Let me open by saying that the picture used to illustrate this topic – Pastor E.A. Adeboye is that of one of the meekest persons on earth today. And it becomes imperative because a large part of the message derives from past admonitions of the man of God. This message was part of my piece posted this morning. I came back home late afternoon to reflect on the message again; with some feelings for me to expand the subject under our COUPLES & FAMILIES OF VALUES agenda for the target audience to comprehend. Before you read meanings into this, let me assert that I am a naturally quiet person, brought up by parents of very high integrity who were extremely humble and humane; to be unassuming and to shun all acts of vanity.
In the top public offices that it pleased God to locate me over the years, I have always recognized the grace and majesty of God, and never behaved like I was more empowered than a clerical officer. If I have ever boasted at all, it is in the name of the Most High God Who makes everything possible. Thank God for people in positions of power. But position and power have really NEVER meant NOTHING to me; and with every humility, I say that I can never be carried away by any position of influence and power. People must talk; but let your conscience be clear and be your guide.
POWER AS AN INTOXICANT: To the glory of God, I have seen it to some extent in life. I guessed the Holy Spirit wants me to do an expose on this subject. Knowing God, it could be for the consumption of only one personality that may even not be resident in Nigeria. The important thing is that I have done my bit. But you could also key into this message that I believe is divine. There is nothing we have been or accomplished that nobody has the grace to accomplish or attain that height. Only God makes things possible. So, why the pride? Know, therefore, that power is ephemeral and flows from the grace of God. Pride provokes Satan to lead and to rob God of His glory. It can and does distort your perception of reality of the proud and arrogant personality. Power is very intoxicating. It takes the grace of God for anybody occupying a leadership position in the developing world, where people hardly enforce their constitutional rights to be level headed and shun pride. Pride is fuelled by ego, and no proud person can be a successful leader.
PRIDE: This is an emotional term that carries two opposing meanings. Aristotle and Bernard Shaw, great philosophers felt pride connotes positivity. They justify this as in self-respect and dignity. However, religion considers pride one of the greatest sins of mankind. The English Monolingual Dictionary describes pride as: ‘’The quality or state of being proud; inordinate self-esteem; an unreasonable conceit of one’s own superiority in talents, beauty, wealth, rank etc., which manifests itself in lofty airs, distance, reserve and often contempt of others’’. People who exhibit the ego phenomenon could be reacting to environmental stimuli and nurture. It could be a function of lack of confidence in themselves, or perceived threats (real or imagined) within the society within which they operate. Those with ego problems will not easily accept that they have weaknesses, when in fact, weaknesses are vital part of life.
DANGERS INHERENT IN PRIDE: Pastor Enoch Adeboye of the Redeemed Christian Church of God asserts that the Bible, in ‘’James 4:6 speaks of something quite frightening; it says ‘’God resists the proud which confirms that God is always contending with the proud.’’ Pride has been identified as the greatest woe that can quickly destroy anyone captured by it. ‘’A proud person is always in contention, – fighting with those he thinks he is better than; and such fellow will try to do anything to show that he/she is better than others. An online publication: ‘’All About God’’ describes pride as the sin of sins: ‘’The sin of pride is the sin of sins. It was this sin that transformed Lucifer, an anointed cherub of God, the very “seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty,” into Satan, the devil, the father of lies, the one for whom Hell itself was created. It was the sin of pride that first led Eve to eat of the forbidden fruit.
THE PROUD HEADED FOR A FALL: That is a divine principle. And one of the reasons is that God cannot tolerate the proud; though He is the Creator. This means that we have the responsibility of moulding our attitudes and ways of life. This is part of the responsibilities of parents and all who exercise parental responsibilities. The proud is always in competition with those who appear better off, just to prove a point that he/she is superior. In doing this, the proud will make derogatory statements about such people and cut them to size just to show that he/she knows it better or can do it better. ‘’The proud finds it difficult to acknowledge the sincere work or efforts of others because he/she thinks such will displace him/her from being on top. The proud sees himself as being number one in all things.
THE PROUD CONTENDS WITH GOD! Apart from contending with people, the proud also contends with God. It is possible for pride to be visibly glaring in the life of someone that is full of it. People could be clothed in pride; just as they could be clothed in humility. ‘’A proud person can be identified from his/her looks, carriage, dressing, speech, behaviour, giving, prayer, Christian service, work, attitude etc. Unfortunately, it is the same reason that makes the proud person haughty, is the same reason that will make him/her fall. Every proud individual is headed for a fall and proud people end up being destroyed’’ Personality is the combined product of nature and nurture. But the stunning revelation by Pastor Adeboye is that the humble is more powerful than the proud; because whereas the humble has access to unlimited grace, the proud may not access an iota of grace. God once told Daddy Adeboye during a prayer walk in the wee hours of the day that He had the power to wipe off the General Overseer’s name never to be remembered as passing through the world if he ever saw traces of pride in the man of God. This is because power belongs to God. Only by pride cometh contention: but with the well advised is wisdom. Proverbs 13:10.
