Friday, September 7, 2018

Stronghold Starter #10: Self-Righteousness, Hypocrisy & Denial: Only My Truth Counts

Self-righteousness is an excellent way to allow Satan to slither his way in.  Just listen the self-righteous person's  musings:

I have all sorts of facts, observations, stories and personal knowledge as to why I am right and you are not.  I am superior in my knowledge and my conclusions, and if you want to be more acceptable,  you must think like me.  If you throw in biblical knowledge on top of all of this, I am the one in church with the answers, and I am entitled to look down on everyone else when they don't get in line with my conclusions.  I dominate Bible studies and I love to argue.  I love to keep score on how I silence my opponents, even if they are brothers and sisters in Christ.   

Hypocrisy is an equally excellent way to allow Satan entrance.  Just listen to these musings:

I am above the law.  Whatever the law may say or demand, or wherever its values are applied, I am above it.  Why?  Because I am, well, me.  Rules and regulations are for other people.  They need the corral of correction...I am free to run unhindered, because I control myself.  I am a law unto myself, and if I don't think something is a problem, then it isn't, regardless of what the law says.  But, I will make one concession:  I will act like other people, even though I am certainly not other people.  I will smile and then go home, and do want I want.  

Denial is another way:

I don't see a problem.  I have faith there is no problem.  If the "problem" (your name for it, not mine) persists, then I will have a ready answer:

1.  The problem doesn't exist because my faith says it doesn't exist.  I walk by faith.  You don't.

2.  You don't have the faith I have, so no wonder you still consider this a problem.

3.  I will confess only positive things, because my words shape reality.  I say, "There is no problem."  
     So, there isn't one.  But, please, do not correct me or speak anything contrary to me; your 
     negative confession could ruin my reality.  

4.  Hey, I cope, don't I?  This is how I cope.  If I didn't engage in denial, I would have to face pain, 
     suffering, other words, reality.  Reality bites; my reality is where I am in total 
     control. My words, my beliefs, my, my, my...I do it so I can live my life.  I do it so I can be in

The common denominator of all these is pride, with control being the essential operating principle. 

Self-righteousness means I control the conversation by what I know, what I believe, and I don't have to listen to others.  I know what I know.  I enter the room and leave the room unmoved by the less-informed opinions of others.  I don't grow in my knowledge; I stagnate.  But I don't care.   

Hypocrisy means I control my interior life by my own definitions.  I equally control the image others have of me; I present well, so others consider me legitimate.  Little do they know, and that's fine by me.

Denial means I control reality to fit what I believe.  It's not just enough to believe something: I put it into practice by telling everyone what my reality is; how my faith makes it so, and how it will come to pass.  Even when reality is continuing to be the opposite of what I tell others, I just speak more:  I talk of my faith, my words, my relationship with God.  Others question me silently; when someone dares to question my reality, I strike back, quickly and without mercy.  I cope with life this way and no one, not even God, is going to tell me how to proceed.  I can't trust Him; I can't trust others.  But, I can trust me, and so I am in control.  Who better than me?   

How then to not allow this kind of thinking to provide access for Satan and our flesh to zone us off for castle construction? 

Jesus came to show us how to be utterly dependent on God.  We surrender our will, look to Him for guidance and purpose, and walk in faith in Jesus, not in our interpretation of reality. 

Jesus shows us the way to be dependent, for that He the way He lived.  He doesn't ask us to do anything that He did not first do.  Listen to Jesus: 

"Jesus gave them this answer: 'Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does. Yes, and he will show him even greater works than these, so that you will be amazed.'" (John 5:19-20) 

In another passage from John, Jesus draws His identity from His Father alone, and from doing what His Father commands:

"Who are you?” they asked.

“Just what I have been telling you from the beginning,” Jesus replied. “I have much to say in judgment of you. But he who sent me is trustworthy, and what I have heard from him I tell the world.”

They did not understand that he was telling them about his Father. So Jesus said, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he and that I do nothing on my own but speak just what the Father has taught me. The one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases him.” Even as he spoke, many believed in him. (John 8:25-29)
[emphasis mine]

If anything moves us away from God, to be independent of Him in any way, that is our pride speaking.  Our pride is the foundation from which the castle is begun by Satan.  Every day, we should be moving more and more towards Him, in what we do, say and who we are.  

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