Listening: The Pathway to Wisdom, by Bryan Gibson
Matters of the Heart (From 2 Corinthians), by Bryan Gibson
Self Esteem, by Dave Brown
Look in the Mirror, What Do You See? by Bryan Gibson
Are You a Sluggard? by Brian Gibson
I Thank God For You, by Bryan Gibson
The Fear of the Lord, by Bryan Gibson
The Kind of Heart That Will Lead Us to Heaven, by Bryan Gibson
To God (Not Me) Be The Glory, by Bryan Gibson
“On Fire” For the Lord, by Bryan Gibson
Attitude is the condition of our heart, the way that we feel toward something or someone. If we cannot get excited about doing God's will, then we just will not do it. These articles have the goal of motivating us toward more positive feelings toward our Lord Jesus Christ.
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Listening: The Pathway to Wisdom
by Bryan Gibson
[Editorial comment. Reflecting the Bible use of the word "hear," as in John 6:44, Acts 2:22, etc., we often state that a major condition of salvation is that we "hear" the word of truth. This is a true statement. But we must realize that the word "hear" when used in this way means more than being in the right place at the right time to hear something. It properly means "to listen." That is, it requires much more than something that goes on in the ears. It requires that we seek after the meaning of what our ears are conveying to our brains. "And without faith it is impossible to be well-pleasing (unto him); for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and (that) he is a rewarder of them that seek after him" (Hebrews 11:6 ASV).]
“So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak…” (James 1:19). We don’t always obey this command do we? Many times we do just the opposite—slow to hear and swift to speak. We’re more concerned with what we’ve got to say than what someone else has got to say.
We could go a long way toward solving this problem by simply practicing the “Golden Rule”: “Whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them” (Matt. 7:12). We certainly appreciate it when people listen to us, so we should show them the same courtesy. To become truly wise, we must learn to listen—to our parents, to our spouses, to our children, to our brethren, to our friends and neighbors, and especially to God.
Let’s look at some other passages (all from Proverbs) that urge us to be “swift to hear and slow to speak.”
- He who has knowledge spares his words, And a man of understanding is of a calm spirit. Even a fool is counted wise when he holds his peace; When he shuts his lips, he is considered perceptive (17:27-28).
- He who answers a matter before he hears it, it is folly and shame to him (18:13).
- Wise people store up knowledge, but the mouth of the foolish is near destruction (10:14).
- A prudent man keeps his knowledge to himself, but the heart of fools blurts out folly (12:23).
- Wisdom rests in the heart of him who has understanding, but what is in the heart of fools is made known (14:33).
- Do you see a man who is hasty in his words? There is more hope for a fool than for him (29:20).
- The ear that hears the rebukes of life will abide among the wise. He who disdains instruction despises his own soul, but he who heeds rebuke gets understanding (15:31-32).
Let’s take the following test to see how well we’re doing.
- Do we listen when someone is correcting us, or only when someone is praising us?
- When we share knowledge with others, do we do it to inform or to impress?
- Do we feel like we have to say everything that’s on our mind?
- How often do we interrupt when someone else is speaking?
- Do we really listen to the ideas of others, or is our way always the best way?
- Do we tell things on other people before we’ve heard all the facts?
- Do we really listen when our children tell us what’s going on in their lives?
- Do we listen to the elderly, or do we dismiss their wisdom as “outdated”?
- Do we listen carefully in Bible class, both to the teacher and to those making comments?
- Do we listen carefully to every sermon?
MATTERS OF THE HEART (From 2 Corinthians)
by Bryan Gibson
The gospel must be planted deeply within our hearts.
“…written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh, that is, of the heart” (2 Cor. 3:3).
For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. (2 Cor. 4:6).
If the gospel is planted within our hearts, what effect will it have?
- It will help to cleanse our hearts and lives of sin.“Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God” (2 Cor. 7:1).
