On Being A Child of God

teddy bears

I had been gone for a particularly long and exhausting day. When I walked in the door all four of my children and my wife were occupied.

My oldest child was reading a book. One of them was playing on an iPod and another with a toy while my wife was making dinner. All good things.

My youngest daughter, who is only 18 months old, was the only one who acknowledged that I had come in and she did so in a thrilling way.

She squealed. Then she dropped her toy and ran towards me. She wrapped her tiny arms around my legs and refused to let go.

I’ll be honest, I felt like a million bucks.

In that split second I heard in my head, “that is how Jesus wants you to see and enjoy Him.”

 

Jesus said, “…unless you are converted and become like little children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew‬ ‭18‬:‭3‬ MEV)

Teenagers and adult children often dislike the company of their parents and willfully avoid them. Little children are thrilled to see their parents.

“become like little children”

Teenagers and adult children will argue with their parents and challenge their beliefs and assertions. Little children believe everything their parents say.

“become like little children.”

Teenagers and adult children often want special events or occasions to spend time with their parents. Little children just want to be next to their parents all the time, or on their lap.

“become like little children.”

Teenagers and adult children tend to do their own thing, often without regard for their parents wishes. Little children will often do whatever they’re asked to do. All they want is to please their parents.

“become like little children.”

Teenagers and adult children want to do things on their own and try to figure out their way to accomplish goals and meet needs. Little children just grab their parents hand and hold on.

“become like little children.”

Teenagers and adult children worry and stress over needs, responsibilities and the future. Little children don’t worry about anything. They completely trust their parents to provide everything they need.

“become like little children.”

Teenagers and adult children only request reasonable things that wouldn’t seem an imposition of their parents. Little children believe their parents are able to make their wildest dreams come true. As a result, they ask for anything and everything, believing their parents will supply.

“become like little children.”

Teenagers and adult children develop personality traits that make it difficult to get along with family members and causes disagreements from time to time. Little children often love everybody and offer a smile to anyone who looks their way.

“become like little children.”

What would our world look like?

What would the church look like?

What would your family look like?

What would your heart look like?

What if we were to trust Him thoroughly, obey Him completely, worship Him singularly and love Him wholeheartedly.

What if we all were to “become like little children” and look at God as the good Father that He is.

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When You Give

leaning treeTwo of a mans most precious commodities are his time and his money. For the average man both are difficult to come by and even harder to keep. For that reason we tend to be very particular about what we do with both and who we allow to impose upon our supply.

The American Revolution was sourced out of the Colonists resistance to taxation without representation. It’s safe to say that their jealousy for their time and treasure is what fueled the Revolution. They refused to allow King George to take their money and waste their time while offering nothing in return.

It’s a fundamentally American trait. We don’t want anyone to make demands on our time or our money without adequate reason or our consent. So it’s no surprise that most American Christians are resistant to their Pastors and Bible Teachers encouraging them to give of their finances to their local church.

Jesus addresses our habits of giving and gives us instruction in The Sermon on The Mount when He says,

“Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. “Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” (Matthew 6:1-4 ESV)

Jesus tries to change our point of view when it comes to giving. He wants us to take our eyes off of the temporary and instead focus on the eternal. Giving helps us fight the lure of the immediate in favor of the promise of the eternal.

When we give of our finances to the Kingdom of God our eyes are not on the Earth but on Heaven. We use our finances as a tool to help us realign our hearts with the things that really matter. Jesus explains further in the sixth chapter of Matthew,

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:19-21 ESV)

There are two truths here. First, what you give to God is never lost! The treasure that you commit to His trust cannot be taken from you. Investments in this life can be broken, be lost, be undervalued, devalued and stolen. However, whatever you invest in the Kingdom of God is secure “where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal”.

The second truth is that giving is an indicator of the inclination of your heart and the inclination of your heart matters. If a tree is going to fall, it’s going to fall the direction it leans. Jesus wants us to lean towards Heaven and our habits of giving is an indicator of that inclination, “for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also”. That’s why 2 Corinthians 9:7 says, “God loves a cheerful giver”. He wants giving to change the inclinations of our heart and replace duty with joy!

We were created for Gods glory. Furthermore, everything I do for Gods glory will also serve my joy. That’s the way God designed us to be most fulfilled and most at peace. That’s one of the reasons that Jesus prayed that our joy may be full (John 16:24). Because our joy is an indicator that we’re living our life for Gods glory.

Giving is for joy!

