God within me.

I didn’t EXPECT that God would ever speak to me, an average person. I knew He spoke to prophets, pastors, missionaries, and other spiritually mature individuals, but I never thought I could hear God’s voice.

However, one evening about eighteen years ago, it all changed for me. I heard a voice in my thoughts that I knew was not my own. It was God! He spoke to me, an average girl. Now I know ordinary people hear from God too. And I know God speaks to all believers, but we don’t always hear Him.

In John 8:47, Jesus says, “He who belongs to God hears what God says.” Jesus said it, so you can believe it! When you belong to God, you will hear Him.

The next verse helped me when I found myself hesitating: “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24). To hear God’s voice, we must first believe we will hear it—believe, and then anticipate hearing it.

I attribute my years of doubt to a deficiency in knowing and understanding God. More precisely, I needed to better understand His Holy Spirit within me. It’s absolutely vital we grasp the idea of who the Holy Spirit is in order to expect we will hear God’s voice and believe God speaks to us.

When we invite Jesus Christ into our hearts to be our Savior and Lord, we instantly have the ability to hear God speak because He sends His Spirit to live in our hearts. The Holy Spirit is God’s voice in us.

When Jesus died on the cross, He didn’t stay in the grave. Amen? And He didn’t leave us alone as orphans to fend for ourselves. He gave us a far greater gift—God raised Him from the dead, and He sent the Holy Spirit to live inside the heart of every believer.

Did you hear that fantastic news? Jesus is alive, and the Holy Spirit is the living God who dwells in us and gives us life! We do not place enough value on this gift. It is priceless!

By the Holy Spirit’s power we are able to hear the voice of God within us. Here are a few other things the Holy Spirit does for us:

  • He reveals to us what He knows and hears from God and Jesus. (John 16:13-15)
  • He testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. (See Romans 8:16)
  • He seals us as a deposit, guaranteeing our eternal inheritance until the day of redemption. (See Ephesians 1:13)
  • He is our Counselor. He counsels us in the wisdom of God. (See John 14:16)
  • He is our Comforter who soothes us in times of sorrow, anxiety, and grief. (See 2 Cor. 1:3-4)
  • He is our Teacher. He reminds us of what Jesus said and recalls Scripture to our minds. He properly interprets the Word of God for us. He teaches us the truth. (See John 14:26)
  • He guides us to the truth. (See John 16:13)
  • He ignites our faith. (See John 6:63, Ephesians 3:16-17)
  • He empowers us to overflow with God’s hope. (See Romans 1:13)
  • He teaches us right from wrong according to Scripture.
  • He convicts us concerning sin, encouraging us to confess it and repent, or change our ways. (See John 16:8)
  • He transforms us and encourages us to become exceedingly more Christ-like through the process of sanctification. (See 2 Thessalonians 2:13)
  • He is Immanuel, God with us 24/7. (See Matthew 1:23)
  • He makes the things of God known to us. (See John 16:14)
  • He gives us spiritual gifts from God. (See 1 Corinthians 12:4-11)
  • He empowers us to do the will and work of God. (See Acts 1:8)
  • He is our intercessor, helps us in our weakness. When we do not know what to pray, the Spirit prays for us in accordance with God’s will. (See Romans 8:26-27)

The list goes on and on. The Holy Spirit of God indwelling us meets all our needs. Also, He connects us in relationship to God the Father and Jesus the Son. We know God better and experience more of Jesus through His Spirit within us.

The most astonishing part about all of this is the Holy Spirit is a free gift from God. Have you accepted this free gift?

1 Corinthians 2:12 says, “We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us” (emphasis mine). What a priceless gift it is indeed!

Jesus took our place on the cross. All we have to do is invite Him into our hearts to be our Savior and Lord. When we do, both abundant life here on earth and eternal life with God in heaven are free for the taking. We can have the Spirit of the living God dwell in us without any cost to us. Truly, this is amazing grace!

In John 16:13-15, Jesus explained the main role of the Holy Spirit when He said,

But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on His own; He will speak only what He hears, and He will tell you what is yet to come. He will bring glory to Me by taking from what is Mine and making it known to you. All that belongs to the Father is Mine. That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is Mine and make it known to you (emphasis mine).

God speaks to all of His children through the voice of the Holy Spirit within. He makes known to us all that belongs to God the Father.

We have the living God inside us, so why wouldn’t we be able to hear His voice?

There are at least 7 things that may prevent us: doubt, fear, pride, worry, busyness, disobedience, and an unwillingness to forgive. To be clear, these behaviors won’t necessarily keep God from speaking to us, but they may make us deaf to His voice. Learn more about each of these obstacles in my book, 7 Roadblocks to Hearing God Speak: Removing the Barriers between you and God.

