I got up early last Thursday morning before our Elder’s meeting and felt a need to sit alone in the silence of the morning and enjoy the Psalms of the day. Since it was the 13th of August, I read Psalm 13, 43, 73, 103, and 133. As I was reading, the sensation of pride began to creep in. I thought “look at me, reading first thing in the morning. What a good boy I am.” It was then that I sensed rebuke call to me in the form of a question that entered my mind. “Is it the good that need to come and read God’s Word and pray to him before starting the day?”
As God does, the answer was the application. It isn’t a good man that needs to set his mind on the Lord. It isn’t the strong that seek support from their God, but the weak. It isn’t the healthy that need the physician, but the broken. It isn’t the rich that need the wealth of wisdom that God supplies, but the poor.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied…” (Matthew 5:3-6 emphasis added)
It was then that the Spirit unwrapped the beautiful wrapping paper of my pride and exposed the reality of my need. Consequently, it gave me the opportunity to confess the pride that was hindering me from worshipping the Lord as I should have.
I began to reread the passages I began with and noticed that pride was keeping me from reading God’s Word in the light of truth. In other words, when I read, I disregarded the situation that David (the writer) was in and instead instantly applied David’s inspired words as my own. Because pride was exalting me as the center of the Bible’s purpose, I was in affect claiming to be the author of the scripture I was reading.
Have you ever noticed that prideful people can take any conversation and turn the spotlight upon themselves? They don’t realize they are doing it, they just assume that the thing people most want to know and the most important thing anyone should ever know is “me”. The trouble with that mentality is that it prevents people from learning anything of value that exists outside of them.
In Revelation 2 and 3, Jesus lays out his critique of the Churches of Asia Minor. When he gets to the Church of Laodicea, he calls them lukewarm Christians. Jesus lays out his reason when he says “For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind and naked.” Jesus then goes on to exhort them to buy his gold, his garments and his salve so that they may be rich in God, dressed in God and see in God.” (Rev 3:15-18)
A common verse that evangelists have used to beckon unbelievers to repentance is “behold I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him and he with me” (3:20) But that verse was written to the Laodicea Church so that the Church would repent. That means that in its proper context, Revelation 3:20 is not a verse for the unbeliever, but for Christians who have so much well-being in and of themselves that even when they read the Bible, it is done with a smug attitude of self-affirmation.
If that weren’t enough, we post pictures of our Bibles on social media to broadcast our “humble” devotion to God while ignoring the reality that God is in the business of saving sinners and we do nothing to bring them the Gospel. Our lips are silent and our bellies are full. We spend little time in relationship with our Lord and instead exchange the commission of our Lord for abstaining from foul language and keeping the speed limit. Our pride is the pretty wrapping paper that conceals what we really are when what we really need is to repent!
Believer, Let us exchange your poverty of wealth for the riches of an inheritance in heaven (Matt 6:19-20), exchange our filthy rags for the pure adornment of righteousness (Col 3:12-15), and ask the Lord to heal our world-view so that you can see with His world-view and not our own (John 9:39-41).
“Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it, and who keep what is written in it, for the time is near.” (Revelation 1:3)