The Fall Of Pride

After I finished reading Daniel 5 last night, I had a cascade of examples in the Bible come to mind. Man’s ways are finite. God is Infinite in all His ways in dealing with man. King Belshazzar, Nebuchadnezzar’s son, was standing in flagrant pride. Watch what happened when he saw the fingers of a man’s hand writing on the wall. Verse 6 says, “The king’s countenance changed, and his thoughts troubled him, so that the joints of his hips were loosened and his knees knocked against each other.” His pride fell in a moment.

Daniel was called in to interpret the writing. He reminded the king that he was there when his father was driven out into the field. Verse 20 says, “But when his heart was lifted up, and his spirit was hardened in pride, he was deposed from his kingly throne, and they took his glory from him.”

Verse 22-23 says, “But you his son, Belshazzar, have not humbled your heart, although you knew all this. And you have lifted yourself up against the Lord of heaven…and the God who holds your breath in His hand and owns all your ways, you have not glorified.” Then Daniel gave him the interpretation. Encapsulated it was: God has numbered your kingdom and finished it; you have been weighed and found wanting; your kingdom has been divided and given to another. Verse 30 says that very night the king was slain.

The writing speaks to us. God holds our breath in His hands. He owns all our ways. Isaiah 43:7 says that we are all created for His glory. Psalm 90:12 says, “So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” James 4:14 says, “Whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life?…” The Amplified says, “…You are (really) a wisp of vapor (a puff of smoke, a mist) that is visible for a little while and then disappears (into thin air).”

Pride resists God and His ways. Pride comes in myriad suits of clothing, costumes, and masks. I encourage you to ask this question: Lord, what is the pride-plague in my heart? 1 Kings 8:38-39 was part of king Solomon’s prayer when he dedicated the temple. It says, “Whatever prayer, whatever supplication is made by anyone, or by all Your people Israel, when each one knows the plague of his own heart, and spreads out his hands toward this temple: then hear in heaven…”

Did you note the ‘when each one knows’ was connected to God’s hearing? The Lord always hears us. Does He hear faith and humility, or proud-fleshly words? It is essential that we walk in humility, or the Lord will use circumstances in our lives to humble us. James 4:10 says, “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.” Nebuchadnezzar and Belshazzar lifted up their hearts in pride. God caused their pride to fall in accordance with His word in Daniel 4:37, “…And those who walk in pride He is able to pull down.” Our nation exudes pride in unbelievers and believers alike. Let us not be caught up in this sin against the Lord.

Uprooting Pride

This morning the Holy Spirit spoke something that really clicked in my spirit: you default to pride when you are not walking in the Spirit. I encourage you to reread this and think about it. Is this your experience? I had never thought of this before and it gave me pause. Since July 4, 2021 I have been asking the Lord to lead me out of my default comfort zone. He has been faithfully doing that in ways I would never have thought of.

Proverbs 16:18 says, “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” We fall from grace when we walk in pride. Hebrews 12:15 says, “Looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled.” Have you ever connected this verse with James 4:6? It says, “But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: God resists the proud, and gives grace to the humble.”

Last night I was reading Daniel 4. The whole chapter is the fall because of pride. King Nebuchadnezzar wrote it. Verse 1 says, “…to all peoples, nations, and languages that dwell in all the earth…” He wrote his testimony and declared it to all. He wanted them to know what happens when God resists the proud.

Nebuchadnezzar had a dream. In the dream there was a great tree. Verse 11 says, “The tree grew and became strong; its height reached to the heavens, and it could be seen to the ends of all the earth.”  He brought his dream before all his advisers. They could not interpret it for him. He told it to Daniel. Imagine this in your mind. Daniel stood before the king. He knew what the dream meant. Verse 19 says that he was astonished for a time and his thoughts troubled him.

