Happy and prosperous 2019 to all Transformation Today followers!! My prayer is that you will grow from strength to strength and from faith to faith in the purposes of God for your life to the glory and honour of God the Father through Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour.
In my last blog, I started to take us through the many faces of pride, noting that some are more obvious than others. This is not by chance, as Satan wants to keep pride hidden, so it masquerades as other things and many times we do not realize that pride is at the root. We already discussed the first 3 faces of pride – arrogance and haughtiness, boastfulness, and the inability to rejoice in the success of others.
4. The fear of men’s faces. People who are oppressed by this lying spirit want to be accepted at any cost and will always seek to be agreeable even when deep down they do not agree. For example, they will be in a group that is discussing a matter that is blatantly in error with regards to the Word of God but will remain silent rather than correct the error. Another manifestation of this spirit is timidity to step out to do things that require you to be in the public eye. You continually shrink back when asked to do anything like public speaking or if you do bolster up the courage to do so you are constantly thinking about what others may be thinking about you. Usually you become so self-conscious that you end up making a complete mess of what you were asked to do and then convince yourself that you shouldn’t have done it in the first place and you will never do it again. Many persons label this as shyness, fearfulness and timidity and they are not incorrect in doing so. However, at the root is the desire to guard one’s image and reputation. At the root is pride. It usually manifests when there is a risk of failure, public humiliation or ridicule e.g., public speaking, public ministry, praying in public, or expressing a perspective that is in opposition to the popular view. In essence, Satan uses this spirit to silence Christians and hinder fulfillment of God’s purpose in the life of a believer. This face of pride causes us to place greater importance on our reputation and image than on obeying God’s prompting to step out and do what He has called us to do or on standing up for what is right when it is going to make us unpopular. I had to overcome this oppressive spirit in my own life and I know that many Christians struggle with this stronghold, which has contributed significantly to the impotence that is evident throughout the Body of Christ. The prophet Jeremiah was warned by God:
“Therefore prepare yourself and arise, And speak to them all that I command you. Do not be dismayed before their faces, Lest I dismay you before them.” (Jer. 1:17)
The fear of men’s faces goes hand in hand with the pride of life, which can be defined as anything that is “of the world”, meaning anything that leads to arrogance, ostentation, pride in self, presumption, and boasting. The pride of life comes from a love of the world and “if anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” (1 John 2:15)
“For all that is in the world – the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life – is not of the Father but is of the world.” (1 John 2:16)
5. Rebellion. This speaks to the inability to submit to authority. Wanting to be in control. It takes many forms but ultimately our inability to submit to authority here on planet earth leads us to be unable or unwilling to submit to or surrender to God’s authority and will for our lives. It is in our carnal nature to want to be in control, to want to do things the way we want, how we want, and when we want. Hence, the continual struggle of wives to submit to husbands; church members to submit to church leadership; employees to submit to employers; citizens to submit to government leaders and the laws of the land e.g. taxes, traffic regulations; children to submit to parents and teachers. Lack of submission is rebellion and seeks to circumvent authority. This is the model of the Jezebel spirit as epitomized by the scriptural account of King Ahab and his wife Jezebel (see 1 Kings 21). The rebellious spirit comes with manipulation, scheming and deception all with the aim of getting one’s way, no matter what. Recall our discussion of Satan’s fall from heaven due to his rebellious spirit towards God’s authority. Pride will always want to tell you, “you know best and you don’t have to listen to what others are saying.” How serious does God view pride manifested as rebellion?
My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being priest for Me; Because you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children. (Hosea 4:6)
“For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft. And stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, He also has rejected you from being king.” (1 Sam. 15:23)
The second scripture was God’s message to King Saul through the prophet Samuel when he failed to carry out God’s instruction to the letter. Saul felt he knew better than God and paid a heavy price for his pride. Contrast this with David who was anointed to be King but recognized that Saul still occupied that position of authority. Consequently, despite the fact that Saul was unjustly seeking to kill David, when David had the opportunity to kill King Saul, twice he chose not to because he knew how seriously God viewed submission to authority (1 Samuel 24 and 26). I believe this is one of the key things that made David a “man after God’s own heart”; even though he committed grievous sins he was humble in spirit and repented quickly.
6. Critical spirit. As we have already noted, the prideful person wants to be in control and when they cannot be in control or in leadership there is the tendency to criticize and undermine authority at every opportunity. There may also be a competitive spirit at work rather than a spirit of cooperation. The aim is to highlight the mistakes or weaknesses of those in authority and where these may not be sufficiently present they set traps and snares surreptitiously to cause the one in authority to appear to be unfit to lead. The critical spirit always seeks to ridicule and to put down anyone in authority or anyone who they perceive that others deem to be more important or influential than they are. If they are not good enough to lead then no one else is. They will foment dissensions and strife to topple the established authority.
He who is of a proud heart stirs up strife, But he who trusts in the Lord will be prospered. (Prov. 28:25)
he is proud, knowing nothing, but is obsessed with disputes and arguments over words, from which come envy, strife, reviling, evil suspicions, useless wranglings of men of corrupt minds and destitute of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain. From such withdraw yourself. (1 Tim. 6:4-5)
We will continue this intriguing and illuminating journey to unmask pride in Part 6.