If you want to really find Christ, your self-strength must be broken. You can try and control your pride but you will never succeed. It’s not a matter of controlling one’s self because that is just simply using your own strength, you must be broken and remoulded and only God can do that.
What’s the process?
God uses the same weapons Satan uses, but He does it in reverse. Contrary to popular religious belief, God created evil. God confirms this in Isaiah 45:7 and Romans 9:22. God created the tree of knowledge of good and EVIL. God allows evil to give man free choice. He uses the evil to refine the good and to expose the bad. Satan never created anything; he copies. He doesn’t have creative power. Satan uses Guilt and Fear as his primary weapons to control people to his will, and at the same time God allows it to free His people from Satan.
What do you think of ME?
Everyone is born with a desperate desire to be liked and thus automatically reacts in fear if they think they have done something that might have caused someone to not like them. That is, they live in the fear of what people think of them.
The thing people fear the most is “what do you think of me?” They fear getting into trouble, but that’s because they really are afraid that you might think bad of them. The primary fear underneath all fears is the fear of what you think of me. Consequently, people try all sorts of tactics to cope with this fear-feeling and not feel the pain of their fears. Some try to overcome their fears by bungie-jumping, diving with sharks or sky-diving. Others learn to be ‘cool’ and just shrug it off. Others turn to education, physical abilities, money or manual skills, all in a vain attempt to escape their fears and feel of value to themselves, and to be liked more than someone else.
The real issue is superiority
It’s inferior to be afraid and it’s superior to not be afraid. Everyone hates inferiority and they live in the fear of it, so everything people do is just a vain attempt to feel superior.
PRIDE = submitting to the Fear of what people think = worrying about ME = protecting MY status = I’m right, and I don’t want to be told what to do
HUMILITY = submitting to the Fear of what God thinks = standing up for God’s status, not mine = He’s right and I’m willing to be told what You want me to do
Pride isn’t necessarily promoting yourself with a puffed-up arrogance; it’s more often the subtle ‘loving ME first’ (concerned for my well-being first) in preference to God first and my neighbour, and it exists in our heart unawares and eventually exposes itself particularly when someone has done the wrong against ME.
OLD NATURE is the fruit
Our old nature pattern develops from our interaction with our parent’s threats. It’s our SURVIVAL PATTERN. One of your parents would have a mood … even a mood like ‘always right’ or ‘spiritually raving on’ or ‘can’t be told’ … and this would stimulate our fear … the fear of getting into trouble, and underneath that … the fear of what they think of me. Consequently, I start worrying about Me … “oh, no, I’ve upset them; I feel bad for doing something wrong”, and that’s the elevation of me.
We then learn a pattern of self-defence which could be anything, like … trying to be liked by them, trying to keep them happy, being helpful, going to people’s defence, being busy, being right, being perfect, being responsible to fix them up, or the opposite …walking away with a huff of ‘who cares’ and pretending to block our painful emotions.
Every one of us has developed a pattern of self-defence to cope with the intimidation or threats from our parents. This is the exact same pattern we automatically fall into every time someone triggers the original fear of our parents with a word, an action or even just a thought.
Despite all the rightness of your defence, and all the injustice of their threats and intimidation, the real issue underneath all the reactions is the fact that … old nature is our sin nature and that nature doesn’t like to be TOLD and we get tricked into it when we react to people’s behavioural irritations; and that’s the issue, not the injustice.
It’s the MOTIVE that counts, not the action
Now, being helpful is not a sin in itself; it’s actually a good thing, and that’s the confusion. The problem is not the act, the problem is the motive. If your motive for being helpful is so you don’t get into trouble and so you don’t feel bad, or feeling good because YOU fixed their problem, then your real motive isn’t for the benefit of your parent or the person, it’s for the benefit of you, and that’s the sin.
If your motive is generated from your old nature then your judgments will be wrong even though they seem right. How can you make a righteous judgment on the foundation of old nature? If you say ‘they made me do it’, then you may be right but you are just exacerbating the sin with ‘blame’, just like Eve and Adam in Genesis 3. If you say ‘it’s not fair’ then you may be right but you are just exacerbating the sin with murmuring.
Defending your position is not the solution to the problem … that’s just old nature.
If you want Christ’s new nature you have to respond to the threat totally differently, and that’s impossible in your own strength. Your own strength has to be broken.
The fruits of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil
Once you enter old nature, just like Eve and Adam you will come under the demonic Spirit of FEAR, and sooner or later you will display the fruits of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Just like Eve and Adam you will envy someone’s better deal, hide from the truth, blame, lie and tell people what’s right and wrong.
