It is much easier to recognize ugly behavior in someone else. Actually, it comes so naturally. As a mom, I often spend most of my day explaining why a choice should have been chosen differently or certain words should have been left unspoken. I pick apart situations and analyze everything.
But then. Then, it is my heart. My choices. My words.
Then, it is not as easy to detect the error. I am not so quick to call it what it really was. I justify and make excuses.
Pride is ugly. It is a core that most, if not all, sinful choices can be traced back to. It began when Satan thought himself equal to God and reared its ugly head in the garden. Since then, it has been chasing humanity. Hunting down and destroying.
True confession time…I had a problem this past week (there were probably more, but we’ll talk about this one). The rights, I thought were mine, were ignored. My feelings were hurt. I was upset. My heart-felt bruised and I was ready for a fight.
With these things clouding my perspective, I found myself brushing off the warning signs. I was straying further away from my quiet time with God and I was not responding to the prompts of the Holy Spirit.
Pride had wiggled its way into my heart and it was setting up residence.
If you had asked me what was wrong, I would have brought you to my kitchen. I would have told you about a host of situations that were filling the cupboards of my heart. You would have been offered a lie that I was being fed. That I was eating with a serving-size spoon. Pride is a meal that makes you feel full. Downright stuffed. And then, not too much later, you feel empty. You go back for more…
Pride is a quick and cheap food. It’s easy to find. It never satisfies you. It never nourishes you. It will just take over the kitchen, leaving you angry and bloated.
This stuffing lie will tell you that God cannot handle the situations you face. That He has other things to do, not including you. That He owes you an explanation or something better. Maybe, the lie says, God should be working on your time-table. Or…you are probably thinking of something right now.
That is pride. Sinful, ugly pride.
God is very clear on His view on pride…
“‘If after all this you will not listen to me, I will punish you for your sins seven times over. I will break down your stubborn pride and make the sky above you like iron and the ground beneath you like bronze. Your strength will be spent in vain, because your soil will not yield its crops, nor will the trees of your land yield their fruit.” Leviticus 26:18-20
“that the mirth of the wicked is brief, the joy of the godless lasts but a moment.Though the pride of the godless person reaches to the heavens and his head touches the clouds,he will perish forever, like his own dung; those who have seen him will say, ‘Where is he?’” J0b 20:5-7
“In his pride the wicked man does not seek him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God.” Psalm 10:4
This humbles me. It shows me what my actions need to be in order to be right with God once more. I want all my thoughts to honor God; I hunger for more room for God. Not myself.
When you find yourself in this place, there are steps to take.
1) Open your “kitchen” windows
Let the light in and see the space for what it truly is. If a space is going to be renovated, you need to have an accurate knowledge of what you are really working with. Admit what is really the issue.
2) Talk to the contractor
Pray. Ask God to search you and bring to your mind exactly what you need to confess. Ask Him to renovate your heart. To clean out every single cupboard and to restock with His supply. This is the time for true, determined confession. Tell God you are sorry and ask Him to give you the strength to obey going forward.
Invite trusted and godly people into your space. Show them your renovation and ask them to make sure you stay up on keeping it clean. Ask them to make sure the food you’re eating and the things filling your cupboards are glorifying to God and the pursuits the “contractor” intended.
When you are right with God, you days are transformed. You view your situations and relationships differently (through God’s perspective) and you act accordingly.
I hope this spring cleaning encourages you as we all learn to be more organized and intentional…even in our heart spaces.