Category Archives: knowledge

(becoming) closer to God through Proverbs 6, part 2: haughty eyes

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"God forbid that I should glory save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ." (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Haughty Eyes

Of course the list of things God hates starts here.  Just in case I thought I was going to go into this series of posts feeling pretty proud of my ability to hate the wicked things God hates, I have to start with the one I have the most trouble with.

The first item on the list in Proverbs 6 of seven things God detests is “haughty eyes” – proud eyes, in other words.  The question, then, is this: Are there areas of pride in your life?

Below are some questions that might help us focus on this area.  (And it was helpful to me to really try to answer these as I wrote them.  I didn’t always like the honest answer, but as we’ll talk about in the next post, God also hates dishonesty.  So trying to cover up my pride with dishonesty is probably not a good choice. 🙂 )

1. Do I feel superior to others with regard to intelligence?  Or education?  Or accomplishments?  Or finances?  Or appearance?  Or patience?  Or wisdom?  Or holiness?  Or ……..?  (And am I too proud to see the irony in almost all of this?)

2. Do I look down on others because of these perceived differences?  Do I ever treat others differently because of this?  Am I less likely to associate with people I see as less intelligent, attractive, etc.?  Do I avoid people who look or dress a certain way?  Etc.

3. Do I take pride in my gifts and accomplishments (or the gifts and accomplishments of my husband or children) without remembering to give God the honor and credit and thanks?

4. Do I feel that I “deserve” certain things?  A certain size of house?  Certain clothes?  A certain amount of respect because of my job or wisdom or other gifts and accomplishments?

5. Do I act like I want to help people, but secretly enjoy thinking I’m better than them?

Most of us can answer “yes” to at least one part of one of these 5 questions.  So, if that’s the case, how do we start fixing our haughty eyes?

First, I think it’s important to remember whom we are apart from God: No one.  We are condemned, helpless souls.  With God, though?  We are children of the King.  We are recipients of His blessings.  That’s where we get all of our intelligence, wisdom, holiness, wealth, beauty, patience, and so on.  From God.  Each of these is a blessing that He’s chosen to give us.  And this is true of “the righteous and the unrighteous” (Matthew 5:45).   All blessings come from God – “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows” (James 1:17) –  whether or not we decide to acknowledge it.  So, no reason for pride there.  God tells us this in Jeremiah 9:23-24:

            This is what the LORD says:

   “Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom
or the strong man boast of his strength
or the rich man boast of his riches,
24 but let him who boasts boast about this:
that he understands and knows me,
that I am the LORD, who exercises kindness,
justice and righteousness on earth,
for in these I delight,”
declares the LORD.

What do we have to boast about?  Knowing God!  And the more we know God, the more we know we don’t have anything else to boast about.  Think you have something else to boast about?  Use that as a motivation to get to know God better!

Paul knew where his pride should be too, when he said in 2 Corinthians 12:9:

But he [God] said to me [Paul], “‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”

So there’s another thing we can boast about: God’s strength in our weaknesses.

And Paul wrote in Galatians 6:14:

May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.

So there’s another thing: the cross.

Finally, in 1 John 2:16, John reminds us where our desire to boast about ourselves comes from:

For everything in the world—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does—comes not from the Father but from the world.

So, to summarize: God hates selfish pride and boasting.  Our desire to boast about ourselves (or our families, etc.) comes from the world, not from God.  The only things we really have to boast about are knowing God, God’s strength in our weakness, and the cross.

So what does this mean for us in our daily lives?  A couple of things:

1. We have to get rid of our selfish boasting.  This doesn’t mean we can never tell our friends that our son scored a goal or our daughter got an “A” or our husband got promoted.  What it does mean is we have to do those things prayerfully.

Before the words come out of your mouth, ask yourself (and God) these two things:

 a. Can I honestly say that I am sharing this information in a way that encourages someone else or brings glory to God?

b. Does God want me to share this information right now?

 Asking these two questions has kept me quiet on numerous occasions.  And it’s HARD.  Boasting is a really natural thing to do.  We want to feel good about ourselves and our families, and we want others to as well.  But whose glory are we seeking in this case?  We should be seeking God’s glory and helping point others to Him.  Does what you’re about to say meet either of those goals?

2. We have to get rid of pride.  Boasting is the outward manifestation of a prideful heart.  Getting rid of boasting is important, but it doesn’t solve our heart issue.  The pride in our hearts (maybe even pride about the fact that we aren’t boastful!) is the real problem.  Remember, “The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7).

A couple places to start with this:

a. Focus on building others up.  When you’re talking with a friend, for instance, resolve to only ask questions about what she’s talking about, instead of steering the conversation toward yourself.

b. Memorize some of the verses above to defend yourself against the devil when he tempts you to be prideful — and he will.  Don’t let the devil turn a gift or accomplishment God has blessed you with into an occasion for sin!

