Aug. 10, 2016

Proud vs. Prideful

“Not what you do for God but what God does for you—that’s the agenda for rejoicing.” Luke 10:20 (MSG)

Most Bible-believing, churchgoers do not like The Message. Its format doesn’t bother me because I know the author’s intent was to make the stories in the Bible read like a novel. The hope is to reach someone who would otherwise never open God’s word. Its author, Eugene H. Peterson, provides a “first-step” in exposure to God’s story. Those of us brought up in church assume everyone else has the same foundation. In this day and age, that is risky, misguided thinking.

Before we move forward, let me acknowledge that some of you might not agree with Mr. Peterson and you do not appreciate The Message. That’s okay. But, I want to warn you that this blog will be based on what I read in The Message last night.

During my prayer and Bible study time, I asked God to help me understand two recent suggestions that my priorities might be misplaced. The issue of pride along with the topic of pushing my own agenda was voiced; very lovingly and very openly. It just so happens that I have been on a 2-year quest to read The Message, not as the Bible, but as a book. I found it interesting that this thought popped off the page after my prayer for wisdom, clarity and spiritual understanding during my scheduled reading time last night.

Here are the lessons God taught me. I hope you find them equally helpful:

There is a difference between being proud and being prideful – Bragging on your children or on a recent accomplishment can be seen as prideful to some, despite a desire to simply voice how proud we are of someone else. God prompted my spirit to ask myself, “Did I share what I wrote to make someone else feel inferior?”  Certainly not!  I believe God revealed to me the difference between being proud and being prideful. Our accomplishments are not based on what we do for God, but on what God does for us.  All good comes from God and if anyone of us proclaim good, He gets the glory and the credit.

Each of us knows whether or not we are pushing our own agenda – When I share my thoughts and my emotions, I am simply opening up to other people.  However, if my goal is to convince them to see life my way then it falls under manipulation. Voicing our beliefs isn’t being manipulative. Sharing God’s blessings is a great agenda!

As I prayed, the Lord brought this sentence to life based on Luke 10:20 in The Message.  I guess the book can be beneficial for longstanding, Bible-believing, churchgoing, seminary-educated people, too. Well, that is if we are willing to relax and just read the book. Can it be God speaks through various avenues? Hmmmmm…..