Walk Humbly With Your God

The Bible tells us that human pride is the original sin and the greatest sin. It robs us of the joy of seeking God’s favor in our lives; it blinds us to God’s will; it keeps us from living out His plan; it destroys our relationships with our spouse, our co-workers, our neighbors; it leads to conflict with those around us and within our own hearts. Even when we see that truth and how it harms our lives, pride keeps us from doing anything about it. Pride kills life. God wants us to seek Him and His plan for us. Pride stops us from seeking Him.

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Pride leads to destruction; a proud attitude brings ruin. (Proverbs 16:18 NCV).

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6:8 NIV)


The Bible gives us so much richness to imagine. There’s the image of perfection, of a world created in God’s image for His glory, with perfect conditions, and a rich food supply.

42. Pride-Greatest_SinThere are two young adults — one male, one female, both sinless — enjoying the goodness of God’s love and His many blessings.

You can almost hear the music track in the background — now soft and melodic, now upbeat and bouncy.

But then, imperceptibly at first, the music changes. There’s a riff of danger, a hint of evil, the sense that something is about to go horribly wrong.

We hold our breath and wait.

There it is! We can see it now.

Eve — beautiful, vulnerable, sensitive Eve — is standing next to That Tree. We watch her gaze at That Tree, examining it from every angle.

That Tree is the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil (Genesis 2:17), and God has placed it smack  dab in the middle of this luscious garden.

God told Adam not to eat from the tree, that violating that order would usher in death.

Off-scene, we know Adam told Eve about God’s warning because, when the talking serpent suggests she might want to taste from the tree, she informs him that she and her husband were warned against eating its fruit — even warned against touching the tree — although God never said anything about touching the tree, and Eve had not been created when God warned Adam.

42. Apple

So, what’s happening here?


WE’RE WATCHING THE END of man’s harmonious relationship with his Creator.

We’re watching what is called “The Fall.”

Eve is about to snap an apple (or some similar fruit) from a low branch, studying it with growing interest, and then — “Don’t do it, Eve!” we scream — she bites into it, the juices streaming down her chin and onto the ground.

“Here,” she says to her husband. Adam, perhaps drawn by his wife’s beauty, has come alongside her, but, unfortunately for the human race, fails to admonish her.

He takes the apple she offers and bites into it.

There’s a sinister snort from the snake — has anybody any idea where he came from! — and then we watch in horror as our two ancestors with the movie-star good looks discover their nakedness and become ashamed!

Respect for the Lord will teach you wisdom. If you want to be honored, you must be humble. (Proverbs 15:33 NCV)

Now, really, there’s no one else around, and it’s not like they didn’t know they were naked before this moment, nor any indication they thought anything of it.

But, now, their eyes widen, and they instinctively — this is a new instinct for them — cover themselves in shame and then hide from God.


OH, IF WE COULD JUST RUN THE TAPE back and stop Barbie and Ken from eating from That Tree, but we can’t. Even if we could, we sense we wouldn’t. There’s something captivating about that tree and about eating its fruit.

We want what that tree offers.

Didn’t the serpent tell us? The fruit would give us knowledge. Knowledge! Wisdom! Insight!

Why, with knowledge, we would know everything. We’d be like … dare we say it? … like God!

So get rid of all immoral behavior and all the wicked things you do. Humbly accept the word that God has placed in you. This word can save you. (James 1:21 GW)

How awesome would that be?

Apparently, it was not to be.

For in that moment, Adam and Eve learned the same lesson the talking snake had learned much earlier — there’s only one God. The position is taken. The kingdom belongs to the Creator.


WHAT CAUSED THIS DESIRE to emulate God even while our forebears (who were stand-ins for us) disobeyed Him?


The Bible tells us that pride is the original sin and the greatest sin. Pride caused Satan’s fall, and it led to humans’ fall.

Pride robs us of the joy of seeking God’s favor in our lives; it blinds us to God’s will; it keeps us from living out His plan; it destroys our relationships with our spouse, our co-workers, our neighbors; it leads to conflict with those around us and within our own hearts.

Even when we see the truth of that evil and how it harms our lives, pride keeps us from doing anything about it.

Pride kills life. God wants us to seek Him and His plan for us. Pride stops us from seeking Him.