- The things we do in service to God will come from the heart. “For I bear witness that according to their ability, yes, and beyond their ability, they were freely willing” (2 Cor. 8:3). “So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Cor. 9:7).
- Our hearts will opened to others. “O Corinthians! We have spoken openly to you, our heart is wide open” (2 Cor. 6:11). “But thanks be to God who puts the same earnest care for you into the heart of Titus” (2 Cor. 8:16). “For out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote to you, with many tears, not that you should be grieved, but that you might know the love which I have so abundantly for you” (2 Cor. 2:4).
- Our hearts will not become discouraged. “Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal” (2 Cor. 4:16-18).
- Our hearts will yearn to share the truth with others. “Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ's behalf, be reconciled to God” (2 Cor. 5:20). “And since we have the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, "I believed and therefore I spoke," we also believe and therefore speak…” (2 Cor. 4:13).
by Dave Brown
We hear much on this subject today, and the prevailing thought in society seems to be that, given enough of it, all our problems will be solved.
A recent TV documentary showed first and second grade children undergoing self-esteem indoctrination in our public schools. These children gave presentations which illustrated that they were so full of themselves that describing them as arrogant and obnoxious seems quite mild. But we can hardly blame the children.
The Bible clearly teaches us that we are to have an accurate regard for ourselves. The Psalmist said "I am fearfully and wonderfully made" (Ps. 139: 14). Man should not trivialize his existence nor think that he cannot make a difference in this world. We were all made by God, and we all have a mission to fulfill.
But even here we see a distinct difference between what the Bible teaches and what is taught in self-esteem classes. The Psalmist attributes his wonderfulness to his Maker, not to himself.
To a people who might be caught up in their greatness, the Romans, the apostle Paul wrote that a man is "not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly" (Rom. 12:3).
Jesus has set us on a quest for truth and accuracy, and this applies to our assessment of ourselves as well as others. We should not err in thinking ourselves greater than what we are, but neither should we minimize what God has made us. As is always the case, anything other than truth is enslavement (John 8:32).
Unfortunately, those who err in either direction are bound for destruction. Indeed, we can expect our suicide rate to climb to new heights when the day comes that our newly-created young egotists are forced to face the recognition that they are NOT the centers of the universe.
Look in the Mirror, What Do You See?
by Bryan Gibson
Several weeks ago, we posed the question, how well do you know Jesus? Let’s turn that around today and ask, how well does Jesus know you? You know the answer already, don’t you? He knows everything about you, including what is “in you” (John 2:23). Jesus described Himself this way: “I am He who searches (or examines) the minds and hearts” (Revelation 2:23). Since Jesus continually examines us, we need to continually examine ourselves. Here are some questions to help us all examine ourselves.
- Do I treat those in my family the way Jesus tells me to? (Ephesians 5:22-6:4; Colossians 3:18-21; Titus 2:3-5).
- Is my anger out of control? Is it directed at the wrong things? How often do I let the sun go down on my wrath? (Ephesians 4:26-27).
- Do I ever gossip? Do I ever smile when I report the problems of others? (Romans 1:29-30; 2 Corinthians 12:20; 1 Timothy 5:13).
- Do I take criticism, correction or rebuke well? (Proverbs 12:1).
- Do I leave too many good works undone? Do I have reasons—or excuses—for my failures? (Matthew 5:16; Acts 9:36; 1 Timothy 5:10; 6:18; Titus 2:7, 14).
- Do I visit the sick, either personally or by other means of contact? (Matthew 25:36, 43).
- Do I talk to others about the gospel, or am I too ashamed? (2 Timothy 1:8, 12).
- Do I try to restore those who have fallen away? (Galatians 6:1-2; James 5:19-20).
- Are my thoughts pure? (Philippians 4:8).
- Do I guard my heart diligently? (Proverbs 4:23). What kind of music do I listen to? What T.V. programs do I watch? Have I seen any movies I should not have seen?
