Dear Church Family,
I pray that you all are doing well and enjoying your summer! This is such a great time to be with family and vacation together. I hope in the middle of all that summer offers you have had some time to rest and recharge your batteries as well. We all need time to relax, recharge, and rest. It is essential for balance in our lives. In the middle of all summer offers I have found God speaking to me strongly about one particular theme: Pride.
This theme has been resonating with me as we are making our way through the book of Matthew. I have seen this theme repeatedly in the lives of the Scribes and Pharisees. Repeatedly they approach Jesus through the lens of their pride. And the sad thing about this is that they do not recognize it. They see themselves as pleasing to God. But all the while they are blinded by their pride to the deep problem of sin that they have in their lives. I cannot stand that they do this time and again, but as I think about it, are we not all susceptible to the very same things in our lives if we are not careful. How easy is it for you to allow pride to well up in your life? How easy is it for us to see the faults of others all the while ignoring our own faults, or convincing ourselves that we do not have any faults? But pride left unchecked in our lives will bring destruction. It will tear down relationships, and it will sow discord between brothers and sisters in Christ quicker than anything. Listen to this quote from John Beveres’ book, The Bait of Satan: Living free from the trap of Offense…
“Pride keeps you from dealing with truth. It distorts your vision. You never change when you think everything is fine. Pride hardens your heart and dims the eyes of your understanding. It keeps you from the change of heart—repentance—that will set you free. (See 2 Timothy 2:24–26.) Pride causes you to view yourself as a victim. Your attitude becomes, “I was mistreated and misjudged; therefore, I am justified in my behavior.” Because you believe you are innocent and falsely accused, you hold back forgiveness. Though your true heart condition is hidden from you, it is not hidden from God. Just because you were mistreated, you do not have permission to hold on to an offense. Two wrongs do not make a right!”
It is so easy for us to be blinded by our pride. It is so easy for us to justify sinful responses to others. We see this playing out so plainly in the life of the Scribes and Pharisees. But my prayer is that we not only see it in their lives, but that if it is in our lives that we detect it and deal with it in our lives as well. God has so much good in store for us in the future as a church family!! Let’s live together in such a way that we are sensitive to what is going on in our hearts. Ask God to show you if any pride, or bitterness has taken root in your life. If so, repent of it to Him, and seek to be in right relationships with those around you. Let’s have as our goal going forward together that we want love to be the fruit that we are producing in our lives, so we can love one another and so that our love can be a testimony to a watching world.
I love you and I love being your pastor!