FORTUNATELY FOR US, God purposed from the beginning to find a way for sinful, rebellious,  prideful men and women to find their way back to Him.

He sent His Son to live a perfect life as a man and then endure God’s unspeakable wrath on our behalf, that all we need to do is believe in Him, confess our sins, and accept Him into our hearts, and He — by His gracious will — will reconcile us to Him.

So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor. (1 Peter 5:6 NLT)

That undoes Adam’s disobedience and Eve’s deception. Unfortunately for us, because sin — and death — have entered the world, this dance goes on every day of our lives.

We have invited the talking serpent into our lives through our rebellion, and whenever he sees us slipping away from his grasp into the loving arms of our Father, he finds another way to ensnare us.

Our pride will keep him coming back.

But the redeeming work of the Holy Spirit prompts us to throw our pride away, if only for the moment, and seek God’s grace and forgiveness, and turn from sin, knowing that, as we draw nearer to God, God will grow nearer to us … and the serpent will slink away (James 4:7-8 NASB).

God be praised!


THERE’S ANOTHER IMAGE we can take away from the Garden.

God’s promise that He would rescue us through His Son. It’s there in the Bible. You can see it now. God is speaking to Adam and Eve. They are hiding behind branches, afraid God will see their nakedness — this is not the nakedness of the flesh, but of the heart.  It’s not their bodies they are ashamed to show God; it’s their sin.

God_CrushesSatanLovingly, He rebukes them and dishes out the punishment they have incurred on themselves — Adam will work hard for his provisions; Eve will suffer in childbirth — but God promises to restore the promise, telling the serpent that God has put “enmity” between the devil’s seed and Eve’s, because Eve — or another Eve down the line named Mary — will bear God’s Son, who will “crush” Satan’s revolting head (Genesis 3:15).

After this admonishment, God “made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them” (Genesis 3:21 NIV).

God wins again.

God’s plan will not be thwarted.

Not even Adam’s and Eve’s pride — or ours, for that matter — can stop the one real God from showing up.


PRAYER: Our Heavenly Father, we are so grateful — eternally grateful! — that You will forgive us our sinful pride and hold us close, keeping us safe from Satan’s power. Lord, we, like Adam and Eve, are ashamed of our sin, but we know, because You told us, that You will accept our repentant hearts and cherish us for eternity. Lord, be praised for Your infinite mercy. In Jesus’ Name. Amen

Followers of Christ—How Should We Act?

We might not be blessed with the opportunity to stand with a repentant unbeliever and witness that person’s passing from death to life, but the Bible clearly says we will have the opportunity to plant the seed that someone else waters and water the seed that someone else plants. To make our witness effective, our lives need to reflect God’s glory, be obedient to His commands, and be free from sinful life styles.

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They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him. They are detestable, disobedient and unfit for doing anything good. (Titus 1:16 NIV)

But they continued to sin against him, rebelling in the wilderness against the Most High. (Psalm 78:17 NIV)

No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him. (1 John 3:6 NIV)


For any follower of Christ who has risked a relationship with a family member or close friend to point out the sin in their lives, those words, harsh and unyielding, sting. There is no way to sugarcoat it.41. Jesus_Adam_Eve

In fact, the feeling of rejection from a loved one can be so powerful, that many faith-based Christians retreat from any possible confrontation, comforting themselves in lifting a few prayers, knowing that for God, even the most unredeemable person is an  easy fix.

The amazing reality is that while God can do all things, He has chosen to work through us, His creation. From the very beginning, God told Adam and Eve, before The Fall, to “fill the earth and subdue it” (Genesis 1:28 NIV). The resurrected Christ, before His ascension into Heaven, commissioned His followers to “go and make disciples …, teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20 NIV).

Part of the mystery of God’s creation is that He has chosen to work through men and women of faith, despite our failings, our fears, our weaknesses, and even our own poor witness.

Jesus knew the work would be difficult. He knew we would be rebuffed often, so He encouraged us to have some perspective: “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first” (John 15:18 NIV). This was prophesied in Isaiah 53:3 NIV: “He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.”


THE LORD ALSO GAVE US A POWERFUL TOOL to use in helping our loved ones. It is His Holy Word, the Sacred Writ: “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for instruction, for conviction, and for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete, fully equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17 BSB).