- Do I study diligently? (2 Timothy 2:15; 1 Peter 2:1-2).
- Do I hunger and thirst for righteousness? (Matthew 5:6).
- How much time do I spend in prayer? (1 Thessalonians 5:17).
- Do I attend the services of the church faithfully? (Hebrews 10:24-25; Acts 11:26; 20:7; 1 Corinthians 11:18).
- Do I worship in spirit and in truth? (John 4:24).
- Do I sing with the spirit and with understanding? Do I make melody in my heart when I sing? (1 Corinthians 14:15; Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16).
- Do I properly discern the Lord’s body when I observe the Lord’s Supper? (1 Corinthians 11:27-29)
- Do I give bountifully (liberally) and cheerfully? (2 Corinthians 9:6-7).
- Do I obey the laws of the land? (1 Peter 2:13).
- Do I have a good attitude at work? Do I work “as to the Lord” when I’m on the job? (Ephesians 6:5-8; Colossians 3:22-25).
- Do I use any foul or suggestive or profane language? (Ephesians 5:3-4).
- Do I do anything to defile my body, which is the temple of the Holy Spirit? (1 Corinthians 6:13-20).
- Do I ever tell lies or deceive people in any way? (Colossians 3:9; Ephesians 4:25).
Many more questions could be added, but let’s close with this important point. There is another sense in which Jesus may not know you at all. To those who do not obey His will, Jesus will have this to say in the day of judgment, “I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness” (Matthew 7:21-23; see also Matthew 25:11-13; Luke 13:24-27).
ARE YOU A SLUGGARD?
by Brian Gibson
Most of us don’t like to be called names, and one name we certainly don’t want to be called is a “sluggard.” A sluggard, of course, is a lazy person, someone who works very hard to avoid work. Let’s look at some characteristics of a sluggard, to see whether or not we fit the description.
A sluggard sleeps too much, and sleeps when he should be working.
How long will you slumber, O sluggard? When will you rise from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber, A little folding of the hands to sleep; so shall your poverty come on you like a prowler, And your need like an armed man (Prov. 6:9-11).
Do not love sleep, lest you come to poverty; Open your eyes, and you will be satisfied with bread (Prov. 20:13).
Certainly, we all need sufficient rest, but when we’re showing up late for work or for some important appointment because we’re “sleeping in,” we’ve got a problem.
A sluggard talks when he should be working.
In all labor there is profit, but idle chatter leads only to poverty (Prov. 14:23).
Some people can talk while they’re working, but some people talk instead of working. There comes a time when we need to lay the “idle chatter” aside, and get to work.
A sluggard makes excuses to get out of work, often bordering on the ridiculous.
The lazy man says, "There is a lion outside! I shall be slain in the streets!" (Prov. 22:13).
The lazy man says, "There is a lion in the road! A fierce lion is in the streets!" (Prov. 26:13).
We’re not always going to feel just right, and conditions are not always going to be just right, but we better learn to work in spite of all that.
A sluggard is wise in his own eyes.
The lazy man is wiser in his own eyes than seven men who can answer sensibly (Prov. 26:16).
While the sluggard may not willing to do a job himself, he is always ready to tell someone else how to do it.
A sluggard follows after frivolity, or to put it another way, he likes to goof off.
He who tills his land will be satisfied with bread, But he who follows frivolity is devoid of understanding (Prov. 12:11).
He who tills his land will have plenty of bread, But he who follows frivolity will have poverty enough! (Prov. 28:19).
It’s amazing the amount of energy one can have for frivolity, but when it comes to work, he is just too exhausted.
I Thank God For You…
by Bryan Gibson
When the apostle Paul saw good qualities in his fellow Christians, he didn’t thank them, at least not directly. He thanked God. “I thank God upon every remembrance of you…for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now” (Philippians 1:3, 5). Why did he thank God for what they had done? Because he knew that his brethren were ultimately the work of God. “Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6). His prayer was that these brethren would be “filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God” (Philippians 1:11). My intention in this article is to follow Paul’s example. I want to thank God for my brethren—in particular, those in the church here at Prattmont. I’ll warn you—this is the longest article to date, but please indulge me—it takes a while to properly thank God.
