Today I’m tackling a difficult and uncomfortable topic- one that my mostly amiable personality would rather push to the side. Even so, I’m compelled to address it because it’s stolen so much from us, keeping us from the peace we so desperately want in our lives. This issue causes God Himself to oppose us. It deceives. It causes dissension. It seeks to destroy.
What is this dilemma wreaking so much havoc? Pride.
Please know, I do not believe that pride is behind every problem we face. Hardly. There are many who have walked each step as faithfully as they knew how, yet because of another person’s wrong choices or just life in a broken world, they found themselves in a very difficult place.
That said, though, I am convinced from my own life experience and from what I read in the Word that a good bit of our grief could be bypassed with one easy step.
Let me explain. For years, I was in a relationship that was insanely difficult. It caused tons of emotional turmoil, frustration, and sadness. I can’t count the number of blubbering conversations I had with my best friend over the whole ordeal- it’s a shock she didn’t bail with all the drama she braved. I was even a believer at the time, but there was one problem: I wasn’t actually obeying God’s Word.
Oh, I would’ve never admitted or even seen it at the time. But looking back it is obvious that my pride had convinced me that I knew better than God. All the time that God was gently guiding me in His way, I was arguing why certain scriptures wouldn’t work in my situation, why His truths were outdated, or why I was justified to fight for my rights. In short, I was allowing pride in my own understanding to trump God’s Word. And I paid the price with years of unnecessary hardship.
The turning point came during a weekend trip where I had plenty of time to think and pray. I was reading the book of James and came to these verses:
1:21 “humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you”. (That word “save” here literally means to make whole, to heal, and/or to rescue from danger or destruction.)
1:25 “But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it–not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it–they will be blessed in what they do.”
I can’t adequately explain what happened in that moment of reading other than to tell you that the heaviest conviction I had ever experienced fell on me. It was a time of sorrowfully agreeing with God that I had allowed my own reasoning to keep me in bondage. A veil was lifted from my eyes, and I clearly saw His promise: my obedience would bring restoration and blessing.
I’m so thankful to say that I’ve seen Him make good on this promise- changes in hearts and minds that only God could’ve accomplished have come since I made the decision to depend on God’s Word instead of my own understanding.
“If my people would only listen to me, if Israel would only follow my ways, how quickly I would subdue their enemies and turn my hand against their foes!” Psalm 81:13-14
So here’s the easy step that will take 10 seconds of your time: Ask God to show you anywhere you’re not humbly accepting His Word in your life.
Restoration, wholeness, and blessing may be hanging in the balance.