Girlfriends in God - Sept. 23, 2008

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September 23, 2008
Pride and Chiggers
Mary Southerland

Today’s Truth
Romans 12:3b “Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.”  (NIV)

Friend to Friend
A famous explorer in South America was once forced to abandon his journey by an almost invisible enemy.  He was equipped to meet leopards, serpents and crocodiles. They proved to be no threat, but what he had failed to consider were the tiny insects called chiggers.  They are so tiny that in North America we call them the "no see-ums." Someone composed this poem about these tiny invaders:

                  Here's to the chigger, the bug that's no bigger
                  Than the end of a very small pin;
                  But the itch that he raises simply amazes,
                  And that's where the rub comes in!

Pride and chiggers have a lot in common. Pride comes in little ways, unseen actions, subtle thoughts or inconspicuous comments.  Unguarded attitudes and random thoughts are prime breeding grounds for pride.  We must take charge of those thoughts, discipline our attitudes, training our thinking processes to give up and obey God. 

Pride loves to take up residence in an undisciplined thought life, changing the setting and dictating attitudes with little or no resistance.  When Paul encouraged the believers in Rome to cultivate “sober judgment”, he was warning them to take charge of the mind, refusing to allow the entrance of any thoughts that would entertain pride.  A disciplined thought life is the very foundation of a victorious journey with God. 

I have heard it said that the bigger a man’s head gets, the easier it is to fill his shoes.  It is not wrong for Christians to recognize and even applaud gifts in our own lives and in the lives of others as long as we remember that spiritual gifts are ours to manage, not to own. Pride draws attention to those God given gifts and tempts us to take credit for their existence and the way in which they are used. 

Many of us attempt to find worth and identity in what we do – not who we are.  As a result, our actions are intended to draw the attention of anyone and everyone in a vain effort to establish self-worth.  There may be people in your life who are difficult to love. Our responsibility is to love and accept these difficult people without insisting they change or counting on them to change.  In order to do that, we must choose grace and humility over pride and censure.  Pride vanishes beneath the loving gaze of our Father who simply longs for each one of us to see ourselves through His eyes – no more and no less.

The frontline of battle against pride is the mind.  We are in a war for the control of the mind.  Paul recognized that truth and urges us on in the battle, “We are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.”  (2 Corinthians 10:5 NASB)  To take something captive is a military tactic that we would do well to employ because the harsh reality is that when it comes to our thought life we are in a great battle – especially when dealing with pride.  Sometimes it seems as if pride can actually crawl into my mind, grab hold of any undisciplined thoughts floating around.  Pride then flings those random thoughts into my heart as an attitude laced with burning arrogance and prideful perception of who I am in comparison to others.  We can change our lives by changing how we think. We can dictate the attitudes of our heart by fixing our thoughts on God and His truth.  The result is peace, which stands against pride, electing humility instead.  “You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, whose thoughts are fixed on you.”  (Isaiah 26:3)  What does it mean to “fix” our thoughts?  Webster’s Dictionary defines “fixed” as “rigid, solid or firm”. We must learn to fix our thoughts on the truth of God’s word.  We need to be rigid in controlling our thought processes, holding firm to God’s standard for the mind.  The result will be a stable way of thinking and living.  To prevent pride requires a choice to take charge of our mind.

I once dated a young man I thought was “the one”.  For some reason, my mother did not like him. Knowing her daughter very well, my mother said nothing but I am sure she was on her knees pleading with God to take that young man out of my life.  He did.  We eventually broke up and my mother finally spilled the beans, explaining why she had a problem with this young man.  “If I could buy him for what he’s worth and sell him for what he thinks he is worth, I would be a millionaire!”  Mama did have a way with words.  She was so right!  Today, that man is out of ministry, divorced and living a life that is unpleasing to God.  His pride robbed him of the best God had for him.  Don’t let that happen to you.  Run from anyone or anything that promotes a prideful attitude.  Eliminate the strongholds of pride in your life.  Nail your ego to the cross and declare it powerless.  Celebrate the trophy of grace you are in God. 

Let’s Pray
Father, thank You for the grace You give.  Thank You that grace covers all my sin with unconditional love and forgiveness.  Help me to walk in that grace, turning away from pride and arrogance.  Give me a humble spirit that draws others to You.  Help me to see myself through Your eyes and then live out what I see.  In Jesus’ name, Amen

Now It’s Your Turn
One of my favorite quiet time exercises is to create an acrostic using one word from the passage of Scripture I have read that day, pinpointing and explaining the main truth in the Scripture.  Try it!  Let me help you get started.

P. Pompous mindset  
R. rejected
I. I sentence my ego to 
D. death
E.  Eliminating pride

More from the Girls
Pride is an ugly thing, isn’t it?  It can easily creep into our thoughts, set up house and begin its destructive process.  I have come to realize that I must daily nail my old self to the cross and count it dead if pride is to be eliminated.  What does that mean?  We must constantly choose others first, refusing to enthrone self in any circumstance.  Ouch!  It is so easy to promote me instead of others but I am determined to do so.  How about you?  Need help?  Check out Sharon Jaynes’ new book, Extraordinary Moments With God.  It will shift your perspective to search for God’s handprints of grace in every day life. 

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