The Burden of Self: Pride

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Matthew 11.29-30 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

Have you ever contemplated the debilitating effects and burden that we willingly place on ourselves? Through our choice to enthrone our own will we embrace a ruthless taskmaster, a great burden of disappointment while the light and easy yoke of Christ is forsaken.

Job 30.27 My heart is in turmoil and cannot rest…

What is the price we pay for the privilege of being in bondage to pride and self concern?

  • Constant worry about other’s opinion of you
  • Stress and emotion over perceived slights of our character
  • Frustration when overlooked, or unacknowledged, or not recognized
  • Disappointment when our contributions or self-determined worth is not rewarded

We fight a fierce battle with our touchy, sensitive heart that is amazingly aware of the slightest injustice and wants to “set the record straight”.

Isn’t it funny (if hypocrisy can be funny) how we humbly admit to God one moment our unworthiness and wretchedness; how we are sinful and completely undeserving of blessing and attention from Him… then two hours later we are fuming and upset because we were criticized by someone, overlooked by the boss, or treated ungratefully by a friend.

God is not fooled by our words that don’t match our behavior and responses.

Take refuge rest in the “light and easy” yoke of Christ. Forsake the burden of your pride for the liberty of knowing that Jesus is pleased with you.

From an eternal perspective, does it really matter…

  • If someone thinks you’re not so great after all?
  • If another person receives honor that you should have gotten?
  • If you are overlooked and unappreciated?
  • If you are slandered or made to endure injustice?

Why carry that burden when our only real concern is God’s opinion of us? If you’re right with God, then your life towards other men will be right, even if they don’t acknowledge it.

Ps 37. 7 Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for Him…

Is there any lasting reward from the acknowledgement and recognition of man? Or is it fleeting, inconsistent, insincere and fragile?

Ecc 2.23 For all his days are sorrowful, and his work burdensome; even in the night his heart takes no rest. This also is vanity.

There is unending burden, toil, frustration and disappointment in our pursuit of “self”.

It is unnecessary to carry the burden.
You have a choice.

Let Jesus carry the burden of your reputation, your recognition, your receipt of criticism, and your endurance of injustice. Rest in the simple blessed peace of obeying God’s Word and putting your trust in Him.

Jer 6.16 Thus says the LORD: “Stand in the ways and see, And ask for the old paths, where the good way is, And walk in it; Then you will find rest for your souls.”

In Jesus there is peace and rest and comfort and freedom from this self-imposed bondage.

Lord, help us today to release the consuming burden of self-concern. May we truly learn to look to you with eyes of faith, unable to return our gaze to ourselves. What a blessing to give up worry about our reputation, recognition, and fairness. Let us put those things in Your hands, and rest in the freedom and peace of knowing that you are well pleased with us, and that’s all that really matters. Amen.

What is the most obvious Bible truth you have learned today?

  1. What change in your life needs to be made concerning this truth?
  2. What specific thing will you do today to begin that change?


The Burden of Self – Personal Rights

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Romans 12.1-2 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. (emphasis mine)

We live in an age and a country where freedom has been redefined as personal rights, the right to do whatever we want. True freedom is freedom from the bondage of sin.

A tortured prisoner in a cold, dark, rat-infested cell
in a godless country suffering for Christ’s name is
infinitely freer than the average American who
enjoys an unhindered life of sin.

In the past 50 years, freedom has been devilishly redefined as “freedom to do whatever you want free of judgment”. The cry can be heard across the land that “its my right!” and sadly even professing Christians have been conditioned to believe they are owed many things simply because they were born.

Originally our country was founded on a wholesome set of personal rights: freedom to worship God; freedom to speak the truth; freedom to oppose tyranny.

A poll of Americans today will quickly reveal a common mindset that it is our right to have (NO! to be given!) a comfortable life, a good job, a nice home, a life free of tragedy and suffering, a life of security and peace. There is the general mindset, that simply because of the fact that we were born, we are owed all of this.

Make no mistake, if the Lord tarries, at some point in the not too distant future (our lifetime? Our kids?), prosperity, peace and freedom will end in America. It is as sure as the sun rising. God have mercy on us when that day arrives for it will be a terrible time. Are you prepared spiritually for that day? Are you preparing your children and grandchildren? Or they being allowed to live under the false security that things will never change? History has never allowed a society to escape this conclusion. Drive God out – lose His blessing and protection. Should we be foolish enough to think America will be the first?

Drive God out –
lose His blessing and protection.

We have “Christian” teaching about our right to prosperity, our right to luxury and comfort, our right to abundant blessing (material of course), our right to the life of our choice, our right to choose, our right to live to by our own self determined standards. We have put a Christian spin on this plague of personal rights.

It is my custom to try each day to read about life of the missionaries and martyrs. Why? Because keeping their life, their sufferings, their sacrifices and their devotion fresh in our mind helps keep us from slipping into a mindset that we have a “right” to live a comfortable, trouble-free life. Jesus, of course, is our greatest example.

God may very well grant us a comfortable life,
but we do well to appreciate it instead of expect it.

