Ok, so I am a Dallas Cowboy fan. I said it and I am not ashamed, a little embarrassed but not ashamed. I was a fan at their worst, their best and everything in between. I remember the early years of Troy Aikman when we had a 1 and 15 record. If you don’t know what that means, they won 1 game and lost 15 that year. Wow! I remember watching but already knowing they were going to lose. I am sure at some point toward the end of the year, even the players felt that way too. Can you imagine going up against a team that you already know is more dominant than you? It must have been the worst feeling. Of course, personally, we do it all the time.
The Bible says that God opposes the proud (James 4:6). The moment we become prideful, the Lord becomes our opponent. Yes, Jesus is my Advocate always, but the Father opposes me. Jesus works as my Advocate to influence the Father, my opponent, to not wipe the floor with me. So, instead of running up the score, He just wins the game. Nevertheless, who wants to go up against God. He is the Great I am. He is the Almighty. He does not lose. He always wins and doesn’t even break a sweat.
It is not that God becomes my opponent in the sense that He hates me or leaves me. No, His promises remain. But He does oppose my spirit and works to humble me. This is why the Scripture calls for us to humble ourselves (James 4:10) because it is a much better deal for me to humbly myself than for the Lord to humble me when I am prideful. And this brings us to the Verse of the Day:
But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,
In His discourse, Jesus is warning against pride that might arise from doing what God has called us to do. We are called to give to the needy, but if we let our acts of kindness puff us up in our own mind, we can become prideful. We think to ourselves, “Well, look at all the good I am doing.”
I remember preaching at a youth retreat several years ago. These were high school students. I was preaching and they were responding. Wow! They were responding. The Lord was really moving. It was for a few days and I would preach in the morning and then again in the evening. In the afternoons, I would go off and study to get ready for the next message. We were out in the hill country and the only place I could go to get away was in my car. I would drive out of the campground and get high enough so I could use my phone for the internet and I would study and write in my car.
Well, I was starting to feel pretty good about myself. I remember having these very prideful thoughts within me. They are hard to describe because I did not speak them. I did not put words to them. But had I done so, I might have said, “I am really preaching good.” Pride had set itself in my heart from preaching. My calling had become my temptation. The Holy Spirit let me have it. He chastised me telling me that I had never had an original thought about the Lord. In all of my sermons, all of my writing, I had never done anything but plagiarize the Holy Spirit. Talk about eating me some humble pie!
This is one of the trickiest schemes of the devil, I believe. To take people who have turned to the Lord in the ruins of their life to turn it around and then tempt them to be prideful about their new life. Drunks become prideful in their sobriety. Abusers take pride in their grace. The hot-tempered take pride in their newfound patience. This is what Jesus is talking about.
How can one hand not know what the other is doing? This is a way of teaching us not to dwell on our good deeds. Once we do what God has called us to do, we need to release it out of our mind and start thinking about the next thing God is calling us to do. When we dwell upon our own good deeds, they will become filthy rags of pride. And we will make God our opponent.
One way to help ourselves to do is to keep it secret. Do not give to the needy or anything else the Lord may call you to do in a way that draws attention to you. Don’t tell other people for the sake of building others up. And if pride is a temptation for you, don’t tell anyone for any reason. This fights against the temptation to puff ourselves up. It keeps us on the same team as the Lord. I would rather fight with Him than against Him :). That’s just me!
Let me give you the rest of Jesus’ statement:
But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
Jesus is reminding us that it is not what we do, but the spirit in which we do things. Feeding the homeless seems good to humanity, but if we become prideful about it, getting offended when people don’t pat us on the back for it, that good deed will eventually lead us to a 0 and 16 season against the Lord. But if we humble ourselves remembering that it is God who has called us to the good deed, and God that has provided for the good deed, and God that has given us the strength, the breath, and the opportunity, then we will remain humble and He will be exalted. This is what the Lord rewards
You know what rewards are, don’t you? All rewards are found in the presence of God (James 1:17). Rewards happen when we are unified as a team with the Lord. Let’s do what we do for the Lord in humility. He is God and we are not. Let’s take no credit for what He helps us to do. Trust me. This secret life will be rewarded by our Father in Heaven.
Are you struggling with pride anywhere? Has God ever had to sit you down and feed you some humble pie? Leave me a comment and share your story with me.
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Live Blessed and Be a Blessing!
Pastor Lee is a pastor and Biblical life coach. He has been helping people through counseling, pastoring, teaching, and preaching for 20+ years. His ministry focuses on helping people overcome the strongholds of the past and press on into God’s plan for an abundant life. He has been married to his wife, Amy for 28 years. He has three sons and one daughter-in-love. For more about Pastor Lee or to get some Biblical advice, go to the About page.