So I was sitting in church like always, and Jackie was speaking on a spiritual truth that I have read 20 or 30 times. As my mind was slipping into auto pilot, and my voice was forming the words, “Amen”, I received a slap in the face from the Holy Spirit; a slap that almost knocked me out of my chair. Jackie’s words were simple. There was no misunderstanding due to Greek interpretation. He spent no extra time explaining the concept due to its simplicity, and yet the Holy spirit was telling me, “Jason, you don’t understand.” (Side note: This would be an awesome time for the voice of the Lord to speak to me explaining what I am not understanding; however, no further info was given. In fact, my mind was unusually blank. Empty. This may be hard to believe for those who know me, but the blank look on my face does not directly correlate to my mind being blank.
Here is what Jackie said that hit me square between the eyes. James 4:6 says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble”. Before you shout amen, take a second to ponder this simple truth. I, myself, spent two weeks turning this idea over and over in my mind. First, I turned the sentence into two complete thoughts: 1. God opposes the proud. 2. God gives grace to the humble.
I took the first thought and placed it in the center of my mind and cleared everything else out. I began by asking some questions. What does opposition from God look like? The thought scared me a little. When I have faced oppositions in my past, I have always felt a sense of hope that I would find an answer to the dilemma. Opposition: I was born with a learning disability. Answer: Study harder. Opposition: Chris Simons, the high school quarterback who always seemed to make the starting team, was better than me. Answer: Practice longer, run faster and when you hit him try to knock him out of his shoes. Opposition: Money problems. Answer: Work more or find a new job. Even death can be overcome when you have the right friends, namely Jesus. However, God is an obstacle in which there is no hope of overcoming. The Bible verse says: If God is for me, what can stand against me? But think of the opposite: If God is against me, what can stop him. I became afraid. mostly because I knew if the Holy Spirit wanted to talk to me about this topic He was addressing my PRIDE.
I started thinking about my personal life and asked the question: How would God’s opposition manifest itself in my daily routine? I imagined fire balls coming from heaven sent to consume me. Large swarms of locus sent to consume me. Angels with giant swords sent to consume me. The fires of hell sent to consume me… All bad outcomes and I guess I am not that imaginative because all I could think of was CONSUMING. In my defense, I was rather hungry at the time, and truth be told, none of those things were happening. Everything is actually going quite well. I have a great wife and kids. I love my job and I have good friends. No one is sick or in need in my immediate family. Life is good.
Next, I began to consider the characters in the Bible and I realized its usually the ones God loves who seem to get the raw deals. I know God loved Jesus and he suffered. Then it hit me. The Pharisees were proud and life on the outside looked good for them; however, Jesus was in opposition with them. How was God’s opposition manifested in their lives? They couldn’t see who Jesus was when He was standing right in front of them. Even though they saw Him do miracles, their pride stopped them from knowing God and His will.
My pride has stopped me from seeing so many awesome things God is doing and frankly I don’t want to miss any more. If I stop drawing near to my selfish pride and draw near to God verse eight in chapter four of James says he will draw near to me. What a gift. Then God will give grace. Grace to know Jesus when he is standing in front of you and me. Grace to see his plan in our lives. Grace to allow us to be part of that awesome plan and grace to be counted as His children. I know we throw the words amazing grace around all the time, but there is no other word I can think of that describes His grace better than amazing.
Earlier I asked the question: “If God is against me, who could stop him?” The answer, only God himself. It’s only God’s mercy that is stronger than God’s opposition and the crazy part is I can invoke God’s mercy through my humility by belief in Christ Jesus.
Life is too short not to see Christ, and his plan for our lives. Let us take pride out of the church. There is no place for it. Let’s take pride out of our hearts as well. Jesus doesn’t like to share.
Side note: Getting right with God when the Holy Spirit slaps you is easier then you might think.
step 1: Cry.
step 2: Get on knees.
step 3: Repeat step 1.
step 4: Repent.
step 5: Repeat step 1.
step 6: Be healed.
step 7: Repeat step 1, with thanksgiving this time.
step 8: Get up and keep following Jesus!
step 9: Repeat as needed
Thank you God for all you have done for me a sinner. Praise God for His mercy endures forever……….