Hopefully, this will accomplish several things. I get to do something that I’ve been remiss in doing—at least, as often as I should. It will bring glory and praise to God, to see just how much He has accomplished in the lives of my brethren. It will encourage these brethren (and hopefully others) to keep doing good, to not grow weary in well-doing (Galatians 6:9). It will help all our readers to better appreciate the Lord’s design for the church, and in particular, the fellowship followers of Christ can have with one another.
I thank God that my brethren here have determined to follow the example set by the Lord, who while on this earth, did not align Himself with the divisive religious parties of his day (Pharisees, Sadducees, etc); who instead just simply went about doing God’s will (John 5:30; 6:38), free from all the traditions that had become a part of these religious parties (Mark 7:1-13). These brethren have no desire to be part of any denomination, which would separate or divide them from others, and would make them feel bound to follow the teachings of that particular group. They are content to simply be Christians, taking directions from Christ and from Christ alone (Ephesians 1:22-23; 4:15-16; 5:23-24; Colossians 1:18).
I thank God for their faithful attendance at the assemblies of the church. There’s simply no way to measure the encouragement this has given to me—and to my fellow-members. Some of our older members have continued to attend, when it would have been so much easier for them to stay at home. I thank God for them. Some of our young people have been at services when they could have been elsewhere—a school function, a ball game, or maybe even at home doing their homework. I thank God that they have learned at an early age to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness (Hebrews 10:24-25; Matthew 6:33).
I thank God for the good, solid teaching that various members (men and women) have given the young people here—the fruits of which have become very obvious with so many of them turning to the Lord. They’ve taught them both by word and by example, and I thank God for them—especially when I consider that my own children are included among the young people here (2 Timothy 2:2; 1 Timothy 4:16).
- I thank God for the efforts they’ve made in reaching the lost—the names they’ve given me for the bulletin and for correspondence courses, the tapes of sermons they’ve sent to others, the outlines they’ve sent, the people they’ve invited to services, the times they have spoken up for the truth in conversations with others, the people they’ve asked me to contact, the prayers they’ve offered to God on behalf of the lost. I thank God for what they’ve done. May God help us all to do even more (Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 8:4; John 4:35; Matthew 9:37-38).
- I thank God for their willingness to forgive their brothers and sisters in Christ. When their fellow-Christians have confessed their sins, they’ve embraced them, shed tears with them, and prayed with them and for them. I thank God for the mercy they’ve extended time and time again (Ephesians 4:32; Colossians 3:12-13).
- I thank God for their love for the truth—for the times they’ve corrected me when I was wrong, the times they’ve spoken up in Bible class when error was taught, for the support they’ve given the elders when a strong stance had to be made against error. They do not claim to be perfect, in their lives, or in their understanding of God’s word, but they do believe a perfect plan has been provided, and they intend to follow that plan as closely as they can (Jude 1:3; 2 Timothy 1:13).
- I thank God for the various ways they have ministered to the needs of others—visiting the sick, comforting those who’ve lost loved ones, consoling those whose loved ones have gone astray, even digging into their pockets to assist those in financial need. They have shown a great capacity to “weep with those who weep.” I thank God, because over and over again, they have demonstrated the love of God (Matthew 25:31-46; 1 Thessalonians 5:14; Romans 12:15).
- I thank God for the way they have separated themselves from the world—in their speech, their dress, their behavior, and the forms of entertainment they choose. Presented with the choice of conforming to the world or conforming to Christ, they found Him to be more attractive. May God help us to more fully separate (sanctify) ourselves from the ways of this world (Romans 12:1-2; 8:29; 1 John 2:15-17).
