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Facts of the Matter

A weekly letter of encouragement and challenge to business and professional men and women

Archive for December, 2013

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

PRIDE (Part 4 of 6)

 

In the last two Facts we have pointed out that pride is manifested in our expressions of self-exaltation, self-sufficiency, contempt for others, and in our intellectual and social snobbery. It is also manifested in:

  A spirit of rivalry:  The name of the game in the market place is to win at all cost.  Annihilate the enemy (e.g. the competition). The end justifies the means.  Only losers come in second. Winners embrace Machiavellis philosophy which is centered on expediency:  Use all means pain or foul, iron or poison – for achieving the desired end.

 

Conversely, Paul instructed us: Don't push your way to the front; don't sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don't be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping handLive in harmony with one another; do not be haughty (snobbish, high-minded, exclusive), but readily adjust yourself to [people, things] and give yourselves to humble tasks. Never overestimate yourself or be wise in your own conceits (Phil. 2:3,4; Rom. 12:16 Amp.). (See Matt. 18:1-7; 20:20-28; Mk. 9:30-36; I Cor. 1:10-13; 3:1-10; Gal. 5:19,20)

 

  An insatiable desire for flattery: Jesus reminds us that "everything [the Pharisees] do is done for men to see: They make their phylacteries wide and the tassels on their garments long;  they love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues;  they love to be greeted in the marketplaces and to have men call them 'Rabbi' (Matt. 23:5-7). (See Matt. 6:1, 2)

Job, Solomon and Paul understood the diabolical nature of flattery in stating,  You can see that I am not trying to please you by sweet talk and flattery; no, I am trying to please God Flattery is a trap; evil men are caught in it, but good men stay away Flattery is a form of hatred and wounds cruellyNever once did we try to win you with flattery, as you very well know, and God knows we were not just pretending to be your friends so that you would give us money!  (Job 32:22;  Prov. 29:5; 26:28;  I Thess. 2:5 TLB).

This week may you experience His grace, peace and protection.  

R. Dwight Hill

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

PRIDE (Part 3 of 6)

 

In last weeks Facts we pointed out that pride is manifested in our expressions of self-exaltation and self-sufficiency.  Pride is also manifested in our:

 

  Contempt for others: This is the person who places himself at center stage, viewing others as bit players revolving around him, to be used and exploited for his betterment and exaltation. Jesus parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector graphically illustrates this kind of contempt for others: "Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: 'God, I thank you that I am not like other men–robbers, evildoers, adulterers–or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.  "But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, 'God, have mercy on me, a sinner.'  "I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted" (Lk. 8:10-14).

 

  Intellectual and social snobbery: Our society worships at the feet of the accomplished, athletic, beautiful, wealthy, highly educated, and the well-positioned. Gods value system flies in the face of this pride-soaked perspective: Honor one another above yourselvesLive in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceitedWhile knowledge makes us feel important, it is love that strengthens the church.  Anyone who claims to know all the answers doesnt really know very muchIn humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others  (Rom. 12:10b, 16; 1 Cor. 8:1b, (NLT); Phil. 2:3b, 4; Col 3:12). (See Lk. 14:7-11)

 

Dr. Greg Ogden points out, The first visitors at [Jesus] birth were poor shepherds, the rogues of society. His parents, too poor to bring the normal offering for purification, offered two pigeons in sacrifice instead of a lamb.  Jesus was a refugee from political oppression; his family fled to Egypt and then migrated back to Galilee. As a rabbi he received no fees for his teaching and had no regular means of income 1 As His disciple, our natural response should be a resounding Yes! to live in the spirit of our Saviors life.  (See I Jn. 2:6; 1 Cor. 1:2-29)

This week may you experience His grace, peace and protection. 

R. Dwight Hill

1 Discipleship Essentials –  Greg Ogden, Inter-Varsity Press, 1998, p. 161

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

PRIDE (Part 2 of 6)

 

In last weeks Facts we defined pride as being about the expression of self-sufficiency of a selfish spirit that desires unstrained independence:  To be the master of ones own destiny.

 

HOW WE MANIFEST PRIDE

  Self-exaltation: King Herod serves as a prime example:  On the appointed day Herod, wearing his royal robes, sat on his throne and delivered a public address to the people. They shouted, "This is the voice of a god, not of a man." Immediately, because Herod did not give praise to God, an angel of the Lord struck him down, and he was eaten by worms and died   (Act. 12:21- 23). (See 2 Chron. 26:1-5, 16-21;  Dan. 3:1-7; 4:31-33)

 By way of contrast, Jesus, though He was God, did not demand and cling to His rights as God, but laid aside His mighty power and glory, taking the disguise of a slave and becoming like men.  And He humbled himself even further, going so far as actually to die a criminals death on a cross (Phil. 2:6b-8).

Self-sufficiency: William Ernest Henleys poem Invictus forcefully expresses the mind- set of the self-contained modern: Out of the night that covers me, black as the Pit from pole to pole.  I thank whatever gods may be for my unconquerable soul. In the fell clutch of circumstance I have not winced nor cried aloud.  Under the bludgeoning of chance, my head is bloody, but unbowed. Beyond this place of wrath and tears looms but the Horror of the shade, and yet the menace of the years finds, and shall find, me unafraid.  It matters not how strait the gate, how charged with punishments the scroll. I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.

Jesus, by way of comparison,  instructs us that it is the poor in spirit who are blessed (Mt. 5:3). These folks are emptied of self-reliance, viewing themselves to be insignificant.  In a time of extreme affliction, Paul recalled hearing Jesus assuring him, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." And his response? Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong (2 Cor. 12:9, 10).

 This week may you experience His grace, peace and protection.   

R. Dwight Hill

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

PRIDE (Part 1 of 6)

 

C. S. Lewis stated, A proud man is always looking down on things and people; and of course, as long as youre looking down, you cant see something thats above you.

In this series on pride we will define pride from a biblical perspective, talk about how God views it, how it is manifested in our lives, give biblical examples, and conclude with suggestions on how we can come to grips with it.

PRIDE DEFINED:  From a biblical perspective pride is expressed in self-exaltation; self-will; the desire to be beholden neither to God nor man.  Pride is about the self-sufficiency of a selfish spirit that desires unstrained independence: To be the master of ones own destiny. The antithesis of pride is revealed in Jesus total dependence on the Father:  By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me (Jn. 5:30).

John Ruskin observed, In general, pride is at the bottom of all great mistakes. T. S. Elliot commented that most of the trouble in the world is caused by people wanting to be important. G. K. Chesterton remarked, If I had only one sermon to preach it would be a sermon against pride. Fred Allen playfully observed that some movie stars wear their sun glasses even in church.  Theyre afraid that God might recognize them and ask for autographs.

GODS VIEW OF PRIDE:  He hates it.  For example,  Whoever has haughty eyes and a proud heart, him will I not endureThough the Lord is on high, He looks upon the lowly, but the proud He knows from afarThe Lord detests all the proud of heart. Be sure of this: They will not go unpunishedThe loftiness of man shall be bowed down, and the haughtiness of men shall be brought low; and Jehovah alone shall be exalted in that dayGod opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble" (Psa. 101:5b; 138:6; Pro. 6:16, 17; 8:13b; Isa. 2:1 (ASV); Jms. 4:6).

This week may you experience His grace, peace and protection. 

R. Dwight Hill