So, WHEN YOU GIVE:

Jesus said, “WHEN you give”, not “if”. The implication is that His disciples will be giving people. Giving is evidence of faith. It takes faith to give God a portion of your finances. Faith that the remainder will be enough to meet your needs and faith that God can do more with less! Knowing how important and necessary money is to every person it is no wonder that Jesus calls giving “the practice of righteousness” (Matt.6:1,ESV).

Jesus goes on to say, when you give, don’t give to be seen of men. The aim of someone who gives ostentatiously and explicitly is to be seen of men is to look pious and religious, to procure a reputation among their peers and community of being a righteous person because, again, giving is what Jesus called “the practice of righteousness”. Jesus calls that hypocrisy.

Our giving should be sourced out of our love for God and our love for our neighbor. Giving itself is not the goal but rather giving that is sourced from genuine heart change.

John the Baptist gives instruction regarding repentance in Luke 3. He gives his listeners three ways to show the “fruits of repentance”.

1) Share food & clothes with the poor (vs.11).
2) Tax collectors shouldn’t take more than they’re allowed (vs. 13).
3) Soldiers should be content with their wages & not extort money (vs.14).

Notice, they’re all related to how they handled money and possessions!

So now we have been presented with giving as the “fruit of repentance” and “the practice of righteousness”. Giving is important to the spiritual health of every believer!

The point of giving is genuine heart change, evidenced by a persons giving of their finances. We see this illustrated in a great way in Luke 19 in the life of Zacchaeus. After talking with Jesus, Zacchaeus the tax collector decided his life needed to change.

“And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I [will] restore it fourfold.” And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house…” (Luke 19:8-9, ESV)

Zacchaeus had not repented yet. He had not yet been baptized. But Jesus viewed his commitment to generosity as evidence that there had been genuine heart change in Zacchaeus. When his heart towards giving changed Jesus said it was evidence that salvation had come to his house. Giving is about heart change.

Finally, Jesus goes on to teach His disciples to give as privately as possible. Privately to such a degree, that if you can prevent your left hand from knowing what your right hand is doing, do so when you give!

Jesus knew that the temptation is there to make a spectacle of the poor or the needy in the self interest of the givers reputation. In order to be seen as “practicing righteousness”, and gain a reputation as a generous person, some people would be inclined to make a public show of the poor and the less fortunate. It shows we are unconcerned for the dignity of the poor, we disrespect their personhood, when we make a spectacle of giving to them.

“Look at how poor they are, and how righteous we are, to be giving them these simple things they cannot even provide for themselves!” Jesus taught that is not the right spirit of giving.

He said to give privately. Avoid the show and the spectacle of generosity. That definitely means we shouldn’t post our generosity and giving on Facebook! He said give privately and our Father in Heaven will reward us openly. God rewards those who are givers, give cheerfully and give out of pure motives.

Randy Alcorn, in his bestselling book, The Treasure Principle, leaves us with six scriptural principles concerning giving.

  1. God Owns Everything and I Am His Money Manager
  2. My Heart Always Goes Where I Put God’s Money
  3. Heaven, Not Earth, Is My Home
  4. I Should Not Live Merely for the Moment but for Eternity
  5. Giving is the Only Antidote to Materialism
  6. God Prospers Me Not to Raise My Standard of Living, but to Raise My Standard of Giving

I don’t believe giving should be a chore. It should not be a duty. Giving should be a delight. Everything I do for God’s glory will also work for my joy and giving is one of those things. Giving is for joy.

One of the greatest steps of faith you can take is to trust God with your finances. If you do, be sure of this, He will bless those who bless His kingdom.

What Makes A Life

baby mobileIf there’s one thing the main stream media (MSM) loves it’s a juicy tale. Give us a celebrity divorce, a baby daddy, a hostage, some good old fashioned money laundering, adultery or murder. We’ll even take a cruise ship full of poop and make it a sensation!

However, something strange has happened the last few weeks. A man by the name of Kermit Gosnell, a Philadelphia abortionist, is accused of some of the most horrific crimes I’ve ever read. Crimes so awful I will not list their details here. Suffice it to say the nickname his office has gained, “House of Horrors”, is appropriate. Yet the MSM says nothing.

The details are horrific. Horrific. I certainly understand the desire to avoid willingly letting oneself being awash in these atrocious details. But to ignore it completely is indicative of, at the very least, a bias and an a priori position regarding abortion. In her opinion piece for USA Today, which you can read here at your own discretion,  Kirsten Powers points out the near total media silence on the details and trial of Kermit Gosnell. It makes the claim seem true that if the facts contend with the MSM narrative of any given issue then their response is to simply ignore the facts.

