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[thoughts] Overcoming Pride (February 7-13, 2005)

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  • Mark Roth
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    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 6, 2005
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      I have no control over and hereby disclaim ads/links above.
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      OVERCOMING PRIDE
      (2 Kings 5:1-5, 9-15a)


      PROBING YOUR OWN HEART

      Do you believe God wants you to teach this lesson?

      Do you believe God wants to teach you this lesson?


      BUILDING ON SOME FOUNDATIONAL CONCEPTS

      God chooses and uses whom He will.
      We tend to assume most of the credit when we and our efforts
      succeed. We don't seem entirely inoculated against being pleased
      with ourselves because of what we have become and what we have
      accomplished. We must banish such self-focused, prideful thinking
      -- it discounts God and steals from Him the glory and recognition
      which belongs to Him alone. He is the One who decides whom to
      choose and use -- we owe our usefulness and our successes to Him.

      We ought to honor those in authority over us.
      By pointing the way for his healing, the little maid gave honor
      to the man likely responsible for her captivity. This honor was not
      forced from her; she volunteered it. So ought we to give honor to
      those to whom it is due. Even when one in authority conducts
      himself without the honor required by his position, we under
      authority must be subject with honor (Romans 13:1).

      Our thoughts and ways are inferior to God's.
      Naaman knew the result for which he wished. He also thought of
      a way in which that result would be achieved. Then Naaman
      discovered that God had a plan so different from his own that he
      furiously rejected it outright. He eventually learned that God's
      thoughts and ways were not only different from his, they were also
      superior. May we see that as clearly for ourselves and our plans as
      we see it for Naaman and his plans!

      God gives grace to the humble.
      For a man of his stature and accomplishment, Naaman possessed
      a measure of humility. He listened to the advice of a little
      foreign slave girl. He also agreed to deal with someone other than
      the king of Israel. God knew Naaman's heart and extended to him His
      grace. Then Naaman's pride and expectation balked, only to be won
      over by his humble acceptance of his servants' appeal. And once
      again he experienced grace. God *still* gives grace to the humble.


      QUESTIONS AND RESPONSES

      God gave deliverance to an enemy nation?
      Certainly! God loves *people*, even those who despite and
      oppress His chosen ones. "O the depth of the riches both of the
      wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments,
      and his ways past finding out!" (Romans 11:33). Our heavenly Father
      graciously "maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and
      sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust" (Matthew 5:45). Read
      the context of that verse to refresh in your heart the practical
      applications for the Father's children.

      Why didn't God register the little maid's name in the Scriptures?
      It didn't suit His purposes nor did it fit within His
      higher-than-ours ways. Perhaps He maintained her historical
      anonymity in order to bestow more abundant honor on her later.
      Perhaps He kept her name from the record to teach us that He will
      give recognition to His faithful servants in His own way and time.
      We should remember her the next time we chafe at going unrecognized
      for the good we do.

      How could the little maid care so much for her captor?
      One possible explanation lies in her child-ness -- perhaps she
      hoped that a kind deed on her part would win her freedom and
      restoration to her people, if not to her own family. Another
      possibility is that God's love flowed freely from her heart. This
      care may have also been an expression of the honor she knew she
      owed her master. In fact, she could have had all three of those
      motivations.

      Why would Naaman balk so wrathfully at washing in Jordan?
      The solution to his need was just too simple...and too
      preposterous. His expectations had not been met. His pride and
      honor had been assaulted. He had shown plenty of openness and
      humility to this point, but every man has his limits. When we
      crucify our limits in order to pursue God's ways, God honors both
      Himself and us.

      How could someone so great be so open to advice from his servants?
      The fact we must ask the question brings to light our flawed
      understanding of true greatness.



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