Covenant (We Live in a War Zone) — R.S. “Bud” Miller
Spiritual Warfare — The Breastplate of Righteous
Exposing Satan’s Devices — Don’t Fight People
End Times — The Deception of the Beasts
Prophecy — America’s Golden Calf Is Coming Down — David Wilkerson
Book Review — A Prophetic Vision of the 21st Century — Rick Joyner
Poetry Corner — Now I Set Me Down In School
Little Foxes (Little Compromises) — Critical Words Destroy Marriages
Counselor’s Corner — Unmasking Hidden Pride — Alfred H. Ells
Personal Word From the Millers — New Year’s Greeting
Purpose and Vision — Ministry Information
By Pastor R.S. “Bud” Miller
We Live in a War Zone
The blood of Jesus is one of the most powerful tools God has given us. It is not a “dead” word given us by God. Rather, it is a covenant promise that cannot be broken. It is Christ alive within us. Through Him and His blood we are assured the victory. Christ will vanquish every foe that is against God!
Though Jesus defeated the devil on the cross, Christians still live in a war zone. We fight against powers of darkness (Ephesians 6:12), who come to steal and destroy us. However, the good news is that we do not have to succumb to the tactics of the enemy. We have been given the tools to enforce the victory Jesus won through the shedding of His blood.
“Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand” (Ephesians 6:14-13).
Ephesians 6:14-18 lists those pieces of armor:
1. Truth to protect “the loins”
2. The breastplate of righteousness
3. The preparation of the gospel of peace for our feet
4. The shield of faith to guard against Satan’s fiery darts
5. The helmet of salvation
6. The sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God
Add to that prayer and watchfulness–and not only our defense, but our offense, against every contingency of Satan has been provided for by God. In the Old Covenant, the Israelites had to war and fight offensively to gain the promises of God. Under the New Covenant, this typology carries over to spiritual warfare. However, it is very important to only fight for the causes that the Lord tells us to, as many are losing battles that the Lord never gave them to fight in the first place. However, once we are sure what God’s promises to us are, we should fight aggressively. The Lord expects us to do so, and it pleases His heart when we do!
We have seen that Israel received the promises of the old covenant by faith, but failed to inherit them. They failed to totally possess the land and, eventually, were cast out of the land. All of that was because of disobedience. The same premise can happen to us today. God’s promises do not come automatically. He expects us to do our part as well. If you are born again, you are part of the Israel of God through Abraham by faith.
Galatians 6:16: “And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.”
God has made you part of an everlasting covenant that will never be broken. He laid out the terms and promises with you in His Word, the “book of the covenant,” and forever sealed the covenant with you in the precious blood of Jesus.
We have inherited all the promises of God. The heart of God is for each of His children to receive the covenant promises and take possession of those promises. God made a way for us to obey His covenant with Jesus on our behalf through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. He made a way for us to live victorious lives through the Holy Spirit.
We exhort each reader to take the limits off God. Believe God and trust Him in every area of your life. First, find out, according to His word and the witness of the Holy Spirit, what His will is in your situation. Then, stand in confident, patient, warring faith for the answer. God will fulfill His promises in your life, if you walk in the fullness of His Word.
(Continued next issue)
Note: This teaching is continued from last month’s Overcoming Life Digest. See Table of Contents for Archives.
(Excerpt from the book entitled: COVENANT God’s Guarantee for Victorious Living by R.S. “Bud” Miller)
By Betty Miller
The Breastplate of Righteousness
In putting on our spiritual armor, we’re told to have on the breastplate of righteousness (Ephesians 6:14). First, we must understand that there is none righteous. “There is none righteous, no, not one” (Romans 3:10). I’m not righteous, and you’re not righteous. Yet, there is one righteous: Jesus. Because of Him, we are righteous: His shed blood has made us so. The word, “righteous,” means to be in right standing with God. Jesus has made us to be in right standing with God. That means we can come boldly before His throne.
