Pride is idolatrous self-worship.
Sin did not begin on earth in the Garden of Eden when Adam fell. Adam could not have fallen if sin had not had its beginning long before in heaven. Satan could not have had (Genesis 3:5-6) tempted and deceived Eve on earth if he, as Lucifer, had not already sinned in Heaven. Lucifer began to look at himself as the source of his holy gifts of incredible beauty and wisdom, and then to worship himself. Instantly Lucifer became Satan. From among the holy angels one-third joined him and became demons. God cast him out of heaven (Isaiah 14:12-14, Ezekiel 28:15) down to the earth. Sin and sinful pride will not be tolerated in heaven and cannot exist there. Holiness and sin had their first collision in heaven and the world is still suffering the horrible effects of Satan’s sin. The whole creation (Romans 8:19) groans, awaiting redemption. There would be another collision of holiness and sin when they would be brought together on the Cross of Calvary. We can choose to rejoice in God’s redemption through the victorious death and triumphant resurrection of our all-glorious Saviour. Beware – who or what we are worshiping will be the likeness of what we are becoming. True worship pours out of a burning heart of love and adoration for Jesus.
All we have in the way of gifts, talent and abilities and ministry and everything else are God’s gifts to us to equip us to serve and glorify Him. There is no such thing (DR. Stanley) “as an ungifted Christian.” Every Christian has at least one special gift, given by the Holy Spirit at salvation. We have nothing to boast of and no reason for pride. (Oswald Chambers) “Whenever God gives you a blessing, give it back to Him as a deliberate act of worship.” If you hoard the blessing for yourself, it will become spiritual dry rot as did the manna (Exodus 16:20) when it was hoarded. God never gives you a blessing to keep for yourself. It must be given back to Him so that He can make it a blessing to others.
King Hezekiah was apparently going to die and God told him to set his affairs in order. But when (Isaiah 39:5-7) he received a spectacular answer to prayer in a miracle healing, he hoarded it to himself as if he was so extra special to God that he deserved God’s answer to his prayer. He used it for proud boasting. Ambassadors came from alien nations to congratulate him because of his miraculous healing; he made this another opportunity to show off. He took them on a tour (Isaiah 39:1-2) to show them all his riches and treasures. The consequences? All the total wealth of Judah would be taken by the attacking Babylonian army to King Nebuchadnezzar in Babylon. Pride corrupts blessings when God-honouring thanksgiving is missing and showing off has the limelight on centre stage. When we analyze it we can see that pride is really idolatrous self-worship. To worship any creature rather than the Creator is extremely dangerous.
God has warned us (Romans 11:25, 1 Timothy 6:4) not to be proud, opinionated or conceited, thinking we are wise. He also told us not to waste time in arguments with such people because actually they know nothing. Pride deceives a person into thinking that he is great and has achieved something wonderful. Truth tells him and all of us that (John 15:5) apart from Jesus we can do nothing.
Only through the Blood of Jesus (Hebrews 9:12, Hebrews 4:6) do we have access to the Holy of holies and to the Throne of Grace. We must realize that praying is always on Redemption Ground. Praying is asking God to open the cupboard of Grace, which is constantly and continually replenished from His storehouse. The miracle of prayer is that the super abundance of His immeasurable storehouse is never diminished, no matter how much the Lord bestows on us - - above all (Ephesians 3:20) we could ask or think. God always bestows gifts of grace in answer to our prayers for ourselves and for our world. True prayer is heart-to-heart unbroken communion with our loving Lord. When we worship Sovereign Majesty, Who reigns on the (Ezekiel 1:26-28) sapphire throne which is encircled by a rainbow like halo. God extends His golden scepter to us and we receive Kingdom authority for our prayer requests.
Prayer is our direct line to the Good Shepherd, the Great Physician, the Faithful High Priest. Jesus is also called (Psalms 24:9) the King of Glory and (1 Timothy 1:17) the King of Eternity. Just think! We have a personal relationship with this Almighty Transcendent Sovereign Ruler! As I try to comprehend more fully my holy privilege, I am filled with awe and wonder. If our prayers are guided by the Holy Spirit so that every request is in accordance with God’s will, then everything we pray for will happen. If something we plan works out exactly the right way, it could be that it was not our plan at all but an idea that God planted in our mind. When comprehension fails, worship and wonder increase.
The Lord has clearly explained (1 Peter 5:9-10) that His purpose in the trials and suffering we experience is to establish and complete us and make us what we ought to be. We need to meditate with heart-felt gratitude on the tremendous grace-filled Truth that because we have become part of God’s family, we are (Romans 8:17) joint heirs with His only beloved Son!!!
But He will never leave us (Hebrews 2:18) on our own because, He Himself was equipped through suffering (Hebrews 2:10) to be our faithful High Priest. When a worshiper brought a live animal to the priest to be sacrificed, he no longer had any rights concerning that animal. When we present our bodies (Romans 12:1) as a living sacrifice to God we have no say in what God does in and through our bodies, which are His temples. He always knows what is best and He always does what is best. If we suffer in our bodies - - let it not be for complaining but for the glory of God in His holy purpose.
Years ago, someone said to me that a person does not have to be baptized to be a Christian. That is true – BUT – God’s Word makes it plain that a person must be baptized in order to be an obedient Christian. Jesus was sinless but it was essential for Him to have a sinner’s repentance baptism in order to be identified with us because He knew (2 Corinthians 5:21) that God would make Him to become sin for us so that we could become the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. Jesus became all I was so that I could become all that He is.
John 20:21 – As the Father sent Me, so I send you.
John 8:29 – God sent Him to do only what pleased the Father.
John 1:33 – Jesus was baptized to identify with sinners He came to die for.
Jesus was baptized BEORE:
Matthew 4:1 – His temptation by the devil.
Matthew 5:6-7 – The Sermon on the Mount.
John 2:11 – His first miracle.
Mark l:16-17 – He called His disciples.
John 19:16 – What began in the waters of baptism culminated in the baptism of suffering and death.
Acts 1:5, 8 - The Holy Spirit could come and baptize with power.
Acts 1:11 – His ascension and the promise of His coming again.
Matthew 28:19 – He gave the Great Commission – Go, Teach, Baptize.
All of this took place after Jesus was baptized by John.
If a Christian refused to be baptized, is that a form of rebellious pride - - pride which began in Lucifer and caused him to become Satan? It is a direct contradiction of Scripture and chosen disobedience to Scripture. Have they allowed themselves to be deluded by Satan, as he (2 Corinthians 11:3) beguiled Eve and successfully tempted them to do it their way instead of God’s way? God warns us (Romans 12:16) never estimate yourself to be wise in your own conceits. If we are stupid enough to think that we know better than God, our pride is not only a liar but also has become a murderer of everything worthwhile.
I heard someone use this illustration and I really appreciated the example. If you fill a glass completely full with water, there will be no room in it for anything else. If you shake the glass only water will spill out. If your life and my life is filled to overflowing with Jesus, there will be no room in us for anything else. No matter how roughly or shockingly we are shaken, only the lovely characteristics of Jesus will spill out. Sometimes God shakes up our lives so that Jesus will be revealed to others. One thing I know for sure and it is my constant desire and prayer, I do not want to be a glass half full or three quarters full or even almost full with Jesus. (Actually, He will be ALL or He will be nothing). I want Jesus to so fill me with Himself that there will be no room in me for me or for anything else. If I am shaken – no matter how – why – when – where, all the time and everywhere I want the overflow spill out to be Jesus.