Introduction:

This message was originally written in my Facebook “notes” section.  I thought I would take a look back at some of my first writings, and start working at getting them moved over here to the WordPress site.  I really like this message.  It was written on Thursday, September 1, 2011…which is a few months before the official launching of Christlike Ministries NWA.

I hope you’ll enjoy the look back at some of my earlier messages as I work to get them all posted here, and maybe we’ll even see if the Lord has anything else to say to us through them.

So…here’s “Are You Humble or Prideful” from Thursday, September 1, 2011’

Message:

There are two characteristics that can either make or break a Believer…those characteristics are humility and pride. Being humble by your own efforts can produce pride and cause us to look down upon others that may not have been able to reach your “standard” of Christianity (Look at the Pharisee and the Publican– Luke 18:9-14) Look to the Cross of Christ where humility was demonstrated and afforded for us all and allow the Holy Spirit to clothe you with humility () Surrender all at the foot of the Cross.

We are all God‘s workmanship, and have no right to boast in pride over anything.
All we do and have is solely based upon the grace and mercy of God through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Remember that Jesus said in His own words: “apart from Me you can do nothing”?.  Paul writes that we are to do all that we do for God’s glory, and not our own. He also tells us to not think more highly of ourselves than we ought to.  The bottom line is as stated in Proverbs the number one sin God hates is pride, and that’s because when we’re full of pride we’re full of ourselves. We’re praising our own efforts, abilities, and accomplishments…we have made ourselves an idol…we’ve made ourselves into a god.

However, when we ever stay connected to the Vine, when we ever keep the Cross before us, and when we remember that all we are and all have is received by grace through faith…humility comes.  When we shrink in our lives in surrender to the will of the Father it is then God who brings the increase to us. Not so we can talk about how great we are, but so that He can put on display for the world how great HE is.

Do you take the credit?

Do you believe you got where you are on your own?
Or

Do you know that everything you are, have, do, and are becoming is because of the grace, mercy, and workmanship of God?

The more I learn from life and the Lord…the more I understand that we’re promised nothing when we’re outside of the will of God for our lives. We’re promised blessings, good things, and more…but those promises are conditional upon us remaining in the will of God for our lives.  When a branch is hanging off of the vine…it is still connected, but in order for it to grow it has to be grafted to the vine.  Christ is already abiding in us through the person of the Holy Ghost.  Jesus told us the Holy Ghost would be in us, with us, and work through us to accomplish the will of God on the earth.

Friends, John writes in Chapter 15 that Jesus Christ spoke of being the Vine, and that we are the branches connected to that vine. He was the One who said that It’s impossible to for us to grow and bare fruit if we’re not fully connected to the Vine.  The simple reason that so many Christians aren’t experiencing growth because they’re partially separated from the Vine. There are a couple of reasons that there are so many Christians separated from the Vine.  One…they don’t know that they are disconnected from the Vine.  Two…because they are trying to stay connected by works instead of faith.  Therefore, instead of being fully connected to the Vine they are barely hanging on by a thread.

Pride severs us from the Vine because we think we can do things & grow on our own…We cannot.

Humility is what reconnects us to the Vine. When life proves that in our own abilities don’t work, and life will prove that out…it will either cause us to be bitter or realize we need to try a different way.  Now before you beat your chest to talk about the success you’ve had without God…let me assure you that success won’t last long. It’s limited, its short-lived, and it’s empty.  I’ve found in my life that the more success I thought I had in my own abilities…not only were my abilities limited, but success was not only limited…it lead me to being discontented with other parts of my life.  Until I learned to start abiding in the Vine…all the success that I thought I achieved was short-lived, and when the failure came…the heart-break from that failure was great.  Remember the Proverb that says with pride comes a great fall.  I know what it’s like to achieve so-called self-made success, and I know what it’s like to achieve Holy Ghost assisted and lead success.  There’s no comparison to the amount of success, and the joy and fulfillment that comes from realizing success comes because of abiding in the Vine.

Listen, here’s a pretty good illustration.  Severed vines may produce fruit.  However, we all know that when you pick from a severed vine even though it’s fruit…it is not good…quality fruit.  In order for a vine to produce good, quality fruit it has to remain attached to the vine…because the vine contains all of the nutrients and life blood that fruit needs to become fully mature…and quality fruit.