We can come boldly before Him even if five minutes earlier we failed Him, if we ask for His forgiveness. After doing that, if we don’t know we are righteous in Christ, one of the devil’s tactics is to whisper, “You can’t ask God for anything; you just failed Him.” The truth is “If we confess our sins he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (I John 1:9). Therefore, upon confessing our sins, we are righteous and we’re going to receive what is ours through the righteousness of Christ.
A lot of Christians miss this truth. Maybe they’ve failed God, asked Him for forgiveness, but never forgiven themselves. Then along comes Satan with His condemnation keeping them from victory because they’re remembering their sins. But upon our confession, God says He no longer remembers our sins! “As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us” (Psalm 103:12). We need to know we’re righteous in Christ if we’re ever going to prevail over Satan.
I know who I am in Betty — nothing! I am nothing; I have nothing. I have nothing to teach. I can’t bless anyone. Anything that blesses you through this word is because of the Holy Spirit. Any good thing in me is because of the Holy Spirit, not because of Betty. I know Betty; she is nothing without Christ. Men without God are undone and depraved even in their most good behavior before the world. Luke 18:19 says, “And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none is good, save one, that is, God.” Because we live in an age where an emphasis is put on self-importance and self-esteem, many people cannot accept this. Certainly, we are not to deny the worth of all humans as God made man in His image, but in our society the pendulum has swung in the opposite direction of exaltation of men. Remember Jesus said to call no man good but God (Matthew 19:17).
Many people get that revelation of who they are — nothing — but then stop at that point. They see the filth of their own lives. They see themselves and the world for what they are. It’s all so hopeless that they cannot stand it, and some even kill themselves. The first step is a revelation of our own nothingness, but that must be followed with a revelation of who we are in Christ–or rather who Christ is in us.
In Christ we are righteous. In Christ we have victory and authority. In Christ we can be as bold as lions. In Christ there is neither male nor female, so a woman has the male authority of Christ in her life and can thereby stand against the devil. Black or white, young or old, male or female, Jew or Gentile — Christ is the answer for all. Christ in us, the name of Jesus, that’s all that’s going to cause the devil to flee.
If I come forward to minister without wearing the armor of God, I’m defenseless. But if I walk forward with my armor on, the devil sees Christ and trembles. He doesn’t tremble at me; he trembles at Christ coming forth from me. I’ve yielded to God and donned my armor; the enemy trembles and flees (James 4:7).
That armor includes the breastplate of righteousness. Wearing it, we can come boldly into the holy of holies. No matter what we’ve done, God doesn’t condemn us because we’ve asked for forgiveness and cleansing. God sees our breastplate of righteousness.
(Continued next issue)
Excerpt from the book Personal Spiritual Warfare; Click here to order from the CHAPEL BOOKSTORE
DON’T FIGHT PEOPLE
We must realize our battle is not with people (flesh and blood), but with Satan (principalities, powers, and rulers of the darkness). Ephesians 6:12 says, “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”
Arguing only brings strife; we must do our battling in the Spirit through prayer. Only spiritual warfare will produce peace and harmony when a spirit of division is trying to get hold of someone. Marriages are falling apart today because people are fighting their battles in the flesh instead of using spiritual weapons to deliver their mates from Satan’s hold. To obtain the victory, we must do as Jesus did and lay down our lives for our loved ones, by going to prayer on their behalf when they are being led about by the devil. We must stand for them, lest their faith fail and Satan “sift them as wheat.” We must recognize their hurtful words as coming from Satan. Instead of resisting the enemy, so many of us allow Satan to use us. We retaliate and soon bite and devour one another. “For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another” (Galatians 5:14-15).