Concern for our “rights” very easily expands into a selfish way of life:

  • Its our right to spend our money any way we want
  • Its our right to a better job, better pay, less work, bigger house, nicer cars, blah, blah, blah
  • Its our right to hear a good preacher every Sunday, to be treated to a good worship service
  • Its our right to have our opinions heard
  • Its our right to live where we want and how we want
  • Its our right to follow the plan for my life as I have carefully laid it out

Our so-called rights are a ruthless taskmaster constantly inflaming our sense of being wronged, overlooked, slighted or ignored by God and other people. It drives us into constant battle to correct affronts to our rights, why? Because it is our right!

What rights do Christians have? None. Slaves have no rights except that of their Master (Matt 20.26-28). The “sacrificed” don’t have rights (Rom 12.1-2). Those who have “forsaken all” retain no rights (Luke 14.33).

So then are we doomed to a gloomy life of bondage while those around us “enjoy” their freedom? No, exactly the opposite! What freedom to be loosed from the burden of “my rights”!

  • We no longer have to be offended when our “rights” are violated.
  • We no longer need to be bitter because our right to prosperity and comfort are unrealized.
  • We no longer need to worry and distress that our “rights” as Americans are ignored
  • We don’t have to be apart of strife, gossip or contention in the church when our “right” to be heard, or considered, or responded has been overlooked

It is the greatest of freedom to be released from the bondage and tyranny of my personal rights in exchange for slavery to Christ; for there can be a no more blessed life than to surrender our rights to the loving, caring, providing, comforting Master.

What blessed freedom to be truly free of concern for my own rights when the Creator of the Universe has promised a better way. He will make all wrongs right. He will avenge all injustice. He will judge perfectly in both punishment and reward. He will set all things straight.

My only true, lasting, profitable right is to love the Lord my God with all my heart and serve Him all of my days. That is the one true right we can cling to, and the only right we should be concerned with. God is quite capable of handling the rest for us.

Lord, help us today to give up the fruitless concern of personal rights. They are a never-ending source of bitterness and stress. May we strive today to be concerned with only one right: the right to obey you and love you, despite our circumstances, which no man or society can ever take away. Let our freedom be in our devotion and trust in You. Let my only personal right be to love and serve You. Amen.

James 1:22 – But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. (NKJV)

  1. What is the most obvious Bible truth you have learned today?
  2. What change in your life needs to be made concerning this truth?
  3. What specific thing will you do today to begin that change?


The Burden of Self – Pretending

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Proverbs 13:7 One man pretends to be rich, yet has nothing; another pretends to be poor, yet has great wealth.

Why do people pretend to be something they aren’t? Because the only way to be satisfied with who you are, is to be right with God. If you aren’t right with God, you have to try to be “right” with people and end up pretending to be things we aren’t.

Our world is full of services, advertising and encouragement to help you pretend you are something more than you really are:

  • Plastic surgeons, makeup, hair treatments, personal trainers and image consultants to give us the appearance we want
  • We spend money we don’t have on clothes, cars, houses, jewelry and other status symbols to appear to be something we aren’t
  • We pursue knowledge, power, popularity and pleasure to increase how the world perceives us

Even as Christians, we have to be diligent about pretense towards God. He knows how we really are. Our justifications and smooth talk doesn’t make us any less sinful, any less needy, any less dependent on God. All it does is hinder our spiritual growth.

“Pretending” places a great burden on us: the business man fears the shame of being unsuccessful; the wealthy pretend that wealth is unimportant to them; the beautiful use every method to be more beautiful and dislikes those who don’t recognize it or agree with the effort; the popular pretend that popularity doesn’t matter.

It works the other way to. The lazy pretend to that “deep down” they really are hard working. The immoral pretend to be “good”. The lukewarm pretend to be committed.

We want to be perceived as being MORE than we really are.
Real freedom is to be released from this awful burden.

God knows the real you. That’s both good news, and scary. You don’t have to pretend with Him. He cares intimately about your needs and struggles. Throw off the pretense that is necessary to “impress” everyone you meet, hide something you lack or present an image that isn’t the real you. Be concerned only with God’s opinion of you. What conceivable difference does a man’s opinion count for in eternity?

Our image. Make no mistake, this is a real and heavy burden. How others see us; what their opinion is; what our reputation is; whether they recognize our skills, contributions, talents, beauty or worth… many people are consumed and controlled by these thoughts. Most everyone struggles to some degree with this burden. Not one single Christian is forced to carry this burden – we choose to.

Lord, help us today to stop pretending. You know who we really are, and in reality, it doesn’t matter what others think. Let our sole burden be to please you in obedience to your Word and cast the weight of our reputation and image into the sea of your infinite care. Amen.

Contemplation: What do you pretend to be that you are not? Spiritual? Caring? Wealthy? Disciplined? Why do you pretend? What good does it do? Do you think God is fooled?

Application: God is not fooled, and what other people think has no bearing on you eternally. So why bother with pretense? Don’t carry the burden of trying to look like someone or some thing you aren’t. Just follow God the best you can and trust Him alone.

James 1:22 – But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. (NKJV)

  1. What is the most obvious Bible truth you have learned today?
  2. What change in your life needs to be made concerning this truth?
  3. What specific thing will you do today to begin that change?