He gave the king the interpretation, and then gave him advice. Verse 27 says, “…break off your sins by being righteous…” Daniel’s advice is for us as well. Pride is sin. Only the humble walk in righteousness. The humble heart is submitted to the Holy Spirit’s direction. God showed the king His power. The great tree in the dream was the king. Yet, because of his pride, his kingdom was taken from him. He was driven out into the field and became a beast who ate grass for seven years!

Verse 17 says, “…in order that the living may know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, gives it to whomever He will, and sets over it the lowest of men.” This verse reminds me of Daniel 2:21 which says, “And He changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and raises up kings; He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding.”

The Lord does not impart His wisdom to a proud heart. Daniel 4:35 was the king’s declaration after the seven years were over and the Lord reinstated his kingdom. It says, “All the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing; He does according to His will in the army of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth. No one can restrain His hand or say to Him, What have You done?” We do well to heed these words and walk in humility. When His sword swings, it will not cut down hearts that are bowed in humility.

Uprooting Envy

We would never fall prey to the evil working of envy if we didn’t make comparisons. Think back to when you were a child in kindergarten. In my class they had to teach us to share. We played in stations around the room. Why did we grab what another child had? We envied what they were playing with. See how young this can seed into our hearts?

Envy is another area we need our Father to reparent us in. Genesis 37:11 says that Joseph’s brothers envied him. That envy became destructive. Haman envied Mordcai and sought to have him hanged on gallows. The wise men were jealous of Daniel and sought a way to kill him.

Envy will take a toll on our health. Proverbs 14:30 says, “A sound heart is the life of the body, but envy is rottenness to the bones.” Our bones support us. Envy weakens them. Osteoporosis is a big health risk factor. What happens when envy gets into the body of Christ? There is backbiting and division.

Galatians 5:14-15 says, “…You shall love your neighbor as yourself. But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another.” Envy in interpersonal relationships is destructive. 1 Peter 2:1 says, “Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking.” We lay aside by putting off. I love Paul’s example. Acts 28:5 says that when the viper fastened onto his hand, “But he shook off the creature into the fire and suffered no harm.”

We need to shake off envy the second that thought comes into our mind. We do it through gratefulness. Discontent breeds envy. The Hebrew word for envious means: highly possessive of something. This can happen in friendships. Say that you have a close friend. They become friends with someone else. What happens? We can either be envious, or we can rejoice that they have found someone else to share their life with. Friends need to be shared.

The Lord gave me a special friend in 1983. She was a temp where I worked. We were in the break room. I said to my friend, “Hey Maile, do you want to go to His Word (bookstore) with me during our lunch hour?” The temp piped up, “I’d like to go with you.” I literally shared my friend, and made a new friend in the process. 

Another way to break the power envy seeks is to give. In Acts 10:33 Paul said, “I have coveted no one’s silver or gold or apparel.” Verse 35 says, “…And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.” When we focus on what others have that we want, envy will seed itself into our heart. However, when we give out of what we have, we increase the life of another.

Value What Is True

What do you value the most? Our true value is based on Jesus’ finished work on the cross. That is the past where we can look back, look at our present, and look forward to our future. Every aspect of our lives is founded in this truth. 

However, the world seeks to conform our thoughts and actions. Secular counseling looks to the past to figure out why we are the way we are. The truth? It is not what we have been through, but what Jesus went through for us. 1 Peter 1:18-19 says, “Knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.”

Evaluating ourselves by past accomplishments or failures is pride. 2 Corinthians 10:12 says, “For we dare not class ourselves or compare ourselves with those who commend themselves. But they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.” 

Have you ever been compared to someone and their accomplishments? I’ve heard the pain of folks who were compared to their siblings, or they compared themselves to someone else. Yesterday someone told me that their contract didn’t get renewed. They were passed up by someone else. It’s the world’s way of comparison, which spells ‘rejection’ that brings emotional pain.

