DOING THE DIFFICULT: DON’T LET PRIDE STOP YOU

INTRODUCTION

Some people love challenges. They’ll look at something new. Something hard. And they’ll take up the challenge of doing it just to get the satisfaction or thrill of knowing they can do something they’ve never done before. Something hard. Challenging. Exhilirating.

Just so you know, I am not that way at all. I am 1,000,000,000,000% a comfort-zone type of guy. I like doing the doable. That means it’s easy and doesn’t demand a whole lot of  my time, effort, or thinking. When it comes to what’s new, difficult, or challenging, you can generally count me out, folks. I’m not touching it with a ten-foot pole! 

I won’t do the difficult—not unless I’m forced to—because life already has too many difficulties and challenges. I don’t need to  add to them. I don’t need any more trials or challenges!  I’m heading into my golden years and I love to relax, take it easy, and do what I love doing most. Can you guess what that is? It’s studying  the Bible and writing. I just love spending time with the Lord because He talks to me a lot of times—not audibly, but in my spirit—and He tells me lots of really neat stuff. Stuff that I’ve just got to share with you. This blog is a perfect example of the stuff God gives me when I spend time with Him. I love Him. I love what I’m doing. But I dread doing the difficult.

Here’s a question for you. When the Lord asks you to do something difficult…no, strike that. When the Lord tells you to do something difficult, something you really don’t want to do, something you think is impossible, something that’s a Are you out of your mind? I can’t do that! type of thing; what do you do?

Just so you know, you’re not the only one who’s had to do something really really hard. You’re not alone. We’ve all been there and done that. The biblical characters weren’t any different from us. In fact, they were exactly like us. Human. I’d like to draw on their life’s experiences and, from beyond the grave, as it were, let them share with us what we’ve got to do when the Lord gives us our Mission I M possible. By God’s grace, we can do what God’s counting on us to do! Here’s how.

DON’T LET PRIDE STOP YOU

Pride can be a real motivator for achievement or success. If you’ve ever shown off or bragged about something you did (who of us hasn’t) then you know the power of pride to spur you—not only to get things done, but to get them done in truly braggable fashion.

Do you know that  PRIDE CAN ALSO KEEP YOU FROM GETTING THINGS DONE? IT CAN STOP YOU FROM OBEYING GOD, ESPECIALLY WHEN GOD’S PRESSING YOU TO DO SOMETHING REALLY HARD. SOMETHING REALLY HUMBLING OR HUMILIATING. Here’s a case in point.

Nathan was an Old Testament prophet. He isn’t ranked with the big-name prophets like Isaiah and Jeremiah. But he served and prophesied during the reigns of Israel’s two greatest kings, King David and King Solomon.

Now King David was one of Israel’s most outstanding and victorious military heroes. He conquered and expropriated so much of the enemy’s territories that Israel was the biggest that it ever was, territorially speaking, when David was on the throne.

Anyways, with all his conquests, plunders, and consequent wealth, David built for himself the nicest palace that any king or ruler of Israel had up to that point in time. It was so nice, so luxurious, that he started feeling bad that God didn’t have as nice a house as he did. The Tabernacle was a tent. A portable tent. And David really wanted to build God something more permanent. A House made of stone and of the finest and costliest of  goods that was truly befitting and deserving of the great God that he served. So David approached Nathan with the idea: Hey, Nathan. Get a load of this. Here I am living in a beautiful cedar palace. And the Ark of God’s out there in a tent (2 Samuel 7:2).

Nathan thought about it for a moment and said (2 Samuel 7:3), Wow! You’re right! That’s a great idea, David. Go for it! I know the Lord’s with you. The Lord truly was with David. But saying it the way Nathan said it was a Hebraic way of saying, God’s with you, He’s given you this desire to build Him a House, so go ahead and do it. Just as God helped you conquer the nations and gave you rest from all your wars, so God will be with you and help you get this House built. Logically, circumstantially, and historically, everything that Nathan said made perfect sense. Besides that, David’s desire was noble. It was for God’s glory. David’s plan had God’s Name written all over it!

