Friday, 1 April 2022

The Pride Barrier

 Scripture:  Isaiah 14 v 12 - 15: "How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! 

13  For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:
14  I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.
15  Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit."

In the ministry of Intercession, our function is to get to the root of problems that create urgent issues in the people God loves.  We get called in when His children forget or overlook, or in any other way, create a barrier between His mercy and their issues.

Very often that barrier is pride.  Even hidden pride that brings confusion to mind and heart.  In James we learn that God resists those with pride but gives grace and mercy to the humble.

We always need grace and mercy so let's look at humility first.  According to Watchman Nee in his book Release of the Spirit, to be humble means
- a soft heart that is easy to approach
- respects others above self
- listens before making comments
- has spiritual fellowship with other Christians
- repents of wrongdoings often, like David
- has an active prayer life
- is obedient to God's will.

On the other hand a person full of pride will be
- hard headed, and difficult to talk to about deep          spiritual matters
- judgmental before hearing the facts
- unable to mix well with other Christians
- blind to faults in self
- religious rather than spiritual
- deaf to God's will.

Lucifer fell from Heaven through his pride.  He became Satan, the Father of lies.  He deceived himself into believing he could be greater than God.  There are many people on Earth who think like him.  

Where Christians struggle it is when they think they are superior to others, and entitled to respect without earning it.  They may give themselves offices in the Church such as Prophet, Apostle or Archbishop, but then embroiled themselves in scandals and sin which brings the church into disrepute.  Not all of course, but many, known and unknown.

In the Bible the offices of elder, pastor and bishop are one and the same.  But man in his own wisdom made these into three different roles with the elders subject to the pastor, and pastors subject to bishops.  It does not fit into God's plan and will for His Church.  It has created issues with pride and superiority where none should exist.

Pride in the authorities we submit to in our churches filters down into the congregation.  We catch the spirit of our leaders, just as easily as a virus spreads.  Pride invades us and has some ugly fruit on its tree.
Fruit like unteachable, deceived, religious, argumentative, self-righteous, judgmental, Pharisee.

When these traits blossom into issues and problems, pride blinds them to their own faults.  They find ways of blaming others, pointing fingers, lying, and being self-righteous.  When these sins result in sickness and lead to death, how does God deal with them when He resists the proud, yet wants to help them?

He uses His Intercessors to take on the sins of others like our Great Intercessor, Jesus Christ, did on the Cross.  We have to stand in the gap, the one the pride barrier created, and work with the Holy Spirit to make a bridge between God and the wayward person, who seems to have little or no grasp on the reality of the situation.  Unapproachable, stubborn, and wise in their own eyes make for lots of hard work.  

But it has wonderful rewards when the breakthrough comes.  When the granite block of pride crumbles into dust and the true, loving heart is set free to truly praise and worship our Father in spirit and truth.
John 4 v 23 - 26: "But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.
24  God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.
25  The woman saith unto him, I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things.
26  Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he."

Jesus and His twelve disciples walked 204 miles so He could meet this Samaritan woman at the well Jacob built back in the days of Genesis.  Her heart drew Him although she was a sinner.  She was expecting the Messiah to come even though she was not a Jew.  

He revealed His true identity to her and told her the kind of worship God expected.  She instantly became His messenger to call her entire village to come to meet Him.  Certainly one of them must have become the Good Samaritan we read of in the gospels!

John 1 v 47 - 50: "Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him, and saith of him, Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!
48  Nathanael saith unto him, Whence knowest thou me? Jesus answered and said unto him, Before that Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee.
49  Nathanael answered and saith unto him, Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel.
50  Jesus answered and said unto him, Because I said unto thee, I saw thee under the fig tree, believest thou? thou shalt see greater things than these."

There was instant recognition between Nathanael and Jesus as well.  Jesus discerned from a distance that he had no guile, false pride and dishonesty.  This amazed Nathanael into calling Jesus the Son of God from the first time he saw Him.  

No pride barrier in the Samaritan woman or Nathanael, bringing revelation to them both of the majesty of our Lord.  If we lack revelation and the ability to worship God in Spirit and truth, we need to examine our hearts to make sure we are hearing His voice.  There may be an unseen barrier of pride blocking our way that needs to become dust.

Prayer:  Heavenly Father Your precious love wants to reach every heart, bless all with abundance, meet every need, so we must present ourselves before You without pride or subterfuge.  When all barriers are gone then we are truly acceptable, so please remove from us all pride or any other blockage so we can enjoy a full life in Your presence.  In Jesus' name.  Amen.