Even as several grandiose building projects have terminated because of cost overruns, so must we carefully count the cost of our spiritual building project.
People resist God because of their pride, but pride can be neutralized by humility, a character trait that allows a person to submit to God.
Pride distorts our view of reality and our relationships. Being humble is not for the faint of heart, but requires God's Spirit operating in our lives.
Paradoxically, God stoops to us when we humble ourselves. Humility produces honor from God; if we humble ourselves, He will hear us.
Humility, poverty of spirit, and acknowledging our total dependence on God are of the utmost importance. God responds to those who are humble.
Atonement, when we are commanded to afflict our souls, is a time of self-evaluation and repentance. This is the only way to have real unity with God.
The story of Job reveals a man whom God forced to see himself as he really was, and his true self-image paved the way to a leap forward in spiritual growth.
Two tests to reveal the presence of pride are the way we treat others (especially our own family) and the way we receive instruction or correction.
The intent of fasting is to deflate our pride—the major taproot of sin—the biggest deterrent to a positive relationship with God. Humility heals the breach.
The apostle Andrew is a sterling example of humble service. Through Scripture contains only a little about him, his character should encourage us all.
Competition is the root cause of war, business takeovers, and marital discord. Solomon describes man's rivalry with one another as a striving after wind.
Throughout the course of Biblical history, whenever sin appears, confusion, division and separation are the automatic consequences.
Any time we feel prompted to exalt ourselves, we demonstrate Satan's spirit of pride, thereby jeopardizing our entry into God's family.
Three symptoms of pride include (1) lying to protect our self-image; (2) competitiveness; (3) believing our personal ideas are more valuable than God's Truth.
Self-exaltation was one of the sins that got Satan in trouble. Conversely, we are to humble ourselves so God can exalt us in due time.
John Ritenbaugh teaches that we must have both perseverance and humility in prayer in order to keep our vision sharp and clear. Pride leads people to justify sins such as lying, fornication, adultery, and stealing. Without humility, the doorway to acceptance by God is closed even though we believe. We need to develop the …
Meekness is one of the hardest virtues to define. The Bible shows meekness to be strength, as the character of such people as Jesus and Moses shows.
Because of our lack of self-discipline and willingness to guard the truth, we have allowed our theological base to deteriorate under the persuasion of the world.
Meekness is often confused with weakness and considered to be undesirable. But Jesus lists it as a primary virtue of one who will inherit His Kingdom.
Ryan McClure, reflecting on the oft-repeated Rodney King quotation, "Can we all get along?" asks us how we are doing with our relationships, dealing with people with whom we find it difficult to get along. The Scriptures provide many examples of how difficult relationships were dealt with by humility, deference, and …
Martin Collins considers that if the Church of God is the Kingdom of God in embryo, we have a charge to learn how to teach. In the Millennium, we will teach the laws and ordinances. We will be kings and priests, responsible for those refugees coming out of the tribulation. We, as future spirit beings, must be preparing now to …
Meekness is not the most sought after of character traits, but it is a necessary one for Christians. Edwin Pope defines meekness, giving three steps to developing it in our lives.
God spoke audibly to Moses and the people, intentionally testing their faithfulness, to instill the fear of the Lord in them, and to keep them from sin.
What is it to be poor in spirit? This attribute is foundational to Christian living. Those who are truly poor in spirit are on the road to true spiritual riches.
In this sermon on biblical humility, John Ritenbaugh suggests that sacrifices of thanksgiving, praise, and gratitude are required of God's called out priests. By meditating on the physical creation, the human body, and God's law, we prepare ourselves for prayer. God desires that we exercise gratitude and thanksgiving in order …
God's sovereignty seems to imply that prayer is pointless. Yet the function of prayer is not to change God's mind, but ours!
Pride is a perverted comparison that elevates one above another. Because of its arrogant self-sufficiency, it hinders our faith. Faith depends on humility.
Those who view religion as a life of gloom and deprivation are too short-sighted to realize that the world's entertainments do not satisfy the deepest need.
Once we accept God's sovereignty, it begins to produce certain virtues in us. John Ritenbaugh explains four of these byproducts of total submission to God.
Why does God carve out a special role for rejects, off-scourings, and castaways? Are there characteristics of outcasts and 'undesirables' that we should copy?
David Grabbe, unraveling several apparently contradictory scriptures, exposes a fundamental flaw in western thinking—namely the binary (that is, either-or) thinking that leads us to construct false dilemmas. Perhaps the best example of this is the one delineated by Protestant theologians who conceptualize law and grace at …
Martin Collins, in this practical application sermon of etiquette and politeness suggests, that where gentleness and humility exists, the character of Christ is made manifest. Christ's metaphors of snakes (representing caution) and doves (innocence) adds another dimension to Christian etiquette. Politeness is described by …
Genuine humility is one of the most elusive characteristics a person can attain. It consists of of self-respect accompanied by a genuine desire to serve.
Ecclesiastes 7 contains a paradox: wickedness appears to be rewarded and righteousness seems to bring trouble. We must be careful in how we respond to this.
The belief that America was or is a Christian nation cannot be supported by the facts. The world, governed by Satan, hates Christ's true followers.