PUT ON THE WHOLE ARMOR OF GOD
Ephesians 6:13 admonishes us, “Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” We can take one look around us and realize we are in the “evil day.” If we are to stand against the devil and get the victory, we must take on the whole life of God. Not every Christian will still be standing after Satan’s onslaughts, for the Bible says some shall fall away. “They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away” (Luke 8:13). As Christians, we come into warfare regardless of whether we desire to fight or not. That is why it is imperative to equip ourselves for the battle. When we are “babes” in Christ, the Lord takes care of our needs and puts His shield over us. He does not require us to enter into great spiritual battles for which we have no preparation. However, we are not to remain “babes,” but we are to grow in Him and in His strength and take our place among the saints of God, who have learned to overcome the devil and his onslaughts.
Excerpt from the book Exposing Satan’s Devices; Click here to order from the CHAPEL BOOKSTORE
MARK OF GOD OR MARK OF THE BEAST
Much has been said on this subject of the mark of the beast, but little said about the mark of God. Will there be a literal mark tattooed on people’s foreheads and/or their hands in these end times to make it possible to buy and sell in a one-world monetary system that is being set up by an antichrist?
We can certainly see the possibilities of this becoming a literal reality in our day with the technology of laser beam tattoos and our president speaking of a “new world order.” Even now, pets can be tracked by tiny computer chips about the size of a grain of rice which have an identification number programmed into it that can be injected under the skin with a hypodermic needle. A special scanner generates a radio signal that reads the number through the skin of the animal when it is found.
This book is not disputing the possibilities of a literal tattoo, but rather exposing the spiritual implications behind that plan of Satan. How will this come about? Will it be one of the above new technologies or something yet to come? We don’t believe men are going to be tattooed or branded with a literal set of three sixes on their foreheads or hands, any more than we believe the letters J-E-S-U-S will be on the foreheads of God’s servants as spoken of in Revelation 22: 3-4: “And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him: And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads.”
How will the beast mark those who follow him, and what is the mark of God set upon those who follow Christ? Let us begin with the mark of the beast, then look at how we are to receive God’s mark which protects us from destruction in these end times.
Throughout the Scriptures, the word beast refers to a system, and not to a man. The beast is a system that rules the world; it’s an antichrist system. Daniel 7 speaks of beasts and identifies them as earthly kingdoms. So the beast in Revelation is a beastly system that’s ruling the world (it’s a dictator beast). This beast is not just one human being, rather it is a system that has infiltrated every area whether it be politics, medicine, art or science; the beastly system is everywhere. This system is typically overseen by a powerful government with those in power making decisions that perpetrate the worldly system throughout mankind. When Revelation 13:1 speaks of the beast rising up out of the sea, what is meant by the sea? The Scriptures speak of the sea as “masses of humanity.” This beastly system is rising up out of humanity, out of all the people on the earth. When John, the author of Revelation, stood upon the sand of the sea, he was standing upon that which could not be numbered, among all the people of the earth.
THE DECEPTION OF THE BEASTS
Two Kinds of Beasts
The beasts of Revelation 13 are of two kinds. The first beast is a world government superpower, a dictator beast over a world empire. Spiritually, it’s a system controlled by Satan that rules the world. The second beast is the false prophet beast over false religion. The false prophet beast does everything the first beast does and through deception causes people to worship the evil system of the world. “And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon. And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed” (Revelation 13: 11-12). This beast has two horns. Horns are symbolic of power, dominion and authority. Two is the number of witness so this beast has power to witness. Also, he looks like a lamb, but speaks as a dragon. Jesus warned us of such false prophets in Matthew 7:15, “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.” This beast is representative of all false religions. He has false anointing (spiritual fire) and causes people to worship the beastly system.
Jesus warned us in Matthew 24: 3-5 that deception would be a major influence right before His second coming. “And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world? And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.” He said there even would be many coming in His name saying “I am Christ.” There are those insane enough to make that claim today; however, I believe this has another meaning as well. Christ in the Greek means “the anointed one.” I believe this means many shall be claiming they are anointed of Christ and shall deceive many.
In this chapter, I want to look again at Revelation 13 at the description of the “dictator” beast and the “prophet” beast. Verse by verse we’ll see how the world and many in the church are being deceived and marked spiritually by the beast.
