Tag Archives: listening before speaking

Avoid the Pitfalls of Pride

Although this post is tough for me to write, I believe it is necessary. Perhaps it will cultivate a deeper sense of humility for me, or it may exhort your individual hearts to learn from my mistakes. Today I am writing about pride, my own personal struggle with pride.

“I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate.” Romans 7:15 NLT

In June 2012, the Lord and I took a morning stroll next to a quaint and gentle stream to talk about my upcoming year as a 29 year old. As a birthday tradition, I try to reserve a small amount of time to hang out with Jesus and hear His heart for the upcoming year. While we talked, Jesus began sharing some incredible, mind-boggling visions concerning my upcoming future, a future that He was calling me into within the next several years.

In all honesty, the specifics He shared were hard for me to grasp as reality, so I eagerly requested that He share more. Yet, as my loving Father, He instead spoke cautionary words that pierced my innermost parts as convicting, powerful truth concerning my sinful nature: “Beware of pride, Christy. Protect yourself against it and you will be incredibly fruitful.”

“Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” Jeremiah 33:3 NIV

“My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline,and do not resent his rebuke,because the Lord disciplines those he loves,as a father the son he delights in.” Proverbs 3:11-12 NIV

Essentially, He was telling me that a prideful spirit is an unteachable spirit. And that is dangerous, beloved.

Allow me to share with you what Jesus has shared with me about some mistakes I have been prone to making over the past several weeks:

1. As His beloved, if we ever approach individuals with the intent to change them (forcefully pushing our own agenda) rather than carefully listening to them, we will come across as controlling, manipulative, and arrogant. We must be proactively gentle and lowly in heart. Pride is harsh and condemning, while humility is gentle and kind.

“Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.” Philippians 2:3-7

2. If we’re convinced that we know everything, but someone else tries to relate some new knowledge or understanding to us, we can become defensive (or lofty) and reply with what amounts to a counterattack. We treat what should be a respectful conversation as an intense debate. We become slow to listen and quick to speak. When our hearts aren’t open to learning (or even just hearing what others have to share, regardless of whether we agree with it), we are welcoming pride by esteeming our own thoughts or opinions higher than theirs.

Do we believe that Jesus would do this to us? Just cut us off in mid-sentence because what we’re saying is contrary to His truth? I don’t think so – Jesus is gentle and respectful (even when He’s right and we’re wrong).

“The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice.” Proverbs 12:15

“A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion.” Proverbs 18:2

“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32

Perhaps the most devastating result of this example is that we aren’t open to growth through learning. We could have possibly matured from someone else’s wisdom, but instead we push people away. In turn, that person feels devalued since they cannot openly share their opinion in an open and  relaxed environment.

3. Sometimes, we can boast about ministerial, corporate, or leadership accomplishments through the cover of false humility (we may try to excuse by saying something like, “It’s all because of Jesus”). When this happens, we are actually filling a place within our hearts with the approval of people, which is insignificant eternally. Personally, I’m guilty of leveraging arrogance (the prideful act of glorifying my own talents and experiences) to win the approval of man (A.K.A. – the fear of man).

When we do struggle to be noticed, we can sin as we turn our affection away from the Holy One. Yet, we do not need to act this way. None of us actually have anything to boast about because everything good has come from God. And people serving in ministry (or any capacity) especially need to guard their hearts against this.

“As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil.” James 4:16

“For who sees anything different in you? What do you have that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it?” 1 Corinthians 4:7

“I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13

Your purpose will never lie in what you do; it’s in what Jesus has done. And your work will never give you significance or identity; Christ has given you your identity. This mindset requires the intentional choice of meditating on His truth daily.

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” James 1:17

Join me tomorrow as I share what the Lord has specifically taught me about keeping my heart purposefully humble. Have a blessed day, beloved. Thank you for reading His Daily Dose today!

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How to Have an Excellent Engagement

Image of Engaged Couple

This post is for both men and women, but the first paragraph is specifically for the ladies reading this today.