GOD RESISTS THE PROUD: As counselled by Pastor Adeboye, apart from impure thoughts and cravings of the body, another area you must exert your victory over the flesh is pride. A proud person is always in contention – fighting with those he thinks he is better than; such a fellow will do everything to show that he is better than them. The proud finds it difficult to acknowledge the sincere work or effort of others because he thinks such will displace him from being on top. The proud sees himself or herself as number one in all things. Apart from contending with men, the proud also contends with God. Anyone who is proud or haughty and is speaking so much about God is only a pretender. By reason of their contention with God, they have enthroned self as number one in their lives, making God their running mate. Are you finding it difficult to recognize the efforts of those that are better than you in certain areas? You are simply proud.
Psalms 73:6 says some people are compassed with pride. This implies that it is possible for pride to be visibly glaring in the life of someone that is full of it. You can be clothed in pride just as you can be clothed in humility. You can identify a proud person from his or her looks, carriage, dressing, speech, behaviour, giving, prayer, Christian service, work, attitude, etc. Unfortunately, Isaiah 13:11 says the same reason that makes the proud fellow haughty is the reason that will make him fall. Every proud individual is headed for a fall and proud people end up being destroyed (Proverbs 16:18). Some people are proud but they don’t know it. If you exalt yourself by your words and conduct, you shall be abased (Matthew 23:12). James 4:6 speaks of something quite frightening: It says God resists the proud which confirms that God is always contending with the proud. Is there pride in your heart? Ask God for forgiveness and to uproot every trace of it from your life today.
PRIDE MAY CAUSE GOD TO REFUSE TO EMPOWER YOU; OR WITHDRAW HIS POWER FROM YOU: Elijah was one Bible character that experienced victory all the way. In 2 Kings 1:9-15, some sets of soldiers came to arrest him but soon realised that they were the ones being arrested. Those who surrendered, he spared but those who refused to surrender, he roasted alive. He was so full of power. Power, is good but very dangerous. It is commonly said that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. If you have power, you need lots of restraint lest it turns your victory into defeat. With power of God, you can easily secure victory but you need humility and the fruit of the Spirit to sustain that victory. A minister of God who uses his or her tongue unadvisedly will soon erode the gains of victory earlier obtained. What is the use of power without control? One reason God has not increased His anointing on some of His children or answered some who are petitioning Him for higher levels of anointing is because they cannot handle it, that is to say, they cannot control it.
WATCH YOUR UTTERANCES: If you are the type that easily curses your children or wards, if God anoints you, you will not know when you will place a curse on them and it will stick. Pastors who curse members or workers are fast eroding their victories. If you have common sense, you will know that it is wrong to curse anyone who volunteers his or her service to God just because the fellow made a mistake. There are better ways of correcting the fellow but not through a curse. If you are fond of cursing those you should be protecting, something is wrong with you; you should rather be blessing them. In addition, if God’s power in your life makes you proud, or to feel that you are better than your neighbour, you will lose your victory. One attribute God cannot stand is pride. God fights the proud because they compare themselves with Him, so He will want to prove a point that they are nothing without Him. Are you proud of your achievements? You may soon lose them. To keep your victory permanent, handle them with lots of humility, thanksgiving and giving all credits to God alone. God hates the proud: are you proud? Repent today!
PRIDE AS THE FOREMOST DEADLY SIN: Most of those disturbances all over the world today are the results of pride and arrogance. Arrogance by personalities; and arrogance by nations. And these are avoidable. Why not beat your chest if anyone confronts you: ‘’Me the son/daughter of God’’ and leave all to God to handle as the Alpha & Omega Who fights for His own children? The sin of pride is rightfully distinguished as the foremost among the seven “deadly sins,” each of the seven equally as deadly (Proverbs 6:16-19), but none quite as notorious as this “sin of the devil.” We fight pride by humbling ourselves before God in prayer, asking Him to reveal the pride hidden in our hearts, acknowledging and repenting of pride when we see it in ourselves, and by being transparent with our Christian family for the sake of accountability and prayer’’ Here are some scriptural messages from the online publication quoted above to teach us why we must be humble at all times:
- “The wicked in his proud countenance does not seek God; God is in none of his thoughts.” (Psalms 10:4)
- “Though the LORD is on high, yet He regards the lowly; but the proud He knows from afar.” (Psalm 138:6)
- “The fear of the LORD is to hate evil; pride and arrogance and the evil way and the perverse mouth I hate.” (Proverbs 8:13)
- When pride comes, then comes shame; but with the humble is wisdom.” (Proverbs 11:2)
- “By pride comes nothing but strife, but with the well-advised is wisdom.” (Proverbs 13:10)
- Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” (Proverbs 16:18)
- Everyone proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD; though they join forces, none will go unpunished.” (Proverbs 16:5)
- “A man’s pride will bring him low, but the humble in spirit will retain honor.” (Proverbs 29:23)
- PLEASE BRING UP YOUR CHILDREN TO BE HUMBLE. That is one of the ways we could build a great nation.