Although I’ve covered some of this in the first chapter, I want to expand on these verses so we can get a clearer picture of the beast system. The book of Revelation is written in this same manner in that we are given different views of the same happenings. We sometimes get a view of what’s going on in heaven, then the scene shifts and we see what’s going on in the earth. Sometimes we’re given an overview of a happening, then another chapter gives us a close-up of that same event. Remember John saw these events similar to a movie. He viewed a scene, then the scene changed. At times he saw a close-up or another view of the same thing.
(Continued next issue)
Excerpt taken from the book The Mark of God or The Mark of the Beast; Click here to order from the CHAPEL BOOKSTORE
As some may not be familiar with prophecy in the church, we want to share this short explanation of Biblical prophecy before
we share an actual prophecy from God.
First, what is godly prophecy? It can be summed up as words that are spoken on behalf of God. A prophet or prophetess is one who is a spokesman for God. It is a divine utterance that comes from the Holy Spirit. (Note: Just as there are prophetic words from God, there are also false prophecies that the Lord warned us about in the Bible. In Matthew 7:15-16 Jesus said, “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits….” We must prove the source of prophecy before accepting it as coming from the Lord).
God is raising up many prophetic voices in the earth today. His gifts of prophecy are basically of two types. One is the “simple gift of prophecy” which every believer can express under the unction or direction of the Holy Spirit after they have been filled with the Holy Ghost.
The other is the “office gift” of the spirit which is given to a prophet or prophetess who is called to the “five-fold” ministry office as outlined in 1 Corinthians 12:28 which says “And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.”
Ephesians 4:11-12: “And he gave some, apostles; and some prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers. For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.”
The basic difference between these two types is, the simple gift of prophecy is given to all spirit filled believers as spoken of in 1 Corinthians 14:31, “For ye may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted.”
It is for the purpose of edification, exhortation and comfort as spoken of in 1 Corinthians 14:3, “But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort.”
The “office gift” of a prophet or prophetess is given to speak to the body of Christ at large. The ministers who are called to the office of a prophet or prophetess will deliver messages which include edification, exhortation and comfort, but their messages can also be directive in nature and futuristic in content as well (Ephesians 4:11-15).
Presently God is leading His people with prophetic preaching and teaching. A prophetic movement is taking place in the world.
America’s Golden Calf Is Coming Down
Excerpts from an article by David Wilkerson
“. . .Beloved, America is facing God’s judgment–and we will never be the same! In the days to come, literally hundreds of
thousands of Americans will lose their homes. Why? They’ve leveraged them with equity loans, so they could play the stock
market and try to strike it rich!
I tell you, the stock market has become America’s golden calf! People see it as a financial savior, and they worship it daily–
trusting in it, depending on it, giving it all their energy and attention. But it’s going to fall suddenly–and none of the small,
individual investors will be spared. They’ll suffer the most, losing their homes, their cars–everything!
I must ask you: “Are you prepared for what is coming? If not, are you acting now to get ready? When I speak of being ready,
where do your thoughts take you? Do you think immediately of investments, bank accounts, survival plans, safety for your
Yet, I believe it is much more important today for American Christians to focus on spiritual preparation–before the coming
storm hits. Let me tell you why.
I believe that when the coming storm hits with full fury, and the nation is reeling with panic and fear, people will flee all false
gospels and feel-good churches. Christians will forget about gospel entertainment and Christian TV, and they’ll start demanding
hard truth. They’ll flock to hear godly pastors, demanding the true Word of God. Their cry will be, “Who will preach to us a
prophetic, life-changing word?”
Sadly, many charismatic Christians today talk much about being Spirit-filled–but they are totally bankrupt of truth. They’re not
intimate with Christ–and so they don’t know how to draw on His strength in truth. They don’t tremble at the truth of His
Word. They don’t know how to walk in His resurrection power or live wholly dependent on Him. Instead, they twist,
manipulate, and misinterpret His Word to accommodate their flesh.