The only problem was, that wasn’t what God told Nathan to say. As a prophet, Nathan was supposed to wait on God, or go to God, for His take on things. A prophet said what God told him to say. And God didn’t tell Nathan to tell David to go ahead and build Him a House. Nathan spoke in the flesh: he was saying what Nathan wanted to say, not what God him told to say. It’s a perfect illustration of how something that sounds so good and right and godly, or of the Lord, can be anything but. What sounds good to us may not be good to God. What looks right to us may not be right to God.

Sometimes, a “good” idea to us may not necessarily be bad because it’s really bad. Sometimes it’s just a matter of timing. David wanted to build God a permanent House of Worship: a House made of stone, not of perishable skins or tents. Truth was, God wanted such a House built too, but it wasn’t for David to build it (1 Chronicles 22:8). That task would go to David’s son, Solomon (2 Samuel 7:12-13). Now wasn’t the right time for God’s House to be built. So the bad idea really was a matter of bad timing. A good idea can be good, but now is not the right time to implement it.

Getting back to Nathan, he went back home and that night the Lord gave him a talking-to: Go and tell King David that I’m not gonna let him build Me My House (2 Samuel 7:4-17).

This is the really, really difficult part. Nathan’s a prophet of the Lord. He’s known as the guy that God speaks to. So when he’s speaking by Divine utterance people automatically trust that what he’s saying is from God. Nathan is going to suffer a real setback to his credibility and believability. This misstep in the flesh is gonna cost him the loss of the people’s confidence and respect.

Then consider who Nathan has to go to and apologize. If it was a friend, a peon, a nobody, an admission of wrong and an apology isn’t that big a deal. It’s humbling. But it’s doable. But Nathan is dealing with the King. He’s the King’s spiritual confidante and advisor. The King trusts and respects him. David holds him in honor and esteem. Nathan’s got the King all pumped up about his plans to build the Temple. The King may already be working on it. The King’s probly told His Palace staff and the High Priest about the forthcoming Temple. How do you go to the King and tell him you were wrong? That you spoke out of turn. That it wasn’t God who spoke to you. How do you tell the King who’s set on building God a grand and glorious House to put his plans on hold? How do you tell him not to do what he’s got his heart and mind set on doing? How would the King respond? What will the King do to you? What will he think of you?

Are you getting the drift here? Nathan’s got a very, very difficult task ahead of him. It’s gonna be humiliating and humbling. He’s gonna have to swallow his pride, humble himself, go to the King personally, and tell him face-to-face that he was wrong. No easy thing to do. In fact, it can’t be done if we insist on being proud. IN A MISSION I M POSSIBLE LIKE THIS, OBEYING GOD CAN ONLY BE DONE IF WE SET OUR PRIDE ASIDE, SWALLOW IT, CRUCIFY IT, EAT HUMBLE PIE, AND SUFFER WHATEVER HUMILIATION MAY COME OUR WAY  

Friends, don’t let pride stand in the way of your obedience to God. Pride will get you into more trouble with God. Humbling yourself isn’t gonna kill you. It’s gonna kill your pride, which is exactly what needs to happen. Humble yourself, ask God to give you favor, He’ll give you all the grace you need (James 4:6), and you’ll come out just fine. In fact, a little higher than before (James 4:10).

Doing God’s will is incredibly hard, in fact, it really is a Mission Impossible, if you’re proud. So how do you do the difficult? With God’s grace. And that comes by being humble.

1 Comment

  1. gimpet said,

    November 24, 2013 at 7:29 PM

    Great post and great example. Humility has saved me more times than I can count. I have impulse control issues and it gets me in trouble…frequently. Mostly I don’t realize that I am “wrong” until told. But taking criticism well and apologizing, while difficult, is a lesson well learned.


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