Blog Archives

Dealing with Enemy #1: PRIDE

“At every stage of our Christian development and in every sphere of our Christian discipleship, pride is our greatest enemy and humility is our greatest friend.”

-John Stott

Pride is the #1 Enemy of Spiritual Growth, Relational Growth, Personal Growth & the biggest obstacle to people experiencing God. And Pride is often easy to recognize in others, but tough to recognize in ourselves. It’s a matter of what’s in your heart. That can be determined most often by what’s coming out your mouth (Luke 6:45).

What does pride sound like?

  • “It’s all about me.” Pride needs to feel better than others and call attention to itself. It needs to be in control and on top. Pride makes us too vulnerable not to be.
  • “I don’t need you.” To need God and others is a vulnerable place to be. A prideful heart is set on avoiding vulnerability. So pride will keep us from intimacy with God and others.
  • “I know that already.” A prideful heart can’t listen, can’t learn, can’t admit weakness, therefore a prideful person can’t grow.
  • “I don’t care.” A prideful heart can’t care too much about something that doesn’t promote self interest. So pride causes us to struggle to celebrate others success. A prideful heart will struggle to find solutions. Other peoples problems helps keep them on top, looking down on all the people that can’t figure it out. Pride gives us a sense that other people’s mistakes & weaknesses can be an opportunity and an occasion to promote self.

We can overcome pride by humbling ourselves before God and others. What does humility sound like?

  • “It’s all about God and others.” God’s will and the needs of others are why I’m here. Philippians 2:3-8.
  • “I need you.” Humility helps us realize that we’re nothing apart from God (John 15:5) and we need others to grow (Ephesians 4:15-16; Proverbs 17:17).
  • “Can you help me know God?” Humility helps us realize how much we don’t know and sees the rich value in relationships. “Walk with the wise & grow wiser still” (Proverbs 14:30).
  • “Your suffering is not good for me.” With humility we realize that my success doesn’t depend on the weakness of others, but on a sovereign God that gives grace to those who need Him.

“…serve each other in humility, for God opposes the proud but favors the humble. So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor.”1 Peter 5:5-6

Diagnosing and repenting of a prideful heart can be a first step to growth and maturity and fruitfulness for you as a believer. Get honest about your attitude toward God and others using these filter and see what kind of grace God showers on you.

Generosity is About More than Money

If you leave a big tip, but act rudely toward the waitress, are you still a generous person? Probably not. Generosity is about more than money.

  • It’s about our eyes – what do you see when you see the needs of the world? Potential distractions? People that need to get a grip? The generous see opportunities to help & solve problems & serve others.
  • It’s about our words – How do we talk to others? Are you generous with encouragement & praise for others? Do you give or take away with how you talk to people?
  • It’s about our hands – Are we willing to serve? Are we willing to give with our energy, time, strength, etc.?
  • It’s about our feet – Are you willing to go to difficult places? To step out of your comfort zone? To do things that you wouldn’t choose, to strengthen a relationship with another person?
  • It’s about our motives – Do you just help people that can help you in return? Do you only serve when people are looking?

“I don’t have much money” is not an excuse for a lack of generosity. There are a multitude of ways that you can give life to others today.

“…the righteous gives and does not hold back” Proverbs 21:26 NASB.

Join Bridge Church this Sunday as we continue our study through the book of Proverbs. 10:30am at the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Maritime Museum in Madisonville.

Self-Control in a Culture of Excess

I love Louisiana. It’s one of the most unique places on earth. From Mardis Gras to Duck Dynasty to Acadiana to Cafe Dumonde, you can find a lot here that you can’t find anywhere else. One thing about Louisiana is that we tend to be defined by our excesses – food, drink, parades, etc. I like this list:

You might be from Louisiana if…

  • The four seasons in your year are Crawfish, Catfish, Gumbo, and King Cake.
  • You judge a po-boy by the number of napkins used.
  • You refer to cold temperatures as “gumbo weather.”
  • The four food groups are boiled seafood, friend seafood, grilled seafood, and beer.
  • You believe that purple, green, and gold look good together and you will eat things those colors.

In this culture Self-Control can almost be a dirty word – like diet, cholesterol, etc. But it’s constantly mentioned in scripture as a characteristic of a Christian.

And in the book of Proverbs, which Bridge Church is studying through this summer, self-control and wisdom could be synonymous. Proverbs gives us some great pictures of what it looks like to have & not have self-control. We talked about one of my favs yesterday at Bridge:

Proverbs 25:28 (ESV) 28 A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls.

Walls were the strength of an ancient city. They provided security, defensive positions to fight from, protection, control of who came in and who went out.

The first thing to come down upon conquering a city would have been the walls.

Same is true for us. If you don’t have self-control you lack security, a place to fight temptation from, control of who influences you & who does not. You are EXPOSED to the dangers in our world & the sinful nature within.

Solomon gets specific about self-control with four areas. What’s interesting is they are no different from the areas we struggle to control today. Four areas that tend to leave us without walls in our society today, or behaviors that break into our lives and destroy our walls.

1) IMPULSIVENESS & HASTE. In spending, rushing, & decision making.

Proverbs 19:2 (ESV) 2 Desire without knowledge is not good, and whoever makes haste with his feet misses his way.

Proverbs 20:25 (ESV) 25 It is a snare to… reflect only after making vows.

Proverbs 29:20 (ESV) 20 Do you see a man who is hasty in his words? There is more hope for a fool than for him.

