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Gretchen Fleming is a blogger whom I met on my Christian Marriage and Motherhood Group on Facebook early this year. She is such an inspiring women, and clearly a lover of God’s word. I absolutely admire her blog, and today she was gracious to write a post about about how self pride affects our relationship with God.
No one likes being chained or the feeling of captivity. Human nature is repulsed at the thought of it, usually seeking desperately the freedom innately desired.
The irony of our nature though is that sometimes we are the very ones willingly choosing those chains. Without realizing it, we reject what will actually bring about our freedom and settle for what brings about our bondage, our restrictions. In essence, we miss out on the advantages we are desperately trying to bring about.
The story of humility versus pride
There is a shocking event in Mark 5:1-20 MSG that reveals this foolishness of human reasoning. Jesus heals a demon-possessed man and the consequences leave us questioning our own limited viewpoint of life as we see it.
As the demon-possessed man runs up to Jesus, his desperate state is obvious. This man was the epitome of misery. The Scripture says he roamed about night and day, screaming and slashing himself with stones. Chains and ropes proved of no use to subdue him for his own protection.
What held him in captivity though had nothing to do with chains. This man was helpless to change any aspect of his desperate situation but even in his crazed state, he knew immediately who could- Jesus!
As soon as he saw the Messiah, he ran to Him and his first response at the sight of the Savior was priceless. Even though he was demon-possessed by many demons, he bowed in worship. He recognized immediately the hope of the Person before him.
As the demons protested at being cast out, they asked to be sent into the pigs to live so Jesus obliged them. The pigs reacted by running into the lake.
Those tending the herd of pigs rushed into town to tell what had happened. Everyone wanted to see for themselves so they ran to where Jesus was and saw that sure enough, the pigs had drowned.
The revealing response to authority
The towns people also saw the formerly demon-possessed man sitting properly and in his right mind. At first, they were in awe about the change in the man. He was no longer a madman but calm and reasonable. Their next reaction is what is so shocking.
The NIV version of Mark 4:15 describes the people as being afraid at the site of all this. The Bible goes on to say that they demanded that Jesus leave their region!
Why is authority so offensive to our nature?
What would make a crowd afraid at seeing a demon-possessed man healed and in his right mind? Why on earth would they then ask the person responsible for this miraculous event to leave and never return?!
I think the extent of power and authority witnessed that day made them afraid…..but afraid of what? What was at risk with Christ being there?
To be in the presence of such powerful authority that day would demand a response. Just as the demon-possessed man immediately humbled himself to Jesus, the townspeople had quite the opposite effect.
They did not kneel at His feet, nor did they acknowledge who He was. Why?
Pride! They postured themselves with pride.
Why does pride conflict with authority?
Pride is always worried about SELF- what self has to gain and what self has to lose.
Christ’s presence threatened what they valued the most. Out of pride, the towns people did not want to submit to someone else’s authority, whether it came to their rights OR their property. They wanted to be the sole decision maker with all that concerned them, thinking they knew best for themselves.
What they didn’t realize was that the greatest love and wisdom stood right before their eyes. Who better to yield authority to than Jesus Christ?
How does pride limit us?
Where they felt like they would be chained by submitting their lives and possessions to Christ, they, in fact, were limiting their lives exponentially. It was as if through their ignorance and pride, they chose the greatest restrictions of all.
Pride can affect us in countless ways.
- intimacy with God
- eternal life in heaven
- spiritual fruit
- relationship with others
- bondage to money
- idolatry of possessions
When we submit to Jesus and His authority, forsaking our pride, the untold riches of His grace coming our way are incomparable to the rights we yield or the sacrifices we make.When we submit to Jesus and His authority, forsaking our pride, the untold riches of His grace… Click To Tweet
But these advantages are only recognized through the eyes of humility when we can truly see Christ for who He is and value Him for that.
Ephesians 1:17-19(nkjv) says
“that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding[a] being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power”
How humility can free us
The pitfalls of pride are many. What we have to lose when we refuse to submit to the authority of Christ is far greater than we could ever fathom.
While the towns people were left chained by their own ignorance and rebellion out of pride, the humble man rejoiced in experiencing true freedom! He had hope, an inheritance, and power for life in Christ!
What are you resisting submitting to the Savior? Are you afraid of losing your rights to govern your own life?
I know I spent years willfully refusing His loving authority out of pride and I certainly paid a heavy price for it. Thankfully, through God’s grace, I saw the freedom awaiting me through turning from my prideful rights and yielding myself humbly to His will. The richness of what I have gained has been so worth what I was stubbornly refusing to relinquish.
My pride chained me long enough.
How about you?
Gretchen’s passion is to follow hard after Jesus, knowing He is the treasure of a lifetime and worth every minute she commits to Him. God’s Word has been life-changing to her through the most trying times—a great source of strength, wisdom, and truth. She’s a speaker, writer, and Bible teacher who loves to see Jesus change lives as He’s changed hers. Gretchen is a wife of 29 years and mother of 3 young adult children.
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