Christian woman

When Pride Turns Blessings into Rights

For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,

2 Corinthians 10:4-5

The thing about working for large public corporations is that unless you are very high up, you are at the mercy of the decision makers’ whims. We all understand that it’s impossible to please everyone. Likewise, it is understood that perfect justice is just not possible in human terms. Regardless, I still find myself in a state of unfounded anger when things are “just not fair”. If you are the lowest on the totem pole like myself, changing circumstances at work can feel like you’re drifting aimlessly with the tide.

This morning I discovered that a certain work benefit was being taken away and replaced with something inferior. That old familiar pang of helplessness mixed with anger reared its ugly head. Nevermind the objective reason that it is a for-profit company reallocating money from one thing to another. I felt indignant, affronted, entitled to the previous level of benefits I had enjoyed before. I am neither the newest nor the oldest employee, nor the one with the most responsibility. Still somehow it was a personal insult in the face of my hard work and loyalty.

After I had a moment to cool down, I was convicted in my spirit that something else was going on inside. This job is steady. My pay is not bad. I have very good health benefits. I enjoy a healthy work-life balance. My management stands behind me and my coworkers are conscientious. I am good at what I do and while I don’t consider this job my purpose in life, I believe it is preparing me for what is next. Why then was I so outraged by such a small change of circumstance which, honestly, could be worse?

“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” 

1 Peter 5:8

There’s a deep disconnect between what we believe we are entitled to and the ebb and flow of circumstance. Now I may only be a thirty-something millennial from southern California, but bear with me here: Pride is the root of sin everywhere. As citizens of the world we are steeped in this lie. Lenders, salespeople, marketing agencies, even your own trusted people will all tell you at some point that you deserve X simply because you exist. Maybelline declares, “You’re worth it”, and we believe that we are. But don’t miss the metamorphosis of a “blessing” into “right”. How can we guard against these false prophets of pride?

Be in the Word and prayer daily

Remember, prayer isn’t for changing our circumstances. It changes us as we engage with our Father and the Lord of Heaven. As we engage in prayer we get to know ourselves in relation to the Father and as we read the Bible little by little with an open heart and mind, we get to know God: his character, his truths, and the overarching story of redemption that he is bringing to completion with each passing moment. Let the Holy Spirit convict you and show you what this looks like. Don’t assume you have to do the same thing your friend does – this is your relationship so take ownership and watch how he grows you! 

Consider the Input

What do you willingly allow into your mind? (Movies, TV shows, social media, etc) What messages are you accepting whether intentionally or subconsciously? This is a personal question and the answers will vary wildly from one believer to the next, based on experience, sensitivity, and where you are in your faith journey. It is important to recognize that influence by the world on a believer is real. The enemy is really out there, and his greatest desire is to build up our tolerance for things that stand against God and his will for his children. Believers must take responsibility to actively monitor their own decisions and repent from disobedience.

Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. 

Proverbs 4:23

Filter each message through the Truth of Scripture 

We must be careful to examine the messages we are fed every day.  Even well-meaning words can be destructive if you don’t have a healthy biblical filter of God’s word. I confess I struggle with this too, sometimes life just comes at you so fast that you really don’t take time to stop and remember to do this. It’s not an excuse to rely on what other people say or write or post online. Don’t take even your Pastor’s word for it without checking to make sure it is accurate. 

What comes out of my heart manifests in certain ways, like unkind words, or pride building up that causes anger to overtake my mood. When I noticed myself reacting in these ways I can pretty much bet something is going on underneath the surface. It is a big red flag that something is going on that needs to be dealt with. What kind of benefit could I possibly deserve in my own merit? I have nothing to my name except for what my Father kindly and compassionately gives. Romans 3:23-24 says: “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” Thankfully, believers have the Holy Spirit to communicate and convict us of these things.