That means the Word we read daily in our walk with Christ to inspire us, to ground us, and to guide our lives is the same tool He has given all mankind. We only need to share it. We don’t need to reinvent the wheel here; we don’t need to create our own theology; we don’t have to struggle with magic formulas that will reach the unreached.

God gave us the tool to use. We need but point people to its power.Picture 072

Try this some time. When talking to an unbeliever, present the Bible to them. Ask them  to hold it for a few minutes. Watch as their hands disappear, quickly pulled away from the Book as though it were a leaping flame.

The Bible has Power. It is a living book, filled with the Word of God. “You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder” (James 2:19 NIV).

The unbeliever knows that the Bible holds a power that is stronger than their own will. To continue in their unbelief, they must reject it totally, stay as far away from it as possible. Even the conventional believer — the churchgoer who thinks taking communion is a profession of faith — will own a Bible. It will remain on the bookshelf where they stuck it the day their church presented it to them. Unread. Gathering dust.


BUT WHAT ABOUT THE BELIEVER’S WITNESS? How are we living our lives? At home, at work, in our neighborhoods, with our family and friends? Do we make a difference in the way we act or talk? What about our thoughts? We may think they’re private, but doesn’t desire lead to sin?

Here’s what James, the half-brother of Jesus, says: “Each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is grown, gives birth to death” (James 1:14-15 NIV).

So, does our witness back up our words?

Yes and No.

No, if our words are of judgment and condemnation. In that case, we are hypocrites. 41.Filthy-Rags

Since we all sin (“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” – Romans 3:23 NIV; “and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags” – Isaiah 64:6 NIV), we cannot act in judgment of our neighbor, who will be justified in throwing back at us Jesus’ words in Matthew 7:3 NIV: “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?”

However, YES, a resounding and vibrant YES a thousand times over, if we point to the glory of God, admitting that we are sinful creatures who have been reborn by God’s redeeming love (“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come” – 2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV).


WE CANNOT SHY AWAY FROM REACHING those whom He has placed in our lives who need to hear the Word of God! We cannot let our insecurities stop us from an open witness.

Sometimes, that witness takes the form of a kindness — an encouraging word, helping with a task, or even offering to assist.

Sometimes, it requires an open discussion, perhaps leading with a question seeking permission. “May I ask you something?” 

41.FemaleHoldingPlantSometimes, it needs a bold declaration of God’s love for His creation.

“You know, (name of person here), God tells us that He loves us so much He was willing to come to earth in human form to die for us, to pay the price for our sin, yours and mine, to restore us to a right relationship with Him. What do you think of that? Isn’t that awesome?”

Sometimes, it allows for a full-on statement of God’s design to reclaim His creation for Himself.

“In fact, (name of person), He said there is no sin you or I could do, no pattern of sinful behavior, no limit to hurting ourselves or others that His sustaining Grace can’t defeat. (“For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace” – Romans 6:14 NIV). Are you willing to ask for that help from Him right now? I can help you, if you’d like. It’s your call, but I’m here to walk with you every step of the way.”


WE MIGHT NOT BE BLESSED with the opportunity to stand with a repentant unbeliever and witness that person’s passing from death to life, but just as Paul taught us in 1 Corinthians 3:6-7, we certainly will have the opportunity to plant the seed that someone else waters and even water the seed that someone else plants.

In either case, God is the one who will make the plant grow. At that point, we just step aside and watch the glory of God transform this man or woman.

Three key points, then, for those who want to serve the Lord.

First, is to give Him the praise and glory for how He has reached down and transformed our lives to live out the Gospel every day. “May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation—the righteous character produced in your life by Jesus Christ—for this will bring much glory and praise to God” (Philippians 1:11 NLT).FemalePrayingHands

Second, is to act out the Gospel. “But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves” (James 1:22 NLT).

Third, is to give up sinful life styles. “No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him.” (1 John 3:6 NIV). “No one who is born of God will continue to sin” (1 John 3:9 NIV).



PRAYER: Our Heavenly Father, help us in our unbelief to believe, in our sin to seek repentance, in our words to be helpful, in our deeds to be obedient, in our thoughts to be pure, all for the glory and praise of Jesus Christ, in whose name we pray. Amen

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