“But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his chest and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’”
What does it take to truly allow Christ to live through you? Just what is the secret formula to becoming the best Christian you possibly can be? “Best Christian?” you might ask.
Yes, just like an oak tree can be tossed into the river and become nasty drift-wood, yet, another oak tree can become a beautiful, hand-crafted desk–both are still oak trees–no matter what. Nothing can change that fact. For Christians, since we have a supernatural DNA structure which can’t be changed because Christ will never die again (see Hebrews 7:25), it is us who decides how our lives will turn out.
As a Christian, it doesn’t matter if we become rich, poor, or in-between, we are the decision makers of our own model. Through Christ, God has freely given each of us the raw materials of spiritual perfection. However, we are the architects who design our lives and then build it. God doesn’t do this for us. He is with us, but He doesn’t control us.
This is why, as a child of God, we can have a nasty, non-fruitful life, or we can have an extremely loving, orchard-size fruitful life. But no matter what we decide to do or not to do, we are still children of God (see John 1:12, Ephesians 1:5, 1:13).
The gospel has nothing to do with our actions and attitudes ebbing and flowing, neither is it about our many accomplishments or lack thereof. Instead, it’s about a promise between God and God, and us being the beneficiaries to that promise.
The author of Hebrews tells us “because God could not swear by anyone greater than Himself, He swore by Himself, and by these two unchangeable things (the Father and Son) we now have a hope which anchors our souls” (see Hebrews 6:16-20). The gospel is about their commitment to one another, it’s not about our commitment to them.
As New Covenant believers, our only job is to say, “Thank you!” and then receive this gift by grace through faith (see Ephesians 2:8-9). Because of such good news, we are to wake up each day and say, “God, I’m available for you to use!” But even if we don’t, we are still born of God because God’s seed is now in us forever. Our spirits no longer even have the ability to sin (see 1 John 3:9). Our flesh? Yes. Our unrenewed mindsets? Yes. But not our spirits which is our true identity (see Galatians 2:20, Romans 8:19).
So when a person’s life doesn’t look “Christian” try to remember that they very well still could be. Just like we can’t make ourselves unborn from our earthly father, no matter what our lives look like, we can’t make ourselves unborn from our Spiritual Father either, no matter what our lives look like. We cannot be unborn. Our birth has already happened and it’s irreversible!
We are privy to this heavenly birthright because of the Father’s promise to Jesus at the Cross and our faith in that event as true for our sins! We’ve now been completely reconciled with God forever by being reborn through Jesus! (See Colossians 1:22, Romans 6:6-7). Therefore, in order to build up the best Christian life we can possibly have, we must make a decision of what we will do each day with one little word…pride.
Whatever we decide to do with pride on a moment-by-moment basis solidifies how our lives will be molded as heaven-ready people. Just because our spirits are perfect, that doesn’t mean our flesh’s choices are or our unrenewed mindsets are. The pride which comes from both the sin of the flesh and old mindsets–not from our spirit–will keep us drifting along the river as disregarded oak. Pride keeps us addicted, fearful, frustrated, codependent, selfish, uninterested, enraged, lazy, blameful, short-fused, out of control, jealous, legalistic, greedy, impatient, and self-righteous (among many other things which are not of the Spirit in you, see Galatians 5).
Pride screams, “I don’t need to change my choices! I’m not doing anything wrong! Worry about yourself!” And we say these things as Christians while completely ignoring the Holy Spirit’s guidance. “I’m not sinning!”–even though the Spirit has told us many times that we are. “But even if I was sinning, Jesus covers all my sins! So mind your own business, hypocrite!” Pride. Even the Jews who killed Jesus were so full of religious pride, they didn’t realize what they were actually doing. Pride blinded them.
Pride destroys marriages, families, friendships, businesses, churches, and even countries. Pride will even dismantle the dreams that God has personally placed in our hearts all because we refuse to change our incorrect attitudes and actions. Pride says, “I’m never going to admit I’m wrong. Ever. I’m not budging,” even though the Holy Spirit has told us a thousand times, “That’s not you. This needs to change. That will never match up with your spiritual perfection no matter how many different angles you go at it.”
Pride will even kill you (and others) if you take it too far. The heroin addict who just died from an overdose, they refused to admit they actually were addicted to heroin. The drunk businessman who just ran over the little girl, he threw fits all the time when he was called out on his drinking. The man who died after three heart attacks refused to admit he had an eating addiction, and now his family is left behind. The gangbanger who just got shot and killed bathed in pride over the loyalty he had to his gang. The stripper who got beat up and raped at the party, she would not listen to Grandma every time she said, “Baby, God has a better plan for your life.”
The preacher whose church members’ lives are falling apart because he refuses to preach on the bottomless grace of God, how we can be reconciled with Him, or anything about the unconditional love of Christ–but instead, he trains them with, “HOW BAD THE WORLD IS, HOW WE NEED TO TAKE IT BACK, AND HOW WE NEED TO MAKE THESE NASTY SINNERS REPENT!”–that is pride. Each and every Sunday, he instills severe pride deep into his patrons’ minds by teaching them the very opposite of what God’s character really is.
Pride is from the pits of hell. Pride chooses drugs, alcohol, sex, work, video-game binging and hobbies over its family. Pride would rather watch porn than have sex with its spouse. Pride beats up their spouses, and kids, and then blames them for the beatings.
Pride steals from their boss, and then blames the boss for it. Pride leaves their kids’ dad for another man, while caring nothing about what that choice has just done to the well-being of their children. Pride gossips on social media. Pride cheats on social media. Pride appreciates nothing, while being handed everything. Pride refuses to learn and grow. Pride knows it all. Pride gives victory lessons. Pride judges how people look. Pride shows no mercy to those who make mistakes. Pride looks for the worst in others, while ignoring the best. Pride says, “End of conversation!” and then storms off. Pride is what got the most beautiful angel of all time, Satan, kicked out of heaven.
We must destroy pride! It’s our choice! We do this by walking out God’s Spirit in us! He’s there, we just have to let Him come out! The Holy Spirit is not prideful! As you begin to allow Him to live through you more and more, what you’ll soon see is that by walking out your perfect spiritual identity pride begins to organically fade away because that word doesn’t describe you at all! You are not prideful! YOU’RE NOT! Begin to let Jesus live through you and you’ll see that this is the truth! Let’s gooooooooooooo!
A prayer for you: God, I want to thank you for completely removing all pride from my spirit. Thank you so much. Right now, I lift up all who are reading this, directly to you. For those who may be struggling with an enormous pride issue, please, reveal it to them. In the name of Jesus, I rebuke any prideful spirit who has set up shop around them–not in them–but around them, make it go away! Help them, mold them, and teach them who they really are in Christ! In His name, amen.
This devotional is from 60 Days for Jesus, Volume 1. Get your copy here!