Pride is at the core of all sin, but like some dangerous diseases, it is often hard to detect from the outside. You might be surprised to learn of the types of pride that can easily envelop the lives of seemingly well-respected Christians. And the concept of "living in sin" might take on a new meaning for you.
I love an entrepreneurial spirit! Reading stories about how successful businesses begin is exciting to me. The intense planning, working, traveling, and sacrificing seem to be part of the American story. But what ultimately qualifies a plan as successful? What is the filter through which all plans should be poured?
How readily we tend to speak ill of others! And often our criticisms include an indictment of their motives as well. To think that we can assess another's motives and render accurate judgment of their lives is to place ourselves on the very throne of God. But that seat is already taken!
As a kid at the dinner table, my mother would ask, "Did you wash your hands?" (Typically I had not.) Eating at her table meant I needed to clean my hands first. But God expects a little bit more than that: Cleanse your hands and purify your hearts. Your hands are what you do, and your heart is why you do it.
Maybe you've heard the statement, "You are as close to God as you want to be." There's a lot of truth to that! But what does it actually mean to "draw nigh to God"? And why do far too many Christians maintain an uncomfortable distance from Him?
One of the strangest places lust and selfishness reside is in the prayers of God's people. In fact, the prayers of a professing Christian may indicate spirituality at a superficial level, but they too often reveal carnality when one probes deeper. God reserves some strong language for that person whose selfishness would even attempt to manipulate God Himself!
Every river starts somewhere. Go upstream far enough and you'll find its source. Words are like rivers. They flow quickly and empty indiscriminately. But where do they come from? And how do we stop them before their erosive influence causes irreparable damage?
Perhaps that expression is familiar to you. If so, you already have insight into what James heavily warned us about. In fact, you can say all of the true and kind things you want to say; but if you mix in the hateful and erroneous, you invalidate every good thing you just said.
If you recognize that title, you're old! I remember Smokey the Bear repeating these words during the commercial breaks of my favorite cartoons. Truth is, many of us are guilty of sparking huge conflagrations through the use of our words alone. (And social media has added gasoline!) I am never more like the devil than when I intentionally misuse words.