Our God is at war today – and you and me may be His targets! I speak from experience.
Many moons ago I was finishing up my bachelors in preparation for ministry. I was confident that God would open the doors to a position in a church.
After all, I had a GPA of 3.96 and I had planted and served in the leadership of a church. I possessed endorsement letters from a couple of published seminary professors, and I could play a pretty mean guitar. From my perspective, I was a great candidate for that perfect job.
I was contacted by a large church in Austin. A friend with national influence recommended me for a position as a youth pastor.
They flew us down to Austin and housed us in the home of a staff member (so they could keep an eye on us). We toured the church facilities and were impressed with the size and quality.
They wanted me to meet with the Elders, but there were too many to gather at once – so they staggered the meetings.
The first took place on an early Friday morning for breakfast. There were 6 of us. They were dressed in jackets and ties and ready to zip down the freeway to their law firms and banks downtown.
The waitress delivered our coffee. Quickly the men began to pepper me with questions. “What is your philosophy of ministry?” How would you approach a teen with a smoking problem?”
In the meantime, I was trying to treat my coffee. The liquid creamer was packaged in a goofy little triangular bag. It was designed so that you tear off the corner and squeeze.
Did it – but no cream. More questions. Sweat on my brow. Tear a little more – squeeze a little more – but no cream.
More questions. Knees are starting shake. Tear still more and squeeze but no cream.
Squeeze a little harder and finally there was cream – but not where I wanted it. The back of the packet blew open and showered the jackets and ties of the 3 Elders on my right.
Oh my! They were angry with me, but in a pleasant Christian way.
And so, my unemployment was prolonged. They didn’t want me in Austin.
As I pondered my experience, I asked the Lord, “Was that necessary? The waitress could have brought that dry nasty powdered creamer.”
He directed my mind to His answer, “God opposes the proud, but he gives grace to the humble.” James 4:6
Oops – – I get it Lord. I was resting on my resume rather than You, so Ya let me taste a hefty dose of humility. All my credentials didn’t seem to matter much after I drenched my potential bosses with a milk product.
The verse is disturbing but it is a concept that is repeated multiple times in the Old and New Testament. I can only assume that pride is a pervasive problem with us ornery human beings and that God takes great offense at it.
In fact, the Greek word for “opposed” was used elsewhere to describe an army that went to do battle. The implication is – God goes to war with the proud. The passage does not limit the target to those who do not believe. It includes any who might be proud.
So God goes on the warpath against pride and He has lots of bogies.
Arrogance often cloaks our political leaders. I hear their boasts and I cringe, and wait for God to eventually say, “OK that’s enough. You need a big serving of humble pie.”
I worry about pastors and their empires. Success is subtle as it poisons the ego. This last year, in our town of 80,000 we have seen several of the pastors of our largest churches go down in the flames. Could it be that pride was the cause?
I am praying for a once happy family that is now conflicted and angry with each other. The battle has gone on for months now. Each party is waiting for the other to say, “I was wrong and I’m sorry” but pride has pasted their mouths shut.
But forget about them. I need to worry about me.
I need to boast a little more – more like Paul, who said, “I will boast most gladly about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may reside in me.” 2 Corinthians 12:10
My abilities are liabilities when I fail to recognize that it is God who is at work in me (Phil 2:13)
A PRAYER: Sometimes I am even proud about being humble. Lord search me and know my heart.
Scripture references are from the NETBible ®