Many pastors and evangelists today have no interest in seeking the Spirit of truth. They think they can call on the Holy Ghost at
any time to come down and sweep away all the powers of hell. But these people won’t be prepared for the dark times that are
The only manifestations we’ll see when the storm hits will be men and women falling to their knees in awe and fear of God. They’ll be slain by the piercing, convicting, soul-cleansing preaching that comes from the Spirit of truth.
Indeed, today–while most of America focuses on its prosperity–God is waking a holy remnant in the church. These saints
are on their faces, seeking Him with all their strength and crying out for a true Word from the Spirit of truth.
In recent months, our ministry has received hundreds of letters from pastors and believers who are repulsed by most of what
they see in the church: hype, foolishness, entertainment, shallow preaching. They’re crying out, “Enough! We’re tired of seeing
our pastors go to conventions and return only to introduce come new gimmick. We’re sick of seeing the flesh accommodated.
We’re hungry for truth! We want to hear preaching that convicts us and challenges us to holiness and prayer.”
Believer, you can rest assured–in the coming days of calamity, the true revival won’t come through showboating, big-time
preachers or TV evangelists. It won’t come through prosperity teachings or other doctrines of false security. No–God’s
revival will come through a hidden company of pastors and lay people who have been in the school of Christ, learning His ways
and trusting in Him. These will lead a revival of truth!
Yet not everyone is going to want truth. Many will turn to unbridled lust. Indeed, our society could see Sodom replayed a
hundred times over. But, as our nation poises on the brink of chaos, many Americans will begin to seek truth, answers, life.
As for me, I want to face the coming times as ” . . . a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of truth” II Timothy 2:15
I urge you: Ask the Lord to prepare you–His way–for the day America’s golden calf comes down. Seek His Spirit of
truth in your secret closet. Learn to recognize His voice above all the worldly clamor going on in His church. Then you’ll truly
be prepared to face the coming storm.
David Wilkerson is founder of Teen Challenge, Inc., the worldwide Christian drug and alcohol rehabilitation ministry. He is the author of The Cross and the Switchblade, The Vision, Have You Felt Like Giving Up Lately?, Hungry for More of Jesus, Revival on Broadway and many other books. David and his wife, Gwen, live in New York City, where he serves as senior pastor of Times Square Church.
The book, America’s Last Call, is available in paperback priced at $8.00 in our Chapel Bookstore catalog.
A Prophetic Vision for the 21st Century
by Rick Joyner
As we come to the end of an old millennium and face the beginning of a new one, it is so important to have a good and proper grasp of what may lie ahead of us in the days and years to come. While obviously no one can have a complete grasp of the next chain of events, it behooves us to listen to and learn from proven voices of prophetic discernment and wisdom in the body of Christ. Rick Joyner is such a voice. His latest book is a collection of previously published writings that all have to do with the topic of the end times. Compiled together in one book, they make for a fascinating and inspiring look at the days that lie ahead of us.
A Prophetic Vision for the 21st Century is a vision of the future. It is also a call, a manual, and a strategy for mobilizing the most powerful army that has ever marched upon the earth–the army of God. This is a call for Christians, who have been privileged to live in possibly the greatest times of all, to arise and fulfill their destiny. It is a manual for how we can use the divinely powerful weapons we have been given to confront the great darkness that is now sweeping the earth. It is also a strategy for how we can begin to demonstrate the power of the kingdom that is coming. In this book you will also find sound teaching on:
How to distinguish the voice of God from other voices in the world
How to know God’s calling for your life.
How to defeat the enemy of your soul.
How you can be a part of the revival that is now sweeping the earth.
Rick Joyner is an anointed teacher and prophet in the body of Christ at large. He is founder of MorningStar Ministries located in Charlotte, North Carolina. Rick is also the author of the book The Harvest (among others) which details a vision that Rick had concerning the end times. A brief summary of this vision was first circulated in 1987. It quickly found its way into major periodicals and countless newsletters, reaching millions in just a little over a year. It has been called “a prophetic word for the nineties” by major Christian leaders. This book promotes a message of devotion to Christ and preparation for the coming harvest. It can be found in our Chapel Bookstore along with his new book, A Prophetic Vision for the 21st Century. See below to order.