Journaling Prompts

  • Where in my life do I feel entitled to a certain circumstance/blessing/outcome?
  • How does pride manifest itself in my heart over this situation?
  • What do I need to repent of and change?
Woman studying the bible and journaling about spiritual growth

The Flawed Theology of Meaningful Work

We all naturally want to do work that is meaningful. But what if your work isn’t? Some people have amazing jobs where it seems that the thing that they do for money is also the thing that makes their soul sing. That is awesome and enviable…and sadly not the reality for 99% of the world. If you’re like me, your job leaves you more stressed than satisfied at the end of the week, and you find yourself wishing it could be different. You have an overwhelming sense of dread that you will never be able to find what you are “meant” to do, and face the possibility of dying having only worked for something you don’t care about.

However it would be a mistake to equate your soul’s purpose with personal fulfillment you get from your job. Many people don’t take the time to reflect on what they functionally believe versus what they say they believe. As long as I am living I am liable to take God’s words and twist them into something incorrect. I discovered that I created my own god when I began to operate under the assumption that all my experiences and talents were only created for one job. I was getting depressed because I thought that if miss that one calling I am much wasted as a person. After graduating from college with my B.A. there were no jobs to be found in Santa Barbara. I was forced to take the only thing I could: a receptionist position at a company that fixed copy machines. This was deeply disturbing to me. “Is this why I just went $80,000 into debt?” I thought, “My time is so much more valuable than this.”

Pausing right here, I see a few things in my past self. First, the enormous sense of entitlement and pride of which I need to repent, but also the fact that I’m focusing on that mirage of “the perfect job” rather than seeing God’s purpose for me right then and there. My manager was a devout Christian and ran his office like one. He was always inviting me to his church and praising the Lord right there in the office. (Which I’m sure was more than a little uncomfortable to all who worked there.) I had some really deep conversations about God with my cubicle mate, and of course there was the fact that I had found a job at all in that climate. God was providing for me in droves but I would go home pouting because I thought there was only one dream job available to me and I had failed in procuring it.

When your functional belief is not the same as your actual beliefs, you end up with flawed theology on your hands. Flawed theology is dangerous because we base our thoughts motivations and actions on our personal theologies. If your theology is incorrect you are putting words in God’s mouth. And that has never ended well, just ask Satan!

Watch “One calling Multiple expressions” by Annie Downs. Aside from being one of my very favorite authors, she talks about how our vocations are expressed in so many unique ways throughout our lives. She says “You are not too old to find your calling, and you are not too young that you have not already experienced multiple expressions of it”. I have watched this particular talk probably more than 5 times since I discovered it a few years ago, and trust me friends, when I say it is full of gems. I can’t recommend that you take a few minutes to watch it yourself. And so we find that a shift in perspective is needed.

What do you think? Take some time to journal as the Spirit leads and hear how God is directing your thoughts on this topic

Seeking God: Humble Victors

April 15, 2017 (1).jpg

Read: Psalm 20:1-9, Zechariah 9:9

Christ: I did not need to be born in a palace – I have a heavenly one. I did not need to be handsome and physically impressive – My spiritual stature was far better. I did not need to enter Jerusalem in a King’s chariot with an honor guard and decoration – the colt of a donkey was just fine.

Think: Real victors do not need to shove it in their opponents’ faces. They have already won and it is obvious. It is only when we see people trying to convince others of their status and wealth that we suspect they are trying to compensate.

Jesus has won and as our inheritance is His victory, God commands humility of us:

Though the Lord is exalted, he looks kindly on the lowly;
    though lofty, he sees them from afar.   -Ps 138:6

He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them.  And he said:“Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.  Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.  -Matthew 18:2-4

“But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ 

“I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”   –Luke 18:13-14

Jesus’s very life on earth was an act of humility.

And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death– even death on a cross!   -Philippians 2:8

Pray: Dear Lord, That we must ride a colt in our exile does not mean we are to forget about our victory which awaits us. Help us to remember that our battle is already won. With the war won before it’s begun, we can relax. We know you have taken care of the outcome. Amen.