“I’m RIGHT, don’t tell me I’m wrong”
Behind all the emotion and bad feelings is the inherent pride of our heart; the pride of “I’m right, don’t tell me I’m wrong”. So the real deal with our parent is the competition for control over who’s right. The real issue is neither party can be TOLD. Under the influence of the demonic spirit of FEAR, our parent is really dictating that they are right, and even though it is camouflaged by fear, our pride is retaliating with …” NO, I’m right and you won’t tell me what to do”, but we can’t win because they have the power; so we withdraw until we can get old enough to enforce that we are right, and thus we end up in the same position of dictatorship as our parent. That’s because the one you hold the grievance against is the one you become. Your judgment has come back to roost.
This is the real reason why people hate correction; they don’t want to be TOLD they’re wrong; their pride defends they’re ‘right’. The person who has to be right is already wrong. The person who can’t be told they’re wrong is never right.
The DOOR that opens the old nature pattern
Old nature can only see the wrong the person has done to ME; it can’t see that it is in old nature instead of being in Jesus’ nature, and that fact alone means you are wrong and in sin. The real issue is that you have sinned by placing yourself in a position of judge instead of letting God be the judge. Your analysis of the situation is most likely right, but once you set yourself as the judge, you’ve sinned. If you blame the person for making you sin then you’re just confirming that the real issue is your own arrogance; that is, you’re not trusting the Lord, you’re trusting yourself; and that’s the sin.
How does God use this?
God uses fear to teach you that you can’t overcome your pride. You can hide it but you can’t beat it. He uses fear to teach you to go to Him and not to yourself. He allows fear to help break your pride. He allows hate to break your pride. He allows rejection to break you. He allows correction to break you. He uses any means at His disposal to get you to His kingdom and it’s a war because Satan is using the same means to bind you in his kingdom.
Being hated and being rejected is the door to heaven
Because everyone hates being inferior Satan tricks you into striving for superior, but God uses hate to save you. If you truly want to follow Christ you won’t find Him unless you willingly go through the door of hate and rejection for His Name. If you truly put your hand up for Christ the false church will hate you and your family and friends will reject you. Jesus was despised and rejected to show you the way. That’s what the Word says in Matthew 10:24,25 & 34-39. Your human nature will fear being rejected, but your spirit nature will bask in it because it will draw you closer to the Master. You will have to surrender to the Lord’s will instead of defending your will. When you reach this cross-road your spirit will be broken and you’ll be saved.
Our survival pattern was locked-in by age 3
To trap us, all Satan has to do is trigger the pattern with someone who does something that sub-consciously reminds us of our parent’s rightness. Whenever we fall into our survival pattern a mature Christian knows they have been tempted and fallen into sin. An immature Christian reacts to the person who is dictating that they are right with “No, I’m right, you won’t TELL me” and stays bound in the cycle of pride defence, ever moving further and further away from the heart of Christ, and ever becoming more and more like the person they hold the grievance against. The Word of God confirms this in Matthew 7:1-5.
Your pattern of self-rightness is set; you’ll never change the pattern; you have to be broken.
How do you get out of your old nature self-right survival pattern?
The answer is simple … OWN your pattern of self-rightness defence. OWN that you are demanding your way, and repent of it by letting God be the judge of the person threatening you instead of you being the judge. God will restore you immediately to His new nature and lift you above the fear and pain of their judgment. A person who triggers a reaction from you that causes you to defend your rightness is simply being used of Satan to trap you into your survival-pattern old nature pride.
The real issue is always ‘JUDGE’
In simplicity, the issue is never what the person is doing to you; the issue is always JUDGE … have you judged them and thus sinned by elevating yourself above your neighbour, or have you surrendered to the Lord’s higher plan and trust Him as the judge? Until you do that you are not broken, and if you are not broken, then everything is your nature, not Christ’s. God won’t give you His nature whilst ever you insist on judging with your old nature, and whilst ever you insist on your opinion, and whilst ever you insist on not being TOLD what to do.
Mark 9: 30-50
Jesus tries to tell His disciples that He is going to die but they couldn’t understand it. Why couldn’t they? They still lived in their self-right survival pattern. Jesus confirms this when He challenges them with “what were you talking about?” They wouldn’t say because they knew they were wrong. They were talking about who would be the greatest amongst them … that’s the side-effect of believing you’re right … that’s envy … that’s bad judgment.
Jesus responded to their self-rightness by drawing their attention to being a child. What was He saying? He was saying that you locked into a self-right pattern as a child, but now if you want to truly be My disciples you will have to lock into My-God-is-right pattern by being born again as a child into My Kingdom and responding to Me as your Father. Will you trust Me and surrender?
Without blinking, John displays his envy at someone else being able to do what they could do. Jesus challenges him and then advises all His followers to cut off anything that becomes an idol in your life and pushes you away from Him.
That’s what this sermon is all about. Where do you run to when it’s all too hard? Is it TV, money, sex, busyness, food, helping, surfing, footy, or education? Whatever it is, if it’s an idol it must be cut off because until it is your self-rightness defensive cycle will rule your life.
May God open the eyes of His remnant to see their pride of “I’m right, I’m not going to be told I’m wrong”, no matter how well camouflaged it is by their niceness.
Pastor Glen Reynolds