My contention is that the media has not ignored this story because it inaccurately or unfairly depicts the abortion industry but because it all too accurately displays what abortion looks like and what it really is. The murder of babies.

Many pro-abortion activists have used a series of philosophical arguments to advocate for the legality of abortion. Let’s examine them.

Self-Awareness: One individual told me that the difference is self-awareness. His contention was that self-awareness is what makes us fully human and grants us the person hood that is so morally sacred and protected by the laws of the United States. Since an embryo has no self-awareness (that we’re aware of) then it has no person hood or value to protect. It can be removed, like a tumor, at the will of its host. Considering the claim that the capacity for self-awareness bestows value on human beings leaves me with more questions.

When we are asleep we are not self aware. Do we lose person hood when we are asleep? Or maybe when we’re comatose? Are individuals that are impaired, suffering from dementia or other neurological disorders void of person hood? Of course not. Even if they lack immediate self-awareness the potential is there for self-awareness and that is what makes us a human being as opposed to every other living thing on the planet. Our intrinsic humanity in design.

Self-Awareness is no more a reason to advocate for abortion than sleep is. Though an embryo may not be aware yet of its fingers, toes or heartbeat it retains the potential, if uninterrupted, to acquire that self-awareness of person hood and that is what makes it fully human and fully deserving of the sacred right to life.

Size: They’re so small. Not even .25 of an inch until the sixth week. Pro-abortion advocates would say that there is no moral problem with eliminating something the size of a pea.

Using this logic we can conclude that larger people have more rights than smaller people. Embryos are smaller than newborns and toddlers are smaller than adults. My wife is smaller than me. Does that grant me more rights to person hood than her? Of course not. Size has no bearing whatsoever on whether it is morally or rationally acceptable to end a life. Size doesn’t equal value. If that were true than men, which are generally larger in size than women, have more rights as a person than women.

Furthermore, at 12 weeks, the average fetus weighs half an ounce, is 2 inches long and has almost all vital systems fully formed. At 16 weeks it weighs up to four ounces, is up to 5 inches long, has eyebrows, lashes, teeth and hair filling in. At 22 weeks the average size is 10 inches, weighing 12 ounces, the face is fully formed, gender is visible, the baby can hear and taste. It may be small but so is my sister. Size has no bearing on the person hood or value of a life.

Level of development: While it is true that a baby in gestation is less developed than a newborn it has no bearing on their person hood or the adults they’ll one day become. The only difference is a few days. Every living human was one day a fetus in gestation. It is the human process through which we must all travel. If anything, it is indicative of our humanity.

There is no moral or rational reason level of development should be relevant in determining person hood. A three year-old girl is less developed than a teenager. Should older children have more rights than their younger siblings? A newborn is far less developed than an adult male. Is David Beckham more of a person and endued with more rights than a newborn? Of course not.

What about those who never fully develop certain abilities or physical systems? What about the boy born without eyes or hands? What about the little girl born without legs? Is she somehow less of a person because she is not as developed as others? Do they have less of a right to life?

Acknowledging limited levels of development, instead of allowing, should actually deter from any pro-abortion position as it indicates the humanity and person hood of a body. If left uninterrupted it has the potential to fully develop into a self-aware human being. The key word there is, “uninterrupted”.

Environment: Some say as long as it is in the womb it’s not a person yet and it can be “terminated”. This to me is some of the most egregious logic used to defend abortion.

A mother’s womb should be the safest place in the world. Instead, the awful truth is, it has become as dangerous, particularly to African-American babies, as the most violent inner city in the nation. As Scott Klusendorf said here:

Where you are has no bearing on who you are. Does your value change when you cross the street or roll over in bed? If not, how can a journey of eight inches down the birth-canal suddenly change the essential nature of the unborn from non-human to human? If the unborn are not already human, merely changing their location can’t make them valuable.

We don’t gain or lose rights or person hood based upon where we are. Using location, and most of all the womb, to defend abortion is mind-boggling to me. A person outside the womb is a person in the womb. Just because we can’t see a baby in the womb does not mean it’s not a baby until it’s born. Environment has no moral or rational bearing on person hood.

Degree of Dependency: Some say that because the fetus depends completely on the mother for it’s survival it is the mother’s choice to keep or terminate the pregnancy. There are two problems with this reasoning.

