Your Own Understanding (Why God Opposes Pride–Part 2)

Your Own Understanding (Why God Opposes Pride–Part 2) May 23, 2024

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding; in all your ways know him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6 (CSB)


I have mentioned before  that the verse above is my favorite verse in the Bible. Some people call that a “life verse.”


The reason that it is my favorite is because it reminds me of my place before God. Living out this verse is a blueprint for a life of humility. Also, it is a command that comes with a promise. Do this, and God will do this.


I have found that it is much easier to do something than to try to stop doing something else. Therefore, the best way to rid yourself of pride is to focus on living out humility. And that begins by trusting God.


As we mentioned in part 1 of this series,  God is God, and you are not. This should be a no-brainer, but that is why pride is so insidious. It grabs us before we engage our brains.


Our nature, then, is to try to figure things out by ourselves, and take control of the situation. If we would stop and consider God´s wisdom, however, we might realize that the situation isn´t even ours to control.


So, pride and arrogance reject wisdom, but humility surrenders to God, trusts Him to manage the problem Himself or else present a solution that´s better than what we would have concluded by our own understanding.




However, even if we have chosen to trust God with the problem, trusting His TIMING is a whole other issue. And a more difficult one.


Patience is one of the Fruits of the Spirit that are the mark of every believer. But it´s one matter to have the divine enablement to be patient in all things, and another to REMEMBER that you have this power to call upon.


Impatience is a symptom of pride. When we start saying, “C´mon, C´MON already!” what we are unconsciously doing is placing our plans above God´s plans. Which is just another way of placing our own understanding above His. As Solomon wrote:


The end of a matter is better than its beginning,
and patience is better than pride.
Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit,
for anger resides in the lap of fools.
Ecclesiastes 7:8-9 (NIV)


So, we see that impatience goes hand in hand with anger. And from anger, it is a short drive to entitlement.


 Whatever I Want, All the Time


Entitlement starts when we want one thing RIGHT NOW. We know the one thing we need to fix our situation, and we have prayed for it, so WHY ISN´T GOD ANSWERING MY PRAYER? COME ON, MAN! GET ON IT!


Yes, it looks stupid when you write it out like that, but have you ever said those words? (Be honest; I won´t tell.)


How prideful to think that our limited understanding of ANY situation would trump God´s omniscience. Our lives are like a puzzle piece. All we can see from here is that the piece next to us is missing. We need that piece in its proper place to feel complete. As long as that hasn´t happened yet, we can´t rest and be content.


But we can´t see the picture. God is putting together a seven-billion-piece puzzle that is more intricate and elaborate than we can comprehend. Maybe He´s working on the edges first.


When we trust in the Lord with all our hearts and lean not on our own understanding, then we understand that He will get to us when He gets to us. When He does, it will be at exactly the right time with exactly the right solution.


However, if we haven´t reached this level of trust, our impatience may cause us to “make something happen” under our own power. If you´ve done this, don´t beat yourself up over it. There is Biblical precedence after all.


Remember when God promised offspring to Abraham? Isaac wasn´t getting here fast enough for Sarah, so she relied on her own understanding and told Abraham to get with her maidservant, Hagar, and make a baby that way. It worked, but because it was not in line with God´s plan, there were consequences.


There is something worse than not getting whatever you want, all the time. And that is actually getting it but getting it the wrong way. Consider the story of King Uzziah. He reigned for 52 years and accomplished remarkable things with the Lord´s help. But then, pride went to his head:


But after Uzziah became powerful, his pride led to his downfall. He was unfaithful to the Lord his God, and entered the temple of the Lord to burn incense on the altar of incense. Azariah the priest with eighty other courageous priests of the Lord followed him in. They confronted King Uzziah and said, “It is not right for you, Uzziah, to burn incense to the Lord. That is for the priests, the descendants of Aaron, who have been consecrated to burn incense. Leave the sanctuary, for you have been unfaithful; and you will not be honored by the Lord God.” Uzziah, who had a censer in his hand ready to burn incense, became angry. While he was raging at the priests in their presence before the incense altar in the Lord’s temple, leprosy broke out on his forehead. When Azariah the chief priest and all the other priests looked at him, they saw that he had leprosy on his forehead, so they hurried him out. Indeed, he himself was eager to leave, because the Lord had afflicted him. King Uzziah had leprosy until the day he died. He lived in a separate house—leprous, and banned from the temple of the Lord. Jotham his son had charge of the palace and governed the people of the land. 2 Chronicles 26:16-21 (NIV)


Pride always makes us believe that our own understanding is superior to God´s. So how do we break this cycle?


The R Word


Eleven years and three kings after Uzziah came King Hezekiah. He was renowned for saving Judah from Sennacherib, the king of the Assyrians. Toward the end of his life, however, he had a Uzziah moment. But watch how he managed his consequences differently:


In those days Hezekiah became ill and was at the point of death. He prayed to the Lord, who answered him and gave him a miraculous sign. But Hezekiah’s heart was proud, and he did not respond to the kindness shown him; therefore the Lord’s wrath was on him and on Judah and Jerusalem. Then Hezekiah repented of the pride of his heart, as did the people of Jerusalem; therefore the Lord’s wrath did not come on them during the days of Hezekiah. 2 Chronicles 32:24-26 (NIV)


Hezekiah had developed a sense of entitlement regarding God´s blessings. The people of Jerusalem were taking their cues from that attitude as well. But when they repented of this attitude, God´s blessings returned.


Repentance  is the ultimate expression of humility. Repentance is when you abandon your own understanding and make a deliberate effort to go God´s way. It is an act of complete surrender, and it ALWAYS leads to a good result. Maybe not the one you were expecting, or at the time you expected it, but it´s as sure a thing as you will ever find.


Humility Wins!


Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and exalt and glorify the King of heaven, because everything he does is right and all his ways are just. And those who walk in pride he is able to humble. Daniel 4:37 (NIV)


The best part about repentance is that it works for anyone, anywhere, anytime. Nebuchadnezzar was another king that was full of himself, acknowledged God, and had a better result. But he wasn´t a king of Israel or Judah. He was the King of Babylon, who had attacked Jerusalem and carried the Jews into exile. He then tried to force the Jewish exiles into idolatry. It went a little like this:



Something like that anyway. Nebby K. Was so far into his own understanding that God had to completely strip him of it. He ended up out of his mind, living like an animal in the wilderness. Seven years later, he lifted his eyes to heaven, repented, and God restored him to a glory former than what he had before (sound familiar?).


So how about you, dear reader? Have you been living under the limited scope of your own understanding? Has your pride barricaded you into a substandard life? If so, it is never too late to repent and trust in the Lord with all your heart.


(Starting in June, we will be publishing a series of devotionals about how to live out Humility Month practically. Click on the Free Newsletter link to join us!)


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