When pride kicks in

“But let the one who boasts boast about this: that they have the understanding to know me, that I am the LORD, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,” declares the LORD” (Jeremiah 09:24)

Whenever I hear people share about their ministry or give testimonies, I start to pray that they will not mention themselves too much, so that a resonating “me, me, me” will not fill the room. I enjoy hearing people share these things, but at times there is a tendency to focus on ourselves, accompanied by saying “it is for God” every so often. The focus changes and then without notice, the words that come out from our mouth are “I did”, “I accomplished”, as if all that has been done was by our own wisdom and strength.

Not too long ago, I came across a situation like that, And then it hit me. I felt disgusted by the blatant pride that others were exhibiting. But, more than that, I was disgusted with myself. Why? Because all of a sudden I had a close look at my very own Pride. I will not get into detail, but I did realize my pride in thinking I knew more and that I could do better. Imagine looking at yourself in the mirror, truly seeing yourself … thoughts, feelings, emotions and everything on display before your eyes. I had to realize and perhaps feel for myself how God hates pride once I saw it myself and felt the disgust.

Usually, it is just the opposite. We can’t stand pride when we see it in others. But, somehow, we seem to tolerate it when it comes to ourselves. We think we deserve it and, therefore, it is acceptable.

Pride and envy often seem to go hand in hand. What do I have to be proud of? Have I accomplished anything by my own strength? Have I saved anyone? Have I a position and status achieved by none other than – me? Have I a right to say “I am an example for you”? No. All that has been accomplished in my life is by God’s grace and that alone. All that I am is by his grace alone. If I have shared the Gospel with someone and that person believed, it is God that saved. Not me. Any role or position that I or you may have is, again, by God’s grace. Paul said “follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1). I hope to be such an example that others could see Christ in me as they look at me. Yet even then, will I boast? “Let someone else praise you, and not your own mouth; an outsider, and not your own lips” (Proverbs 27:2).

James wrote that Elijah was a man like us and we see by his life that, indeed, he had feelings like us. Perhaps the most famous story about him is the miracle om Mt. Carmel. Yet what happened after that? Elijah ran for his life and even asked God to take it. When he arrived to the cave (1 Kings 18), he told God that there were no more people left who worshipped God, only him. Had he forgotten that Obediah hid prophets and told him so before the miracle on the mountain? Maybe, just maybe, mixed up with his depression, there was a touch of pride there, that God had to show Elijah in order to prepare him for the future. God spoke to Elijah in the still small voice, not in fire or wind or storm. And then, He reminded him that He left 7,000 knees which did not bow to Ba’al. Elijah was a prophet that was chosen for that time in the history of the Jewish people, yet he was not the only one. Do we sometimes feel as though we are so special that no one else can do what we do? Yes, God called Elijah especially for the job, but it was not because of who he was or what he has done, but because God chose him to do so. Elijah learned humility in a cave, in order to go to the bottom of the mountain. He would later be placed on the top of another mountain in a special time in history. Elijah was on Mt. Hermon along with Moses, the most humble person and with our Lord Yeshua, Who humbled Himself even to death on the cross. Pride could not stand in the Lord Yeshua’s presence.

Unfortunately, there are those who take pride in themselves for many reasons. We like the flattery and compliments from those around us. It is so important to us that everyone knows that was my idea, my doing, the credit should go to me. Even when we are right and the “credit” does go to us, will we boast about it? Is our name so important to us? My dad always tells me “when you take care of God’s name, He will take care of yours”. Status, positions, money, academic degrees and being part of the right “clique” are only some of the things people pride themselves in. And when pride kicks in, love is kicked out. Pride becomes an obstacle to prevent us from truly loving the Lord Yeshua and our brethren (more on that in the next post).

Pride is one of the things God despises (Proverbs 8:13). We should remember to give God the glory and honor, and not only say it in words, but to confirm it in our hearts first and turn in our actions.

What have we to boast in but in our Lord Yeshua? “May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world” (Galations 6:14).

© Hannah Kramer

On wings of Eagles

“He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler” (Psalm 91:4)

I was on my way to a conference along with my two brothers and two friends. One brother drove and the other brother sat near him in the front seat. I sat in the back with my friends. The conference was about two hours drive away and the road was one we took many times before.

As we drove, we talked and laughed and listened to music, not suspecting that soon we would experience the most frightening experience we ever had. For a brief moment, everything was quiet in the car until we heard a boom and the car began to veer out of control. The next few seconds were the longest we ever had, as the car started sliding quickly down the road, turning and hitting a wall on the road twice. I can’t recall how many times we turned around, everyone keeps saying something different. When the car finally stopped, it stood blocking a lane and a half.

At that moment, we all turned around to look at everyone else in the car, wanting to see if we are all okay. With fear, I saw the front glass broken, smashed, and my youngest brother not moving. I didn’t know what to do. Then, he turned his head towards my brother, and I saw he was okay. I breathed sigh of relief. My other brother, who drove the car, shouted to everyone to get out immediately, because the engine was smoking and he was concerned that it may may explode.. We got out so fast, I felt dizzy and had to sit down on the road. The car was a wreck. But miraculously, none of us was seriously injured.

A man who saw what happened, and was driving not too far behind, stopped near us to help and called the police and an ambulance. The whole accident, though very frightening and shaking, was nothing less than a series of miracles. We were driving on a highway, where thousands of cars drive every day. The moment of the accident, no car was near us, not in front and not in the back. If any car were nearby at the time, the results of the accident would have been terrible. One of the girls did not have her seatbelt on, and she sat in the middle, which means she could have flown to the front of the car.

The following events were miracles too. Even though the man who stopped near us called an ambulance and the police, within minutes, both arrived, but not the ones that were called. A detective and an off duty policemen saw us on the road and came to help and check us. A doctor who drove there also came to help and an ambulance that was carrying some gear, took us girls, who sat in the back, to the hospital. We had chest pain and some bruises and pain in other parts of our bodies.

It’s hard not to see God’s hand and protection in the event. Things could have ended a lot differently. The bruises we had were small and I had a fracture in the sternum. Okay, that’s not small, it’s actually very painfull. But I’m doing much better now. We were pretty shaken up, but through the whole thing, we could see God’s sovereignty and prtotection. It was a wake up call in a way. All of a sudden, I realized how things I do daily, were hard to do because of the injury. I was so grateful to be able to go to bed and wake up, having another day to live. God truly protected us, in so many ways.

We found out that a large nail that was in the road caused the punctured tire, which made the car turn quickly to the ditch. A nail. Stuck in the tire. Such a small thing caused such a mess, nearly costing lives. When thinking of this more in connection to our spiritual lives, how often do we let “nails” get in the way of our walk with God? Things that hinder our walk, don’t seem that big or problematic, get in the way sometimes unnoticed, just like that nail, that somehow got in the tire. We need to watch out for the way we walk and what we let in our lives, filtering things that try to force their way in our lives.

Talking with my friends, we know God has shown us much grace, and we need to be thankfull for all we have, never taking anything for granted, needing to examine our lives to make sure there are no “nails” hindering our walk.

A psalm that really encouraged me this week following the accident was psalm 91, telling of God’s sovereignty:

1 He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.

2 I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.

3 Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence.

4 He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.

5 Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day;

6 Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday.

7 A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee.

8 Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked.

9 Because thou hast made the Lord, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation;

10 There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.

11 For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.

12 They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.

13 Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet.

14 Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name.

15 He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him.

16 With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation.

To God be the glory!