First, it places the value of a human life on whether someone wants it alive or not. Why then not make murder legal? If a pregnant woman is assaulted and loses the child she is carrying the courts can charge homicide because the mother wanted the child. How then, if a mother chooses abortion, is it not also murder? Simply because she didn’t want it? An individuals worth to another individual has no bearing on it’s person hood, value or intrinsic humanity.

Secondly, it makes the degree of dependence one has on forces outside of itself the test of person hood. If that is the case then the handicapped, injured, comatose and those with medical afflictions have lost their person hood. Again, Scott Klusendorf weighs in:

If viability makes us human, then all those who depend on insulin or kidney medication are not valuable and we may kill them. Conjoined twins who share blood type and bodily systems also have no right to life.

Simply put, our level of dependence on forces outside ourselves does not reasonably determine our humanity, person hood or intrinsic value.

We may have different levels of self-awareness, differing sizes, location and levels of development but we are all human and all endowed by our creator with a right to life and person hood. I believe God is the giver of life and as such no man has the right to take it in the womb.

So what makes a life?

When a man and a woman conceive a child in the woman’s womb, from the moment of conception, morally, rationally and most of all Biblically, that is a child. Some may choose to call it an embryo, a zygote or a fetus. That’s fine. But it’s a baby and it’s a person and it has a right to live as much as anyone outside a womb.

The awful truth, and the story our culture is desperately trying to avoid, is that abortion ends a life and there is no good reason.

Marriage

wedding ringsI enjoy many aspects of the ministry but I particularly enjoy weddings. It’s not just because I like cake. I like what weddings represent. Weddings are hopeful and idealistic. They point to promise, covenant and faith for tomorrow. They acknowledge God, our devotion to one another and our place in community. Weddings are testimonies that people still believe in each other and the possibility of better things and I appreciate that.

Weddings are a grand declaration that we still believe in one another. We believe in better things and better days. That, even when our world is very, very ugly and we’re tempted to despair of it, we still have reason to smile. Weddings are days when families get together to celebrate and consecrate a new union that testifies of faith, hope and love. I like cake, but I really like weddings.

Marriages are entered into every day by the hundreds yet it is greater than a cultural event. Though marriage is administered by law it is more than a legal contract. Though it is respected by society it is more than a civil union. Marriage is, above all else, a sacred covenant, instituted by God, upheld by His law, blessed by His hand and is to be honored by all men.

It is on purpose that weddings take place in a church, with a minister officiating, the reading of scripture, prayer, sacred vows and celebration. Marriage is a sacred covenant and the presence of God is necessary for it to be a success.

The first miracle Jesus ever performed was at a wedding when he turned the water into wine both honoring the wedding with his presence and blessing it with the miraculous. We read the story in the book of John 2:1-2: “And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there: And both Jesus was called, and his disciples, to the marriage.” That’s a good call to make.

Call Jesus into your marriage. Invite him to be seated at every table, the guest in every room and the counselor in every decision. It is on purpose that weddings take place at a church, with prayer, the reading of scripture and a minister officiating. Marriages need the presence of God and take faith. Faith in each another, faith in your marriage, and faith for the future.

Scripture teaches that a husband ought to love his wife and give himself for her as Christ gave himself for the church. It also teaches that the wife ought to love her husband and be faithful to him in all things and that by honoring God’s law, and by forsaking all others and their individual fortunes, the two will become what the Bible calls, “one flesh”. Marriage is a covenant between one man and one woman, for life.

Covenant. That’s an old fashioned word meaning an unbreakable promise. That’s the hope and the beauty of marriage. It’s built on a promise. It’s not built on emotion or transitory feelings. It’s not built on our worthiness or charm. It will not be the weakness or the strength of a Bride and Groom’s character that will determine the outcome of their marriage. It will be their faithfulness to their promise. Your character may fail but your marriage doesn’t have to. Even if integrity is found lacking a marriage can still survive if the bride and groom simply keep their promise.

It is this promise that will keep them together, grow their family, bless their home and protect their children. It is this promise that will bless their community through them. Marriage is the most valuable promise you can make and the most important to keep.

Thoughts

deskglobeThere was a series of commercials that played when I was a child that I vividly remember.

The screen would show an egg in a man’s hand. The voiceover would then say, “This is your brain.” The hand would then crack the egg in a heated iron skillet and, as the egg began to sizzle and fry, the voiceover would then say, “This is your brain on drugs. Any questions?” The lesson was clear; Don’t do drugs!

