#72 October 18, 2023

Pride (From Strong's Exhaustive Concordance H1347): arrogancy, excellency(-lent), majesty, pomp, pride, proud, swelling.

Psalms 10:2 The wicked in his pride doth persecute the poor; let them be taken in the devices that they have imagined.

Alma 3:50 Behold, are ye stripped of pride? I say unto you, If ye are not, ye are not prepared to meet God.

DC 87:5d Be not ashamed, neither confounded; but be admonished in all your highmindedness and pride, for it bringeth a snare upon your souls.

Pride is a devastating disease that replaces a selfless heart with selfish ego. It pollutes our life and grows to take over all we are and all we seek to be. It robs from us any righteous wisdom we have and seeks to undermine our fellowship with God. Pride is a disease that destroys our ability to understand the wisdom of God and open up our hearts to the ways of the Kingdom. God gives us a list of the symptoms that lead to the diagnosis of pride. Read and reflect; apply the items of this list to the world today and then convince me that the disease of pride is not the most vicious demoralizing pandemic we face.

Psalms 73:1-9
73:1 Truly God is good to Israel, even to such as are of a clean heart.
73:2 But as for me, my feet were almost gone; my steps had well-nigh slipped. 
73:3 For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. 
73:4 For there are no bands in their death; but their strength is firm.
73:5 They are not in trouble as other men; neither are they plagued like other men. 
73:6 Therefore pride compasseth them about as a chain; violence covereth them as a garment. 
73:7 Their eyes stand out with fatness; they have more than heart could wish. 
73:8 They are corrupt, and speak wickedly concerning oppression; they speak loftily. 
73:9 They set their mouth against the heavens, and their tongue walketh through the earth. 

Understand the menace we fight. Pride is the easiest most available answer for the doubt, and fear that plagues humanity. It drives us to say, "If I am to be safe from those that I fear, they must fear me". This worldly attitude demands that I be stronger, faster, smarter, and wealthier than anyone else around me, and that I spend a great deal of effort to never let anyone forget who I am and who they are not. It is a very labor-intensive time consuming endeavor, and just when you need it most it will fail you, because there is always someone stronger, faster, smarter, and wealthier than I can ever hope to be. 

Proverbs 16:18 Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.

Pride in all of its splendor is also an article of faith that demands our full and complete devotion. If we choose pride, we must allow it to root-out all that God is able to teach us and leave us unable to compete with this pride filled world and its ability to corrupt any and all who challenge it. The corruption that pride brings is devious in the way it grows in our heart. A revolutionary of the sixties was quoted as saying, “If I can get a man to tolerate my viewpoints, within a year he will accept them, and within five years he will imitate them and take them as his own”. 

Proverbs 29:23 A man's pride shall bring him low; but honor shall uphold the humble in spirit.

Only our humility to God's Holy Spirit and the instruction it brings to our life can break this chain of events. Yes, we can be tolerant without being converted to the ways of world. In the power of humility we can exist within the corruption and bring to the world a testimony of unchanging willing obedience to God and the ways of God. It is the testimony that Christ brought to the world. It is the way He lived in the world. It is foundational to the labor we seek. 

Luke 5:30-32
5:30 But the scribes and Pharisees murmured against his disciples, saying, Why do ye eat and drink with publicans and sinners?
5:31 Jesus answering, said unto them, They that are whole need not a physician; but they that are sick. 
5:32 I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. 

No, we are not all evangelist that will purposely invade the realms of sin seeking to spread God's word, but we all live, work, and play in a world that is filled with corruption. We face this challenge every day and if we are to be an affective witness of God to the world, our righteousness must be both steadfast and evident. If we are to be the testimony God wants us to be, our willing obedience must be offered as a pure testimony of the joy that is a life in Christ. It does not describe our obedience as a burden neither does it use our obedience an example that condemns others. Remember, we have no authority to change the heart of another. We are to offer them the testimony of a better way to live and prosper. We are to invite them to walk this way with us, and allow them to decide on their own that the path we walk is truly better. In this we offer them the love of the Father and a chance to realize that He is present in our lives only because we invite Him to be. They will come to realize that if they were to offer the same invitation God would respond in exactly the same way.

Psalms 3:1-4
3:1 Lord, how are they increased that trouble me! many are they that rise up against me. 
3:2 Many there be which say of my soul, There is no help for him in God. Selah. 
3:3 But thou, O Lord, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head. 
3:4 I cried unto the Lord with my voice, and he heard me out of his holy hill. Selah. 

Isaiah 55:3 Incline your ear, and come unto me; hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David. 

Pride is not only vicious it is devious in the way that it can hide in our heart. In the world today I hear many talking with pride, voicing the evidence of Christ in their lives by using "I don't swear, I don't drink, and I don't smoke" as their ironclad evidence that they are diligent laborers for God. Blinded by their pride these individuals rely on self-discipline to be their only testimony of God in their lives. They are ignoring the most basic tenant of our labor in God: righteousness is not a challenge of self-discipline and restraint. It is instead an opportunity to be involved in the joy of unrestrained love and charitable deeds worthy of the Kingdom of God.

