Assumptions {11.16.18}

We often make assumptions about someone or something, don’t we? Sometimes those assumptions are positive in nature. Sometimes we make assumptions about someone or something in a negative manner. We need to be careful in both cases.

 I’ve recently witnessed an attitude adjustment in someone. This person had a negative attitude about a particular group of people. But, through circumstances close to home, that attitude was adjusted a bit. It’s funny how we can form rigid opinions and thoughts about people or situations and hold our ground. But, when something happens that brings it close to home and we see the other side of the coin, our thoughts become a little more flexible. Sometimes God allows us to see it when it happens to us. Sometimes He shows us through other people and situations. Regardless of how, I’m sure all of us have “eaten our words a few times”. It doesn’t taste very good, but it does us good. Humiliation is not fun, but humility is a good thing.

 “For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” (Matthew 23:12)

 “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.” (James 4:10)

assumptions - blind spotsSeveral years ago, I made assumptions about a married couple. I did not know either of them but they both were musically talented and involved in the praise and worship ministry at church. I remember thinking that (1) they must really have it all together and be walking closely with God, (2) their children are blessed to have such a positive, loving, example lived out before them, (3) it must be great to sing and play music in praise to God in their home. What joy and fun they must have. I compared this to me and my life. Our family certainly didn’t have it all together. We were lucky if we knew what we had and where it was. Walking out our faith in a positive example before our children did not usually go as we wished it had. Coming to Christ when our children were pre-teens and teens put us behind the eight ball so to speak (that’s my excuse anyway – even though there really is no excuse.) Anyway, my husband and I neither one have any musical talent whatsoever. We make a joyful noise unto the Lord (and only He can appreciate it). Our life was full of love for sure, but it was also full of trials (and error) and distractions and discouragements. For some reason I thought this couple I watched were exempt from that. How absurd. God’s word tells us that all of us who follow Him will have trouble. Jesus had trouble. We will have trouble. I soon realized this in a sad way. That couple I wished we could be more like had troubles of their own. Unfortunately, they divorced, and I was shocked. This is an example of making positive assumptions of someone without knowing them.

 “But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7)

When we make assumptions on the negative side, we look at a person or situation and think we know what they should or should not do. We make judgments using ourselves as the base line, somehow thinking that we know best and do what should be done. Oh! How quickly pride and arrogance can set in. And, how humbling when/if we finally get the truth about a person or situation and realize how far off base we were in our assumptions. We don’t know what causes a person to act or drive (for all road rage people) irrationally. Maybe they just heard a loved one was hurt or died. Maybe they are in a relationship that is hurtful. Maybe they are scared. Maybe they are just selfish. But the point is – we don’t know everything!!! Only God sees their heart. We see only the outward appearance. Unfortunately, we often make judgments on those outward appearances, false as they might be.assumptions

Satan is roaming about trying to get at us any way he can. He wants to drive a wedge between us and our relationship with God. When we act as though we know best, we know it all, etc. – we are putting ourselves before our God. God is jealous. He is almighty.  He shares His blessings with us but not His Glory. It’s all His and rightfully so. When we act as though we are somehow lesser than others, that isn’t doing justice to God either. He created us all uniquely, loves us all, and has a plan for our lives. We must be careful not to get too puffed up or too deflated in spirit.

 “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5)

 We all form opinions and then develop attitudes to go along with those opinions. It’s going to happen. It’s human nature. However, the problem is when our opinions and attitudes are so rigid that we don’t allow room for error (our error in thinking). Even though we think we know what we are seeing or hearing and that our opinions are justified or verified, our vision is blurred. God tells us that only He sees the entire picture with clear vision. So, my lesson to myself is this: don’t think I know it all. Sometimes I don’t know much of anything. But one thing I do know, God knows all and is in control. I can certainly leave things in His capable hands. I just need to be still and listen, so I will know when and how to obey when He calls my name. No judgment – just love.

 “May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus” (Romans 15:5)

 

The Price of Pride {3.22.18}

Pride. It can be a good thing I guess, but it can turn bad quickly. We say or hear “take pride in what you do, etc.” but what we really should say is “take pride in the God who enables you to do whatever it is.” God cautions us to be humble, not proud. It’s a slippery slope and the evil one can make it appear deserved or earned and very inviting.

Romans 12:3 “… Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.”

Proverbs 16:18 “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.”

pride

We all have or will struggle with pride at one time or another. It’s one of the temptations put before us. Pride doesn’t just happen with those who don’t know or follow God. Pride can sneak up on us when we are right in the middle of loving and serving God. Such was the case with Moses. God spoke to Moses. He spoke to him in a burning bush. He spoke to him “face to face/presence to presence” as a man speaks with his friend (Exodus 33:11). They had a close relationship. However, pride crept up on Moses and he found himself missing out on the promised land because of it.

We find the details in Numbers 20:1-13“In the first month the whole Israelite community arrived at the Desert of Zin, and they stayed at Kadesh. There Miriam died and was buried Now there was no water for the community, and the people gathered in opposition to Moses and Aaron. They quarreled with Moses and said, “If only we had died when our brothers fell dead before the Lord! Why did you bring the Lord’s community into this wilderness, that we and our livestock should die here? Why did you bring us up out of Egypt to this terrible place? It has no grain or figs, grapevines or pomegranates. And there is no water to drink!” Moses and Aaron went from the assembly to the entrance to the tent of meeting and fell facedown, and the glory of the Lord appeared to them. The Lord said to Moses, “Take the staff, and you and your brother Aaron gather the assembly together. Speak to that rock before their eyes and it will pour out its water. You will bring water out of the rock for the community, so they and their livestock can drink.” So, Moses took the staff from the Lord’s presence, just as he commanded him. He and Aaron gathered the assembly together in front of the rock and Moses said to them, “Listen, you rebel, must we bring you water out of this rock?” Then Moses raised his arm and struck the rock twice with his staff. Water gushed out, and the community and their livestock drank. But the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not trust in me enough to honor me as holy in the sight of the Israelites, you will not bring this community into the land I give them.” These were the waters of Meribah, where the Israelites quarreled with the Lord and where he was proved holy among them.

We see at the beginning of these verses that the Israelites looked to Moses, not God. They asked why Moses brought them to the wilderness. No mention of God. Moses and Aaron humbled themselves when they went in before God. They fell facedown before Him.humble But, somewhere between God’s instructions and the gathering of the people, pride set in. Oh, how quickly it can come upon us. He did not honor God by obeying God. He put his own twist on it. They still got water but, Moses paid a price for his pride. He never got to enter the promised land. He only got to see it from a distance. Consequences. Always consequences. If we would only consider them before speaking or acting instead of grieving over them afterwards.

This story of Moses really makes me consider my life. When I reach a goal, do I feel pride in myself or simply thank God for the ability and power He gave me to do it? When I do something good for someone else, do I fill up with pride knowing I did a good thing or praise and thank God for letting me see and act on what He put before me? Something to think about.

1 Corinthians 1:31 “Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.”