It seems messages like that remain more vivid in our minds than others. We’re fully versed on what to avoid yet unfamiliar with what to pursue. We know what not to do but we don’t know what we should do.

Most of us would acknowledge that eating a steady diet of snack cakes and soda is not the best for our bodies. However, we find it more difficult to identify what foods or diet is best for our bodies. While not drinking alcohol is good for the body it is not, in itself, what is best for the body. Exercise and eating a healthy diet of balanced fats, plenty of water, complex carbs and high in fiber is best for the body.

We often wrongly assume that the mere avoidance of harmful things is best for our body when in reality we must marry our avoidance of the bad with the pursuit of the good.

I fear many followers of Jesus Christ have followed this logic regarding our minds and our spirits. We equate the avoidance of harmful things to doing what is best for our hearts and minds. We define ourselves more by what we don’t do than by what we do.

I would submit that followers of Jesus Christ must engage themselves in more than the avoidance of evil but also the active pursuit of a meaningful and passionate relationship with Him, specifically as it has to do with our hearts and minds.

If we are to be disciples of Jesus Christ our thoughts and minds must be his as well as our hearts and bodies. Matthew 22:37, Mark 12:30 and Luke 10:27 all encourage us to “love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.” We know how to love the Lord with our hearts and we’ll put our energies and strength into His service but we all too often neglect the dedication of our thoughts and minds to Him.

Christians must have disciplined minds. We have been called to “gird up the loins” of our mind (1Peter 1:13).  That means prepare our mind for activity and discipline. We’re told that the Berean believers were diligent about the study of the Word of God, in that they searched the scriptures daily and had a “readiness of mind” (Acts 17:11).

Paul instructed the Roman church concerning the condition of their minds. He preached that the carnal mind was enmity against God and that to be carnally minded is death “but to be spiritually minded is life and peace” (Romans 8:5-7). We’re told to be transformed by the “renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2) and that with our mind and our mouth we can glorify God (Romans 15:6).

The believers in Ephesus were told that the life they lived before Christ was one defined as “corrupt” and full of “deceitful lusts” and that their new life in Christ would cause their minds to be renewed, bringing righteousness and “true holiness” (Ephesians 4:22-24). The Bible also declares one of the promises in the Spirit are of “power, and of love, and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7).

We’re to be “sober minded” (Titus 2:6), single minded (1 Peter 3:8), of a ready mind (1 Peter 3:2), having pure minds (2 Peter 3:1), and having the mind of Christ (Phil. 2:5 & 1 Peter 4:1).

All these things considered, I believe the sincere disciple of Jesus Christ must make every effort he can to discipline and ready his mind.

Born This Way

churchcemeteryIt seems as if the only thing the mainstream media and non-Christians know about Christianity is that we believe homosexuality is sin. It seems to be the first question always asked by an interviewer who has a moment with an Evangelical Pastor.

Pastor Rick Warren was interviewed on CNN recently by Piers Morgan and then again by a reporter from the Huffington Post concerning his new book and specifically his views on homosexuality. You can see the video here or scroll below.

 

 

The interviewer brings up a commonly asked question in regards to this issue. Why would God make someone with a desire that He would then call sin? The question posits a couple interesting theories. First, that God is the source of all of our desires and passions and second that possessing a desire alone is indicative of its legitimacy. The problem is, both conclusions are wrong.

An understanding of the Gospel of Jesus Christ instructs us in this regard. We are born into a fallen world with an active sin nature. It is natural to the hearts of all men and women to sin, that is, to violate the will, law and nature of God. Secondly, simply having a desire or passion speaks nothing to its legitimacy.

All sex outside of marriage is sin, whether its hetero or homo, and marriage can only be Biblically defined as between one man and one woman. The canard that, “Why would God create me with a passion He doesn’t want me to fulfill” is ludicrous. The fact that one has a desire they’re driven to gratify is immaterial to its acceptability.

Some men are born with inclinations to steal, lie, commit adultery, and all other sorts of evil. Why would God create them, driven to rape or cheat on our spouse let’s say, if He didn’t intend for them to fulfill it?

The Gospel tells us!

They’re right. We were all born this way. Born to sin, to lie, to steal, to pervert nature, to be unfaithful and to hate. We were born with a nature that would oppress and abuse if given the chance. Our natural inclinations and desires are inherently sinful and challenge God’s laws. We all, heterosexual & homosexual, need to be born again to get a new set of passions and desires, be filled with the Spirit and to align our natural passions with the Word of God.

