Posts Tagged ‘humility’

5 Ways to Avoid Pride

Monday, February 2nd, 2015

how-to-avoid-pride

I’ve been asking God how to avoid pride. People are shocked when I tell them that I have prayed that God would make me humble. I have actually taken precautions to avoid falling into the pit of pride, the worst and ugliest sin of Satan that caused him to be thrown out of heaven.

5 Ways to Avoid Pride:

1. Humble yourself before the Lord.

When we bow before the Lord and lean on Him for strength and wisdom, we are less likely to take credit for what God has done. Remember that God is everything and we are nothing. Apart from Him we can do nothing. (John 15:5) In Him we live and breathe and have our being. (Acts 17:28) If we humble ourselves, God won’t have to humble us. When we are not humble, we can’t hear Him anyway, so we want Him to humble us if we can’t humble ourselves.

2. Ask other believers to keep you accountable.

Everyone should have friends in their lives who love them for who they are. If you don’t have friends like this, ask the Lord to grant you at least one. When people believe the best in you, their rebukes are gentle, or if the rebukes are harsh, you can handle it because you know that they love you and that they don’t want you to sin. As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. (Proverbs 27:17)

3. Realize that you have been given the very thing that you are boastful about.

Whatever you feel proud about is not yours. Your gifts and talents have been given to you by God, and even your very breath. If you worked hard, it’s only because He allowed you to do so and gave you a good night’s sleep. Without proper sleep, you would not be able to function. You are nothing. You are but dust. If God used you in a powerful way, you should smash your face in the dust and thank Him, not boast about something you didn’t do. This is especially true about things of the Spirit. If God does something through you, all the glory goes to God.

4. Memorize Scripture that disarms pride. It is your sword.

The book of Proverbs is full of verses about pride: Proverbs 6:17; 11:2; 14:16; 15:25, 15:33; 16:5; 16:18; 16:25; 21:4; 25:6-7; 25:27; 26:12; 27:2; 28:11; 28:25; 29:23; 30:32. Choose a verse that convicts you, and place it on a card on your mirror so you can commit it to memory.

5. Realize that pride is ugly; humility is beautiful.

Anyone who has been hurt by someone else’s pride knows how ugly it is. Pride looks down on other people, whereas humility regards the other person as more important than themselves. I once knew a woman who was so humble that she lifted up everyone around her. She was confident in the Lord, but she never took credit for what the Lord was doing. She would always point out that it was the Lord who deserved the credit for what she had done. I want to be more like that! Lord, grant me humility!

Charlotte Mason – Book 2: Parents and Children

Friday, April 20th, 2012

Charlotte-Mason-Book-2

In this book Charlotte Mason explains to parents how they should teach their children. The most important aspect in the teaching of children is the formation of their character. Character can be taught through the formation of habits. To erase a bad habit, replace it with a good one. For example, if a boy is constantly playing bad tricks on people, excite him with the idea of bringing joy and good surprises to those people. Then devote yourself for a month to the child, making sure that he never falls into his old habits.

Most of what we do in life is done through habit. If we want to improve our lives, we must build good habits into it, one at a time. Then we will mindlessly do the good habit that brings joy to our lives. Well brought-up children are the ones that have been trained to have good habits.

We must also give our children living ideas every day – something that will excite them and deepen their curiosity, and therefore their knowledge of the world. This can be conveyed through nature, living books, the Bible, or an everyday object around the house. Children have a thirst for knowledge, and a day is wasted if it does not have one new idea for them to think about.

Humility is a character quality that we as a society do not understand. We think it means that we put ourselves down and say that we are not good at something. But Christ never put Himself down, and He is our example of perfect humility. To be humble means to not think of oneself at all. We should try to instill this quality in our children. (Charlotte Mason says that children are humble naturally, but I disagree.)

Truthfulness is also important. If a child is not accurate, but embellishes by making up much of the story of what happened, we are to make sure that the child understands the difference between truth and fiction. The child needs plenty of time to play in the fictitious world by reading fairy tales or playing at King Arthur, for example. But then show the difference between truth and fiction, and tell them that when addressing adults about real life, they should stick to the facts.

As far as blatant lying is concerned, we should get to the underlying issue. If they are trying to defend someone else, tell them that defending someone is good, but not at the expense of truth.

Even a baby can be trained in character. If he cries, change his thoughts to something new, like going outside or smelling a flower. Then the habit is set up to not cry for every simple bump in life. Instead he finds something else to interest him, and he takes his mind off the pain.

People sometimes misinterpret logical conclusions as what is morally right. The mind will fix upon an idea and subconsciously follow it to its logical conclusion. This is why people can rationalize sin – it seems like the right thing to do. Only if we are aware that our mind runs subconsciously along a logical course can we stop and throw out those thoughts that are wrong.

This book restates many of the same issues covered in volume one, but it comes at them from different angles, which is useful for understanding the topics that she is dealing with.

Related product: Using Journals to Teach Writing

Forgetting What’s in the Mirror

Tuesday, February 7th, 2012

in-the-mirrorPride blinds us and keeps us from following God. We live in a state of self-deception, thinking that just because we see something in Scripture and agree with it, we’re following it. Especially for people who have followed God a long time, we rest on our past laurels, how God transformed us in the past, not realizing that if God is not transforming us NOW, that we are not really as mature as we think we are. Often new converts are following God more closely than we are, but we show contempt for them because we’ve been past that stage for so long. God wants to soften our hearts so that we will be in a continuous state of yielding to Him. True humility is beautiful.