The world system drives folks to go into debt so they can have something better. The world shouts, ‘You are not enough’ and it leaves us with a feeling of lack. It opens the door for fleshly lusts. It wedges in discontentment. It fuels covetousness. Romans 12:2 says, “And be not conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”

Hebrews 12:11 Amplified says that true righteousness is, “…conformity to God’s will in purpose, thought, and action, resulting in right living and right standing with God).” Conforming our thoughts to God’s will is accomplished as we renew our mind. Ephesians 4:23 Amplified says, “And be constantly renewed in the spirit of your mind (having a fresh mental and spiritual attitude).”

Counting ourselves dead to our past is the empowerment for our present. When a negative thought about your past flits into your mind, what do you do? If you continue to dialogue with it, you are in deception. Your past is passed. Done. Over. It is only in your mind. Self-deception desensitizes us to the moving of the Holy Spirit. When He nudges us, we are not aware. Here is a foundational truth. John 3:34 Amplified says of the Holy Spirit, “…boundless is the gift God makes of His Spirit.” Let us receive instruction from the Holy Spirit and walk in it.

Net Worth

I am a retired accountant. The net worth of a business is far different from the net worth of a believer. Assets minus liabilities equal the net worth. However, for a believer, Jesus’ death on the cross is the difference. Our net worth is not based on our performance. It is not what we have done, but what Jesus’ death accomplished.

1 Corinthians 6:20 says, “For you are bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” Isaiah 53:4-5 says, “Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.”

Jesus paid our debt in full, leaving us with no liabilities. We don’t owe anything because He satisfied the requirement: the wages of sin is death. He took on our sins. He bore them in our place. Since we have no liabilities, our net worth is our assets. Jude verse 24 says, “Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy.”

2 Peter 1:3 says, “As His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue.” Why then do we fall prey to our flesh? Verse 9 says that we lack the things He said to add to our faith: virtue, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love.

The verse says, “For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins.” Paul explained it this way. Romans 6:11 says, “Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Dead to sin means that it has no power because nothing can stimulate something that is dead. Our flesh is influenced or killed through our thoughts. We have been given everything that we need through our relationship with the Lord. Everything. We do have the responsibility to obey. The path of obedience is strewn with grace. The path of the disobedience is hard because He only gives grace to the humble.

Truth+Faith=Inner Transformation

When we read the truth, and speak it out loud, faith arises. Romans 10:17 says, “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” This verse is a great understanding for faith declarations. They are not words repeated over and over. They are words of truth that we bring into our heart. As we speak them out loud, there is an awe that accompanies our words.

I want you to give you an example. Colossians 2:10 says, “And you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.” What does that verse say that you can turn into a faith declaration? I encourage you right now to say, “I am complete in You.” Does that stir your heart?

As we daily read through our Bible systematically, we are reading truths. Jesus is the Truth. He is the Living Word. As we read for understanding, the Holy Spirit highlights a verse, or a phrase from a verse. He captures our heart with it. It is something that He wants us to bring into our heart that will facilitate our inner transformation.

When we begin to speak this truth as a faith affirmation, it seeds into our heart. As we audibly hear it, our faith is increased. Galatians 3:2 says, “This only I want to learn from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?” Verse 5 says, “Therefore He who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you, does He do it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?”

Here is an example through Abraham. In Genesis 15:5 God took Abraham outside and told him to look up into the heavens and count the stars. It says, “…if you are able to number them. And He said to him, so shall your descendents be.” Remember, Abraham was past 75 years old. Yet, when he heard God speak the truth, he mixed it with faith. Verse 6 says, “And he believed in the Lord, and He accounted it to him for righteousness.”

