WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
AUGUST 10TH, 2021
TOPIC: POWER AND PRIDE
BY T. O. BANSO
“But Peter pulled him up and said, ‘Stand up! I’m a human being like you!’” (Acts 10:26 New Living Translation).
I believe that the higher you go, the more humility you need. There’s nothing you have that you didn’t receive from God. If you received all from God, there is no reason for pride (1 Corinthians 4:7b). Nobody is indispensable. Christians, especially those in leadership in the church and outside, should beware of pride.
1 Timothy 3:6 says concerning church leaders, “An elder must not be a new Christian, because he might be proud of being chosen so soon, and the Devil will use that pride to make him fall” (New Living Translation).
John Emerich Edward Dalberg-Acton, English historian, popularly called Lord Acton, said in his letter to Bishop Mandell Creighton in 1887, “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Don’t lose your sanity because of power. Don’t become drunk with power, which leads to pride and power abuse.
Whether you are a spiritual leader, CEO, department head, community, political, or team leader, or whatever you are, use your power with humility; don’t let the honour people give you go to your head. Receive it, else it will destroy you.
Herod died mysteriously for acknowledging the flattery that his voice was the voice of God and not that of man. An angel of the Lord struck him, worms ate him, and he died (Acts 12:20-23). If someone doesn’t receive honour with humility, he may die prematurely, physically or spiritually, or both.
He could lose whatever people have seen in him that makes them honour him. He could abuse his office or position and lose his power. He could begin to act arbitrarily and cause his downfall. He could fall from grace to grass. He could become a once celebrated person who has become disgraced, abandoned, and irrelevant.
Nebuchadnezzar proudly said, “Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for a royal dwelling by my mighty power and for the honor of my majesty?” (Daniel 4:30 New King James Version). He failed to acknowledge that God gave him his power and the kingdom. The Bible says while he was yet speaking, a voice fell from heaven announcing to him that the kingdom had been taken away from him. Twelve months earlier, he had been warned.
Nebuchadnezzar was driven from his palace to the forest where he lived with the beasts of the field and ate grass like an ox (Daniel 4:32). After seven seasons had passed over him, he was restored to the throne. Then, he said, “Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and glorify and honor the King of heaven. All his acts are just and true, and he is able to humble those who are proud” (Daniel 4:37 New Living Translation).
Proverbs 11:2 says, “When pride comes, then comes shame; but with the humble is wisdom” (New King James Version). Pride goes before destruction, and haughtiness before a fall (Proverbs 16:18). Humble yourself; don’t let pride destroy you. “A man’s pride will bring him low, but the humble in spirit will retain honor” (Proverbs 29:23 New King James Version).
If you want God to lift you up, one of the qualities He considers is humility. All other qualities, including diligence and discipline, are essential, but without humility even if someone gains promotion, he will not last. 1 Peter 5:6 says, “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time” (New King James Version). The Most High God rules in the kingdom of men and appoints over it whomever He chooses (Daniel 5:21).
For God to promote you, you need humility, and for Him to continue to elevate you, you must continue to humble yourself. Don’t become proud because you’ve been elevated. Jesus said whoever shall humble himself as a little child is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven (Matthew 18:4).
After Paul had healed a man crippled from his mother’s womb in Lystra, the people declared, “These men are gods in human bodies!” (Acts 14:11b New Living Translation). The people were amazed, believing that only the gods could have done that. Therefore, they named Barnabas, Zeus, and Paul, Hermes, because he was the chief speaker. The priest of Zeus brought oxen and garlands to the gates to sacrifice to Paul and Barnabas.
But Paul and Barnabas knew better. The power God gave them didn’t go to their heads. They were not intoxicated by the people’s misguided honour. They tore their clothing in dismay and ran out to stop them telling them they were men like them preaching to them the word of God. Paul and Barnabas didn’t say they were gods. No matter how much anointing, grace, etc. you have, remain a human being! Don’t call yourself a god to be worshipped.
In Acts 10, when Peter came to the house of Cornelius, Cornelius fell to the floor before him in worship. “But Peter pulled him up and said, ‘Stand up! I’m a human being like you!’” (Acts 10:26 New Living Translation). Cornelius got up and they talked and went inside where the others were assembled. Peter wasn’t proud despite being the leader of all the apostles and Cornelius a gentile.
