Let me show you how this works. This whole connection between pride and joy comes into play when a believer is confronted with some opportunity of obedience to God. A couple of weeks ago, those of you who were in the first service when I preached on guilt heard me talk about the top ten ways to know that you were having a bad day. One of those was something which, while I thought it was appropriate when I included it, really bothered me when I said it from the pulpit. Almost immediately, the Holy Spirit said to me, “You should not have said that.” But I was right in the middle of my sermon. I’ll have to tell you that the whole time I preached the rest of that sermon, there was this conflict going on inside of me. The Holy Spirit was saying, “Rusty, you need to apologize.” but I was resisting. Let me show you what was happening.
First, because I said something that was a bit inappropriate a response was needed. I needed to apologize. And at that point, I had a choice: I could choose pride, or I could choose humility. For that whole sermon, I basically chose pride. I made excuses in my mind. “If I apologize, I’ll look stupid. I’ll feel stupid. People will think I’m crazy or overly sensitive. I’ll take away from the message.” All those things were running through my mind and almost every excuse could be traced back to pride.
Now, had I continued without confession, I would have experienced no grace. In fact, I didn’t even feel as if I did a very good job on that first message because I was not walking in the full grace of God. The lack of grace was leading me to disobedience, and to becoming ungodly.
But, the other track was also open to me. I could choose humility and, if I did, I would receive God’s grace, I would obey, and I would be godly. I knew that if I didn’t say something at the end of that service it would rob me of my joy. Why? Because I would have been walking around in pride and not in humility and God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble.
So where are you with all of this? Are you reacting to God with pride or humility. Is your joy false or is it true? Is there anything that God is convicting you of that, in your pride, you are refusing to humble yourself in obedience?
You see, when pride redirects my confidence from God to myself, I am robbed of His grace, and the power to walk with Him leaves me. On the other hand, when humility directs my confidence to God, I receive His grace and I am enabled to walk with Him. And what is the result? Well, I receive the current confidence which flows from future hope and practical guidance made possible through the constant presence of God.