Founders Note: Today on the blog we have a guest post from Sandra Gilmore. Sandra is sharing her heart on this month's theme pride. You can learn more about Sandra in her bio at the end of the post.
Have you ever been disappointed with God? Ever left God out of your day, not by deception from our enemy but on purpose? Ever wondered what fueled this journey in the wrong direction? It might be summed up this way: hide with pride.
Remember the story of Jonah and the whale? In quick review, Jonah was given an assignment by God to share His Good News to the folks in a town called Nineveh. God had a tender heart toward these folks even though they did not regard or reverence Him. He wanted Jonah to go preach to them. Jonah didn’t want any part of that. He ran away from the assignment instead of toward it and ended up in the belly of a great fish. He stayed there three days and three nights before he was released on the beach near Nineveh. After such an ordeal, he finally preached to the people of Nineveh and they repented before the Lord.
Early in this episode, Jonah was fully aware he was running from God and yet, fully aware he couldn't out run God's reach. Was he counting on that fact? Was he testing God as much as God was testing Jonah?
You see, when we read through the rest of the book of Jonah, we find how Jonah pouts before the Lord. Jonah didn't have a heart for the people of Nineveh. He wanted God to rain down His wrath on them. Jonah envisioned himself standing high atop the rubble of what was recently a mighty people. He wanted to smell the smoke, sift through the ashes and gloat contently knowing His God had shown His great power over the city. Jonah craved a mighty act of retaliation, punishment and authority. Scripture tells us Jonah knew God had a different vision for what would happen next. Jonah knew what was waiting for the people when they repented: God's goodness and mercy. Those characteristics were not what Jonah wanted displayed from his God. That's why Jonah ran from the assignment: not because his assignment would be hard but because it would be easy!
When our friend Jonah purchased passage on a ship going in the opposite direction, he purchased the ticket with money. But his stay in the fish’s belly-turned-bed-and-breakfast was purchased with pride. Only when Jonah swallowed his pride like the fish had gulped him was he delivered to the correct port.
His pride beckoned him toward the boat to Tarshish, the opposite direction from his assignment. He focused on and soon followed his pride. In Francis Frangipane's book, The Three Battlegrounds, the author describes pride and its role in the Kingdom. He states that pride is the armor of darkness itself! Pride can drive us in the wrong direction and fuel our journey for as long as we choose to take that path.
What is pride shielding you from? Restored friendships, perhaps? A better exercise routine? Improving a skill or ability? Is the armor so thick your heart cannot be reached?
Shed the helmet. Lose the breastplate. Drop the shield. Come out of that belly-place. No more hiding with pride.
How do we change direction? Psalm 23 gives us a promise. “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me.” Goodness and mercy are ready to pursue us, follow us back to the Father. They are equipped with supernatural survival skills. They know how to cross the rugged terrain of pride, full of its stubbornness and isolation. They’ve accompanied folks through the relentless desert of disappointment and doubt when refreshment seems far away. They are prepared to weather storms of frustration when anger and bewilderment threaten to capsize our vessels. We’re in good hands with goodness and mercy as guides. Whatever they face along the journey back to Him, goodness and mercy know how to get us there.
Prayer: Father, I release my pride. I forgive where I need to. I relinquish the option to do it my way. Your yoke cannot be placed on a stiff neck. Father, I want Your yoke that is easy and Your burden that is light! Amen.