What have you found that helps you guard your heart against pride?

Read Part 3a of the series: (becoming) closer to God through Proverbs 6, part 3a — a lying tongue

Missed Part One of this series?  Click here: (becoming) closer to God through Proverbs 6, part 1

Want to read more?

Start of the wisdom series: (becoming) wise, part one

Start of the role model series: (becoming) a role model, part one

Start of the stewardship series: (becoming) a good steward

Start of the wife series: (becoming) a godly wife

Start the fully submitted series: (becoming) fully submitted

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(becoming) wise, part 2

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom,                                                                      and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. (Proverbs 9:10)

As we discussed last week, the first part of this verse tells us how to start becoming wise.

The second part of this verse: “and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding,” is at once more exciting and more terrifying than the first part.  Lots of people can fear God and have a start at wisdom.  In fact, even the demons shuddered in Jesus’s presence because they knew who He was.  But to gain full understanding, we have to have “knowledge of the Holy One.”  And how do we gain this knowledge of God?  He hasn’t left us in the dark about this.  He’s given us an entire book in which He reveals Himself.  And He’s given us His Holy Spirit — an actual indwelling of God Himself!  God wants us to have this knowledge.  He wants to reveal Himself to us and continue to grow closer to us.

While we’ll never grasp the fullness of God (we’re simply not capable as humans), we can know God, and know Him in a personal and life-changing way.  And I mean really know Him.  Not go to church.  Not serve at church.  Not say memorized prayers.  Not “try to be good.”  Not just pray when we need something.  Not read a devotional occasionally.  I mean really know God.  To know Him as fully as we can.  And this is hard.  There is no easy way to do this.  That’s just the truth.  But it’s worth it, friends; it really is.

And, more important than being worth it, God tells us it’s required: “Rend your hearts, not your garments” (Joel 2:13).  God is asking for an inward change.  He wants to change our hearts; He doesn’t just want to see us go through the motions.  The motions don’t mean a thing without the right heart.  People might only see the rending of our garments – the outward appearance of being a Christian.  But God sees what’s inside.  He knows the condition of our hearts.  And it’s our hearts He wants changed.

There are three things I firmly believe will help people get their hearts right with God and gain “knowledge of the Holy One.”  And, again, it’s not a matter of doing these things to cross them off some list.  The goal of each of these things is to get to know God, to become closer to God – all the time.

1. Daily Bible reading.  This cannot be replaced by devotionals or church classes where things are “explained” to you.  Devotionals and church classes are fine (and it’s important to be in fellowship with other believers), but they are not a time alone with God.  I don’t know how to stress this part enough.  But I promise you it will make a difference.  While I “knew” God in a very “churchy” sense for years, I didn’t really have “knowledge of the Holy One” until I started spending time with just God.  This is something you have to do yourself.  You can’t get it from sitting in church.  (Though sitting in church can, of course, help grow your relationship with God.)  You can’t share someone else’s knowledge of God.  You have to seek this yourself.

2. Daily Prayer.  For-real prayer.  Not rote prayer.  Not prayer that tries to sound “holy.”  Prayer that adores the very real goodness God, confesses our very real sin, gives real thanks for His real gifts, makes real petitions for real needs, and truly seeks after God’s heart.  He has promised us, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13).

3. Daily listening.  I think the reason this is so hard and so important is that we can most clearly hear God speak to us when we’re attuned to Him and nothing else.  I think daily listening is something Satan fights mightily against.  He knows how important it is, and he tries to prevent it from happening.  Be ready for that.

I’ll talk more in later posts about specific methods I use for my quiet time, but for now, my challenge to you, if you don’t have a current quiet time with God, is to just start.  Just go before Him with an open heart, faith in His word, and a hunger to hear from Him.  See what He does!

If you already have a daily time with God, then your challenge is to ramp it up in some way.  Has He been working on you to expand it, deepen it, make it more authentic, or otherwise change part of it?  Has He been asking you to do something in your quiet time that you have been resisting?  Perhaps giving up a pet sin, forgiving someone, encouraging someone else in his/her walk?  Remember that your quiet time can’t be all it should be, and cannot progress, until you’re obedient to what He’s already told you.

“‘Why do you call me, “Lord, Lord,” and do not do what I say? I will show you what he is like who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice. He is like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete.’” – Luke 6:46-49

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does.” – James 1:22-25

Let me know how it goes!

Want to read more?

Start of the role model series: (becoming) a role model, part one

Start of the wife series: (becoming) a godly wife

Start the fully submitted series: (becoming) fully submitted

Have trouble saying no?  Try: (becoming) a good volunteer: the necessity of “no”

Struggle with worry?  Try: (becoming) less of a worrier

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