yourself. Share your life. Share the truths of God. Don't be unfruitful.
Don't commit the sin of
Pride keeps a lot of Christians from becoming
like God. Pride can make you independent, self-reliant, not wanting to
share. While it is right to be independent in the sense that you avoid being
a burden to others, it is not right to be a desert island – so isolated that
you are aloof, distant, or unapproachable.
When I was a young man I worked on a farm,
although I didn’t have a farming background. But I had a love for plants and
an outdoor lifestyle. One other guy who worked there, who had been born and
raised on a farm, looked down on me. He thought I was ignorant because of my
inexperience compared with his. He was stand-off-ish and distant,
incommunicative – a ‘strong silent type’.
From his body language and behaviour, you
could see that he thought much of himself, and little of me by comparison.
Paul knew the folly of this attitude:
For we dare not class ourselves or
compare ourselves with those who commend themselves. But they, measuring
themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are
not wise (2 Cor 10:12).
The root of his approach was pride. The pride
kept him at arm’s length, isolated. That’s where he wanted to be. He didn’t
share himself. He was not out- going. He was morose, inward-looking, sullen.
You just didn’t want to be around him. His independence kept you away.
In contrast, a man who had a ‘visionary’
experience with Jesus related the amazing encounter. He was escorted around
‘heaven’ – in the spirit. He said that Jesus was the most
easy-to-get-along-with person he had ever met. He was fully accepted by
Jesus, and naturally wanted to be around Him!
Because of Jesus’ absolute perfection in
every way – character, love, integrity and personality – it’s no wonder Paul
...he who glories, let him glory in the
Lord, for not he who commends himself is approved, but whom the Lord
commends (2 Cor 10:17-18).
And you know whom He commends?
Whoever is as humble as a little child is
the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven (Matt 18:4, paraphrased). On this
one will I look: on him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, and who
trembles at My word (Is 66:2b).
The Folly Of Being Independent
This amusing story has been told by others:
A bricklayer’s mate was injured trying to get
a load of bricks down from the tenth floor of a building. He thought he
could do it all by himself. But things went badly wrong. He wrote on his
“It would have taken too long to carry the
bricks down by hand, so I put them in a barrel to lower them by a pulley,
which was fixed to the scaffolding on the tenth floor. I tied the rope
firmly at ground level, then went up to the top, and swung the barrel of
bricks out ready to be lowered down. I then ran down to untie the rope and
lower the barrel down. Holding the rope firmly, I hoped to guide the barrel
down slowly, but I only weigh 140 pounds and the barrel of bricks weighed
about 500 pounds. I was suddenly jerked off my feet and pulled upwards. It
happened so fast that I didn’t think to let go of the rope.
“As I passed the fifth floor, the barrel hit
me coming down. That’s how I got the cuts on my upper body. But I held on
tight. When I reached the tenth floor, my hand got jammed in the pulley.
This was how I broke my thumb. At that point, the barrel hit the pavement
below and the bottom broke, discharging most of the bricks. Now I was
heavier than the barrel and suddenly I was plummeted down, with the barrel
coming up. When I passed the fifth floor, the barrel hit me again. That’s
how I got my broken ankle. But it didn’t prevent me falling. I continued on
down until I hit the ground. I landed on the pile of bricks and hurt my back
and broke a rib.
“At this point, I completely forgot about the
barrel and let go of the rope. The barrel then fell down on top of me,
knocking me out. This is how I got my head injuries.
“To answer the last question on the form:
‘What would I do if the same situation arose again?’ From now on I have no
intention of doing such all by myself.”
Two are better than one, because they
have a good reward for their labour. For if they fall, one will lift up
his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls. For he has no
one to help him up. Again, if two lie down together, they will keep
warm; but how can one be warm alone? (Eccl 4:9-11).
Marriage is like that – a wonderful
partnership. At least, it’s meant to be like that! In too many secular
marriages, it’s not. Where one or both partners are selfish and uncaring, it
doesn’t work. But, where the Holy Spirit comes in, and true love is
welcomed, a wonderful union of the spirit occurs, and co-operation yields
rich results. Blessings follow on.
That’s what God means for you. He cares. He
shares Himself with all who will welcome Him in. And He expects the same of
you, if you are His child.
