Offense Part 2

Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. (Proverbs 16:18).

[Warning: You may be offended by this.]

When we think of pride, we think of someone who is conceited, boasting, arrogant. This definition of pride is overt. There is another side to pride however, which is more covert and disguises itself as something else. Pride can be rightly defined as anything that brings the focus continually onto “self.” Some of the manifestations of pride are:

  • Self-hatred: Because it results from failing to be able to live up to an image of self that is loftier than God.
  • Self-deprecation: “I could never do that, I am too unworthy.” These self-deprecating statements are based on false humility which is pride. (Jesus laid aside His glory, but was never self-deprecating. He continually stated that He could do nothing except what the Father gave Him. The truth is, we can do nothing of ourselves, but we can do “all things” through Christ Jesus who strengthens us.)
  • Victimization: “See what they did to me? My boss treats me like dirt. I never get the promotion. My pastor has rejected me. My wife doesn’t respect me. Everyone is so unkind to me, and I try so hard to be a good person…”
  • Being offended: What is it in my “self” that is offended?
  • Self-defense: Taking everything that others say as a personal insult. What is there about my flesh that needs to be defended? “When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly” (1 Pet. 2:23).
  • Inferiority: “I am no good; I can never succeed; my father called me a loser…” This is not God’s opinion, it is a “high thing” lifted up above what is true about God (2 Cor. 10:5). This “high thing” is from the enemy, who is identified as a liar and whose pride caused the fall of humankind—God would never speak such things about us.
  • Jealousy: Based on self that does not have what others have—material things, beauty, another person’s spouse, children, lifestyle, etc.
  • Obsession with our failures: God permits what He could prevent, even failure. Failure is a part of God’s process. Obsessing on failure is obsessing on self that believes it deserves better. Recognizing failure from God’s hand moves us into a deeper relationship with Jesus. It is working His humility into our nature.
  • Obsession with rejection: Focusing on those who reject us is focusing on the wounded “self” rather than on God Who does not reject us. Jesus was rejected, yet He forgave those who rejected Him.
  • Feeling that we don’t deserve anything: The flip side is focusing on what we think we deserve.
  • Expecting the worst in every situation: Jesus was not a cup half empty person, nor a cup half full person; He was a cup overflowing. This is what He desires for us as well.
  • Being negative: This brings others down; there is nothing that will bring us discouragement like a negative person’s attitude, (remember how the spies brought back a “bad report” and brought discouragement into the entire camp, which resulted in their not being able to enter the promised land?)
  • Arguing: Having to be right and arguing your point until you force someone else to agree with you is pride.
  • Having to have the last word is pride.

All of these “attitudes” of the heart are conditioned into us through messages we have received about the “self” throughout our lives.

The New Creation Is Christ In Us

But now we are “new creations” in Christ Jesus (2 Cor. 5:17).We are “formed originally” not from a patched up version of the old self. The attitudes of the “old creation” can be transformed by the Holy Spirit who now dwells within us.

“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is– his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Rom. 12:2).

“Conform”= conform to the same pattern; “transform”= “metamorphose”; change, transfigure. We no longer conform to the same pattern and we are metamorphosed by the renewing of our minds.

When the Holy Spirit begins the process of revealing attitudes in our old self-life that He is ready to transform into His image, He does not condemn us for these attitudes of the heart; rather, He allows them to surface, revealing them to us, so that He can transform them.

The Renewing of Our Minds

“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus…” (Phil. 2:5).

If God has an end goal in mind, it is this—the renewing of our minds so that all of our attitudes reflect His attitudes.

“Mind” is from the Greek phroneo, which means to exercise the mind, to entertain or have a sentiment or opinion, to interest oneself in something; to set the affection on something. Many translate this as “attitude.” “Renewing” means “renovation.”

He wants to renovate our opinions, interests, affections, attitudes.

The Mind of Christ

“For ‘who has known the mind of the LORD that he may instruct Him?’ But we have the mind of Christ” (1 Cor. 2:16).

Our attitudes matter to God. He strongly desires that our attitudes be transformed—metamorphosed into His attitudes. The word “mind” in this passage is from the Greek “nous,” which means: the intellect, mind , understanding. It is from two Greek words, 1) ginosko which means the understanding or the knowing; and, 2) psuche which means “breath, spirit.” The mind of Christ is the Holy Spirit in us. Therefore, because we have the mind of Christ, it is His desire that His attitudes will rule over all of our attitudes. This is the sanctification process—little by little, He brings to our attention all of the ways in which our attitudes still rule our behaviors and He asks us if we are willing to bring all of those attitudes under the authority of His “Mind” which is already in us in the Spirit.

Walking it Out

This is His work; it is the work of the Holy Spirit in us. Our only “work” in this is to consent to the transforming process. It is acknowledging when He has revealed an attitude that is obstructing our walk with Him, and simply saying to Him, “I see that now Lord through Your eyes; I consent to partner with You as You transform this attitude into Your image. Thank You for revealing that to me; I now bring that attitude under the authority and mind of the Holy Spirit.”

“Wow, that person really offended me. My feelings are really hurt!” Examine the emotions and attitude of this and turn to Jesus and ask, “Are You offended by this? Are Your feelings hurt?” The answer is likely to be no, Jesus in me is not offended, so I don’t have to be. God will reveal it if we are “otherwise minded” (Phil. 3:15).

“Lord, the words that person spoke have hurt me; I choose to allow You to take the hurt for me, in my place.”

“Lord, that person has accused me and I don’t think I did anything to deserve the accusation. If there is anything of truth in that accusation, then reveal it to me. Otherwise, I choose to not revile in return but to entrust the accusation to the One who judges righteously and to leave the outcome with You.”

Isn’t that too simple you may ask? Indeed, we have complicated this process so much that we fall away discouraged before we ever fully understand the simplicity of it. Jesus simply said, “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does” (John 5:19).

This is what He modeled. Then He said of us: “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5).

Take Him at His word in this. We can do nothing to change the self. But as we abide in Him, He will behave in us exactly as He modeled for us in the world—His attitudes are already in us—we have the mind of Christ. We need only to submit our attitudes to His, and then exchange our attitudes for His.

This is what he meant when He said to humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God and in due time He will lift us up. I am weary of my attempts to lift myself up. I need His rest from this constant striving. He wants us to enter into His rest—and is that not what we all long for—Rest for our souls?

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