- I thank God for the young people here who have decided to serve the Lord at an early age. At last count, we have 23 Christians here from age 18 and below. I thank God for every one of them, for the decision they made, for the hope of eternal salvation they now have, for the potential good they can do in their lifetime, because they started so early (Ecclesiastes 12:1).
- I thank God for those who had the courage to turn to the Lord in their later years. Some, by their own admission, spent too many years in sin, before finally the goodness and severity of God led them to repentance. I thank God—for His longsuffering, for His grace in saving these individuals, and for their response to His grace, a response that came before it was too late (2 Peter 3:9-10; Romans 2:5-10; 6:17; 11:22).
- I thank God for those who obeyed the word under very difficult circumstances. Despite ridicule and scorn, and in some cases, alienation from their families, they did what they knew was right, and they continue faithful till this day. I thank God for their courage and conviction (1 Thessalonians 1:5-10; 2:13).
- I thank God for the lack of envy and jealousy that they’ve shown in working together with each other. They’ve gone about doing their part, not with concern for their own glory, but for the glory of God. I thank God, because this selflessness could only have been learned from Him (1 Corinthians 12:14-27; 1 Peter 4:10-11).
- I thank God for our elders. Along with watching for our souls, they’ve had to make many tough decisions, and those decisions have been influenced by two major factors: their love for the truth, and their love for the souls of this flock. I thank God, because after all, He’s the one who taught them to be shepherds. Could there be a better model than the Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ? (Acts 20:28; Hebrews 13:17; 1 Peter 5:1-4).
- I thank God for our deacons, because in addition to their many family and work responsibilities, they’ve been given many other responsibilities within the church. I thank God, because He gave these servants the mind of a servant—exemplified in the life of Jesus Christ (1 Timothy 3:8-13; Philippians 2:1-11).
- I thank God for the encouragement they’ve given me—the words they’ve said, the notes they’ve written, the prayers they’ve offered, the examples they’ve set, the financial support they’ve given, etc. (2 Timothy 1:18).
Thank you God, from the depths of my heart!
The Fear of the Lord
by Bryan Gibson
What does it mean to fear the Lord? Many people answer this way: “It means to be in awe of Him, to have reverence for Him.” It’s hard to argue with that, especially when you consider these two passages from the Psalms. “Let all the earth fear the Lord; Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him” (Psalms 33:8). “Fear” and “stand in awe of Him” appear to be used interchangeably here. “God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints, and to be held in reverence by all those around Him” (Psalms 89:7). So we certainly can’t quibble with those who use the word reverence to explain the fear of the Lord.
It would be a mistake, though, to stop with these two passages. Other passages help us to see the whole truth. To fear God is to also fear what He will do to those who disobey Him. Start reading in Genesis and keep reading, right on through the New Testament—you can’t help but tremble at the fierceness of His wrath, directed against those who disobey His will. Read carefully these words of Jesus in Matthew 10:28: “Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both body and soul in hell.” Consider also Hebrews 10:31: “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of a living God.” If that’s not enough to sober us up, look at this warning: “Because of unbelief they (Jews) were broken off, and you (Gentiles) stand by faith.” Do not be haughty but fear. For if God did not spare the natural branches, He may not spare you either. Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off” (Romans 11:20-22). If that doesn’t make us tremble, we need to go back and read it again.
This fear of the Lord actually breeds confidence, as strange as that may sound. Look at these words: “In the fear of the Lord there is strong confidence, and his children will have a place of refuge. The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, to turn one away from the snares of death” (Proverbs 14:26-27). Fear of the Lord steers us away from the “snares of death,” teaches us to “hate evil” (Proverbs 8:13), and keeps us in the pathway of God. Those who fear the Lord, when they do sin, will immediately repent and seek His forgiveness. They have seen the “repent…or else” warnings (Revelation 2:5, 16), and they sure don’t like the “or else” part. So fear is really a healthy thing—it keeps us in the “straight and narrow;” it drives us back to God, who is our “place of refuge.” All of this serves to give us greater confidence in our salvation.
