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Pride is an Enemy

  “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18).

 

 Pride is an enemy that motivates a person to seek power and to scheme and manipulate to get ahead of others for position and rank. Pride prompts an individual to believe he is something when he is not, and that he possesses what he does not have.

 God's children have nothing to be proud of.  All they have was given to them by the Lord (1 Cor. 4:7).  Abilities and direction in life, have been graciously given to us by the Lord. Thus, rewards by God will be given for faithful service in His work.

  Jesus taught His disciples that He would have a kingdom and rule over Israel and the nations in great power and glory (Pas. 2:6—8).  Naturally, the disciples began to consider the positions they would have in that coming kingdom. Being aware of what the disciples were thinking and discussing, Jesus asked them about the subject of their discussion (Mark 9:33).

  Caught up in the web of their own doing, the disciples remained silent. It appears their discussion had not reached an argumentative state. The word “disputed” means “to reconsider, to reason”--but such exchanges usually lead to rivalry. They were probably giving reasons why they felt qualified to occupy the top positions of honor with the Lord in His kingdom. The Lord wanted to stop such maneuvering before it caused a division among them.

  If rewards were to be granted because of greatness, the disciples needed instruction on the nature of true greatness. The Master called them to Himself and  said, “If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all and servant of all” (Mark 9:35). Christ wanted His followers to know that true greatness comes by serving others. The person who thinks only of himself and his interests, surely is a miserable person. Joy and fulfillment come when we reach out and minister to others along the path of our Pilgrim journey to the Father's house in glory.

 Joseph McCaba was the founder of a missionary ministry in Africa. He lived and labored among them for many years. He prayed, won souls, built churches, and gave of himself to African people for the glory of the Lord. Today, his influence lives on because he served others faithfully.  

  To impress upon the disciples the spirit of selflessness, Jesus used a child as an illustration (Mark 9:36). Jesus said that to receive a child would be to receive Him (vs. 37). Willingness to receive a child and minister to him, was used as a rebuke to the apostles as they haughtily contended for the top places.

 The disciples did not fully comprehend the lesson on humility in service. James and John came to Jesus and requested to sit on His right and left hand in His glory. The Lord told them, “You know not what you ask” (vs. 38).  Their mother had the same request (Matt. 20:20).

 The Lord diverted their thinking by introducing the subject of suffering. Our Lord indicated that James and John would surely suffer for the cause of Christ, and they did; but a position of honor in His kingdom “shall be given to them  for whom it is prepared” (Mark 10:40). The selfish ambition of James and John caused dissension among the other disciples (Mark 10:41).  Again, Christ called his followers for another lesson on true greatness.

  Jesus reminded the apostles that in the Gentile world great ones ruled with authority and power (Mark 10:42). In opposition to this, for the disciples, the greatest one among them would be the servant of others (Mark 10:43-44).

  Satan's downfall was pride. He wanted to be like God (Isa. 14:11—15).  He became the Devil. “How are you fallen, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How are you cut down to the ground, which did weaken the nations?” (Isa. 14:12)

  Daniel and Ann Zimmerman went to Gao in Mali, Africa, to serve the Lord. The African people loved them dearly, for they gave of themselves in untiring labors of love. Now, their influence lives on among the people whom they served for many years. It is a blessing to hear these servants of the Lord, tell of victories on their field of service.

 True greatness, then, comes in serving others. Jesus is the greatest  of all.

  “For even the Son of man came not to be served, but to serve; and to give his life a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45).

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