2) IMPATIENCE & ANGER. Anger is one step from danger.

Proverbs 14:29 (ESV) 29 Whoever is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who has a hasty temper exalts folly.

Proverbs 15:18 (ESV) 18 A hot-tempered man stirs up strife, but he who is slow to anger quiets contention.

Proverbs 19:19 (ESV) 19 A man of great wrath will pay the penalty, for if you deliver him, you will only have to do it again.

3) INTOXICATION & GLUTTONY. Food, Drink, Pleasure.

Proverbs 21:17 (ESV) 17 Whoever loves pleasure will be a poor man; he who loves wine and oil will not be rich.

4) IMMORALITY & PLEASURE. Our culture is out of God’s boundaries & out of control sexually.

Proverbs 6:32-33 (ESV)  32 He who commits adultery lacks sense; he who does it destroys himself. 33 Wounds and dishonor will he get, and his disgrace will not be wiped away.

How do I Live a Life of Self-control?

Proverbs 18:10 (ESV) 10 The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous man runs into it and is safe.

The opposite of having no walls is having a refuge to run to. Self-Control means learning to run to a safe place that is the Lord.

When tempted, run to the Lord. When you fail, run to the Lord. When others are tempted and fail, run to the Lord on their behalf or take them there.

Next Steps:

  • Admit that “without the Lord, I’m without walls.” Salvation & refuge starts with recognizing your need for God’s help.
  • Admit, “There’s nothing in life that can satisfy me like Jesus.” Sin is believing the lie that ________ can bring me more joy than God can in Christ.
  • Admit, “What I’m mastered by will ultimately define who I am.” Be remembered for your trust in God, not your reliance on substance or sin.

Being On Mission Stinks

On of my favorite Proverbs is Proverbs 14:4, “Without oxen a stable stays clean, but you need a strong ox for a large harvest.”

In other words, if you don’t have livestock, you don’t have any poop that stinks up the place & has to be scooped, but you can’t expect to have a great farm without hardworking animals.

This is true of life on mission as well. Me centered Christianity has taught us that God wants us to be happy, to give us a peace-filled life, safe from danger, & being nice & making it to church to support the pastor, cause he’s working so hard for God, is our role in the kingdom. That attitude is just like being without livestock on a farm. Don’t expect fruit, don’t expect a harvest. When people get on mission for God together it will not always be neat, clean, or smell good. It will be messy.

Life on mission will be messy, because sin is messy. And if you’re in the business of rescuing sinners, expect a foul smell. Addictions, foolishness, pain, abuse, poverty, broken relationships, hopelessness. Those are the things you’ll find out there on mission for God. Stay away & you’ll have a cleaner, neater, smell good life, but don’t expect as much spiritual fruit.

Life on mission will be messy, because relationships are messy. We will have differences of opinion & awkward moments & bad days among us. “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another” and iron on iron creates sparks. If you avoid deep, gospel centered, mission driven relationships, you might have a cleaner, neater, smell good life, but don’t expect as much spiritual growth.

Life on mission will be messy, because of the cost. You will get taken advantage of. You will find yourself outside of comfort zones. You will have seasons of fruitlessness. You will experience rejection. “All those who live godly in Christ Jesus WILL BE persecuted.” Christianity that cost you nothing is a mission-less Christianity that doesn’t find its root in the way of Jesus & the Apostles. Stay away from spending yourself for Jesus & His mission & life may be cleaner, neater, & smell better.

If you want to pursue God’s mission & produce fruit for His kingdom, give up on having a clean, neat, smell good life all of the time. It may require a shovel, old clothes, lots of hand soap, etc. But you can expect the joy of the Lord, the provision of strength from His Spirit, the promise of hearing him say “well done,” the fruit of lives changed, growth & maturity, & the peace of knowing God is using you for His purposes.

What does your stable look like? Our communities desperately need On Mission Christians that don’t shy away from the messiness of sin, relationships, or sacrifice if we’re going to have a harvest of souls.

You Might Be Wise If…

Started a summer study through the book of Proverbs at Bridge Church yesterday. I love Proverbs because it covers every issue we face in life through the lens of God’s inspiration. And because I love hard candy that takes a while to digest. Many of the Proverbs are like that. But spend time on them and you will grow wiser and follow them and your life will be different. What does the wise life look like? Here’s a little checklist:

According to Proverbs, you might be wise if…

  • You choose your friends wisely.
  • You listen to others.
  • You can receive correction from others.
  • You fear the Lord.
  • You discipline your children effectively.
  • You are generous with your wealth.
  • You treat the poor with care & concern.
  • You are careful with your words.
  • You refuse gossip & slander.
  • Your words mean a lot to others.
  • You save sex for marriage.
  • You love your spouse enthusiastically.
  • You can control your temper.
  • You understand the dangers of abusing alcohol.
  • You are not afraid of hard work.
  • You are honest in your business dealings.
  • You can be trusted as a friend.
  • You can be kind to your foes.
  • You rely on God’s word.
  • You trust God for salvation & provision.
  • You are not easily led into evil by others.
  • You do not lie.
  • You are humble instead of prideful.
  • You stay away from flirtation & the flirtatious.
  • You hate evil.
  • You are more concerned about who you are that what you have.
  • You can define riches without talking about money.
  • You have a truly meaningful life.
  • You have a good reputation with others.
  • You trust God instead of yourself & others.

Wise up with us Sunday’s, 10:30am at the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Maritime Museum in Madisonville.


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