MorningStar Website: https://www.eaglestar.org/
A Prophetic Vision for the 21st Century is priced at $14.99 in our CHAPEL BOOKSTORE (Click here to order)
Now I Sit Me Down In School
( WRITTEN BY A 12 YEAR-OLD-GIRL in Littleton,Colorado )
Now I sit me down in school
Where praying is against the rule.
For this great nation under God
Finds mention of Him very odd.
If Scripture now the class recites
It violates the Bill of Rights.
Anytime my head I bow
Becomes a federal matter now.
The law is specific; the law is precise.
Praying out loud is no longer nice.
Praying aloud in a public hall
Upsets those who believe in nothing at all.
In silence alone we can meditate
And if God should get the credit-great!
They are bringing their guns;
I don’t dare bring my Bible,
To do so, might make me liable.
So, now Oh Lord, this plea I make;
Should I be shot in school,
My soul please take.
(Little Compromises That Cause Big Problems)
By Betty Miller
Song of Solomon 2:15 says, “Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines have tender grapes.” Foxes sometimes in search of food would enter into the grape orchards and devour the grapes and spoil the crop. However, the little foxes were too small to reach the grape bunches so they would chew on the vines and it would kill the whole vine. Instead of the farmer just losing his crop, he would lose his vine which was more disastrous. Spiritually some things we do or allow that we might think are little or insignificant can also be disastrous for us.
Critical Words Destroy Marriages
1 Peter 3:7-12:
7 “Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.
8 Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous:
9 Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing.
10 For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile:
11 Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it.
12 For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.”
One of the things that begin to erode a marriage away is when one spouse begins to speak critically to and of the other one. The things we say to and about the other one can either be uplifting and encouraging or they can bring disharmony and hurt. Little critical words will lead to a dissatisfaction with one’s mate and can escalate to bring about a divorce. No person should threaten to divorce the other just to get their way, or manipulate the other to do something they really don’t want to do. When any one threatens divorce this is like speaking words of murder to your marriage.
Words can accumulate in the spirit and cause one to react lovingly or hateful by what is spoken. The above verses warn each spouse not to return “railing for railing” but “blessing for a railing.” As kind words are returned this stops the cycle of “railing for railing.”
Proverbs 15:1 says, “A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.”
We are admonished in the Bible to seek to do good and to seek peace, not to stir up trouble because we want to air our anger and wrath. As Christians we are to give our anger to Jesus and ask Him to remove it, and replace it with His love, patience and forgiveness. We are not to take it out on someone else, especially our mates.
Some husbands can be very cruel criticizing their wives appearance. If the wife is on the thin side or over-weight, the husband should pray to help her make the necessary changes that will help her to be healthy, but never should he belittle her appearance. This can damage their relationship, where it is difficult for her to reach out and love him and receive love from him. (This, of course, applies to a woman criticizing her husband about his appearance too.)
The Lord calls us to love our mates, as we would love a sister or brother in the Lord and to be courteous. Many times, after people get married, they cease to be courteous to one another and they are rude and unmannerly. These things start with little things they quit doing to please the other and soon they grow into gross neglect. We should be kind to one another and think about saying nice things that edify and build our marriages instead of the hurtful words that tear them down. This “little fox” of critical speech in little things can be the root cause that later destroys the marriage.
Proverbs 18:21: “Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.
22 Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the LORD.”
Unmasking Hidden Pride
Hubris (pride) was the character flaw that caused many to fail in Greek mythology. In my counseling practice I have noticed that it is also the stumbling block for many ministers. The wisdom of Proverbs declares in verse 11:2 that “when pride comes, then comes dishonor,” and in verse 16:18 “Pride goes before destruction. And a haughty spirit before stumbling.”
