Our pride leaves us exposed, opens the door and grants permission for the Enemy to attack and hold us captive.
Have you ever planned something so well that you thought nothing could go wrong, that you have thought of everything, but despite dotting every “i” and crossing every “t”, the outcome was disastrous?
Pride is defined as “a feeling of deep pleasure or satisfaction derived from one’s own achievements”. St. Augustine referred to it as “the love of one’s own excellence”. Our culture encourages us to behave in a prideful manner. We are praised for our achievements, self-reliance and wisdom. If we are honest with ourselves, we have all at one time been tempted to feel a sense of pride in our achievements, whether athletic, academic, career-related or even spiritual. We worked hard and success came. It feels good, especially when others take notice. But as Christ followers, we must be mindful that “God opposes the proud, but shows favor to the humble” (James 4:6). Pride is dangerous and the most common way that Christians open the door to being held captive by our Enemy, the devil.
· Trusting in your own strength.
· Trusting in your own righteousness.
· Trusting in your own wisdom.
Sometimes we pridefully think we have the power to plan a fail-safe future and sometimes God allows failure. He is in control and will use the enemy to fulfill His purpose.
ENCOUNTERING GOD THROUGH BIBLE STUDY:
Read Luke 22:31-32
1) What was it that failed Peter, and for what did Jesus pray?
2) How would Peter strengthen his brothers later?
3) Why did God allow Peter to be “sifted” by Satan? Can you share a time when God has allowed you to be “sifted” because you relied on your own strength? How does our culture encourage us to trust in our own strength?
Read Job 1:6-12
4) Why did God allow Satan to come against Job?
5) How are we susceptible to believing we are righteous, and what can we do to avoid this trap?
Read I Kings 22:7–8, 15–19
6) Why did King Ahab ignore wise advice? Can you share a time you were tempted like King Ahab to ignore wise advice that you didn’t want to hear?
7) God is in control and will use the enemy to fulfill His purpose as He did with Peter, Job and Ahab. Why is it difficult to remember that God is in control when we are in the middle of a battle?
1) Peter’s reliance on his own strength failed him. (See Mark 14:27–31, Matthew 16:21–23 for specific examples.) Jesus prayed that Peter’s faith would not fail.
2) When Peter realizes his pride and reliance on his own strength, he would humble himself, rely on God’s strength and encourage/strengthen his brothers in this way. (Have someone read I Corinthians 10:12)
3) God allowed Peter to be “sifted” by Satan so pride would not destroy Peter.
4) God granted Satan permission to come against Job because Job was righteous in his own eyes. (Consider reading Job 32:1–2; 33:8–9, 36:3, and Job 38.)
5) Like Job, mature believers are vulnerable to this trap when we begin to measure our righteousness by what we do, and not by Christ’s sacrifice on the cross.
6) King Ahab didn’t want to obey God, so he only listened to prophets who told him what he wanted to hear. Even when a truthful prophet tried to warn him, Ahab refused to listen. Ultimately, he was destroyed. (See 2 Kings 21:1–6; I Kings 22:20–23; James 3:14–15; 2 Timothy 4:3)
7) This last question summarizes the take home message for the lesson. We open the door to Satan’s attack when we fall into pride. Pride is trusting in our own strength, our own righteousness, and our own wisdom. When we are prideful, God grants Satan permission to put us into bondage so that we repent and return to God. He does this because He loves us and doesn’t want us to be destroyed by pride.