“A biblical understanding of spiritual maturity is not based on knowledge but on the size of the gap between knowledge and obedience. A Jesus-follower with limited knowledge that is matched by obedience is more mature than a person with lots of knowledge but little obedience. As the gap between knowledge and obedience becomes greater; spiritual power decreases.” Steve Moore, Author of The Top Ten Leadership Conversations in the Bible.
God, through Ezekiel, his spokesperson, reprimands and punishes Tyre not for their knowledge, business success and wealth but rather their lack of respect, obedience and gratitude to God, the only God. Their wealth has gone to their heads. They worship the money made instead of the One who created them. Pride has settled into their beings and produced the attitude that because of their successes, no one can match what they have done. Hearts filled with pride declare, I am a god!
Do we fall prey to this temptation in our work God has assigned us to be and do? Yes, for “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” by not giving God all the glory!
“Success brings recognition. Someone has to accept the reward. The danger is believing that because you get the reward you were solely responsible for the work.” –Steve Moore
Remember the Titanic scene…I am recalling the time Jack who took his friend to the highest point of the ship. With outstretched arms raised upward to the heavens, he declares, “I am King of the World!”
Pride never goes well for those who declare they are above God and are God.
Ezekiel 28, The Message
The Money Has Gone to Your Head
1-5 God’s Message came to me, “Son of man, tell the prince of Tyre, ‘This is what God, the Master, says:
“‘Your heart is proud,
going around saying, “I’m a god.
I sit on God’s divine throne,
ruling the sea”—
You, a mere mortal,
not even close to being a god,
A mere mortal
trying to be a god.
Look, you think you’re smarter than Daniel.
No enigmas can stump you.
Your sharp intelligence
made you world-wealthy.
You piled up gold and silver
in your banks.
You used your head well,
worked good deals, made a lot of money.
But the money has gone to your head,
swelled your head—what a big head!
6-11 “‘Therefore, God, the Master, says:
“‘Because you’re acting like a god,
pretending to be a god,
I’m giving fair warning: I’m bringing strangers down on you,
the most vicious of all nations.
They’ll pull their swords and make hash
of your reputation for knowing it all.
They’ll puncture the balloon
of your god-pretensions.
They’ll bring you down from your self-made pedestal
and bury you in the deep blue sea.
Will you protest to your assassins,
“You can’t do that! I’m a god”?
To them you’re a mere mortal.
They’re killing a man, not a god.
You’ll die like a stray dog,
killed by strangers—
Because I said so.
Decree of God, the Master.’”
11-19 God’s Message came to me: “Son of man, raise a funeral song over the king of Tyre. Tell him, A Message from God, the Master:
“You had everything going for you.
You were in Eden, God’s garden.
You were dressed in splendor,
your robe studded with jewels:
Carnelian, peridot, and moonstone,
beryl, onyx, and jasper,
Sapphire, turquoise, and emerald,
all in settings of engraved gold.
A robe was prepared for you
the same day you were created.
You were the anointed cherub.
I placed you on the mountain of God.
You strolled in magnificence
among the stones of fire.
From the day of your creation
you were sheer perfection . . .
and then imperfection—evil!—was detected in you.
In much buying and selling
you turned violent, you sinned!
I threw you, disgraced, off the mountain of God.
I threw you out—you, the anointed angel-cherub.
No more strolling among the gems of fire for you!
Your beauty went to your head.
You corrupted wisdom
by using it to get worldly fame.
I threw you to the ground,
sent you sprawling before an audience of kings
and let them gloat over your demise.
By sin after sin after sin,
by your corrupt ways of doing business,
you defiled your holy places of worship.
So I set a fire around and within you.
It burned you up. I reduced you to ashes.
All anyone sees now
when they look for you is ashes,
a pitiful mound of ashes.
All who once knew you
now throw up their hands:
‘This can’t have happened!
This has happened!’”
* * *
20-23 God’s Message came to me: “Son of man, confront Sidon. Preach against it. Say, ‘Message from God, the Master:
“‘Look! I’m against you, Sidon.
I intend to be known for who I truly am among you.’
They’ll know that I am God
when I set things right
and reveal my holy presence.
I’ll order an epidemic of disease there,
along with murder and mayhem in the streets.
People will drop dead right and left,
as war presses in from every side.
Then they’ll realize that I mean business,
that I am God.
24 “No longer will Israel have to put up with
their thistle-and-thorn neighbors
Who have treated them so contemptuously.
And they also will realize that I am God.”
25-26 God, the Master, says, “When I gather Israel from the peoples among whom they’ve been scattered and put my holiness on display among them with all the nations looking on, then they’ll live in their own land that I gave to my servant Jacob. They’ll live there in safety. They’ll build houses. They’ll plant vineyards, living in safety. Meanwhile, I’ll bring judgment on all the neighbors who have treated them with such contempt. And they’ll realize that I am God.”
WHAT DO WE LEARN—HOW DO RESPOND?
Dear friends in ministry—When spiritual fruit is seen from our labors, and others acknowledge it, a humble response would be to thank them for seeing the fruit. Then tell the observers that these outcomes are a result of God working in and through us that make the fruit grow. Run from accolades that cause pride to grow in our minds but outwardly be polite and kind as we can teach others to give God all the glory.
The Origin of Pride. Pride consumed one of God’s angels who wanted to be god. He promptly fell from heaven to the depths to become our number one enemy against all that is God. He has been called “prince of this dark world” by Jesus. He is also the chief liar, mutilator of our emotions, and tormentor of our souls with all kinds of temptations and distractions to get us to leave God. He is Satan. Satan even tempted Jesus while in the wilderness who was there solely to seek direction from His Father, God, to accomplish the mission that would save us all from death. It all began with pride. Satan knows to “hit us” when we are hungry and weak.
Avoid pride at all costs. The fall is hard. Because of Jesus, however, as believers, we can rise up with Him in confidence because of the secret—Jesus comes to live in us. (Colossians 1:27) Humility becomes our new attitude as we imitate Jesus’ example. We learn to:
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves,not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name,that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” –Philippians 2:3-11
Steve Moore shares;
- “I have come to believe the ultimate prize for Satan is not the satisfaction of damning a human spirit to eternal fire. It is robbing God of the worship he deserves from that human spirit, forever.”
- “The greatest gift leaders can offer their followers is a life lived in the overflow of intimacy with God.”
Pause to repent. Seek intimacy with God. Love God with all that is you. Listen to Him. Obey. Then give God all the glory that is rightfully His.
We see what pride as done and is doing over the ages of time since The Fall of Adam and Eve. We see leaders in your church who often allow their own success in business, in ministry and in their very lives develop a pride that eventually destroys their original testimony of living for you. I pray for all of us who fall for pride to rise up with you in resurrection power! I pray for the continually defeat of the real foe in our lives! I pray for our confidence in you to grow and bear the fruits of your Holy Spirit because of our growing intimacy with You each day. YOU are GOD. We are not.
In Jesus Name, For Your Glory, Amen