For far too many years, I had been put down and called stupid by so many people. I had no fight in me to defeat that image. I created an overdeveloped ego. This was in my mind; not in reality. I went through life with unreal ideas of grandeur of being famous in whatever category that took my fancy at the time.
For seventy years I went through life as in a fog. I believed what people thought about me and developed a negative attitude. I let everyone walk all over me. In short I was a mess. I got tired of living that way. I wanted a complete make-over. In 2000 God gave me a dream promising to heal me in all areas of my life, including the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. These last are the unseen parts of you and me.
Since Jesus is the Author and Finisher of our lives (Hebrews 12:2), it doesnít mean itís going to happen all at once or even in this lifetime. It is certainly not in the way we expect it. His promises are gradually coming true. God has His reasons for healing or not healing, especially the physical. The other three has a lot to do with our thoughts and attitudes. God can change them if we are willing to co-operate. With the help of a special friend, God has made many changes in my outlook on life.
Hebrews 4:12-13 ďFor the Word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul (me and my selfish desires---the thinking part of me) and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in His sight; but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.Ē This is the scripture I cling to.
No doctor can probe any deeper for diseases and cancers which invade our body than God does to root sin out of us. There is no benign sin in Godís eyes; it is all malignant. It can keep us from doing Godís complete will until the disease is taken care of. He digs deep and is not satisfied until He gets to the very roots of our intentions and makes us aware of it. Itís scary but necessary. God desires perfect creatures in His everlasting kingdom. He never stops working on us. That means He loves us and wants us in His kingdom.
Pride and humility are opposites. We can have both false pride and false humility. I was a victim of that and maybe you are too. I was proud of the fact that I was humble. Is that a paradox or not? Now we come to the one who confuses and deceives us. That is Satan. I Peter 5:8 : ďBe sober, be vigilant; because your adversary, the devil, as a roaring lion, walks about, seeking whom he may devour.Ē He will use every trick in the book to mess us up. A good portion takes place in our minds. Deceiving is his greatest weapon. When God tells us to do something or not to do it, he will tell us to do the exact opposite. We have a big decision to make. Who wins is up to us.
False pride is pride in something we have accomplished on our own; not giving God any credit. Real pride is when we do Godís will and know we have done our best even when there may be many human flaws in it. God honors the feeble attempts and is as proud of His children as a parent is when his baby takes his first step. No matter how good we do, there is always someone else who can do it better.
I am an example of false humility. Being a doormat under someoneís feet is not humility. It made me feel inferior but Iím not. Iím a child of the King. The fact is Iím not better than anyone else, nor is anyone else better than me. God made us the way He wants us to be. Sometimes things happen in our lives that make us unable to live up to our God-given potentials. True humility is that when we do achieve, we give God all the glory. Our ability to achieve is only by being an obedient servant to the will of God. He gave us our talents and abilities to see what we would do with them---use them or waste them. What will we do with these gifts?
I will sum this up with a humbling experience I have just been through. My ego took a great fall. Luke 14:11 ďFor whosoever exalts himself shall be abased; and he that humbles himself shall be exalted.Ē I entered a poetry contest; not for the sake of winning but for the pride of being published. A few years back, I had sent poems to other companies. Ten times my poems were accepted and were published in their anthologies. The only stipulation was that I had to buy the book to be included in the book. I had three poems in one book ďBest New Poets of 1987Ē so I had to buy 3 books; one for each poem. Wow! I must be good to be included in that book. It was expensive but my ego was larger than my pocketbook. They are all sitting in my bookshelf and I never even open them unless itís to impress a guest. I may get an unenthusiastic: ďThatís greatĒ and itís all forgotten. I wasnít deceived these times. I knew I had to pay for my small claim to ďfameĒ. I convinced myself that it was a start.
This last enticement changed tactics. They knew the kind of people they were dealing with. For the first time I didnít have to buy the book to get published. It would be published anyway! Great! My little dollars went marching off to fill the pockets of these deceivers. I was already entered in as a semi-finalist. I was invited to a big conference with the chance to read more of my poems along with the other entire ego-building hullabaloo. I couldnít afford the trip and I really donít like crowds. I didnít go.
Weeks later they were happy to inform me that my poem, along with 32 others, was selected to be put on a CD, a professional reading it with background music. This took more big bucks. I took the bait. I was really good. I got the book and the CDís. I glanced at the book and listened to the CD once. Then to boost me a little more, they sent me the editorís choice award.
Thrilled about the whole thing, I related it all to a friend. He was not pleased that I had fallen into this trap. He had just heard on the radio about these poetry scams. I was a little put out. I thought he just didnít understand. They told me I could find this book in major book stores. I checked this out. The first thing I saw was about what a scam this particular poetry site was. A refund is promised if I was not completely satisfied. It went on to say that people never received their money back. Or if they did they had to hound them about it. Followed were ways on how to get your money back. It was not worth all the aggravation.
God opened my eyes. I looked at my poem and the short bio. All I got for my endeavor was three inches of space for my poem and about one and a half inches for the bio. In the set of three CDís, I was given about a few seconds, if that long. I blinked my eye and it was over. That was so much for my fame and ego. I felt so ashamed and embarrassed. Then the thought came to my mind. Would I know if my poem had been published if I didnít buy the book.? Or how many different sets of CDís were made for everyone else in the book so they could make a fortune from gullible people?
I am rethinking a statement they made when they told me I would be on a CD: ďOh, and one final note, Joan. If you have friends or relatives who have also been selected for our publications, please be aware that this offer may not be available to them.Ē In short, donít talk about it. Their cover would be unveiled. They probably got the same ego booster that their poem was one of the best, the Editorís choice award. Why didnít that assure me that I would have won at least one of the prizes? What good are a few flattering words on a paper?
I thought I would send it back and demand my money. Instead it was like God told me to forget it and donate it to the library with a scripture inside the front cover that could lead them to Jesus. God can turn something bad into something good. I have learned my lesson. I have really been humbled and ashamed.
Readers, if you have problems with pride, let God use His two-edged sword on you. He wants only the best for all of us.