Romans 10:8 says, “But what does it say? The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart (that is, the word of faith which we preach).” Then Paul went on to explain salvation. Verse 10 says, “For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”

Now let’s apply that to areas of spiritual weakness where we fall prey to the promptings of our flesh. Since fear has been spread throughout the world through the pandemic, let’s take fear. Are you prone to fear? In Matthew 8:23-26 there is an account that gives us a great example. The disciples were in a boat and a storm rose up. Remember, Jesus was in the boat asleep. They woke Him up and cried out in verse 25. Verse 26 says, “…Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?…”

The disciples were so focused on their circumstances, they forgot the Lord was with them in the boat! He is in our ‘boat’ because He is Ever Present. He is with us through every moment in our lives. We hide in Him through our thoughts. We bring our fearful mind into subjection to His truth. Truth never changes. It can’t-because Truth is Jesus. Hebrews 13:5 is the promise that He will never leave us nor forsake us.

Verse 6 can be a faith affirmation that we speak when fear rises. It says, “So we may boldly say: The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?” Truth triumphs over every lie and crushes it when we speak it in faith! 1 John 5:4 says, “…And this is the victory that has overcome the world–our faith.” Arise church! Stand in the truth and proclaim it through faith affirmations!

Attaining Truth

Attaining truth means that we process it and make it our own. It is the truth that we bring into our heart. It becomes so deeply rooted that it affects every aspect of our lives. Faith is the key ingredient. Listen to what Paul wrote about Israel. Romans 9:31-32 says, “…has not attained the law of righteousness. Why? Because they did not seek it by faith…”

Hebrews 4:2 says, “For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it.” This is so true. Truth can be spoken, but until we mix what we heard with faith, it will not seed into our heart.

Colossians 2:2 says, “That their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, and attaining to all riches of full assurance of understanding, to the knowledge of the mystery of God, both of the Father and of Christ.” Verse 7-8 says, “As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.”

The process of laying hold of truth is the first step in our attainment. Paul’s words remind us that we will never achieve an end of gathering truth and making it our own. Philippians 3:12 says, “Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.”

I have to go to Romans 11:33 as a reminder that God’s ways are unfathomable. It says, “Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!” We press on, breaking through the things of our past that would hold us back.

Philippians 3:13 says, “…one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead.” On November 9, 2018 the Lord spoke these words into my heart. The forgetting is the empowerment to reach. Forgetting and reaching are words of fluid motion. Think of a trapeze artist. They have to let go of the first bar in order to reach and grasp the one coming toward them.

Proverbs 1:5 Amplified says, “The wise also will hear and increase in learning, and the person of understanding will acquire skill and attain to wise counsel (so that he may be able to steer his course rightly).” We attain truth that will set us free from what hinders our walk with the Lord. We bring that truth into our heart. We possess it and make it our own. We think about it, speak it through words of faith affirmations, and we live it out in a visual testimony to others.

Processing The Truth

In order to process truth we have to be receptive to it. Process means: a series of actions or steps taken in order to achieve a particular end. What are those steps? The truth of God’s word is just printed words on a page until we take steps to possess it. Jesus gave the criteria for being His disciple. John 8:31 says, “…If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed.”

In verse 32 He revealed the process. It says, “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” The Greek word for know means: to perceive, understand, recognize, gain knowledge, realize, come to know. It is the knowledge that has an inception, a progress, and an attainment.

Jesus was talking about receiving His truth in a way that it became experiential. I love Ephesians 3:19 in the Amplified. It is such a perfect description for me to grasp. It says, “(That you may really come) to know (practically, through experience for yourselves) the love of Christ, which far surpasses mere knowledge (without experience)…” Did you get that? Possessing truth through personal experience means that it is ours. We speak it, walk in it, and receive assurance through it. It continually filters into and impacts our thought processes.

The verse continues, “…that you may be filled (through all your being) unto all the fullness of God (may have the richest measure of the divine Presence, and become a body wholly filled and flooded with God Himself)!” When I think of the word filled I think of saturated. We are saturated with His truth. No lie can squeeze in because there is no room!

As a child I knew that God loved me. I memorized John 3:16 in Sunday School. I knew that nothing could separate me from His love according to Romans 8:38-39. These were verses hidden in my heart. However they were only knowledge without experience. It wasn’t until I truly read His word by peering into it, that I could make it my own. That is when I began to live in His love experientially.