Caring and Sharing
People who love, share. They are not shut in
or self-contained. They recognise their own vulnerability and are not too
proud to admit to their weaknesses (James 5:16). Those who cannot own up to
their own foibles are still trying to protect their ego. Their pride has not
died yet. That very protectiveness shuts out the True Protector – the Holy
In God’s place, they still hold onto a
substitute – something belonging to self. They are their own worst enemy,
unable to see that subtly they are pushing God out, and clinging to an idol.
In the spirit, you MUST come to fully depend
The hardest people for God to reach are the
capable, or the clever. Those who rely on their ability or cleverness don’t
think they need God. Only those who know their need for Him can truly be
converted. That is why:
...you see your calling, brethren, that
not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble,
are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world... the
weak things of the world... and the base things of the world and the
things which are despised... (1 Cor 1:26-28). ...that no flesh should
glory in His presence (1:29).
When your ego dies, you care about others;
you share with others; you are not too proud to be on their level, if it is
perceived by society to be ‘lower’ than yours. With God there are no
distinctions other than spiritual distinctions. Human ‘class’
considerations, based upon wealth, background, ability, or breeding are
totally irrelevant to Him. What He sees and cares about is your spirit. A
child-like (not childish), contrite spirit is the most precious (‘great’) to
So, if you want to be ‘in’ with God, be
nothing in your own eyes, and be prepared to be nothing in the eyes of
people. Just be focused on wanting to do His will, and to see others built
up spiritually. There is no greater thing in life – sharing and caring. That
is true surrender to God.
The Struggle To Surrender
Tragically, some people do the opposite than
surrender their all to God. They cling tenaciously to their pride. Proud
people are easily hurt. And when they are hurt they are doubly difficult for
Him to deliver.
Rather than give up their ego and make God
their real God, they busy themselves with substitutes, deceiving themselves
that they are doing His will.
A lady came into our home once and thought to
clean it, because it wasn’t up to ‘her standard’. She thought we either
couldn’t see how imperfect it was, or that we needed her help. She didn’t
ask if we wanted her ‘help’; she presumptuously took it upon herself to show
us how much better her standard was, than ours.
She thought we couldn’t see the dust or dirt.
But her spiritual dirt was as noticeable as our physical dirt. And the
former is what we are primarily concerned about cleaning up. As a result,
sometimes we have to let the physical wait while we attend to the spiritual
– something she did not want to do.
Her obsession with the physical was a ‘cover’
for her unwillingness to deal with the spiritual.
Foolish ones! Did not He who made the
outside make the inside also? (Luke 11:40.)
Rather, deal with the inside first, then
you will be in a fit state to properly deal with the outside also (the
moral spiritual lesson, paraphrased).
Inside such people are demons, who cause
their captives to be subject to unforgiveness, bitterness, envy, animosity,
stubbornness, pride and many other evil traits. Familiar spirits know how to
use their hosts to maximum effect. They make such people miserable, and in
order to counter their own inner unhappiness, those people resort to
obsessive actions and compulsive physical behaviour as an outlet or as a
means to try and compensate for their insecurity or loneliness.
There is only one proper spiritual solution –
humbling – complete surrender to God without any strings attached. But it’s
the thing the human spirit resists, and resists, and resists! Human ego does
not die overnight. O that it would! The world would be a much happier place!
And so would many Christians’ lives.
The root of the problem is selfishness and
A man who isolates himself seeks his own
desire; he rages against all judgment (Prov 18:1).
A man who has friends MUST himself be
friendly, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother (Prov
You know who that Friend is? Jesus (Jn
15:15). If you don’t want to be like Him; if you don’t want to share
yourself with others, He won’t force you. True love is voluntary; it can
never be coerced.
A friend loves at all times... (Prov
Isn’t it interesting that the same reference
in John’s gospel – which majors on the subject of true love – contains this
Sanctify them by Your Truth (Jn 17:17).
What use is Truth to you unless it is
enmeshed and intertwined with God’s love in you, reaching out to others?
Love is not a platitude. It is thought and action.
But it’s hard for the self-reliant, the
stubborn, the self-willed to accept and become. They ‘play’ with
substitutes. I have noticed that people would rather give money than
themselves, or something else that they can ‘handle’, when they can’t bring
themselves to surrender their spirit to God.
God is love, and we are called to become like
Him. What use are you to others and to God if you don’t want to be that way?
None whatsoever (1 Cor 13).
...cast out as a branch... withered...
[and finally] thrown into
the fire and burned (Jn 15:6).
Malcolm B Heap,