Wednesday, 17 January 2018

God Resists the Proud

Scripture: Micah 6 v 8: "He hath showed thee, O Man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God."

James 4 v 6 - 7: "But He giveth more grace. Wherefore He saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace to the humble.  Submit yourselves therefore to God.  Resist the devil and he will flee from you." 

As Christians who no longer walk in the ways of the world, but still have to live in it, we need to know how our behaviour should change so that we don't stray across the line God has drawn between us and them.

Pride is a big no-no.  Pride was at the root of Lucifer's defeat, which got him permanently banished from Heaven.  So if we want to be acceptable to the Lord, all pride must go and we must walk humbly with our God.

What does God mean when He says He resists the proud.  To resist means to stand against. When Jesus sees pride rising in us, our prayers, life, finances, relationships and future is jeopardized because He will resist the cries of our heart. 

If you are under pressure on all sides, check to see if pride is your problem.  If so, repent and humble yourself so that His grace can be poured out upon you.  Humility and meekness are not weaknesses, this is when your strengths are under His control.

The Lord requires you to do justly.  Things escalate dramatically when you take matters into your own hands.  Sometimes with fatal or seriously negative consequences.  When we defer to Jesus, He adds His strength to our weakness as Paul wrote of in 2 Corinthians 12 v 9 - 10: "And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
 10  Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong."

I am reminded of a personal case involving my son who was doing military service in a far off city when he was involved in a minor car accident with the daughter of a wealthy local family.  We had to travel a long way to attend the court hearing.  Along the way our car broke down, which caused problems.  That night I was due to preach in an African church in an African township.  Unheard of for a white woman to do in those weeks just before Mandela's  release.

On top of that it was raining heavily, and the gravel roads were terribly difficult to drive on at night.  I was secretly hoping it would be cancelled.  But no, they were ready to escort me.  I had nothing prepared.  While we sang I prayed for help.  I said to the Lord, wherever I open this Bible and read, please take over!

I opened at the story of the ten lepers.  I read the passage and told them that it referred to their lives under apartheid.  They were the unclean lepers, but now God has heard their cries and Nelson Mandela is being liberated to liberate them.  They will lose their stigma and be made clean, and if they return to thank Him they will be made whole.  They will walk justly with Jesus.

Unbeknownst to us, this group did two things that night.  They prayed through the night for us to win our court case, which we did!  And they spread this message of the lepers throughout that township.  The following day I went into a store in that city and a worker asked me if I was the person who had preached about the lepers.  I said yes.  She then repeated it word perfect back to me! She said it had caught fire and gone viral in the township.  That's what happens when Jesus adds His strength to our weakness.

He wants us to love mercy instead of condemnation.  We need to love as He loves us and look beyond the flesh that covers the souls and discern the hearts of those He died for.  We must overcome prejudice, colour, race, religion and error to reach the lost.  We must follow Jesus into the places He wants us to go to lift up the backsliders.  We must be merciful and look at every situation through His eyes.

He hung on that Cross in agony, nailed there by us and our sins.  He asked His Father to forgive us as we don't know what we are doing.  He asked for God's mercy.  He took the pain, punishment and death so we could live.  He says to us, Go and do likewise.

Prayer:  Heavenly Father, we would rather seek Your rewards and approval, than open our hearts and homes to the unlovely, unfortunate human wrecks that abound around us.  Let us be like Dave Wilkerson who gave up everything to save the gangs of New York.  Let us be like Jesus who gave His life for the lost.  In our weakness add His strength. In Jesus' name. Amen.