John 14:21 says, “He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.” Do you have a heart desire for His word? Do you gather its manna daily? Do you obey it from your heart?

I will never forget one day in 1967. I was a youth camp counselor. I had taken my girls out for our quiet time. The Lord spoke truth into my heart and I began to weep. It hit me so hard. ‘You do not esteem My words more than your necessary food.’ It was a truth that impacted me and changed the course of my life. Job 23:12 was not my reality. It says, “I have not departed from the commandment of His lips; I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my necessary food.” May this be our continual experience.

Receptivity Versus Rejection

2 Thessalonians 2:10 holds an amazing truth. It says that there is, “…unrighteous deception…because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved.” The Amplified says, “…did not welcome the truth but refused to love it…” Verse 12 says, “…did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” 

Satan, the deceiver, influences unrighteous behavior so that it will block truth. Deception puts up a barricade against it. 2 Corinthians 4:4 says that the god of this age has blinded those who do not believe. Romans 1:18 says, “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness.” The Amplified says, “…who repress and hinder the truth and make it inoperative.”

John 1:11 says, “He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him.” They had misplaced receptivity. They readily received the lies, but refused to receive Jesus who is Truth. Those who had receptivity? Verse 12 says, “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name.”

Now let’s bring all these above verses together. We receive through believing the truth, embracing it, and bringing it into our daily lives. Ephesians 1:13 says, “In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise.”

Hear, receive, believe, and embrace. This carries over into every aspect of our walk with the Lord. It is when we suppress the truth that we are easily lead into deception. Beware of false doctrine. Years ago, our youth pastor, got ahold of a wind of doctrine that was false. He heard it. It met his hidden fleshly desires. He received, believed, and embraced it. 

Ephesians 4:14 says, “That we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting.” This young man embraced a false doctrine: since we are under grace we can do anything we want. He taught his youth group the same. Some questioned it, others received it because it gave them an excuse to sin.

Hosea 10:12 says, “Sow for yourselves righteousness; reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground, for it is time to seek the Lord, till He comes and rains righteousness on you.” Verse 13 is the result of eating and embracing deceptive fruit. It says, “You have plowed wickedness; you have reaped iniquity. You have eaten the fruit of lies, because you trusted in your own way.” Let these two verses stir your heart to be alert to what you are hearing and believing.

Misplaced Hope

Luke 24:13-35 was the account of Jesus’ interception of two men talking on the road to Emmaus. Jesus asked them in verse 17, “…What kind of conversation is this that you have with one another as you walk and are sad?” They recounted for Him what had taken place. Verse 21 says, “But we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel…”

The disciples did not understand. They had misplaced hope. The Lord had to first open their understanding so that they could grasp and comprehend what He was going to tell them. Luke 24:45 says, “And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures.”

We too need to have our understanding opened. That was a prayer Paul made for the church in Ephesus. It is one that we can pray for ourselves and others. Ephesians 1:17-18 says, “That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory may give you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints.”

We misplace our hope when we put it on anything other than the Lord. He is the only Surety that we can have in this life. In a moment our entire life can change with events that we have no control over. Sin entered the world through Adam and Eve’s disobedience. We live in a time in history of worldwide chaos. 1 Corinthians 15:19 says, “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.”

Hope is eternal. All true hope is based in the resurrection of Jesus. 1 Peter 1:3 says, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”

Jesus’ resurrection also gives us anchoring hope in this life. The same power that God used to raise Jesus from the dead is IN us. Paul’s prayer for enlightenment continued with Ephesians 1:19. The Amplified says, “And (so that you can know and understand) what is the immeasurable and unlimited and surpassing greatness of His power in and for us who believe, as demonstrated in the working of His mighty strength.”

I can’t leave out Ephesians 3:20-21. We live and move and have our being in this verse. It says, “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works IN us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”