We don’t want to confess sin to each other for fear of what other people will think of us, even though Scripture commands us to do so. I read a sweet article about a woman being convicted about lying. The automatic reaction of my heart was that I was beyond that, because I don’t struggle with that particular sin. This is the reaction of a prideful person. This is ugly, and God is not pleased. So what if we don’t struggle with that particular sin? We struggle with others, if we are honest with ourselves.

In fact, as believers, when we look like we are sinning and far from God because of a struggle with sin, that’s often when we are drawing closer to God than ever, going through a gargantuan growth spurt in our walk with God. And yet we label these people as immature because they are being honest about their sin.

Let’s take, for example, the time I raged at God over potty training. How ridiculous, says the person who has never gone through that trial. They look down on me, thinking me stupid and trivial. Yet if I told them my rape testimony and how I never raged at God about that, they would clap their hand over their mouth, shocked at God’s glory shining out of my life miraculously through such an event.

So why don’t we have the guts to say what is really going on in our lives, even though it makes us look stupid and immature? Why did I never link to my “Anger and Potty Training” article that I wrote two years ago? Why was I embarrassed by it? That trial transformed me, so that I was able to perform a disgusting task with joy. And God gets all the glory because my behavior looks so yucky. For crying out loud, what gives me the gall to rage at God? Honestly, the anger was already there, and the moment I was honest with God was the moment He changed me. I didn’t want to admit that I was so furious about it. The trial of potty training was put there by God to sanctify me. God was concerned about my reaction to the trial, NOT to the potty training itself.

Because of my obedience to God in posting an extremely embarrassing article (and having to crucify my pride to do it), I’ve gotten e-mails from sweet mothers of small children, thanking me profusely for posting it. Why? Because they felt alone. They knew that their anger over potty training was wrong, but they didn’t know what to do about it. Express your frustration to God. God is NOT surprised. Job ranted at God, and God never rebuked him for it. (I am not saying that it’s godly to rage at God; I’m saying that when you are dealing honestly with God full blast, God will transform you through your pain.) Many people who have lost children have initially shaken their fists at God with rage (because God is in control of the universe and could have prevented it), but then they continue to throw themselves in God’s direction, and God transforms them and draws them closer to Himself. If you look at a snapshot of the person raging, you might look down on them as being spiritually immature when the absolute opposite is happening – a gigantic spiritual growth spurt. Allow people to look ugly for a minute. Grant them that grace. God Himself knows their hearts and grants them this grace, so why shouldn’t we?

We’re commanded to boast about our weaknesses. Why? Because God gets glory. Spiritual growth looks ugly BEFORE the transition to a greater state of holiness.

Wisdom is married to humility. I want to hang around people who are humble and wise. God, grant me the humility to love people for real, and to be honest about my own sin. May I never put my own image before God’s glory.

How to Be the Best Parent

Wednesday, November 24th, 2010

how-to-be-the-best-parentGod gave you your children. He didn’t give your children to someone else. God chose you, often to sanctify you, but also because there are things about you that only you have, that your children need. God made you who you are, with all your strengths and weaknesses. If we cry out to God for wisdom and are led directly by God, our parenting efforts will be mind-blowing. I’ve seen it in my own life, and it humbles me and makes me want to praise God.

On the other hand, if we force ourselves to parent the way that other people parent, we will not always see good results. For example, in my family-integrated church years ago, people were criticizing my parenting because they didn’t want their children to wiggle whatsoever during the church service. My children were completely silent and even paid attention to the sermon. Their bottoms wiggled a lot, but their hearts were soft toward God, and they didn’t feel like they were in a straight jacket at church.

Then I failed. I did the wrong thing. I cared that other people were frowning at me, and the result was anger toward my children. I sinned. But my children now looked better than ever. They looked perfect, but they were suffocating inside. It was sin for me to copy other people. It was wrong for me not to graciously forgive the person who was frowning at me. I ought to have prayed that the frowning person would yield to the Spirit so that the fruit of the Spirit would shine out of that person’s eyes. I didn’t even know that person was sinning. Instead, I was sinning as a gut reaction to the person’s frown.

One time my (then) 6-year-old son cried out right before a Scripture passage was read. I know many parents who disciplined their children for any sound their children made, no matter what, no exceptions. But what they didn’t know about my son is something that only I knew. I knew his heart. He wanted to find the Scripture passage, and he tried so hard to find the passage before it was read, but he failed. I knew that he loved the Word of God with all his heart. His crying out was not sin. I would have sinned if I had disciplined him for crying out. Only parents know the heart of their child.

Of course, if your children disobey you and you don’t discipline them, you are sinning. But most Christian parents are following God to the best of their ability, and they don’t need people slamming them down.

It took years for me to get over the whole parent criticism thing. My husband went so far as to have all the children sit by him. He wanted me to sit on the aisle. Whenever one of my children would make the slightest noise, I would close my eyes, yield to the Spirit, and praise Him for humbling me. It was God’s will for me to be humble. It always is. There was actually a point where, whenever my children made any noise, my gut reaction was sweetness. I radiated the Spirit of God out of my eyes. Because when you have your face smashed in the dirt, you have nowhere to look but up.

In fact, it wasn’t until a gray-haired man from our Bible study told my husband and I (with tears in his eyes) what outstanding parents we were, that my life as a parent was changed. He saw how we shepherded each child, and we knew the spiritual strengths and weaknesses of each child. It finally sunk into my soul. At that moment, I knew that I was a good parent. Yes, I fail, mess up, and sin, but I love God with all my heart, and I actively shepherd my children. God is pleased with me. The wind is blowing through my hair on the top of a mountain, and I am free!!!

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