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Thursday, October 2, 2008

The Way of the Humble Hearted Part 1

Proverbs 14:12, “There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.”
James 4:10, “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.”
Of all the things I could be writing about at this juncture, with everything that’s been going on in the world for the past few days, one might rightly wonder why I would choose to write about humility and pride. Well, if simply stating that I don’t like to be obvious and predictable isn’t enough of an answer to some, I will add that it is a topic that God put on my heart for the past couple days. Two days ago while I was doing a radio program, about halfway through I started talking about pride, especially within Christian circles and among evangelists and preachers, and as I continued to ponder the topic I realized that it deserved true exploration, and more than just a passing glance.
The truth of the matter is that all of us have, at one time or another felt the twinge of pride in our hearts. Those who know the dangers of pride, and the benefits of humility quickly squelch the feeling of pride, reminding themselves that that are but dust and bones, that anything worthy of praise within them is God and not themselves, but there are others, who feed the fires of pride, giving themselves over wholly and unrepentantly to this most dangerous of sins. Pride makes the flesh feel good, it allows men to see themselves in a better light than they truly are, feeding the old man while starving the spiritual one.
J.C. Ryle once wrote of pride, ‘It is a dreadful fact that pride is one of the commonest sins which beset human nature. We are all born Pharisees. We all naturally think far better of ourselves than we ought. WE all naturally imagine that we deserve something better than we have. Pride is an old sin. It began in the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve thought they did not have everything that their merits deserved. Pride is a subtle sin. It rules and reigns in many a heart without being detected, and can even wear the garb of humility. Pride is a most soul ruining sin. It prevents repentance; keeps men back from Christ; checks brotherly love; and nips in the bud spiritual desires. Let us watch against it, and be on our guard. Of all garments, none is so graceful, none wears so well and none is so rare, as true humility.’
Today however, I did not want to write so much about pride, as I did about humility. A proud man is easy to spot if you know what to look for, if you possess the necessary discernment to see beyond the image they are projecting and weigh the heart of the individual. Just to cover all the bases, I will simply say that if a man promotes himself, talks about himself, elevates himself, honors himself, draws praise for himself while minimizing Christ, the role of Christ, the life of Christ, the character of Christ, and the need for Christ, that man has already been given over to pride, and unless he repents his end will be the way of death. We are no longer our own, we no longer have aspirations, we no longer desire positions we no longer hope that people identify us with a certain area of ministry once we’ve surrendered our all to Christ, once we have died with Him, but our sole purpose, desire and aspiration is to further the gospel and present Jesus to all who are ears to hear.
Philippians 2:3, “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.”
If one pays close attention to the writings of Paul, they will soon come to realize that the epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Philippians is perhaps the most intimate, personal and heartfelt of all his writings. It may be a reciprocation of the love the Philippians showed Paul time and time again, from Lydia opening up her home for her fellow brothers and sisters, to the entire body of believers in Philippi sending aid to Paul first in Thessalonica then in Corinth. Whatever the reason, the ways and means by which Paul instructs the church in Philippi is rare for a man of his character. As were most of the churches he wrote to, Paul established the church in Philippi, and on the particular occasion when he traveled there, Silas and Timothy and Luke were also present.
As is the case with any good work, Paul realized the enemy’s opposition to it. He also realized led by the spirit of God that the easiest way for the enemy to make headway, to cause division among the brethren and chaos with in the body of Christ was to fuel the fires of selfish ambition and conceit among them.
What some fail to understand is that it isn’t the truth you speak, or the good deed you perform, but the spirit that drives you to do them; that is what matters before God, and only He knows the heart of man and the intent with which the heart acted. Some people perform the work of God for the wrong reasons, and selfish ambition or conceit are just two of a myriad of reasons. When you throw greed, vainglory, and pride into the mix you begin to see a picture forming, one that is not at all pleasing to the eye. In his ever present wisdom Paul warns against those of the house of God from doing anything through selfish ambition or conceit, knowing that no good fruit can come from a bad tree, no worthwhile work can spring forth from a heart filled with selfishness and greed. Whether it is a spirit of division, one of pride, hidden agendas or greed, these things infect and pollute whatever good and noble act one might have performed, or whatever eloquent words one might have spoken.

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea Jr.

6 comments:

GODPLEZUR said...

