Have you ever done something really well that people have noticed and patted you on the back for? It’s amazing how quickly our heart can swell in moments like that. It’s even more amazing upon hearing that praise, how easy it is to suddenly see yourself more important than you should. Romans 12:3 (NIV) says, “… Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment…”
Pride is such a blinding, damaging, and foolish evil. It can come at any one of us and so easily snare our ego. 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 craves it – then you are a victim waiting to be kidnapped.
I recently preached a message that many people warmly and kindly appreciated. 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 do 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 benefit of His grace. Without His instruction and the help of His grace I would not have been able to achieve anything! And I am not trying to be humble! I mean that!
It was the Lord who 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 in 1 Cor. 15:10 “But whatever I am now, it is all because God poured out His grace upon me—and not without results. For I have worked harder than any of the others; yet it was not I but God who was working through me by His grace.”
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 own 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… 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. The success we experience in life should somehow glorify the Lord. How would that be unless it was He that helped us experience it? If He helped us, then how could we take credit? Psalm 121:1, “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 backwards and forward – 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. I never let my flesh be fed in that area!
It is so satisfying to give 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, along with leaning upon the Lord in faith for every situation, draws His help and success.
People may bring kind words of affirmation because of something good that has happened through you. They are often trying to encourage and exhort you. That’s just fine if you remember where the glory goes. Those kind words are the alarm bell to you to give thanks and praise and glory to God!
Psalms 107:8 (NKJV) “Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness, And for His wonderful works to the children of men!”
In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt
Published by Pastor Tim Burt
Copyright© 2013 All rights reserved