Monday, 9 July 2012

An Attitude Of The Heart

Source for this image here.

This last week has been the first week of our new July challenge, looking at pride.  Or rather - looking at humility.  It's actually much easier for us all to fall into the trap of behaving pridefully.  We are all programmed to be prideful - it is in our fallen natures.  Pride prevents us from having a whole and fulfilling relationship with God - and it can also damage our family relationships too.

These are some of the topics which we've been considering so far.  As well as the original resource that we used as our springboard into this Scriptural topic, that we found on the Revive Our Hearts website, we've also been using inspiration from one of our favourite online ministries - In Touch Ministries, led by Dr. Charles F. Stanley, a senior pastor at the First Baptist Church in Atlanta, USA.  Of course, we can't ever go to hear him preach in person, living thousands of miles away as we do - but we do like to hear his online sermons, and listen to them whenever we are unable to get to Church on a Sunday - and during the week sometimes as well.  The whole family enjoy listening to his plain but thought provoking words of wisdom.  If you would like to find out for yourself what his deeply insightful teaching is like then click the image of the church in our sidebar to take the link to the website.  There are a couple of Bible studies that we have been using that we have found very informative and inspiring.  One of them is this - "Drawing Nearer To God", and the other is called "A Life Of Service".  This second is a sermon outline of a sermon that can be listened to on the website. 

What have we learned so far, as a family?

Well, many things.  Here are some of the following notes I have made so far, in my journal (we are all writing a journal as we follow this month's challenge, and will share with each other our thoughts and insights at the end of the month).  As a wife and mother I am trying to consider the topic from this point of view, so that as we share in our discoveries, we will see several different perspectives - not just mine but that of a husband and leader, a daughter and wife-in-waiting, and a son learning to follow in the footsteps of his father and eager to be a husband and provider himself.
  • Pride can put a distance between us and God because it prevents us from allowing ourselves to recognise that we are all dependent on Him.  It stops us from humbling ourselves before Him and admitting our needs for him (Luke 18: 9-14).
  • Being humble allows us to accept leadership - not just from God, but from our husbands too.  It enables us to enter into a relationship of dependence and submission, and therefore facilitates the working of God's grace in our lives and draws us into a closer relationship with Him, and a more satisfying and Godly relationship with our husbands.
  • We are brought to humility by physical and mental suffering - both bodily, and by external influences such as our material well-being.
  • Pride is a sin.  God doesn't want us to sin, so when we behave pridefully, he will allow us to suffer - to bring us to a point of humility (Proverbs 16: 18).
  • Pride isn't just about bragging and wanting to appear materially superior to our neighbours.  It can be about many other things - intolerance, greed, selfishness, laziness, manipulation, arrogance, attention seeking and shallowness.  It is about judging by appearances not about what is beneath the skin - an attitude of the flesh, rather than one of the heart, and reflects so much of what is deeply wrong and corrupt at the heart of secular society today.
  • It takes courage to be humble, and to cast aside the judgement of the world in favour of the only judgement that truly matters - that of our Father God.
We will have more to say on the subject as we study it and discuss it between us - so watch for more posts about this during the month of July, as our understanding and knowledge in this important area of spiritual learning expands.

"For wisdom is better than rubies; and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it.
I wisdom dwell with prudence, and find out knowledge of witty inventions.
The fear of the Lord is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate" (Proverbs 8: 11-13).