So it seems people like to preach against pride. But does making people feel guilty about being prideful really cause people to change? I think a lot of people would try to not be proud, they just don't know HOW. So what does pride look like. Pride says, I can do it myself and I want people to recognize me for doing it. Humility says, "God, I need help... and even if I don't need help, I still want your hand in the situation." I might be able to add 2+2 without God, but most anything that matters, I want God's hand on. Maybe I could do it on my own. Maybe I couldn't. But I know I would much rather have God's hand on it, even if I could do it on my own. Humility says, I am going to do things for God's honor and glory. Period. Not so that people recognize me, but that they see my God working through me so that He receives the glory. It is astounding what God can do through me if I don't care that I get credit. And it is astoundingly small what I can do on my own if I try to get recognition and admiration for it. If I (or most anyone) spend their life trying to get respect/honor/admiration from people, I can often not be taken seriously (disrespected). But if I don't care what people think and only care what God thinks and do what He wants done, sometimes I get the positives... but I know that they aren't towards me, they are towards what God did through me. So I HAVE to give Him the glory. I have to be thankful to Him. Cuz on my own it never would have happened. Humility and thankfulness are intimately linked in my opinion. Because pride says I did it on my own and I want to be recognized, humility says, thank you God for working through me.

Wild at Heart (a great book) talks about how every man has the burning question, "Do I have what it takes?" Oh, that was so me. I felt this compulsion that I had to prove myself to every single person. Well, how many people is enough? When can I stop? I've heard Mark Lasser talk on the topic of sex addiction say, how much sex is enough? Or I've heard Derek Rust talk on money, how much money is enough? It NEVER is enough. Greed, lust, etc. can't be met by money, sex, etc. They are a bottomless pit. Same with the need for approval from others. It never is enough. I couldn't prove myself to enough people for them to accept me. So ultimately, that question became answered in the midst of cancer. Do I have what it takes? Definately not. I couldn't beat cancer on my own. But with God's strength and when I live for His honor and glory, I do have what it takes. But He makes it so that I don't need to have this obsession with proving myself. Because of His acceptance, it gives strength. So while I might be inadequate on my own, I never need to feel inadequate if I am abiding in Him (John 15).

I have to start each day saying, "God, I'm empty. I have absolutely nothing for today. If you don't show up, I'm in big trouble." But the beauty is, God does show up. While I think I can do it on my own, God will let me. And I'll invariably fall on my face. Because God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble (James 4:6), I CAN NOT afford to be opposed by God. I need His answers to prayer, His hand on me, etc. So I HAVE to walk with Him.

As a side point... there is no joy in proving yourself. While pride is there, joy is absent. Do you want some joy? Thank God out loud for 50 things. I think it would be about impossible not to have a smile on your face when you are done. Thankfulness and pride are virtually opposite.

Another curse of pride for me was the inability to learn much of anything that mattered. Because I thought I knew everything I had no reason to listen to anyone. I had no reason to hear what anyone else was saying. If I let God help me to be humble (note: I can know some of this stuff, but I can't apply it on my own. John 15, I can only apply it through His strength. The Christian life is impossible to be lived on one's own strength. Only through His. So I can't make myself have right motives. Only He can.) But when I do, by God's strength and by abiding in Him walk in humility, it is incredible what can be learned. It is incredible how God will bless too.

Well, I think I'm done with this message... gotta work on my paper.