PRIDE OR HUMILITY?
Thank you, God, for giving me this day. Help me to spend it wisely knowing that you have purpose in it for me. It is my heart’s desire to please you in all I do.
Read LUKE 10:17-24
17 The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.”
18 He replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. 19 I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. 20 However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”
21 At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this is what you were pleased to do.
22 “All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows who the Son is except the Father, and no one knows who the Father is except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.”
23 Then he turned to his disciples and said privately, “Blessed are the eyes that see what you see. 24 For I tell you that many prophets and kings wanted to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.”
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“‘Take up your cross’, the Savior said, / ‘if you would my disciple be. / Take up your cross … and humbly follow after me.’”1
The disciples returned, jubilant about their achievements. Jesus had taken a risk, sending everybody out, not just the twelve. Now they return, full of tales of their power over evil spirits. Jesus’ response is elation (v 21). Evil has retreated a little before his disciples. This is prophetic! Victory over the forces of evil still awaits the cross and the final vanquishing of evil at the end of time, but Jesus senses the beginning of the end. Those who go in his name need not fear ‘snakes and scorpions’ (v 19), the deadly poison of evil which cannot overcome us. Neither the disciples nor we are physically safe from accident or disease in this life. Many of Jesus’ followers would go on to die a martyr’s death – but death has no sting.2 We are safe, not from earthly suffering, but safe for eternity. In Jesus’ final prayer for his disciples, he explicitly says that he does not ask for their immunity from suffering, but that ‘you protect them from the evil one.’3
Jesus’ other reaction to the disciples’ excitement is a stern warning not to take pride in their successes as if they were personal achievements. All spiritual abilities are given to us, not earned. They all come from God. No one should feel personal pride in gifts like preaching or healing or leadership. None are deserved. All are bestowed. It is sad to see Christian organizations advertising their ‘signs and wonders’ and adopting personal names such as ‘So-and-So Ministries.’ We see far too often the adulation of prominent Christian leaders and their own easy acceptance of their fame. All that ultimately matters is that our names are written in God’s eternity. We have nothing spiritual to take pride in. We were bought at great cost. We belong to God, who says, ‘I have engraved you on the palms of my hands.’4
May we gladly accept our spiritual gifts with outstretched hands. Ask God to forgive any pride. Give thanks that our names are written in heaven.
Glorious King, all praise belongs to you! When I consider all that you have done and trust in what you have promised, I am overwhelmed with gratitude. Help me to use your countless blessings in my life to bless others.
1 Charles Everest, 1814–1877 2 See 1 Cor 15:55 3 John 17:15 4 Isa 49:16
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