Philippians 3:12 – Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.
I will be the first to admit that I am not perfect. I mean, people may look at me with my perfect hair, ripped abs, and perfectly groomed fingernails and think otherwise, but I really am not perfect. And if balding, overweight guy who bites his fingernails is your idea of perfect, then you really have low standards of perfection.
Truth of the matter is, I try to be perfect.
And that doesn’t work so well.
I try to control everything so precisely, thinking that it can’t possibly be as good as if I were to do it. I think the Bible has another word for that thought….pride.
Hi. My name is Fred Noble, and I am addicted to pride.
Proverbs 11:12 – When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom.
Pride causes us to do things that we wouldn’t normally do. It causes us to judge others quickly. It causes us to see ourselves as better than other people. And it causes us to overwork ourselves.
Each and every day when I wake up, I pray to God to take my pride away and show me humility. Lately, I have been humbled significantly and it has led to better outcomes.
Let me share a few examples.
First, when I started my company, I looked into the woman who started the franchise company and told her that within a year I would be her top franchisee. Well, I wasn’t. A matter of fact, far from it. There are newer franchisees who are coming on board that are doing much more than I am. In 2014 my business showed a loss. Granted, some of that was startup costs, but even with that factored out, it showed a minor loss. At the beginning of this year, I prayed for God to get me out of the way. To give my business completely to Him for growth and sustainability. When that happened, I saw a polar change. The first month alone my business brought in enough revenue to cover 48% of the entire year’s expenses and I got 3 clients signed up and one big one transferred to me from another franchisee.
This year looks good for the business. I look forward to seeing what God will do with it. Notice I said God and not me. It was only after completely giving it to Him that I started seeing growth.
Proverbs 26:12 – Do you see a man who is wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.
The next example comes from one of the ministries I lead. I lead a young adult ministry at church. When I started with it back in April of last year, we had 8 people and 3 of them were leaders, so really only 5 regular attenders. We would flop back and forth between 8 and 12 people all year long, but we never saw much growth. I was leading the outreaches and the teaching.
Well, as this year started, the leaders came to me and brought some ideas for change. Thinking that my way was the one working, I went in saying to myself that I would listen but was resistant to change. Well, I gave my attitude to God completely.
I asked Him to break me down and take my pride from me.
I listened intently. Wanting to jump in and say a lot, and sometimes I had to restrain myself a lot.
At the end, I found my outreach ministry through United was given to someone else and the teaching was given more of a focus. I walked out of our meeting feeling relieved.
We went into the new year with 17 people on average coming to United. A 112% increase over last year at the same time and 42% increase over the prior year average. We also went into this year with a new event coordinator and an outreach coordinator. Both men are doing very well, as are our men’s and women’s leaders. We have outreaches planned out for the next 6 months, something I never simply had the time or energy to do.
But God also blessed it in other ways.
The teaching has gone deeper. We are studying through verse by verse the book of Hebrews. We are having significant theological discussions in United now where before we were more like a self-help group.
We still love and support one another in the community of faith, but now I see us seeking God’s face more deeply rather than just His hand.
And that came from giving my pride to God and asking it to be broken.
Psalm 51:17 – The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit. You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God.
I could go on and on with examples. I could share more ministry examples. I could share examples from farther back in my past. I could even share examples with my girlfriend and how my pride has needed to be broken on more than one (and more than a thousand) occasion.
But I won’t. I won’t bore you with my past. I want my past, and my lessons, to point to God. It is only because I gave up my pride in those situations and relied solely on God that any fruit came of it.
I’ll continue to struggle with pride. It will be ongoing until the day I die.
But I know I have a God that is there for me. And wants me to give Him everything, the good and the ugly. And that is what I pray I will continue to do.
What do you need to give up to God? What do you need Him to break you of? How do you feel you can grow in your faith and what do you need to do to make that happen?
Call out to Him. Call out to the One who makes all things new. Call out to the Giver of Life and Creator of all. He is waiting. He desires all of you. Not just the stuff you look good doing. But all of you.
Give it up to Him today.
Luke 20:18 – Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces; anyone on whom it falls will be crushed.