Each week, the topic for Friday’s devotion generally comes from a study that an event or conversation prompts. This week is no different.
On Wednesday, I received a phone call from a man dear to me. This man has been battling a number of difficult circumstances over the last several years. One of his primary battles came to a head this week. The long and short of it, he has been backed into a principled corner. He chose to stand on his convictions and what he believes is the Godly position and, consequently, the folks on the other side of the battle have meted out harsh punishment. He has chosen to stand resolute on this, despite a wavering support structure, hardship and uncertainty.
As I listened to him explain these happenings and the backlash and difficulties that have arisen, I couldn’t help but feel proud of him. He feels certain that his beliefs are correct and his response justified. He knew the ramifications of the course of action he was choosing and chose it anyway. This showed to me a great measure of integrity, a firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values, incorruptibility. (see last Friday’s devotion ‘Marrow of a Man’)
However, as I listened to him, it became clear that not everyone sees his actions that way. It made me realize how often that is the case. I started to think about all the times in my life that I have stood so firm, resolute and stubbornly on an ideal, but have many around me in stark opposition. Am I right or are they? God has the answer, but you have to let Him be able to convey it.
This conversation allowed me to see myself in this man. I am a proud man. In fact, pride is most certainly my worse fault and unchecked will certainly be the cause of my doom. Proverbs 11:2 (NKJV) When pride comes, then comes shame; But with the humble is wisdom. I wanted to help him with this and perhaps in doing so could help myself and any of you reading this. You see, at this point in the conversation, I could see this man’s pride getting in the way and clouding his judgement. I’m not saying the principles he is fighting for or the course of action he took is wrong. I can’t know that, but at this point I don’t think he can either. I do the same thing. When I become so firmly convinced that I’m standing on the side of right, I shut myself off to any discussion, opinions and feelings contrary to my own. Here’s where it gets tricky. God and His word have firmly convinced me that there is always a right and wrong, period. However, I have come to the realization that I can be right in ideal, but wrong or too resolute in my response. This pride and stubbornness will oftentimes blind me to seeing the multiple avenues of action for response. When we get so firmly set in our own understanding of what is right and wrong, unyielding and unwavering, we often times will miss other “right” responses or better solutions. We will often times dismiss and hurt others involved and do more damage than good, even though we are standing on what we believe to be right.
Confused? Me too! This is very hard to write, by the way, but stick with me.
What do we do? First, you must humble yourself. Check your pride. You think you know, but in reality what we “know” is microscopic in the grand design. The bible says, “The humble He guides in justice, And the humble He teaches His way”. Psalms 25:9 (NKJV) You will not know God, hear His voice, receive His guidance and understand the Godly path if you do not humble yourself first. Pride is a road block, dump it.
Now that you have removed the road block, pray. Open up a line of communication with the good Lord. Talk to Him, ask for His guidance and support and read His word. The bible says it very simply, “Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.” Jeremiah 29:12 (NKJV) We often times jump to action, knowing we are right, but don’t stop first to consider what God has to say to us. Take the time to ask and let Him guide you.
Next, seek out good, wise Christian counsel. Talk to a strong Christian friend, pastor, counselor, someone you trust and believe capable. Be careful. You must be very selective in your choice. Pray for guidance. Christians need a “Circle of Counsel”, comprised of mature Christians capable of wisdom supported by scripture. I have six men I consistently seek out for sound guidance. Often times, just putting a second or third set of eyes on the situation will give you all the clarity God needs you to have.
Proverbs 1:5 (NKJV) A wise man will hear and increase learning, And a man of understanding will attain wise counsel,
Proverbs 24:6 (NKJV) For by wise counsel you will wage your own war, And in a multitude of counselors there is safety.
I’m not saying that the man in the conversation responded incorrectly or even that there was a better response. That has yet to play out. I’m just imparting the lesson that the good Lord is hammering on my heart. That as men especially, we have a tendency to allow pride and self certainty to rule our responses and that closes us off from the guidance God would provide. We need to push the pride roadblock out of the way, so that we have a clear avenue for Him to drive into our hearts. God bless you and have a great weekend!
In full pursuit of the greatest Trophy,