If you’re a Christian, especially a church leader, and you’re full of pride, where did you learn it? Is it from Christ? That is not possible. Why do you want your followers to worship you? This never happened in the early church. There was no such pride. If you’re guilty of this, repent. There is nothing you have that you didn’t receive from God.
See Jesus’ humility in John 13:2-5: “And supper being ended, the devil having already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray Him, Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God, rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself. After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded” (New King James Version).
Jesus Christ is the perfect example for everyone to emulate. In this scripture, John 13:2-5, Jesus, in humility, served the disciples although they called Him Master. As the scripture says, after supper, He rose and laid aside His garments. He took a towel, girded Himself, poured water into the basin, and washed the feet of the disciples and wiped them.
In the Jewish culture, foot washing was the first way of showing hospitality to a guest before they come into a tent or house because of the dusty roads in Palestine. Guests could be given water to wash their feet (Judges 19:21; Luke 7:44). However, in some wealthy homes, washing of feet was considered the lowliest service and was performed by the least in the household – the slaves (1 Samuel 25:41). But Jesus, the Master, the Son of God, the Saviour of the world, humbled himself and washed the feet of His disciples.
Subsequently, Jesus said to His disciples, “Do you know what I have done to you? You call Me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them” (John 13:12-17 New King James Version).
Be a servant-leader. Don’t be drunk on power. Don’t let pride take you over. Emulate Jesus Christ. Philippians 2:5 says, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus” (New King James Version). The question will be which mind? The answer is in verses 6-8: “Though the divine nature was his from the beginning, yet he did not look upon equality with God as above all things to be clung to, but impoverished himself by taking the nature of a servant and becoming like men; He appeared among us as a man, and still further humbled himself by submitting even to death–to death on a cross!” (Twentieth Century New Testament).
Don’t abuse your power. David abused his power by committing adultery with Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah, impregnating her, and killing Uriah. However, his sin was not hidden from God. Confronted by the prophet Nathan, he confessed his sin and God forgave him. Nevertheless, he suffered the consequences of this sin (2 Samuel 11:1-27; 12:1-23).
Don’t abuse your power. In 2 Chronicles 16:10, King Asa of Judah abused his power by throwing into prison Hanani the seer for delivering to Him a rebuke from the LORD. He also began to oppress some of his people. But he eventually died from serious foot disease.
King Ahab of Israel also abused his power. He ordered a true prophet of God, Micaiah, to be put in prison and fed with bread and water of affliction until he returned in peace from the war against Ramoth Gilead (2 Chronicles 18:25-26). But he never returned just as Micaiah had said. The prophet Micaiah had warned Ahab not to go that war contrary to the prophecy of his 400 prophets. He died in that battle.
The Bible records other abuses of power by kings in the Old and New Testaments, including that of Herod who ordered the killing of all the male children in Bethlehem and all its districts, from two years old and under. He believed that in the process he would be able to kill Jesus (Matthew 2:16). That was wickedness. But he couldn’t kill Jesus; He had been carried to Egypt as commanded by an angel of the Lord who had revealed Herod’s plot to kill Him. Herod died later. Jesus outlived him (verses 19-20).
Don’t abuse your power. Be a servant, not a tyrant. Jesus emphasized this to His disciples. “But Jesus called them together and said, ‘You know that in this world kings are tyrants, and officials lord it over the people beneath them. But among you it should be quite different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must become your slave’” (Matthew 20:25-27 New Living Translation).
Don’t be intoxicated with power. Don’t be drunk with pride. Don’t let people’s honour make you lose your sanity. No matter how exalted your position is and the honour people give you, remain humble. Remember that there is no power which is not of God, and all powers are ordered by Him (Romans 13:1b). You are not only accountable to the human authorities above you; you’re ultimately accountable to God.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto you today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank you, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: Father, I repent of power abuse and pride in any form in my life; forgive me. Holy Spirit, no matter how much God is using me, help me to always remember that I’m a human being and I am accountable to Him. I shall be humble in spirit and retain honour in Jesus’ name. I reject pride that will bring me low or cause my destruction, fall, or demotion. Holy Spirit, help me to humble myself under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt me in due time. I receive wisdom to be humble, stay humble, and not abuse my power in Jesus’ name.
(For over 600 in-depth and powerful messages by T.O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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