Remember the Biblical story of Nebuchadnezzar, the king, who was made to live and eat with the beasts of the field and wild donkeys because of his pride? Daniel 5:21 declares that he was “given grass to eat like cattle, and his body was drenched with the dew of heaven until he recognized that the Most High God is ruler over the realm of mankind and that He sets over it whomever He wishes.”
God truly places those in authority over His church as he sees fit and also removes whomever He chooses. Pride is probably the major reason for a lack of favor with God and therefore lack of success in ministry. It is also the major root issue in failure. As James 4:6 declares ” . . . God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”
Though this failure principle is commonly known in ministry circles, few of us readily admit to having pride and still fewer seem to actively repent. Because pride can be very subtle in its manifestations, many do not know the telltale signs of pride. Consider the following characteristics of hidden pride and see if God reveals any indications of pride in your life. Be brave. Ask those who know you well if they see any of these characteristics in your life.
Signs of Pride
1. Insecurity. Research reveals clergy as one of the most insecure of all professional groups. Insecurity is the root of many unhealthy and ungodly behaviors. It provokes us to want the lavish praise and attention of others too much. Much of pride is motivated out of one’s unmet need for self-worth. Finding one’s identity and security in Christ is a must to avoid pride.
2. The need to be right. Ever encounter someone who has a hard time being wrong? This is a symptom of pride. The need to be right prevents one from appropriately evaluating issues as well as themselves (Galatians 6:3). A person who needs to be right has an exalted investment in himself or herself and thinks that he/she knows better than others. In religious circles, the need to be right is frequently manifest through always saying ‘God told me’ or ‘God showed me’.
3. Being argumentative. Individuals, who argue their point of view, especially to those in authority over them, are allowing pride to get the best of them. At the root of their argument is a belief that they are right and the other is wrong and that their will should prevail. It is appropriate to advocate for a point of view or position but not to do so in such a manner that you are more invested in your opinion than in arriving at a mutual understanding.
4. More invested in being heard than in hearing. When someone develops a pattern of needing others to listen to them rather than first hearing others, pride is motivating the need. The need to be heard is common among clergy who are insecure. Oftentimes, the individual does not feel loved or valued unless people “hear them out.” In truth, this is often just an expression of insecurity and pride.
5. Anger. Anger is a self-justifying emotion. This means that the nature of anger is to prompt us to justify our position and blame another for the wrongdoing. Justification of self leads to denial of our own complicity or wrongdoing. The scripture warns that the “anger of man does not accomplish the righteousness of God.” (James 1:20). An individual who is angry a lot is suffering from pride.
6. Irritability and impatience. Even though I am a counselor, it was only recently that I learned that the root of impatience in my life is anger and therefore pride. When we are unable to be patient with another and are irritated, it demonstrates a haughty view of self. We feel that our views, time or needs are more important that the other persons. This again is more an indication of our pride than someone else’s slow movement or imperfection.
7. Lack of submissive attitude. Submission is the voluntary placement of oneself under the influence, control or authority of another. When an individual pledges their submission to you or another, yet is critical or argumentative of that authority, then pride is the hidden issue. The test of humility and submission is being able to say ‘yes’, maintain a positive attitude and trust God, especially when the decision of your authority goes against your grain or better judgment.
8. Not easily corrected. Ever work or live with someone who won’t receive any negative or corrective feedback? This too is pride. Before he died, a pastor in the East Valley was noted for being easily entreated and able to receive corrective feedback from others. He would thank the person for the negative feedback and commit to pray about it, seek counsel and get back to the person with what conclusions he came to. He was a role model for many of us.
9. Receiving correction but not changing. I worked with a man who often would receive my correction and say thank you for the feedback, but would never change. This too is a form of pride. The individual was placating me and people-pleasing me, telling me what I wanted to hear but not really taking the feedback to heart. His insecurity and fear prevented him from truly changing.
