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More and More, Humble Your Pride

In this work, God will allow His people to perform signs and wonders. Why? Because such are, manifestations of His own power. Since we are merely instruments, then what we do reflects on God. And so “many wonders and signs were done through the apostles” (Acts 2:43), and the Christian community recognized that such “signs and wonders are done through the name of your holy servant Jesus” (Acts 4:30).

Signs and wonders were God's way of drawing people to Himself, as indeed “awe came upon everyone” and so “every day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved” (Acts 2:43,47). “Many signs and wonders were done among the people at the hands of the apostles” and “believers in the Lord, great numbers of men and women, were added to them” (Acts 5:12,14).

Jesus himself assured his disciples, “Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes in me will do the works that I do, and will do greater ones than these, because I am going to the Father.” (John 14:12). Don't let that escape you. Jesus' disciples will perform the very works he performed, and then some. Why? Because his part of God's mission is done and he is ascending to heaven to be with the Father. But the work continues, and so before doing so, he issued the Great Commission to his disciples. That same commission is our marching orders today.

True to Jesus' words, Christian workers throughout the centuries have been used by God to do countless miraculous healings, to expel demons, and even to resurrect the dead

And a great temptation to the sin of pride.

Signs and wonders

Christian ministries have certainly experienced many signs and wonders performed in our midst as a result of the prayers and work of our own members. The miraculous physical healings are too many to count or keep track of. There abound stories of Gods miraculous protection, provision, guidance and empowerment. There have been awe-inspiring tales of reconciliation - between husband and wife already on the last stages of legal separation or divorce, between siblings deeply estranged for many decades, between bitter enemies due to serious wrongdoing that resulted in grave injustice and even deaths.

And now with Christian ministries is at the forefront of a miracle in the making. This involves the. transformation of thousands of poor communities into clean, vibrant, peaceful havens. And with this work, Christian ministries will be at the center of the work of uniting all sectors of society, and building a nation for God, to be His light to the world.

Simply awesome.

Sinful pride

What is sinful pride? It is not delight or elation arising from some deed or great accomplishment. It is right for people to be proud of such - getting high honors at school, topping the bar exams, having the cleanest and most peaceful town. And for Christians, we must take pride in what God is able to accomplish in and through us. Not to acknowledge the great things we are able to do, in the name of Jesus and in the power of God's Spirit, is false humility.

But pride is sinful when we revel in what we have accomplished, but fail to acknowledge that what we are able to accomplish is all because of God's grace and power, and thus fail to give the glory to God.

Such pride is what will bring a halt to further great workings. “Pride goes before disaster, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” (Proverbs 16:18). “Every proud man is an abomination to the Lord; I assure you that he will not go unpunished.” (Proverbs 16:5).

Why will pride result in disaster?

First, because we will no longer be following or listening to God, thus cutting ourselves off from His grace and mercy. This is what the prophet Jeremiah said about the corruption of Judah:

Thus says the Lord: So also I will allow the pride of Judah to rot, the great pride of Jerusalem. This wicked people who refuse to obey my words, who walk in the stubbornness of their hearts, and follow strange gods to serve and adore them, shall be like this loincloth which is good for nothing. For, as close as the loincloth clings to a man's loins, so had I made the whole house of Israel and the whole house of Judah cling to me, says the Lord; to my people, my renown, my praise, my beauty. But they did not listen. (Jeremiah 13:9-11)

What a tragedy! God had drawn His people close to Himself and poured out His blessings upon them, but they turned away. And not only did they turn away, they turned to other gods, serving and adoring them! Disaster!

Second, pride will result in disaster because we will start to rely on our own strength. And we already know how we can make a great mess of things, if we simply act according to our fallen human mind and heart. In fact, Paul says that “if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he is deluding himself” (Galatians 6:3). Thus, if we are only honest with ourselves, we realize that whatever great things we accomplish is often done in spite of us! We are often the obstacles, and it is only God's grace that sees us through.

Mere instruments

Knowing this, our antidote to sinful pride is the realization of the reality that we are merely instruments. And we are not very impressive instruments at that!

Thus Paul says, “Who confers distinction upon you? What do you possess that you have not received? But if you have received it, why are you boasting as if you did not receive it?” (1 Corinthians 4:7). So Paul, to keep the Corinthian Christians on track kept telling them, “Whoever boasts, should boast in the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 1:31, 2 Corinthians 10:17).

In fact, if we are to boast at all, it is when we recognize our weakness and how God deals with and uses weak people. Now that is something to boast about. Our almighty and omnipotent God reaches down to humankind and uses them to act on His behalf. Incredible! Hard to believe, but true!

In further fact, God actually looks for those weak instruments that He can use. Many times God deliberately situates His miracle in humanly impossible circumstances. When God radically decreased the number of Gideon's army (from 32,000 to 300!), He said to Gideon, “You have too many soldiers with you for me to deliver Midian into their power, lest Israel vaunt itself against me and say, 'My own power brought me the victory.”' (Judges 7:2).

This is an important lesson for us. Many times we want to ensure our human resources before a formidable task. But what God wants is for us to rely on Him. And the less of human resources we have, the more we can be reliant on God. Jesus told Paul this amazing truth: “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9.a). Power in weakness? A contradiction for the world!

But Paul understood. So he said in all sincerity, “I will rather boast most gladly of my weaknesses, in order that the power of Christ may dwell with me. Therefore, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and constraints, for the sake of Christ; for when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:9b-10).

Humility

Whenever God then works His power in and through us, the right response is not pride but humility.

When Simon Peter saw the awesome and miraculous catch of fish they had, “he fell at the knees of Jesus and said, 'Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man.”' (Luke 5:8).

Paul became a great apostle and accomplished mighty deeds. He had visions and revelations of the Lord, and had out-of-body experiences and entered Paradise. But because God loved him and intended to use him even more, in order for him not to become too proud, God gave him a thorn in the flesh, an angel of Satan, to beat him (2 Corinthians 12:7).

Pride is not only the way to disaster, but its opposite: humility, being the right response, is the key to unlocking further the miracles of God.

And all of you, clothe yourselves with humility in your dealing with one another, for: 'God opposes the proud but bestows favor on the humble.' So humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time. (1 Peter 5:5b-6)

We are to clothe ourselves not with the rotten loincloth of pride, but with humility. Especially as we experience the mighty hand of God working through us.

More and more, humble your pride. (Sirach 7:17a).

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