By Dr. Richard Ing
August 11, 2009
Many Christians claim that they are interested in becoming more spiritual and knowing God more intimately. They come to church for years, pray, read the Bible and even do good works, but nothing seems to get them closer to God. They seem stuck at a certain level and never quite move upward. Some are baptized in the Holy Spirit and can even cast out devils, heal the sick and sometimes experience miracles in their life. But perfection in Christ eludes almost everyone.
Year after year they come to church (although many fall on the wayside), say all the correct things and pay tithes. They appear to be sincere, weeping at times, quoting scriptures and attending many church functions. That has become the Christian tradition.
Few ever come to a place of trusting God completely for their lives. The great majority fall short of God’s plan for them.
At least two things are barriers to perfection: (1) trusting God completely; and (2) a lack of humility.
We say we believe in heaven and claim to be living with eyes focused on eternity, but we hang on to our worldly lives and strive for riches and financial security, trusting in our own strength. We cry out to God to help us get what we want, but we never cry out for God to humble and break us. God wants to break our self-will, but we hang on to our own fragile securities. We are hopeless liars, deceiving ourselves every moment, avoiding truth and holding on to our fragile and short lives on earth. We have learned to make-believe that we are holy and true to the truth.
It’s not that the true Christian walk is impossible; it is difficult and most Christians simply refuse or give up and then just pretend to be true. It is easier. We are so used to walking on a lower level with God that we deceive ourselves into thinking that we are good Christians. We refuse to admit our inferior walk and ignore the scriptures in the Bible that speak of carrying our cross daily to follow Jesus. Then, we defend our pretenses and lies. The truth is, very few dare to go all the way with God. We are too bonded to the world and we trust more in our own abilities and talents to survive. We do not trust God for our lives. We refuse or are unable to let go and let God.
We call Him Lord, but Self still sits on the throne in our heart, proclaiming Self to be God and opposing God. In the end, God will judge every one of us as to whether we obeyed Him. Our excuses will not be acceptable to Him. Either you walk the high road or you walk the low road. As Jesus said, “Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you; saying, This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” Mt. 15:7-9.
We are refused entry into His continual presence because of our arrogance and lack of humility. Pride runs deep in our hearts. Even Job, who was the most perfect and upright man on earth in his day, had pride hidden in his heart.
God isolated Moses for forty years on the other side of the mountain where he was a shepherd for his father-in-law. Shepherds were considered by the Egyptians as being abominations. Gen. 36:24. In other words, they were the scourge of the earth and the lowest on society’s ladder. They were worthless and unworthy of any kind of admiration or attention. God was after something. He was making Moses the most humble man on earth. Nu. 12:3.
The same thing happened to Joseph. He was the favorite son of Jacob and proud. God gave Joseph visions in which Joseph’s father and brothers bowed to him (their stars and sheaves of wheat). Gen. 37:7, 9. He proudly blurted it out. As a result, his brothers wanted to kill him. Instead, Joseph ended up as a slave and was later thrown into prison – a hopeless, worthless man, a criminal with no future or power. His life was in the hands of God. God was out to humble Joseph. As a result, Joseph became second in command after the Pharaoh.
David was anointed by Samuel, the prophet, to be the next king of Israel. He had spent years of his youth as a lowly shepherd, but even then he was not quite ready to be God’s servant. He ended up fleeing for his life and living in caves and gulches for years, scrounging around for food and clothing, running away from King Saul, who was out to kill David. But God was training David and testing him. In the end, David learned that without God he was nothing. Much of his pride disappeared.
Peter and the other disciples of Jesus were proud and arrogant men who fought among themselves as to who was the greatest. Peter and all the disciples bragged that they would go to prison and even die for Jesus. Mk. 14:31. They were arrogant. But when the soldiers came to arrest Jesus, they ran for their lives. Peter, especially, was proud. He was the ringleader. When the cock crew twice and Peter denied Jesus thrice, his pride hit the fan. Peter wept bitterly. He knew that he deserved to go to hell. His arrogance disappeared.
The apostle Paul, formerly known by his Jewish name, Saul, was arrogant. He was on top of the world – a top student of the famous teacher, Gamaliel, and destined to become head priest one day. His fame and prosperity were assured. He set out to destroy God’s people with confidence and a bit of a swagger. But he was knocked off his high horse on the way to Damascus where he planned to cause further trouble for the Church of Jesus Christ. He met Jesus head on and became blind and hopeless. Ac. 9:8. In a flash, he knew that he had made a big mistake. His life probably passed before his eyes and he could smell the sulfur of hell. He was so broken that he refused to eat or drink anything for three days. Paul’s arrogance was totally destroyed. Now, he was ready to be trained and used for God’s purposes.
Arrogance and pride disqualify anyone from being God’s true servant. Many can be used for God for lesser deeds and to represent Him on a lower level. Many have fallen because of their arrogance and pride. Some have done great things in the natural, but their hidden arrogance ultimately caused them to commit adultery and sexual crimes. Others have fallen to greed. Most have simply failed to attain the anointing and vision God planned for their life.
In the Old Testament, people were anointed with oil, or smeared with a special oil. The king, priest, prophet were anointed for the purpose of giving them authority and power to carry out their respective positions. The sick were anointed in order to heal them.
In the New Testament, the anointing is the presence of the Holy Spirit. All born-again Christians have an anointing because the Holy Spirit lives in them. The level of anointing a Christian has depends on how much liberty the Holy Spirit has to live our lives for us. As Galatians 2:20 says, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who love me and gave Himself for me.”
The Holy Spirit is described as a river of living waters. “He that believeth on Me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.” Jn. 7:38. The Holy Spirit wants to flow in our lives – first up to our ankles, then to our knees and then waters we can swim in. Eze. 47:3-5. However, the flow of the rivers of living waters is often dammed up by pride, lack of reverence (quenching or grieving the Holy Spirit), lack of faith and trust.
God is looking for His true servants for the end times – those that are humbled, contrite of spirit and worthless in their own eyes, those that trust Him completely. He dwells with the humble and contrite of spirit. Ps. 51:17; Is. 57:15; Is. 66:2. When David challenged Goliath, he knew in his heart that without God, there was no way he could defeat Goliath. He trusted in God completely. He put his life in God’s hands. His love for God was greater than his fear. He would rather die than allow an uncircumcised enemy to insult the God of Israel.
The word “contrite” means to be shattered to pieces. The contrite of spirit see nothing good in themselves. They have carried their cross daily and finally reached the top of the hill where Self was nailed to the cross with Jesus. We all have our Golgotha’s to climb. Yes, we are nothing but worms trying to survive. Job 25:6; Ps. 22:6; Ps. 41:14. But as God’s children, we are everything to Him – so valued by God that He gave His only begotten Son to die for us that He might live in us and through us.
Proud? Arrogant? Not me. I’m pretty humble. I don’t lord it over others and I don’t brag about myself. I’m not arrogant. If you have said that in your heart just now, it proves that you are arrogant. The contrite would weep because they know that they have a long way to go in order to please God.