Jesus is to be our center, the reason for our being! And if we keep placing Him first, then we become God's will!
Have you considered that pride is in the same category as the 'big' sins of homosexuality, adultery and the like? Perhaps you are shocked? Maybe you never thought through how pride impacts others, or it's impact on our sanctification, or how God feels about it? Well check our Romans 1: 26-32!
It is because pride is listed in Rom 1 with the other great sins, and in the Greek syntax, it is listed in an imperative, this means God is serious! In conjunction there are scores of other Scriptural references such as in Psalms and Proverbs that gives an extreme case for what God hates, and that is pride. In America we glance over this and do not consider it relevant. Check out these passages we rarely preach on! (Job 41:34; Psalm10: 5; 18:27; 101:5; 131:1; 6:17; Prov. 16:18; 21:4; 30:13)!
Pride is defined as the attitude that oneself is superior to others, even to the extent of the regarding of others with contempt as if they were unworthy of any relation or interaction with them. Pride shows the basic thinking "I am better than you are!" Other Biblical synonyms for pride are arrogance, insolence, boastful, stiff-necked and haughtiness. This is directly the opposite of God's will and us seeking and knowing His will! These aspects of pride clog us up and away from our loving Savior as they restrict the flow of His character in our lives and inhibit goodness from going to others through us. It is like not allowing Jesus Christ to be the ultimate plumber and unplug our spiritual drainpipes. So, all we can do is pour our waste all over the floor of life, and refuse godly characteristics to flow in our relational pipes (1 Pet 4:12-19).
The big idea is that pride sets us up as a god when there is only One God. God wants our obedience, love and trust, we cannot do that when we are too full of ourselves! I have struggled with this alot over the years, and God keeps humbling me! Has He humbled you? Or are you too big for God?
Are you grateful for what Christ has done or do you take it for granted (Luke 15:17-19)? To despise God is to refuse to acknowledge His sovereignty and work, as well as His generous gift of grace. Refusing to yield your life over to God's will, will cost you greatly in judgment and in life; as God's ways are better than ours! Do you base your comfort on what you do, your works? Works do not earn, they only prove.
Do you obey God and pursue righteousness? Salvation is a gift, not a reward (2 Cor. 5:10)! As driving a car is a privilege, not a right! Is your heart hard or soft? Do you hide in the comfort of your parent's faith, or in the activity of the church? External worship and faith does not guarantee what is inside! God searches our heart, what will He find in yours? God is more concerned with our obedience than our knowledge! The law comes before grace, for without the law and the righteousness of God we have nothing to be saved from. The bad news of judgment is shadowed by the good news of grace!
Does not the reformed church teach that we do not need to seek God's will, because no matter what, God will allow things to come to pass no matter what we do?
For the most part this is what the Bible teaches; God is sovereign, and the understanding of His sovereignty is essential in our growth and trust in Him! However, we need to understand human responsibility. We are not robots with preprogrammed parameters. We do not have a specific set of instructions we follow no matter what, so our choices are irrelevant. We have free will and everything that comes to pass is preordained. This may blow your mind, because it is beyond our comprehension.
We have to trust God that His will is set, at the same time, we are to do the best we can in the choices we make. That is why we have the Word and the Holy Spirit. If there were no choices to make, then we do not need to do anything. We do not need to even get out of bed. But this of course is ridiculous. This thinking is called 'Hyper-Calvinism'.
It is a false doctrine that emphasizes divine sovereignty "to the exclusion" of human responsibility (Calvin taught more on our responsibility than any other subject!). To call it "hyper-Calvinism" is something of a misnomer. It is actually a rejection of historic Calvinism. Hyper-Calvinism entails a denial of what is taught in both Scripture and the landmark Calvinistic creeds. This is minimizing the moral and spiritual responsibility of sinners. It emphasizes irresistible grace to such an extent that there appears to be no real need to evangelize; that Christ may be offered only to the elect. It has 5 aspects associated with it: 1. Denies the call of the gospel "applies" to all who hear, OR 2. Denies that faith is the duty of every sinner, OR 3. Denies that the gospel makes any "offer" of Christ, salvation, or mercy to the non-elect, "denies that the offer of divine mercy is free and universal", OR 4. Denies that there is such a thing as "common grace," OR 5. Denies that God has any sort of love for the non-elect.
Unfortunately there are people in the church who teach such things, and I believe it is a comfort for them. Because if you really believe in this hyper-Calvinism, then you do not need to evangelize or do anything you are not comfortable with. It is a great excuse to be a club and not the church Christ called and is the head of!
Are you being harassed, gossiped about, slandered, or mistreated? If not, it will come. We are called to prepare for it and seek reconciliation if possible; our good character will prevent others the ammunition to fight us. However, we also need to examine what we are doing wrong. Is there reason from our behavior that what they say is true? If so, we need to mend our ways. If their accusations are false, then take comfort as Christ went through it, and He will take you through it too. You will learn, grow, and be stronger, and God will be glorified by your good faith! We have to get this important point: suffering has a purpose and a reason-it is for our benefit and God's glory. We should never think of it as shame or as meaningless; rather, we should see it as a badge of honor. Because we live in Christ, we can have great confidence and hope. This material world is very temporary; we are being shaped for eternity!
We cannot see the value nor get a grasp of the promises of God until we surrender our pride and Will to Him. Make the determination to be His and do not allow your self-will to be in His way! Allow Christ to take you beyond your hopes and dreams (John 3:5).
In this world you will have trouble but take heart! I have overcome the world (John 16:33)
Condensed from the book "Finding God's Will for your Life" by Richard J. Krejcir, Copyright 1997
© 1994, 2001 R.J. Krejcir http://www.intothyword.com/
Richard Joseph Krejcir, is the Director of 'Into Thy Word Ministries, 'a discipleing ministry. He is also a pastor, teacher, speaker is a graduate of Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena California and has amounted nearly 20 years of pastoral ministry experience mostly in youth ministry, including serving as a church growth consultant.