The Works of the Flesh
Painting: The Return of the Prodigal Son
by Edward John Poynter.
The Works of the Flesh
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1, by Os Hillman
"You may say to yourself, 'My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.'" Deuteronomy 8:17
We've all heard someone say, "He's a self-made man." What are they saying in this statement? Are they saying that this individual achieved success by his hard work and sweat? Many a person has achieved success through honest hard work. There is a danger for any of us who may have achieved significance through our work. That danger is the belief that we achieved it through our own efforts apart from God's grace and mercy. When we live in this belief, we assert that we are entitled to certain rights and privileges because of the position we have earned and feel we deserve.
The prodigal son's brother who refused to celebrate the wayward son's return was a man who felt he was entitled to certain rights. He saw himself as one who had been faithful to his responsibilities and deserving of more attention. He could not appreciate his brother's failure and the pain of falling into a sinful life because, in his mind, he had never failed. This pride kept him from experiencing God's real grace. This is how legalism develops in believers. It grows into a cold heart and an insensitive attitude toward others who may have stumbled in their lives. This same brother did not truly understand the love of his father apart from works; for he felt he gained acceptance only by doing his job.
Do you feel accepted by God, regardless of what you do? Have you wrongfully viewed your works as something you alone have achieved? These are the minefields of which each of us in business must be aware. God has gifted us to accomplish anything through His grace, not by our works.
Today God Is First (TGIF) devotional message, Copyright by Os Hillman, Marketplace Leaders.
The Pit of Pride
The fifth and the final reason your life may be in the pits is pride. We always need to check our hearts for pride.
In Isaiah 14:13-15 we read,
For you have said in your heart: "I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High." Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, to the lowest depths of the Pit.
This passage records God's rebuke of Satan when he was kicked out of heaven. Satan was talking real big with pride oozing from every word that he said.
But God said, "That's what you think. I'm going to throw you down to the pit." And because of the pride in his heart, Satan will indeed be thrown down to a pit for all eternity (read Revelation 20!).
Pride is a dangerous thing. In fact, so dangerous we are told in 1 Timothy 3:6 to not put a novice into a leadership role in the Church, lest being puffed up with pride, he or she falls into the same condemnation as the devil.
Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall.
Pride is a weird thing. It's like bad breath. Everybody seems to know you have it before you do! But pride will not only get you into a pit, it will destroy you.
I want to challenge you today. If your life is in the pits, check to see if it is because of your pride. If so, humble yourself, otherwise you are not going to get out!
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By SIMPLY DIVINE LOVE on Wednesday, July 14, 2010