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Greetings! Welcome to my latest blog. As mentioned in prior pieces, I am doing a few “spin offs” of the “What Love Is…and What Love Is Not” blog series. In part 2 of said blog, I stated that (according to the Scriptures), love does not envy, love is not arrogant (or boastful), love is not selfish, and love does not wrong other people. In the piece I wrote before this one, I discussed envy in depth. And with this blog, I will discuss pride.
Please feel free to read or re-read the entire “What Love Is…and What Love Is Not” blog series, including the Scriptures mentioned in all four pieces prior to reading this blog. Also and as you read, please pay particular attention to the statements I made regarding how we all have made mistakes, that we all have shortcomings/flaws, and that it is important we all maintain a desire to grow.
Now, Let’s Talk About a Man Named Nebuchadnezzar
I considered various ways of writing this piece. Then, the story of Nebuchadnezzar came to mind. I understand that many people are not familiar with Nebuchadnezzar. Thus, I will take a moment to summarize his story as it relates to the topic of pride.
In the first Chapter of Daniel, we learn that Nebuchadnezzar was a Babylonian king who had overtaken Jerusalem during Jehoiakim’s reign in Judah, specifically, Jehoiakim’s third year of ruling. Also, later in this Chapter, we are introduced to Daniel who was renamed as Belteshazzar by Nebuchadnezzar’s chief of staff. Daniel greatly impressed Nebuchadnezzar with his knowledge and with his wisdom, and Nebuchadnezzar consulted with him and the three other men mentioned in Chapter 1 of Daniel (i.e., Shadrach, Babylonian name Hananiah; Meshach, Babylonian name Mishael; and Abednego, Babylonian name Azariah) regarding any issue requiring deep knowledge, wisdom, and understanding.
In Chapter 2 of Daniel, we learn how the Lord used him (Daniel) to interpret a dream that Nebuchadnezzar had, especially when Nebuchadnezzar’s magicians and astrologers could not explain the meaning of that dream. In Chapter 3, one can read how the Lord delivered Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego when Nebuchadnezzar decided to build a gold statue and commanded everyone to worship it. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused to obey the king’s command because they worshipped the only one true God. They stood their ground and God protected them. In Chapter 4, we then learn how Nebuchadnezzar’s pride got him into some serious trouble.
Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream. His Pride. His Downfall. His Restoration.
In Chapter 4 of Daniel, Nebuchadnezzar begins to describe a dream he had which absolutely frightened him, and Nebuchadnezzar asks Daniel to interpret it. Nebuchadnezzar describes that in his dream, he sees a tree that grew very tall and very strong and had an abundance of fruit of which all living things fed off of. Then a “holy one” (as worded in the Scriptures) came down from heaven and ordered that the tree be cut down, the branches be cut off, the leaves be shaken, the fruit be scattered, and the animals be chased away from that tree. However, it also is ordered that the stump of the tree and its roots remain.
Daniel interprets the dream for Nebuchadnezzar, explaining that Nebuchadnezzar is that tree and that what occurs in that dream is symbolic of what will happen to Nebuchadnezzar because of his wicked ways. Daniel explains to Nebuchadnezzar that although he and his kingdom grew strong and mighty, Nebuchadnezzar will be “cut down”, as the tree in the dream was cut down. In other words, Nebuchadnezzar will be driven out of society and will live as an animal and among animals in the wild. Daniel also explains that as the stump and roots of that tree remained in the dream, Nebuchadnezzar will regain the kingdom when he turns from his sinful, prideful ways, and acknowledges that God is God.
As one continues reading Chapter 4, one will learn that Nebuchadnezzar’s dream was fulfilled. Essentially, Nebuchadnezzar had a bragging session as he walked around in his palace. He boasted about what he did and all that he accomplished. Sadly, Nebuchadnezzar did not acknowledge or credit God with anything. Then, as in the dream he had twelve months ago, Nebuchadnezzar was driven from society and he lived among the animals. He lived a terrible life for a while. However, Nebuchadnezzar finally humbled himself and acknowledged God. When he did, Nebuchadnezzar was eventually restored to his position. (I encourage you to read all of Chapter 4 of Daniel for yourself, as I only provided highlights of this Chapter in this blog.)
So, what do we learn by reading about Nebuchadnezzar? Pride can get us in trouble.
How can one define pride (arrogance)? After reviewing several definitions, I determined that for the purposes of this blog, I will define pride as follows: Having an exaggerated opinion of oneself, one’s importance, and/or one’s achievements; not attributing one’s successes to God; conceited; vain. Okay, I understand this may not be the most structured definition, but I think whoever is reading this will understand what I’m attempting to convey. Please do not confuse pride/arrogance with confidence (especially confidence in the Lord), however.
The Ramifications of Maintaining a Proud (Arrogant) Spirit
There are many potential consequences when we refuse to humble ourselves before the Lord.
Our spiritual growth is hindered.
Our blessings can be blocked.
Our witnessing for Christ is affected, and not in a good way.
Our learning is hindered.
The ability for God to use us is impeded.
We are “demoted”. (Keep Nebuchadnezzar’s story in mind and review the following Scriptures: Proverbs 16:18, Proverbs 18:12, and James 4:6).
The Rewards of Maintaining an Humble Spirit
It is noted what can happen when we refuse to humble ourselves. However, there are several benefits of choosing an humble spirit over an arrogant one.
We grow spiritually.
We better position ourselves for God to bless us.
Our witnessing for Christ is affected, in a good way.
We make ourselves more “teachable”, and we are able to acquire a wealth of knowledge.
God can use us!
We are promoted (in a spiritual sense).
Pride/arrogance is not an attractive quality at all, and as Christians, the Lord commands us to maintain an humble spirit. Just consider Galatians 5:22–love is named as a fruit of the Spirit (the Holy Spirit; the Spirit of God that abides in us). And, what are the characteristics of love? As noted in the “What Love Is…and What Love Is Not” blog, we can read about those characteristics in 1 Corinthians Chapter 13. While describing love, the Apostle Paul explains that love is not proud (paraphrased). Thus, the Scriptures make it clear, so clear. An humble spirit is what the Lord desires from us.
If pride is something you are struggling with, then you don’t have to tell me. You are not required to announce it to all of your friends on social media. You are not required to broadcast it to the world. However, you must confess it to the Lord so He can help you in this area. If you desire, feel free to say the following brief prayer:
Heavenly Father, thank You for all You have done for me and for what You blessed me with. I desire to be used by You, so please help me to maintain an humble spirit. Continually remind me to attribute all good things, all achievements, all blessings to You. Help me to bridle my tongue when You instruct me to, but also let me know when to speak and give me the boldness to do so. If the spirit of pride surfaces, please correct me, as a good Father does. These things I ask, in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Scriptures to read and reflect on:
Daniel Chapter 4 (in its entirety)
1 Corinthians 13:4
Positivity Inspires, Copyright 2017 (All rights reserved.)
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Positivity Inspires is an author, speaker, servant of the Lord, and founder of Positivity Inspires, LLC. She is the author of Words of Spiritual Encouragement and Inspiration: Volume 1, available now on Amazon. Visit her website at www.positivityinspires.com.