Day 6: The Pride of Life – Part 1

Amy Carmichael once said, “When the heart learns  to trust God as He should be trusted, utterly and without hesitation, then the Lord throws wide the door of the treasure house of grace, and bids us go in with boldness and receive our inheritance of the saints in the light”

God’s Strength Alone

When I made the decision to follow God’s leading into ministry, I was beyond excited. But as I studied in preparation, I watched everyone else’s life around me change in what looked like a more secure way than mine. They began to pursue degrees and move into positions. I began to feel inferior as the achievements of others mounted around me; without realizing it, I had begun to walk by sight and not by faith. I noticed something else had changed—my speech. Out of insecurity, I began to speak more highly of myself than I ought. I had believed a lie, and the only antidote to a lie is the truth. God has no greater joy than when His children walk in truth (3 John 1:4).  Sadly, I had said “yes” to the Lord, but did not fully trust He would bring His calling on my life to fruitfulness. But His remedy was on the way and so is yours.

One day the Lord led me to the following verses to end my internal conflict:

Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.

— 1 Corinthians 1:26–29, NIV

I heard the Lord speak to me quietly, “I chose you and called you when you were not wise or powerful and had no remarkable status. I chose you and appointed you from the state you were in to bear fruit. Why do you feel like you need to be more to prove that I called you?”

The pressure was off. I did not need to qualify God’s choice and approval. I did not have to audition for my calling—it was God-given. God sent me to preach the gospel, not to prove myself worthy to others. I was going after the world’s value system of status and recognition to fill my need for security when I was secure all along. I was leaning on and trusting the world’s value system for strength, rather than trusting in the authority God had already given me. The moment I trusted my life into His hands, I was secure, and so are you.

The “pride of life” will vie for our attention. It attempts to measure a person’s value by achievements, status, and power. Enjoying a blessed life after working hard and being rewarded is great. It’s God’s blessing for His children to eat and drink and enjoy good labor (Eccl. 3:13). God does not want His children to possess mindsets where they exalt themselves in their own sight wherein they boast in worldly wisdom, status, or self-effort; He does not want them to think more highly of themselves than they ought in a self-promoting manner.

The world is an uncertain ocean of opinion, void of stability.

Sometimes people do this because they feel insecure and are inclined to want to be “enough,” to have value in society, and to feel they belong or are worthy. People measure themselves by their peer’s value system, thinking it will make them feel safe, secure, worthy, or successful. Unfortunately, people’s value systems constantly change, even from one person to the next.

Imagine being on the ocean and trying to swim to the top of a peaked wave; just when you think you are at the top, the wave falls, but soon there is another peaked wave to ascend. The waves come constantly, one on top of the other, and they are all surrounding. The world is an uncertain ocean of opinion, void of stability. You will never remain above the wave you are trying to ascend. Seeking peace based on our own performance will result in a life that constantly swells up and down. It will contribute to a divided heart and keep you from experiencing God’s joy and peace.  God’s value system, however, never changes.

What You Stand on Affects Your Stability

You can have the best of intentions in remaining steadfast in the Lord, but whether you are able to stand firm or not depends on what you are standing on and its stability. Standing on a surfboard in the middle of the Pacific Ocean with waves swelling up and down will make standing firm more difficult. Conversely, standing on the Great Wall of China in a windstorm will not be a problem. What is the difference? The stability of what you are standing on.  This determines your personal stability. Of course, the Great Wall of China is more reliable than a surfboard and can be trusted as a firm foundation that will not fail. 

God wants to unfold His power and fruitfulness through us and all believers whom He sends into their God-given destinies simply because He loves us and enjoys working in partnership with us, His sons and daughters.  

Delegated Authority: The Principle of Being Sent

The Bible tells a story about a centurion, who interestingly was not commended for faith in Christ! Rather, he was commended for his faith in the authority of God, who sent Jesus:

When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help. “Lord,” he said, “my servant lies at home paralyzed, suffering terribly.” Jesus said to him, “Shall I come and heal him?” The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him, “Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith. I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go! Let it be done just as you believed it would.” And his servant was healed at that moment.

— Matthew 8:6–13, NIV

The centurion, a military man, understood that the person who acted at the command and commission of his superior had the same but delegated authority as the superior himself. When a general of the US military is in the Middle East and is issued a command, for example, he acts not on his own authority but on the authority of the president. In addition, the president affords him the strength and military might to execute the command.

When God asks a person to complete an assignment for Him on the earth, His strength and power will be present to make it a living reality through that person’s obedience. His strength and power are also keys to salvation and accessing the benefits of Jesus’ assignments. The “subjects of the kingdom” in Matthew 8:6–13 were cast out of God’s kingdom because they did not perceive God had sent Jesus into the world (John 3:16). John wrote even the Jews, Jesus’ own people, didn’t recognize or receive Him:

He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God.

— John 1:11–12, NASB

It is up to those to whom you are sent to receive and access the blessings within your assignments. As you step forward, God does not ask you to rely on your own strength, but on the delegated authority of God and the power of the Holy Spirit He has given you. And, like the general of the United States who has access to the president’s storehouses of authority and resources, you have access to God’s heavenly storehouses of resources for all you need. Expect God to release His power, strength, and miracles just like He did His for seventy-two disciples when He sent them out:

After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go. “Whoever listens to you listens to me; whoever rejects you rejects me; but whoever rejects me rejects him who sent me.” The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in Your name.” He replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”

— Luke 10:1, 16–20, NIV

Notice the principle of being sent in the above verses. The power and authority to execute the assignment was within the Lord’s command. The seventy-two were not acting on their own authority, but God’s. God sent Jesus and Jesus had the right and authority to send the disciples; He did, and He still does today. Begin to trust and believe that God will supernaturally supply the strength, power, wisdom, organization, or miracles for any assignment He gives you.

Reflect with the Holy Spirit

  1. Lord, what am I standing on?
  2. When I read Amy Carmichael’s quote, what am I trusting in?  If I were to trust more in God, would I be bold? Why or why not?  Does what I believe need to change?
  3. Where does my strength come from?
  4. Am I okay with being small in my strength and to cling to trust in God’s strength?

This teaching devotional is part of a series based on Tyrelle Smith’s book: From Double-Minded To DestinyEach week we will publish more on how you can remove doubts and insecurities and fulfill God’s plan for your life in a greater way.

3 thoughts on “Day 6: The Pride of Life – Part 1

  1. Pingback: Day 5: The Lusts of the Flesh - Gospel Fire For all Nations

  2. Glenda Frey

    Excellent considerations, must pause and pray about my foundation.
    Love the bright flower photo that despite the hard concrete surroundings persevered to blossom regardless of circumstance.

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