10. Needing others to take your advice. Counselors, such as myself, easily fall into the trap of having to have others take their advice. Advice should always be offered without strings attached. If you find yourself resenting the fact that your advice is not followed, look deeper at the motivating issues in your life.
11. Needing to proclaim your title or degrees. A good friend of mine requires everyone to call him ‘pastor’, saying that he has deservedly earned the title. Demanding that others call you ‘doctor’ or ‘pastor’ or ‘bishop’ is usually a way of making you ‘one up’ and them ‘one down’. Once again, pride is fueling the requirement.
12. Being stubborn. Webster’s dictionary defines stubbornness as “unduly determined to exert one’s own will, not easily persuaded and difficult to handle or work, resistant.” The root issue of stubbornness is willfulness, which is ‘I want what I want when I want it’. Another name for pride.
13. Comparisons and competition. 2 Corinthians 10:12 makes it clear that comparing oneself with others is unwise. Comparison is a form of competition. It is often overt. For example, emphasizing the size of one’s church, the number of converts, etc. However, it can also be the subtle sin of heart that inwardly grieves when another is more successful or rejoices when another pastor’s ministry enters hard times. The motive of heart is pride.
Note: Next issue–Acquiring Humility.
This article was taken from the Counselor’s Corner, Volume II, Issue 11, published by Counselor’s Corner. Used With Permission.
Alfred Ells is a senior therapist with New Life Clinic, a Christ-centered counseling and educational ministry. He is a gifted marriage and family counselor, seminar speaker and author of several best-selling books, including One Way Relationships, Released to Love and Family Love.
Al has been counseling and consulting with churches, organization and individuals for over twenty years. He earned his Masters of Counseling degree at Arizona State University. He founded “House of Hope Counseling”; assisted in the establishment of “Hope Community (Rapha-Hope)” in Scottsdale, a Christ -centered residential addictions treatment facility; “Remuda Ranch”, a Christ centered program for women with anorexia or bulimia, located in Wickenburg, Arizona, and “Life Gate”, a residential treatment facility for adolescents and their families.
Al resides in Mesa, Arizona with his wife Susan. They have four children.
write to: Alfred H. Ells, M.C., Counselor’s Corner, 2855 East Brown Road, Suite 3, Mesa, Arizona 85213, U.S.A. Phone:(480) 325-9350.
Warm and loving greetings from Arizona! How blessed we are to have so many wonderful friends. We are very thankful to God for each of you! One thing we love about this Internet ministry is getting your e-mail. Proverbs 25:25 says: “As cold waters to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country.”
We are also grateful to the Lord to be sharing the “good news” of the gospel via the Internet. We stand in awe of how the Lord is using the web site to reach so many people all over the world. We see the Holy Spirit reaching out in great fervency to this generation, as the days are numbered until our Lord returns to judge the whole world.
We continue to see the signs of His second coming in the earth. We know by these events that we are drawing closer to the hour that we shall all witness His return. Since we were not given the hour or day of His coming, only the season, we must stay prepared to meet him at any time. We will all be required to give an account of our deeds as we stand before Him. His first coming was as a Lamb, who gave His life for us. In His second coming, He will come as a Lion to judge the earth (Matthew 24).
Most of God’s ministers and prophets are sounding the alarm that judgement is coming and are urging men to prepare. Proverbs 22:3 says, “A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished.” The effects of earthquakes, weather related disasters, disease, epidemics, and terrorist acts have created much pain for many already. Y2K will surely be another one of the birth pains, as we continue to experience a worldwide “time of sorrows.”
“And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in diverse places. All these are the beginning of sorrows” (Matthew 24:6-8).
Notice in these verses, He tells us not to be troubled. As Christians, we are to face the future with hope and faith because no matter what is happening in the world Jesus said we can be overcomers because of Him. “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
As it gets darker in the world and tribulation increases, remember if you are a Christian, you have the light of Jesus in you, so let us all let our light shine!
“Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee. For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the LORD shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee” (Isaiah 60:1-2).
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Love in Christ,
Bud and Betty Miller
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