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Proverbs 11:2 When pride comes, then comes shame; But with the humble is wisdom. (NKJV)

(Previous devotionals can be found at www.seriousfaith.com)

As Western society moves farther away from God at an accelerating pace, I have come to realize that there is a general principle that can help you discern what is Godly and what isn’t: whatever the world says is right is usually the opposite of what God says.

Extending that principle, it is usually prudent to be suspicious of any trend or fad that becomes wildly popular. This holds true – even in church – given that the church today is for the most part, lukewarm and worldly. It is an alarming, but none-the-less true development that whatever ideas are popular on the best-selling lists are probably going to contradict Biblical Christianity. Of course that will not be 100% true by any stretch, but the discerning Believer, given our times, will take into account the realistic current state of Christianity, and give serious pause about jumping on board with the latest trends.

I believe this is exactly what James spoke of:

James 1:5-6 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. (NKJV)

The wisdom James talks about is wisdom that originates from God, not man. God has promised to His children that if we will only ask, in faith, for wisdom – not only will God give it, but He will give it generously.

Asking God for wisdom represents a couple of difficulties though. First, we often don’t ask because we are either comfortably following our decisions, or we are convinced that the “secret” to Christianity lies in in the latest “Forty Something Of Whatever”; “Seven Secrets To This or That” or “The Ten Keys to Power Blah Blah Blah”. Whether explicitly or implicitly, if we are relying on our own wisdom or the most popular Christian personality-of-the-day, then we won’t be asking for God’s widsom – because we don’t really need it.

The other difficulty we find today concerning asking for God’s wisdom, is that if you ask, then you’ll know, and then you’ll have to act.

If you ask God for wisdom, you then are faced
with the dilemma of living by that wisdom.

Whether subconciously or overtly, being ignorant is easier than knowing. Once you are privileged with wisdom from God, the excuse not to abide by it is forever lost. This is especially true for the mature Christian who realizes that God IS faithful to give us wisdom when we ask, and that we are then accountable to respond accordingly. It is often easier to simply not ask God, so we can “innocently” continue doing what WE want, afraid that asking God for wisdom might result in an unwanted change of plans.

Proverbs 11:2 When pride comes, then comes shame; But with the humble is wisdom. (NKJV)

Here’s a perfect example of the world’s way being opposite of God’s. The world teaches that pride in most forms is good and desirable. Consider the definition of pride:

  • A sense of one’s own proper dignity or value; self-respect.
  • Pleasure or satisfaction taken in an achievement, possession, or association.
  • Arrogant or disdainful conduct or treatment; haughtiness.
  • An excessively high opinion of oneself; conceit.
  • To indulge (oneself) in a feeling of pleasure or satisfaction.

What is the common theme? ME. God is missing! That is exactly the danger in pride and why God declares that pride brings shame. Pride is all about “me, my and mine”. Humility takes the valuable parts of these concepts and turns them towards God, which converts the ideas to what might, very carefully, be called “humble pride”.

  • A sense of one’s own proper dignity or value; self-respect – in light of God’s gifts to us and what Christ did for us.
  • Pleasure or satisfaction taken in an achievement, possession, or association – when it brings glory to God alone and demonstrates our willingness to be humble, submissive servants for the Lord Jesus.
  • Arrogant or disdainful conduct or treatment; haughtiness. This one is NEVER good. Humility will remove this version of pride from our lives.
  • An excessively high opinion of oneself; – again, this opinion must be ONLY because of the fact that we are God’s children, heirs to eternal life and must NEVER be displayed in a puffed up air of superiority. The key word here being “excessive”. Once our opinion of ourselves moves past the Biblical boundaries (that has everything to do with Jesus, and nothing to do with us), we become guilty of the excessive, bad type of pride.
  • To indulge (oneself) in a feeling of pleasure or satisfaction. We are free to indulge ourselves in pleasure or satisfaction related to anything that brings glory and credit to God. Past that, we move into the dangerous ground of indulging our own egos and desires.

I’m jumping around a bit this morning, so what’s my main point? It is this: more and more we find that whatever the world says is “good and right”, is exactly the opposite of what God says. Pride, popular trends, Christian fads and pop-psychology are just a few examples.

As Christians, we should be more and more careful to be suspicious of ANYTHING that the world favors, no matter how good it may appear. We need to carefully examine and discern every idea, trend and concept in light of Scripture, before jumping on the bandwagon. As the world becomes more and more wicked, and the TRUE God is pushed farther and farther away, it leaves only proud human wisdom to determine what is good and right. Human wisdom has a long history of being totally wrong.

If the world or an increasingly worldly church promotes something, it should be a “red flag” for mature believers to seriously check things out Scripturally.

Lord, Help us to be discerning about the ways of the world and continually ask You to generously give us wisdom. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Contemplation: Do you ever stop to evaluate and examine the popular trends of the world before jumping on board? How about the popular fads that sweep through Christianity? Are they always “okay” simply because Christians embrace and promote them? Have you ever contemplated the idea that most of what the world promotes as “good” is usually in direct contradiction to Scripture? Have you contemplated that many of those same ideas have crept into churches dressed up in Christian language?

Application: Discernment and Godly wisdom are alarmingly scarce in the world today, and sadly, is rapidly declining in churches too. Learn and apply the generally true principle that whatever the world says is “good” is probably not what God calls “good”. As the church becomse more and more like the world, true Christians will have to be more and more discerning about trends and fads.

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?

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