Today I received an email, a bi-weekly devotion from David Timms on the subject of pride & pretense. (You can find him at www.growingdeeper.com) Of course, wouldn’t you know it, I was thinking on that very thing driving into work this morning. Pride that is, not pretense. But the thing is, this morning just happened to be the moment that it surfaced in my mind. This has been an ongoing issue for let’s see…all of my life! But today is the day that God wanted to deal with it…again. I say that thankfully! Something that Pastor David said that really bears witness with me is this…
“Our sensitivity to what others think or say about us betrays the talon-grip of pride in our life. The ease with which a casual or careless word can wound us and stir us to sleepless nights exposes our pride even further. And our insistence that all is well when all is not well reveals the deep pretentiousness of our hearts.
We want family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers to admire us. So, we carefully craft an image and defend it with vigor. Fearful that folk might see the real us (with its weaknesses and warts), we work tirelessly to project a preferred (and prideful) “false self.” And living this way, with one eye over our shoulder, shrivels the soul.”
In the past months, I have spent sleepless nights repulsed at how enamored I am with myself sometimes and what’s more, how enamored I am with others and their opinions. It reveals to me that I have put others in a place in my life that God himself desires to be and that truly, only He has the right to. I have to admit that I’m not sure I have ever experienced Father…just Father. Or Jesus…just Jesus and Holy Spirit…just Holy Spirit. No matter how hard I try, I find I am never completely alone with God, even when I am completely, physically alone. The room is always crowded. Heartbreaking. Sobering. Liberating.
Liberating? How is this liberating? First of all, because I haven’t always realized this and the thing is, every time I spend time with the Lord, if I’m aware that I have brought an idol with me, it’s only by His grace that I would even begin to know that. Father, because of His love for me, has revealed it! And that’s one less taking up my precious time with Him. He has no problem exposing it!
I remember Dr. Lois Burkett (www.newcreation-usa.org) teaching on something very similar. She told of a time when a man had come for prayer and was kneeling in the altar, believing God for restoration in his marriage. The thing is, although he was in a posture of worship, he was worshipping his wife and the restoration, not God himself.
You see, He is a jealous God! Exodus 34:14 says, “For thou shalt worship no other god: for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.” He does not want to share my thoughts! He does not want to share my praise! He does not want to share my worship! That part of me was created for Him alone!
How do I know there’s an idol? An idol is a “graven image”. That word “graven” means to impress or fix (as a thought) deeply. I don’t have to be toting around a bunch of little wooden statues to “have” an idol. In fact, those things are only outward appearances. The true idol, as we see above, is first impressed or fixed in our thoughts deeply. If I come into His presence (in the context of praise & worship) and thoughts of someone else or something else are constantly coming to my mind…there it is. The problem for me has been, as it turns out, that the idols I’ve kept are thoughts of those I love, honor, admire & respect the most in this world.
Lord, I long to be alone with You! That with every thought, I would serve you. You are my hearts desire, my beginning and my end! I want to fall in love with you again and again! Amen.
“Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:5)