Psalm 121:1-2 “I lift up my eyes to the hills– where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.”
This past weekend, I preached at all four of our main services. I found out I would be doing so about three weeks ago. I immediately began to seek the Lord about what to minister to our congregation. I felt impressed that God would have me speak on the subject of “Building Godly Identity.” I jotted down notes and thoughts over the time leading up to the weekend in preparation for the message. I then spent almost three intense days praying and putting the message together. After each service I received much affirmation and appreciation from very kind people. A few people over the course of the weekend and been kind enough to say it was one of the best messages they had ever heard. What do you do with statements like that? I can tell you what I would have done 20 years ago. I would have gotten a “fat head.”
Pride is such a blinding, damaging, and foolish evil. It can come at any one of us and so easily snare our ego and us. If you aren’t aware of how it sneaks up and draws you in, and if you aren’t aware of how much your flesh can crave it –then you could become its victim.
What did I do with those kind words spoken to me? I simply and sincerely gave praise to the Lord and sincerely told them that if I get or doing anything right – it’s simply God’s grace! In saying this some have replied, “but Pastor Tim, you must have put a great deal of hard work into it. You deserve some credit.” No I don’t. God does. God was the one that taught me the value and discipline of hard work. And He taught me through the Apostle Paul that it was a product of His grace. Without His instruction and the help of His grace I would not have been able to achieve anything.
Again He taught me hard work and its pay off. Proverbs 10:4 says, “Lazy hands make a man poor, but diligent hands bring wealth.” AND Proverbs 12:24 “Work hard and become a leader; be lazy and become a slave.” I have actually heard these words. “Okay Pastor Burt, God did teach you to work hard, but He teaches everyone to work hard and not everyone does.” My answer to that is that my ability to work hard is still the grace (the empowering help) of God. The Apostle Paul spoke of and modeled that truth saying in 1 Cor. 15:10 “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them–yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me.”
Now let me break this down further. I didn’t know what to preach. I sought the Lord and He led me to the theme I spoke on. I didn’t know what to say. He reminded me of and led me to scriptures that helped the message come together. So without any of His help, I would have just come up with my own thoughts and frankly, that is about the scariest thing I could ever imagine happening – me being in a pulpit with just my thoughts and not the Lord’s anointing.
Moses knew and understood that fear – the fear of trying to lead or impart truth to God’s people without God’s leading, anointing, and grace. We read about it in Exodus 33:12-16 (NLT) “Moses said to the Lord, “You have been telling me, ‘Take these people up to the Promised Land.’ But you haven’t told me whom you will send with me. You call me by name and tell me I have found favor with you. Please, if this is really so, show me your intentions so I will understand you more fully and do exactly what you want me to do. Besides, don’t forget that this nation is your very own people.” And the Lord replied, “I will personally go with you, Moses. I will give you rest—everything will be fine for you.” Then Moses said, “If you don’t go with us personally, don’t let us move a step from this place. If you don’t go with us, how will anyone ever know that your people and I have found favor with you? How else will they know we are special and distinct from all other people on the earth?”
In any and everything I do, I strive to talk to the Lord requesting His help – reminding Him I can not do anything without His help and grace. I would miss the mark. It is supposed to be our desire that the success we experience in life some how glorifies the Lord. How would that be unless it was He that helped us experience it? That is why I lean on the truth of today’s Fresh Manna verse, “I lift up my eyes to the hills– where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.”
It is drilled into me backward and forwards. Anything good, any success, anything that is a blessing and praiseworthy has come by God’s hand. James 1:17 “Whatever is good and perfect comes to us from God above…”
Pride tries to steal the glory that goes to God. Pride tries to take credit for any and everything that has any measure of success. The flesh craves for glory, attention, and credit like a high powered car sucks fuel. It’s never satisfied! I never led my flesh be fed in that area!
It is so satisfying to gift credit and glory to where it is do – the Lord! Pride will distort, steal, and destroy the good we experience. A sincere revelation of where thanks and praise goes to, and a leaning upon the Lord in faith for every situation – draws His help and success.
People may bring kind words of affirmation that something good has happened through you. They are often trying to encourage and exhort you. That is just fine if you remember where the glory goes. Those kind words are the alarm bell to you to give thanks and praise to God!
In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt
Published by Pastor Tim Burt
Copyright© 2008 Tim Burt, All rights reserved.