Numbers 14:1-4 “And all the congregation lifted up their voice, and cried; and the people wept that night. And all the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron: and the whole congregation said unto them, Would God that we had died in the land of Egypt! or would God we had died in this wilderness! And wherefore hath the LORD brought us unto this land, to fall by the sword, that our wives and our children should be a prey? were it not better for us to return into Egypt? And they said one to another, Let us make a captain, and let us return into Egypt.”
The glass through which we look, or, the eyes through which we see ourselves are far different than that which God sees. His ways, His viewpoint is much different than ours.
Isaiah 55:8-9 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
I will always give myself the benefit of the doubt. I will always show more mercy, apply more grace, and be most forgiving of myself than I will of others. I often think myself to be becoming the person I am striving to be – more than I ought.
Introspection, meditation, and contemplation are good. But, when I start becoming more in my mind than what I truly am before God, I must step down and humble myself. Pride is that subtle sin that does not manifest itself until it has taken hold. I can identify it by its fruits.
Proverbs 13:10 “Only by pride cometh contention: but with the well advised is wisdom.”
We must consider where this all originates.
Jeremiah 17:9 “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”
It was a good day when I fully realized that within me was nothing good – save the Holy Spirit that dwells within me.
Romans 7:18 “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.”
The good that I do does not, nor cannot originate with me.
This struggle between the flesh and the Spirit is epitomized in Paul’s soliloquy in Romans 7. The war we all face as children of God comes down to who we choose to serve. Because God gave us free will to choose, we are allowed to see our options and make our choice.
Often, when our three basic needs are not met, we seek to procure them on our own.
To be loved.
To be accepted.
And, to be secure.
When we are at a deficit in any or all of these areas, we will try to find them on our own.
A daughter who does not feel loved by her father will cling to the first male that shows her love. When she is secure in the love of her Daddy; when she sees her father treating her mother with love, respect, and romance, she wants that in the man she would have to herself.
That is why Daddies should date their daughters beginning at a young age. Treat them special. Open doors for them, sit and listen to them. Focus all attention on them. Buy them gifts and show them favor throughout their childhood years.
By this, you are creating a high standard by which she will measure the man she will consider to be her husband.
This is but one example of the need we all have to be loved; to know that we are accepted and that we are secure. Sons with their mothers, Spouses throughout their married life, and friends in a relationship need these elements to thrive.
But when selfishness creeps in, I begin to push against the norms of my society to grasp for what “I” want more than what anyone else wants or needs. I will rebel against the desire to have to be nice and become more demanding.
I begin to manipulate and control, so I can achieve the outcome “I” desire. We begin to think ourselves possessors of some great power to control and manipulate others. We build this empire around us to guarantee the love, acceptance, and security I crave.
But, as with all things that are not of God, it is unsatisfying. There is no joy. There is no peace. We become satisfied with the small successes we can manufacture, but at what expense?
The so-called “American Dream” of prosperity, luxury, and notoriety, exact a hefty price. Often, it comes at the expense of a marriage and a family. Those who ‘pay their dues’ to get on top, usually look back with regret at what they had to pay to get there.
We see others prosper and wonder, “What about me? When will it be MY turn?”
The psalmist, Asaph wrote:
Psalm 73:3 “For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.”
We are no different. We lust after the car we don’t have; the home we don’t own, or the marriage, or relationship that seems to elude us. We want the good that others have for ourselves.
The rebel within speaks to tempt us to give strength to our desires.
Asaph saw the riches, the good times, the lack of trials and tribulation in the lives of those who weren’t like him, and wondered “Why God?”
Clarity came this way:
Psalm 73:17 “Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I their end.”
When you and I humbly come to God to gain a new perspective, He opens our eyes to the eternal. When I can finally see the provision, the protection, the power, and the love of my God for me; I can rest in that which He has for me because what I have waiting for me in Heaven cannot even be compared to anything here on this earth.
We all follow someone. But in the following, it reveals just where I’ve set my heart, and just who I will become.
Romans 6:16 “Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?”
It may be oversimplifying, but, I will either serve myself or serve God.
Humanism places us square on the throne in our lives to decide just how this life will go. Christianity and Christian living allows God to be the ultimate decision-maker in all things.
As long as we are in this flesh, we will always have the capacity to rebel and act like the children of Israel who rebelled against God – even when He was totally, and wholly faithful to deliver them so miraculously.
The miracle of salvation in my life is proof enough for me to give over my life to God.
Any good you see in me is because of Him. Any good done to and for others is God working in and through me. We need to be familiar with that which is truly good and give God credit.
Intellect, gifts, talents, and any such thing that elevates us in any way needs to be attributed to our God. The slightest hint of pride allows our enemy to slip his pry-bar in and open a gaping hole for pride to take root and grow.
When you and I take possession or credit for that which is God’s, we need to beware.
Matthew 23:11-12 “But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.”
1 Peter 5:6-7 “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.”
We all have a rebel within us. The choice is whether or not we will give him the strength to usurp God off of His throne in our life.
Joshua 24:15 “And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”