Listen, when you go to a grocery store, and you look at a bundle of grapes for example…you can tell the grapes that stayed grafted to the vine because they look better than the ones that didn’t…don’t they.  What do we do with the grapes?  We eat the good-looking grapes, and throw away the bad ones.  How’s that for a picture of the difference between believers who abide in Christ…and those who do not?  Just as there are grapes in the bottom of the bag that we know were once attached to the vine, they’re usually brown, and rotting away on the inside.

Thus…when you have a believer that was once attached to the Vine of Christ…you have believers who are carnal, and beginning to decay on the inside…why because they’re allowing all the stuff from the world to influence them…and eventually because they’re no longer connected to the Vine…they don’t have the life blood of the Holy Spirit flowing through them…to help them fight off things that will cause them to decay and begin to rot on the inside.  Have you ever bitten into a grape that looked good on the inside, but began to decay on the inside?  The don’t taste very good do they?  If you find believers that are not abiding in the Vine…they are the ones who are always struggling, always dealing with sickness, and they’re the ones that Jesus talks about being lukewarm.  Just like we will spit out grapes that taste bad…Jesus says He will spit out lukewarm believers.

On the other hand, when we have believers that remain attached to the Vine of Christ…you have believers who are able to fight off more of the things that will cause them to decay, and get into a carnal mindset.  The life blood of the believer is that still small voice on the inside that tells us not to do things, gives us an urgency to pray for a certain person, pay for someone’s groceries, or simply remind you that you’re the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus.  We eat the good-looking, plumb, juice grapes because they’ve remained attached to the vine…and they’ve received all the nutrients they need to produce quality tasting grapes.

Friends, let me ask you a couple of questions for you to think about.  Do you know why most Christians have no joy? They are severed from the Vine.  Do you know why Christians are some of the meanest people? They are severed from the Vine.  Do you know why is the divorce rate in the church just as high as it is in the world? They are severed from the Vine.  Why are there Christians who are striving, working, and stressed out? They’re severed from the Vine.

Jesus wasn’t joking when He said “Apart from ME you can do nothing”, but “with God ALL things are possible”.

There’s a quote that’s been given by many a preacher:  “If you want to change the fruit you have to change the root.”  If you want to change what you’re reaping in your life…then you might want to look at whether your rooted and grafted to the Vine of Christ or the vine of the world.  Keeping in mind that while the vine of the world produces fruit…often times it’s not good for us because there’s been nutrients added, and some times artificially added to help produce things that are full of empty calories…and really have no nutritional value.

Can I tell you that’s what religion does?  Religion force feeds you stuff that sounds like it would be good for you, but in reality there’s no nutritional value in your life for what religion teaches.  Yes, they may have some good points, but every lie has a bit of truth in it.  If there wasn’t a bit of truth in every lie…we wouldn’t be so willing to believe the lie.  Someone who is good at manipulation can get people to believe just about anything…sound like someone we know!?!

The devil will always dress up his lies to make them look appealing.  He’s always going to give you things that look and sound good…but when you partake of what he’s giving you…the end result is sin that needs to be repented from.  Let me also say that we’re already forgiven of what ever sin that we get into, but we do have to remember that we need to confess our sins…and when we do God is faithful to cleanse us from ALL unrighteousness.

Are you rooted in pride or humility?  If you want to change what you’re reaping you have to change what your sowing!  Are you sowing pride or are you sowing humility?  If you want to kick the devil out of your life you have to resist him. What does that mean? It means submitting ourselves to God, and resisting the devil.  We must resist the temptation to get into pride over anything in our lives because God hates a prideful and haughty spirit. If you’re depending upon yourself…you wind up embracing the same thing that caused Lucifer’s fall…God will share His glory with no one…including us.  So, the best way to keep from getting prideful is to practice  1 Thessalonians 5:18 (KJV):  “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”

Peter says God resists the proud, but draws near to the humble.  Want more of the tangible presence of God in your life? Humble yourself enough to be able to realize that in everything our dependence is upon Him.  The thing of it is. When we’re dependent upon Him…than He directs our path (Proverbs 3:5-6). And in return we find independence. Not from God, but from the world.

So…are you rooted in pride or humility?

Blessings & Grace;

Bryan Kizer – Pastor