Without thanksgiving and praise, our prayers degenerate into the 'gimmes' with the emphasis on the self. We must give God thoughtful thanks in every circumstance.
Footwashing is the initial part of the Passover ceremony. Why did Christ institute it? What is its purpose?
God's children should never emulate the self-willed attitude Frank Sinatra's song "My Way" glorifies. Human nature and godly character are polar opposites.
Martin Collins, focusing upon the topic of unity, maintains that the church has been charged with the responsibility to bring unity to a hopelessly disunited, fragmented, and chaotic world. In order to maintain this unity, like the Ephesians, we must maintain a solid balance between doctrine and practice, walking worthy of our …
The peace that passes all understanding comes from yielding to God's will, asking Him for a soft, pliable heart to replace the hard heart of stubbornness.
Martin Collins, identifying a list of infamous monarchs who had the title "the Great" affixed to their names, puzzles over the criteria historians employed when giving this designation to patently blatant tyrants, and contrasts this pretentious greatness with the genuine greatness inherent in God Almighty. Ironically, …
Here are four qualities of character that our full acceptance of God's sovereignty will build and that will prepare us for whatever work God may choose for us.
Richard Ritenbaugh introduces his topic of covering sins by reflecting on the illegal trial of Jesus, in which false witnesses and false accusations were trumped up by the presumptuous Jewish religious leaders against the very Son of God. The Pharisees and Sadducees demonstrated hypocrisy, professing righteousness and teaching …
The contrite or brokenhearted person finds special favor with God, and a humble or contrite spirit is indeed a precursor to forgiveness and spiritual healing.
Richard Ritenbaugh cautions us not to have a one-dimensional perspective of God, pointing to the multi-faceted aspects of His personality and His vast works. Our puny minds can only grasp a tiny sliver of what God really is. Far less than a toddler to an adult is our understanding compared to God's. As a meticulous micro-manager …
Jesus proved that one cannot become a leader through political intrigue, but by assuming the position of a humble servant. God sets Himself against the proud.
In Paul's listings of virtues, meekness always appears near the end, reflecting its difficulty. Meekness is the gentle, quiet spirit of selfless devotion.
John Ritenbaugh, reflecting on Solomon's ruminations about life being seemingly futile and purposeless, reiterates that a relationship with God is the only factor which prevents life from becoming useless. As many celebrities and public figures withdraw to spend more time with families, so must we withdraw from the rat race of …
If we are not receiving God's correction or chastisement, we should be concerned! God's chastening is what He uses to sanctify His spiritual children.
John Ritenbaugh warns that human nature is hostile to change, even when it is confirmed to be in the wrong. In the matter of godly standards for dress (as in any other aspect of God's teaching), we must adopt the humble, childlike, sincere, unassuming, unpretentious, and teachable attitude, loving God intimately, denying …
Using the army boot camp analogy, Richard Ritenbaugh teaches that God places us through a similar humbling process, causing us to look at our sins in a spiritual mirror, contrasting our lives with the sinless life of Jesus Christ. In this process, we must (1) put out evil, (2) put on the new man, empowered with the mind of …
The hallmark of Christian character is humility, which comes about only when one sees himself in comparison to God. Pride makes distorted comparisons.
The fear and trembling before God is more like reverence and awe instead of abject terror. It leads us to total dependence upon God with a desire to repudiate sin.
Martin Collins suggests that pessimism or cynicism in the leadership or government of God is faithlessness. In the context of church authority, the emphasis is on persuasion not compulsion. We obey because we are convinced from the heart?conversion?rather than from a blind sense of duty. Church government should reflect God's …
Jesus demonstrated His meekness in His treatment of many with whom He interacted. Balancing firmness and gentleness, He seeks to save rather than destroy.
The Parable of the Great Supper is Jesus' response to a fellow dinner guest exclaiming, "Blessed is he who shall eat bread in the kingdom of God!" In the parable, Jesus exposes and corrects the ignorance of those who, in their pride, misjudge their true moral condition.
In this sermon on the deadly consequences of pride, John Ritenbaugh warns that pride elevates one above God, denigrating any dependence upon God, replacing it with insidious self-idolatry. Pride is entirely about disrespect (of God, other people, traditions, policies, etc.) to get for oneself what one wants. Pride produces an …
John Ritenbaugh reiterates that humility is not an obsequious demonstration of low self esteem, but instead it is a proper estimate of our relationship to God, which is a choice to act and behave as a servant or slave. If we would follow Christ's example of humility, we would have automatic unity. We need to have both the …
Fasting puts us in a proper humble and contrite frame of mind, allowing God to respond to us, freeing us from our burdens and guiding us into His Kingdom.
Being poor in spirit is a foundational spiritual state for qualifying for God's Kingdom. Poor in spirit describes being acutely aware of one's dependency.
Prayer is not a dictating to a reluctant God, but a demonstration of our attitude of dependence and need. It is a means to get into harmony with God's will.
We would like God to instantly gratify our desires. Consequently, we find living by faith difficult; we do not trust that He has things under control.
Pride, the father of all sins, is the source of self-exaltation, self-justification and the despising of authority. It cloaks rebellion in a deceptive appeal.