Since we were little, many of us women have dreamt of our big day, when we can walk down the aisle to be given away in marriage to the man of our dreams. But I want to share a word of wisdom with you: as easy as it is for us to get caught up in, wedding planning should not consume the entire engagement. Ladies, seize the engagement period the Lord has given you to really become acquainted with the person you will marry. Wedding planning is important and necessary, but make sure you also spend time preparing for life beyond your wedding day, rather than just the magical moments of the day itself. You will need to be humble, intentional, and patient, which is all possible through Jesus – just ask Him! And I promise you that your honeymoon and those days thereafter will be filled with greater joy and peace!

Back to everyone now: what are specific areas that our carnal minds want to focus on during the engagement?

1. Sex

We all know sex is on everyone’s mind leading up to the day. If you thought temptation was heavy while dating, just wait for the engagement, especially for the Christian couples that are abstaining from sex until marriage. Perhaps because the marriage is soon approaching, compromises get made, and boundaries are pushed. Imagine an oven dial that you turn from medium heat to high. What happens? You get warmed quicker and you also get burned quicker. This is exactly what happens once your relationship takes on a new form in engagement. So, what do we suggest?

“No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13

Reestablish your physical boundaries as an engaged couple. New seasons bring forth changes and therefore new parameters. We know a married couple that enjoyed kissing and cuddling while dating, but after they got engaged and the heat turned up, they decided to stop kissing until the wedding day (they waited six months). This was incredibly wise. You too must be very careful, beloved. Sex is important, and if you really want to meaningfully enjoy it, make sure you have the appropriate boundaries to guard it until you’re married. Pre-marital sex (in any form) creates confusion in a relationship because it’s done outside of God’s terms.

“Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you: Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires.” Song of Solomon 8:4

2. The Wedding

As mentioned above, the actual wedding is often the “most discussed” item leading up to the wedding day. Totally understandable. You want your big shindig to be extremely memorable, and I get that. But remember that it will not actually impact your future as a married couple. Instead, focus on the areas that will play the biggest role in the day-to-day marital relationship:

  • Finances
  • Expectations of each other as husband or wife (specifically in relation to fulfilling your spouse’s emotional, physical, and spiritual needs, or even chores in the home)
  • Learning each other’s love language(s) to minimize confusion and disappointment
  • Discussing communication styles
  • Discussing how you each envision your future together (calling in life, living in another state/country, which ministries to serve in, and number of children)
  • Dealing with any and all previous wounds and hurts from past relationships, family members, and circumstances

Make sure you take the right steps to minimize hurt and learn how to love each other well.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6

The choice is ours. We can choose to have a good marriage, a great marriage, or an excellent marriage. All it requires is simply Jesus Christ in the center of the relationship and two hearts willing to learn, grow, and work hard. If you include Jesus in your relationship today, then it’s much easier to include Him in your marriage.

Here are a few guidelines that worked really well for us as we were engaged:

  • We studied the Word together after dinner every Sunday
  • We intentionally never closed my or his bedroom door if we were both in it (to keep us from temptation, to keep others from building false assumptions, and to protect the purity of our relationship). And we never laid on a bed together
  • We intentionally explored new places and activities to build memories and have fun together
  • We took a 10-week “Dave Ramsey” financial course together in preparation for joining our bank accounts and spending habits
  • We prayed a lot together. And we sought wise counsel from mentors, our pastor, and a 6 week pre-marital counseling training. Again, there was a lot of repenting, crying, and divine healing in that season to get us ready for the serious covenant we were about to enter before the Living God. We wanted to be ready!
  • We served others in need together. This ushered in a strong foundation on which to fulfill the Great Commission with our Savior and one another

My hope and prayer is that this will offer sweet encouragement to those seeking wise counsel and advice on how to steward the engagement season. Use your time well, beloved. Honor the Lord and He too will honor you!

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