Tuesday, May 1, 2007
"I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech. Counsel and sound judgment are mine; I have understanding and power." Proverbs 8:13
The Lord has been very good to our family. Even during times of trials I see the Lord's hand working and refining us to become more like His Son. I have learned to ask the question of 'what lesson is the Lord trying to teach me?' when I experience tough times or just not clear to what His perfect will might be for the present. I am grateful that He works out all good things for His purposes and that His thoughts are not my thoughts. I want to grow nearer to my Heavenly Father on a daily basis and that requires an examining of heart quite often.
I've recently heard the sermon from SM Davis entitled "How to Humble Yourself" where he describes one of the ways we can practice this is by deflecting praise. As we deflect praise, we exalt our Lord and what He has done in our lives instead of taking credit for it ourselves and having that as a stumbling point in our lives where pride is culminated. Food for thought? Absolutely! I've remembered taking credit for things that were not my doing, but what the Lord had done or was an investment of what others had invested into my life. Think about it, practically everything can be attributed to how the Lord has richly blessed us since He is the One who is the Giver of all good things and the latter can be accredited to the great investement that others have sacrificed into our lives.
"The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold, but man is tested by the praise he receives." Proverbs 27:21
Here's an example: "Johnny, you are a very polite young man, you have good manners." Johnny replies, "My grandfather taught me manners and to be polite when I was very young and I am grateful to him for having invested in me." See how the practice of deflecting praise was executed and gave the credit to another without Johnny dabbling in self exaltation? Now I am not saying that we cannot thank another for a praise given but how much more we can bring glory to our Father as we rightlfully credit those who have helped bring those things that are being praised into our lives. If we are honest with ourselves, we can probably think back to times when we have received praise and became puffed up in pride. Perhaps it was when someone complimented our children, or our home or parenting. Maybe we've become prideful in our ministry forgetting that the Lord is the Provider of all and He alones blesses and curses according to His purposes.
Another example, "My, what a beautiful and large home you have!" and response being "The Lord has been very kind to us in providing this home for us, we are very grateful to Him." I actually heard this response from the father of a family we visited once. It caught my attention as I had never heard quite a response like that. I have reflected from that day and several times later upon the 'Lord's kindness' and resolved to give a response like that to others. Instead of the centerpiece of conversation being the beautiful home and the families accomplishment and hard work and long years in building the home, the first thing pointed out was our King. Praise God for that and might we learn from His example to give credit and praise to those whom so rightfully deserve it.
"A man's pride bring him low, but a man of lowly spirit gains honor." Proverbs 29:23