Some complain about preachers in the past who preached nothing but “fire and brimstone” lessons, emphasizing the fear of the Lord. I don’t know how true that is, but perhaps today we have swung to the other extreme. Some talk almost exclusively about the love of God, implying that this should be our sole motivation. While this may become the primary motivation for a mature Christian, he dare not lose sight of the other. Fear of the Lord (with all its facets) is a great motivator, too. Consider the goodness AND the severity of the Lord.
The Kind of Heart That Will Lead Us to Heaven
by Bryan Gibson
Most religious people talk frequently about heaven, confident that this is their final destination. But as the old song says, “Everybody talking about heaven ain’t going there.” One thing is for sure—if we’re going to make it to heaven, we’ve got to have the right kind of heart.
We need a humble heart, a teachable heart (Psalms 25:9), a heart that says, “O LORD, I know the way of man is not in himself; it is not in man who walks to direct his own steps” (Jeremiah 10:23). It is the humble of heart who will truly seek God and His ways. They are too humble to do it “their way”; God’s way is the only thing that will satisfy them. “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (1 Peter 5:5).
We need a thankful heart, a heart like the one leper who returned to say “thank you” to Jesus (Luke 17:11-19); a heart that “gives thanks always for all things” (Ephesians 5:20). Those who possess this kind of heart will “no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again” (2 Corinthians 5:15). Dedicated service is no problem for them, because they want to do all they can to show their gratitude to God (1 Corinthians 15:9-10; Galatians 2:20).
We need a heart that loves God more than anyone or anything else, more than mother and father, brother and sister, wife and children (Luke 14:25-26; Matthew 10:34-37). It is not enough to honor Him with our lips; He must be first in our hearts (Matthew 15:8). “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37).
We need a heart that desperately wants to KNOW what is pleasing to God, a heart that says, “Show me Your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths” (Psalms 25:9); a heart that listens to the word with humility (James 1:21); a heart that cries out for knowledge, wisdom, and understanding (Proverbs 2:1-5). One who has this kind of heart does not look to creed books, or church manuals, or even to his preacher for the truth. He only wants to know what the Bible says.
We need a heart that sincerely wants to DO what is pleasing to God—a heart like Jesus, who said, “I always do those things that please Him” (John 8:29). Those who possess this kind of heart know that the day is coming when they will have to give account to the Lord, and so their aim is to be well-pleasing to Him (2 Corinthians 5:9-10).
We need a heart that is easily broken by sin, a heart like King Josiah, who was so distraught when he learned of his sins that he tore his clothes and wept (2 Kings 22:18-19). “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and contrite heart; these, O God, you will not despise” (Psalms 51:17). This is the “godly sorrow” that “produces repentance leading to salvation” (2 Corinthians 7:10). If sin doesn’t bother us, then we need to quit talking about heaven, because we “ain’t going there.”
Acts 2:37 tells of some whose hearts were broken by sin, so much so that they cried out, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” The apostle Peter answered them, “Repent, and let everyone of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38). This is a good time to find out if you have the right kind of heart. Will you obey the Lord?
To God (Not Me) Be The Glory
by Bryan Gibson
The Bible repeatedly warns against pride, and for good reason. It is a common problem, and it will be the very reason why many people lose their soul. The following is a short summary of New Testament teaching on the subject of pride.
Pride is a sin.
Pride is listed among the evil things that come from the heart and defile a man (Mark 7:21-23).
Pride is listed among those things of which God says, “those who practice such things are worthy of death” (Romans 1:28-32).
Selfish ambition is listed among the works of the flesh (Galatians 5:19-21).
The proud, the haughty, and lovers of self are listed among the kind of people from whom Timothy was to turn away (2 Timothy 3:1-5).
The pride of life is not of the Father, but of the world (1 John 2:15-17; James 3:14-16).