Dear Brother Michael,

I am requesting your prayer for myself and my husband. We have been sick since 2002 and have no family, no church. Those who were in our lives and were "christians" disappeared when we could not come to their fellowship gatherings and were to sick to entertain them in our house, also some were not real beleivers and really ran when the Lord opened our eyes to the condition of the Western Church and told us to come out of her.
We have attended the online bible studies with David Eells since 2005 and missed maybe 3 in all this time. Still, we are alone, cannot do much for ourselves. We have prayed the Lord would bring like minded beleivers into our lives because talking on the phone every few months, and receiving an email once in awhile does not really build us up much.
Lately, I wish for the Father to take me home, I am to tired to keep trying to live, but I love my husband and he would not make it without me, he is sicker than I and depends heavily, and I am all he has "human wise" on this earth, so I cannot go, but I am to tired to stay. I wrote for counsel at Unleavened Bread ( David Eells) on the 13 th,but no one has written back except the Administrator to say she got the letter and sent it to the counselors or elders. I wrote to her last night to let her know that no one responded but also not to resend my email. If Father wanted them to contact us, they would have done it by now. They are busy men with much to do and maybe they just prayed and that's all, and if that is "all", that is all we needed.
There is to much to share here and I have no other way to contact you accept to write to Gino, and I do not wish to do that, although Gino is a blessing,it's nothing he has done. I/we need to hear from God, we need fellowship,please pray, I am so tired. I know you will not make this a comment, it is for you personally. God Bless

Anonymous said...

Hi Michael,

You touched on a lot of points, but this quote you wrote sparked a recollection of a story I read by Robert Katz, ( http://robertkatzministries.com/pages/articles.php ) called, "Pauper in Paradise".

You wrote:

"What some fail to understand is that it isn’t the truth you speak, or the good deed you perform, but the spirit that drives you to do them; that is what matters before God, and only He knows the heart of man and the intent with which the heart acted. Some people perform the work of God for the wrong reasons, and selfish ambition or conceit are just two of a myriad of reasons."

The lesson of the story (by Rober Katz) being exactly what you are saying. We must examine our motives daily, to see whether they are pure and pleasing to the Lord. Anything done of fleshly motives will not count for anything in eternity. Pride will blind us to this truth.
"Only one life, 'twill soon be past. Only what's done for Christ will last."
Our love for our Savior will motivate us to want to continually be cleansed from sin, and to walk closer to our Lord each day, to experience that sweet, tender love and fellowship with our Lord, not allowing any darkness to take root.

Thank you Michael for taking time to speak what the Holy Spirit lays on your heart to challenge us with the truth, and keep proclaiming the truth in love! It's not an easy job, but I sense it's because the love of Christ compels you. Thank you, we hear you are calling us, in Christ, to live on a higher plane.

God's blessing to you and your precious wife.




http://robertkatzministries.com/pages/articles.php "Pauper in Paradise"

Anonymous said...

Amen! Why do pastor's wives always have to identify themselves to themselves and others as pastor's wives. I don't call myself by my husband's occupation or calling, i.e. I'm a doctor's wife, or DW. Am I missing something?

Anonymous said...

Brother Michael,

I thank you from my heart for this much-needed message on humility. I find myself examining my soul anew for even subtle taints of pride that may have crept in while my guard was down. The trouble with worldly "ministers" is that they actually encourage pride by use of nice-sounding words such as "self-esteem". They write best-sellers such as LOOK GREAT, FEEL GREAT and YOUR BEST LIFE NOW. The focus seems to be on building up "self". No, we must continually die to that "old man" within. Dear Michael, please keep reminding us of that!

Also I want to encourage you - please! - not to feel obligated to write the blog for us every day. Please keep yourself free enough to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit from hour to hour and day to day in your life. Your loyal readers will stick with you even if you can't post daily. I trust that I speak for many of your hungry sheep. There are very few such wonderful pastures for us to graze on these days.

Keeping you and your ministry covered with prayer,

Melanie

Anonymous said...

Dear Michael,
I appreciated your article today. Humility is so needed in these days. It's going to be tempting for those of us who have known that an econmic crisis was coming to gloat or say "I told you so." But I believe the Lord wants us to share the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ because that is what will save people and lead them back to their heavenly Father who waits with open arms. The econmic chaos is the combination and clash of the greedy spiritual, financial, and politial worlds that have put their trust in unbibliccal financial promisies, materialism, retirment plans,and political leaders instead of in God.

I believe the Lord is allowing this crisis to wake up his sleeping church before it's to late. So even though I don't look forward to the hard times ahead and find myself very concerned about our country, well in spite of that I am thankful that the Lord is giving us time to repent and turn to him with all of our heart, soul, and mind. What better way to learn to trust the Lord then to have everything we have trusted in to be taken away.

There is such division, unforgiveness, and variance in the body of Christ today. The church is splintered and broken but my hope is that hard times will drive the church to the feet of Jesus and that he will heal us, humble us, and bring us together as a mighty army of worshipping believers who will be like Trees planted by streams of living water who will provide shade for the weary, fruit for the hungry, and beauty for the hopeless. Trees of Righteousness who will share the Love of God and lead many to him with the time that we have left.

I would be lying if I said these days are not terrifying. But deep in my heart I know what God has promised to those whom he has called and chosen. He will win int he end and though the world be shaken apart I know that God is faithful and that His love endures forever. He is just and he will bring judegment and wrath where it is do, but he will also bring hope and deliverance where it is due. He is wholly good and faithful. WE can put our trust in him no matter what is going on around us. This doesn't mean we won't suffer or be scared...what it means is that we can trust him to see us through the darkest of times because nothing can seperate us from the Love of God!
Kelly

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