13:4 Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
13:5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
13:6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;
13:7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

Those that depend on self-discipline and restraint to be their testimony of the Kingdom are giving up so much. I will not be so bold as to say that they are wrong, but neither will I be timid and allow one of God's children to make a fatal mistake. Pride causes us to believe that our covenant labor is a burden we bare alone, but that is wrong. We don't labor for God; we labor with God.

Matthew 28:18-19
28:18 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost;
28:19 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, unto the end of the world. Amen.

In pride, growth ceases. In humility we flourish. Don't be surprised at the monumental changes that happen in our lives in the absence of self-pride. We will find ourselves learning to care for the sinner in ways we did not expect. Recognize the true power of humility and witness a miracle of God. In our humility to God and His Spirit we will not only learn to live as Christ lives; we will learn to love as He loves. We will learn to go boldly forward and offer the God of redemption to the world around us filled with humility and free from the need to judge, condemn, or punish. We will discover that Christ claimed to be our security, and He was right.

John 8:36 If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.

Proverbs 5:15-17
5:15 Drink waters out of thine own cistern, and running waters out of thine own well. 
5:16 Let thy fountains be dispersed abroad, and rivers of waters in the streets. 
5:17 Let them be only thine own, and not strangers' with thee.

Within this passage lays the mission statement of our labor with God. We are of God and as such, all that we offer the world should be of God, by God, for God, His Kingdom, and His purpose. Our labor should never fall beyond these parameters. By expanding the situations of this passage, we will find true Kingdom meaning. 

Drink waters out of thine own cistern: We all know that a cistern is a storage place for water; but do we understand the full Hebraic implications?

Strong's number: 953 Hebrew: bowr {bore}
from 952 (in the sense of 877); a pit hole (especially one used as a cistern or a prison): --cistern, dungeon, fountain, pit, well.

With this definition we find no new information, but let us look to the root word and see what God has for us to learn. 

952:Hebrew: buwr  {boor}
a primitive root; to bore, i.e. (figuratively) examine: --declare.

According to this root word, we find a meaning that fits the pattern of all we are trying to attain. God would have us come to Him and learn. He would have us to examine all we have learned. He cautions us to make the knowledge we receive our own by examining its meanings, pondering them in our hearts, and applying them to our life. When we do this, we are declaring that they are not only God’s truths they are ours also. 

Let’s do the same thing with the other water storage we are presented: and running waters out of thine own well. 

Strong's number: 875  Hebrew: 'er {be-ayr'}
from 874; a pit; especially a well: --pit, well.

Once again, the primary definition gives us very little new information. Like the word cistern we find information pertinent to our labor in the meanings of the root word. 

874: Hebrew: ba'ar {baw-ar'}
a primitive root; to dig; by analogy, to engrave; figuratively, to explain: --declare, (make) plain(-ly).
God chose to make His point with two different applications that appear to be the same. Understand the fullness of all we are being given. As we learn, ponder, and gain understanding, we declare its usefulness by applying them to our life. As we change, the world notices and we are questioned as to why we have changed. This is our opportunity share (explain: --declare, (make) plain) God’s grace with those who seek. In our study, we are prepared. In our pondering, we are made ready. By our declarations, we become sufficient to the questions that will be asked of us.  

Psalms 73:28 But it is good for me to draw near to God; I have put my trust in the Lord God, that I may declare all thy works.

In our fellowship with God through His Holy Spirit, we become laborers with God. We come to find out that God is our source and nothing of this earth can equal the height, the breadth, or the depth of all He brings us. He gives to us in such abundance that we have no room to contain it all. We will find within us a need to share, a need to plant this seed of joy in the hearts of others. Understand that our testimonies can be more than just the words of our mouths. Our concern for others declares that God opens our eyes to the needs of others. Our compassion declares that God's love for all of His children lives within us. Our charity in the face of want declares that we have chosen God's way as our way, too. Our mercy is the very nature of God living within our life. When we allow our lives to be led by God, we sanctify Him before the world. We say to the world, "This is our God and we are His people".

1 Peter 3:14-15 
3:14 But and if ye suffer for righteousness' sake, happy are ye; and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled;
3:15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts; and be ready always to give an answer with meekness and fear to every man that asketh of you a reason for the hope that is in you:

It is not our labor to make righteous people of the sinners of the world. Neither is it our labor to save the whole world from itself. We are to gather the word of God into our hearts and in humility, grow by that word. In that growth, we testify of God’s work in the world of man. When the world recognizes that testimony for what it is, they will come to us asking us to share. That which we can give them is an opportunity. We can introduce them to our God and our Father and tell them of the choice we were given to make. We can school them, but only they can decide to turn away from the world and seek God. This truly is a great and marvelous work. Praise God for the opportunity He gave us. Praise Him for the instruction He offers, that we might understand all that He seeks for us to do.

A final word of caution: It would be very easy for us to be proud of what we are attempting. Please don't make that mistake. First of all, give God all the glory. Secondly, God deserves that glory.

Isaiah 60:19 The sun shall be no more thy light by day; neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto thee; but the Lord shall be unto thee an everlasting light, and thy God thy glory.

'Nuff said

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