Proud people will be punished.
Indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, will come to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth (Romans 2:8-9).
Those who are puffed up with pride will fall into the same condemnation as the devil (1 Timothy 3:6).
Humble people will be rewarded.
He who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted (Matthew 23:12; Luke 14:11; Luke 18:14; 1 Peter 5:6).
God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble (James 4:6; 1 Peter 5:5).
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3).
Pride leads to other sins.
Wherever you find pride, you will find many other evil things (James 3:14-16), including envy and strife (Galatians 5:26).
Pride is often associated with those who teach false doctrine (1 Timothy 6:3-5).
The proper attitude
Rather than seeking honor or praise from others, we should seek the honor or praise that comes from God (John 8:50, 54; Romans 2:7; 1 Peter 1:6-7; John 12:42-43; 1 Thessalonians 2:6; Romans 2:29).
Instead of esteeming ourselves too highly, we should esteem others better than ourselves (Philippians 2:3; Romans 12:10).
We should never boast in our salvation, because without the grace of God, we would be hopelessly lost (Ephesians 2:8-10; 1 Corinthians 15:10).
If we’re going to boast about anything, let it be the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ (Galatians 6:14).
We should learn to “rejoice” in infirmities, because they can keep us from being exalted above measure; they can make us depend even more on the power of God (2 Corinthians 12:7-10).
Those who are rich should not become haughty, because everything they have comes from God (1 Timothy 6:17-19). Or, to put it in the words of James 1:17: “every good gift and every perfect gift is from above.”
“For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen” (Romans 11:36).
“On Fire” For the Lord
by Bryan Gibson
Have you ever heard of a man named Phinehas? This is what the Lord had to say about him: “…he was zealous with My zeal” (Numbers 25:11); “he was zealous for his God” (Numbers 25:13). Could the Lord say the same about us?
Of course, to be able to answer that question, we need to know what the word zeal means. Various definitions include the following ideas: “enthusiastic devotion to a cause, an ideal, or a goal; and tireless diligence in its furtherance; “to be excited; intense enthusiasm, as in working for a cause; ardent endeavor or devotion; ardor; fervor.”
Notice the last word in the previous definition: fervor. Other forms of that word are fervent and fervently, words which are found in the New Testament. This word fervor is an interesting one. It comes from a Greek word which means to boil with heat, to make hot. In fact, the Greeks used this word to describe boiling water. The Scriptures confirm for us that this is the basic idea found in the words zeal and fervency (see 2 Peter 3:10-12; Revelation 3:14-19).
So when the Lord tells us be zealous, He is telling us to be “on fire.” He wants us to have great interest and concern for His cause; to show eagerness and enthusiasm in our work for Him.
Now that we understand the meaning of the word, let’s look at two major areas in which we ought to show zeal.
First, in doing the will of God.
The Scriptures teach us to love one another fervently (1 Peter 1:22; 4:8); to pray fervently (Colossians 4:2, 12-13; James 5:16); to do really everything fervently (Colossians 3:23). What will inspire this zeal? The fact that Christ gave Himself for us (Titus 2:11-14). Zeal will come when we remember that we are living for someone who died for us. What will be the effect of this zeal on others? As 2 Corinthians 9:2 indicates, it will stir up others. Our zeal will make others more zealous.
Secondly, in teaching the will of God.
The following is said about Apollos: “being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things of the Lord…” (Acts 18:25). In other words, Apollos was on fire; he was eager to teach others the word of God. A similar attitude is expressed by Peter and John: “We cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:20). That’s the kind of zeal we need today; that’s the kind of zeal which will cause the church to grow.
A word of caution before we close this article.
Zeal, by itself, is a dangerous thing. Here is what Paul said about his fellow-Israelites: “they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge” (Romans 10:2). It is important to have zeal, but it is equally important that this zeal be directed in keeping with God’s word.
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