Lady Gaga can sing, “I was born this way” all day long but it does not legitimate or excuse the presence of sin. We need to repent. We need to be born again. We need the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Pride & Humility

The subject of pride and humility is one we cannot exhaust enough. It is the basic failure and success in the human heart. Pride is the source behind all sin. We either believe we know better than God or He doesn’t matter. That’s pride. The exalting of self above God or of having an inordinately high opinion of one’s own self worth or achievements. The message pride sends is that you’re not just fine, you’re great operating under your own auspices. The Gospel of Jesus Christ says that we are sinners and without Him we could not be saved.

Pastor Mark Driscoll of Seattle recently posted a blog entry about pride and humility that I wanted to share. It is a quick and insightful article that will give you some things to remember and think about.

You can read it here at his site or scroll below.

7 things you should know about pride and humility

The worst decisions in my life, the times my anger has gotten the best of me, and the instances of my greatest regret were all the result of my pride. Pride never helped anything. Pride never improved anything.

I’m not qualified to write about humility, but you’re not either. Therefore, as the chief hypocrite, I’ll take the liberty. Here are seven things about pride and humility that I’ve learned, mostly the hard way.

1. God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble

The most haunting verse in Scripture is found in both James 4:6 and 1 Peter 5:5: “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” If we insist on our way, our best, our fame, our glory, our best interest, the living God of the universe will work against us in direct opposition. Our pride puts us in this dreadful position.

2. Humility means knowing your place

Some of the earliest instances of the word “humble” refer to the position a person occupies. The Apostle Paul writes, “I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think” (Rom. 12:3). Do you crave glory, recognition, reward, or attention that is beyond your present station?

3. Everyone is proud, just in different ways

You’re proud. They’re proud. I’m proud. But we’re all proud in different ways. It’s easy to point out pride in others while remaining oblivious to our own blind spots. Some of us think we deserve more money. Some of us think we deserve more respect. Some of us think we deserve more comfort. Before we judge and condemn other people for their pride, we need to ask, “How am I blind to my own?”

4. Humility is a direction, not a destination

None of us can say, “I used to be proud. Glad that’s over!” That would be proud. In his book Humility , C. J. Mahaney describes himself as “a proud man pursuing humility by the grace of God.” The same could be said for all of us. As Christians, we venture in the direction of humility, by the grace of God. The question is not, “Have you arrived?” but rather, “Are you even trying?”

5. Pride is about my glory, humility is about God’s glory

Once the question of glory is settled, everything is settled. Resolve to give God the glory, and you’ll know the answer to the vast majority of the decisions in your life.

If you’re fighting with your spouse, what should you do? Whatever brings God the most glory. If you’re disobeying your parents, what should you do? Whatever brings God the most glory. If you’re disagreeing with leadership, how should you conduct yourself? In a manner that brings God the most glory. If you have aspirations, what should you pursue? Whatever brings God the most glory.

What you do, why you do it, how you do it, when you do it—humility considers every decision by asking, “Who gets the glory?”

6. Pride bends inward, but humility turns out to God and others

Martin Luther described sin as the self bending in on the self. Pride makes it all about “me.” That’s why at Mars Hill we love to say, “It’s all about Jesus.” Humility turns our affections and energies toward God’s glory and others’ good. We start to ask how we can help. We start thinking about ways we could serve or bless other people. We start to forget our own needs. Pride leads us to focus on ourselves. Humility leads us back out to God and others.

7. Pride births death, humility births life

Augustine, the great church father, likened pride to a mother who is pregnant with all other sins. In pride, Satan rebelled against God because he desired to be God. In pride, Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit because they wanted to be like God. In pride, we reject God’s wisdom, will, and Word because we think we know better. All sin comes out of pride—and all virtue, all holiness, and all glory to God are birthed out of humility. Is your heart pregnant with pride, or is it pregnant with humility?

The bad news: we will lose the battle of pride vs. humility every day. The good news: we have perfect humility in Jesus. Unlike Satan, unlike Adam and Eve, and unlike us,

[Jesus] did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Philippians 2:6–11

Jesus was humble, and God glorifies him as a result. Likewise, if we repent of our pride and pursue humility in Jesus instead, by God’s grace we will be glorified with him as well. We war against our pride not by focusing on our humility—which is just another way of focusing on ourselves)—but rather, the humility of Jesus Christ.