Practicing any or all of the seven behaviors above may cause you to feel the All-Powerful God won’t speak to you because you’re not worthy to hear Him. Truly, despite your flaws and feelings of inadequacy, God continues to pursue you passionately. He doesn’t wait until you are perfect and sin-free to speak to you. If that were the case, none of us would ever hear from Him. Instead, the Holy Spirit helps you become more Christ-like, so it’s imperative you know how to hear and recognize His voice to utilize the promptings and assistance He offers you in the journey of sanctification.

Ironically, listening to the Holy Spirit and hearing from God are vital for identifying and changing or eliminating the seven behaviors causing your deafness to Him.

One of the roadblocks to hearing God’s voice is lack of time or busyness. The next step to hearing God’s voice is making Him your first priority and meeting with Him daily. This practice greatly increases your ability to hear Him speak. Expect to hear His voice. God does speak to you. Believe the truth. God desires an intimate relationship with you through two-way conversation. Now, make the time to listen. You’ll be really glad you did!

 

Click here to order this book now!

Book One in Hearing God's Voice Series

Book One in Hearing God’s Voice Series

 

Independence (a.k.a. Pride)

4 PrideThe other day I overheard a single woman proudly state that she had always been able to take care of herself and provide for herself. Fantastic! I’m sure she made her parents proud also. After all, isn’t that one measure of successful parenting—that your children prosper financially, support themselves, and move out of the nest? Is there anything wrong with being pleased with yourself for exerting an independent, self-sufficient spirit? Hard work is an excellent virtue and should be rewarded, right?

Independence, control, and comparison. Those words don’t sound prideful when spoken alone. However, when we rely on ourselves for everything and don’t depend on God for anything, He could view this independent spirit as arrogance or overconfidence. Likewise, it often feels good to be in complete control of ourselves, our lives, an event, a situation, another person, or his actions. The haughty monster of pride rears its ugly head in the condescending creature of control. And when we compare ourselves to others and always come out on top, a conceited nature triumphs over humility in our souls. Be careful—this sounds a bit like sitting in the judgment seat, and that’s not a position you want to claim for yourself. Judgment is reserved for Almighty God alone.

A narrow boundary exists between independence and pride, and it’s not a line you want to cross. Pride is mentioned in Proverbs 6:16-19 as one of the seven things detestable to God. Pride manifests itself in these forms: arrogance, conceit, self-importance, egotism, vanity, haughty eyes, condescension, scorn, disrespect, snootiness, loftiness, and contemptuousness. The Lord despises proud actions and attitudes. Here are a few of the many verses that describe how God feels about pride:

  • Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. (Proverbs 16:18)
  • God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. (James 4:6)
  • The Lord detests all the proud of heart. Be sure of this: They will not go unpunished. (Proverbs 16:5)
  • Though the Lord is on high, He looks upon the lowly, but the proud He knows from afar. (Psalm 138:6)

Pride erects a roadblock between you and God. If you are having trouble feeling close to God and hearing His voice, you may want to perform a pride inventory in your spirit. Do you practice humility and selflessness, or are you responsible for behaviors that are detestable to God? The verses above assure us that God will punish the proud of heart, and He doesn’t go near individuals who are full of pride.

Instead of commending yourself for your independence, turn it around, and express your full gratitude to God for His faithful provision. He created you, gifted you, provided a job for you, and rewarded you for your hard work. The truth is you are not as independent as you may think. You are completely dependent on God, because He is in control of all things.

Remove the barrier that may stand in your way of communicating with God. If you hold pride in your heart, confess it and ask God’s forgiveness. Get rid of all pride, arrogance, conceit, self-importance, haughtiness, disrespect, loftiness, and condescension before you seek the Lord to listen to His voice. Treat others as more important than yourself. Assume the position of the lowly, the meek, and the servant. Don’t take it to the extreme so that you resemble a doormat, but approaching the Lord with a contrite heart, in humility, opens the door to receiving God’s words of grace, encouragement, and wisdom.

 Pray:

Almighty God, thank You for loving me and desiring a relationship with me despite my prideful ways. Please forgive me for acting in a manner that is detestable to You. I lay down all arrogance, pride, conceit, and self-righteousness at Your feet, Lord. I trade in my haughty spirit for a spirit of humility and submission. I will try not to pass judgment on others, nor put myself on a pedestal above anyone else. Help me listen to and obey the direction of Your Holy Spirit as He guides me to adopt the heart of a servant and strive to act more like Jesus. I lift You up as the Sovereign Lord, Who rules over everything on earth and in heaven. Father, please help me to seek You for direction in everything I do and put Your desires and the interests of others ahead of my own. I cannot do any of this on my own without the power and strength of Jesus Christ. Please grant me the ability and the blessing of hearing Your voice. I ask all this in Jesus’ name. Amen.